Duvall, Robert 1931–

views updated May 29 2018

DUVALL, Robert 1931


Full name, Robert Selden Duvall; born January 5, 1931, in San Diego, CA; son of William Howard Duvall (a naval officer); mother, an amateur actress; married Barbara Benjamin (a designer), 1964 (divorced, 1975); married Gail Youngs (an actress), 1982 (divorced, 1986); married Sharon Brophy (a dance instructor), May 1, 1991 (divorced, 1996); companion of Luciana Pedraza (an equestrienne); children: two stepdaughters, including Nancy Horne. Education: Principia College, degree in drama; studied acting with Sanford Meisner at the Neighborhood Playhouse, c. 1955. Avocational Interests: Tango dancing, ranching and breeding horses, soccer, tennis.

Addresses: Office Butchers Run Films, 1041 North Formosa Ave., Santa Monica Bldg., East 200, West Hollywood, CA 90046. Agent William Morris Agency, 151 El Camino Dr., Beverly Hills, CA 90212.

Career: Actor, director, producer, writer, and songwriter. Butchers Run Films (production company), founder and principal, beginning 1992. Appeared in advertisements; recording artist with Triad Records. Restaurant owner in Virginia. Worked as a postal clerk, truck driver, and dishwasher. Military service: U.S. Army, c. 195355.

Awards, Honors: Obie Award, Village Voice, 1965, for A View from the Bridge; New York Film Critics Circle Award, Academy Award nomination, and Film Award nomination, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, all best supporting actor, 1973, for The Godfather; London Film Festival Award, 1975, for We're Not the Jet Set; Film Award nomination, best supporting actor, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, 1978, for Network; Golden Globe Award, Film Award nomination, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, and Academy Award nomination, all best supporting actor, 1980, and Marquee Award, best supporting actor, American Movie Awards, 1980, all for Apocalypse Now; Best Actor Award, Montreal World Film Festival, 1980, and Academy Award nomination, best actor, 1981, both for The Great Santini; Pasinetti Award, best actor, Venice Film Festival, 1981, for True Confessions; New York Film Critics Circle Award and Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award, both best actor, 1983, Academy Award, best actor, and Golden Globe Award, best performance by an actor in a motion picture, both 1984, all for Tender Mercies; Pasinetti Award, best actor, 1985, for The Lightship; Golden Boot Award, 1989; Emmy Award nomination, outstanding lead actor in a miniseries or special, 1989, Golden Globe Award, best actor in a miniseries or motion picture made for television, 1990, and Bronze Wrangler Award, outstanding television feature film (with others), Western Heritage Awards, 1990, all for Lonesome Dove; Independent Spirit Award nomination, Independent Film Project, best male lead, 1992, for Rambling Rose; Golden Globe Award, best performance by an actor in a miniseries or television movie, and Emmy Award nomination, outstanding lead actor in a miniseries, both 1993, for Stalin; Bronze Wrangler Award, outstanding theatrical motion picture (with others), 1994, for Geronimo: An American Legend; Humanitas Award, Human Family Educational and Cultural Institute, c. 1996, for A Family Thing; Emmy Award nomination, outstanding lead actor in a miniseries or special, and Screen Actors Guild Award nomination, outstanding performance by a male actor in a television movie or miniseries, both 1997, for The Man Who Captured Eichmann; Screen Actors Guild Award nomination, outstanding performance by a cast (with others), 1997, for Sling Blade; President's Award, American Society of Cinematographers, 1997; Career Achievement Award, National Board of Review, 1997; Carl Foreman Prize, American Cinema Foundation, 1997; Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award and Society of Texas Film Critics Award, both best actor, 1997, National Society of Film Critics Award, best actor, Chicago Film Critics Association Award, best actor, Florida Film Critics Circle Award, best actor, Golden Satellite Award, best actor in a motion picture drama, Independent Spirit awards, best actor and best director, Academy Award nomination, best actor, Screen Actors Guild Award nomination, best actor, and Independent Spirit Award nomination, best screenplay, all 1997, and Sierra Award, best actor, Las Vegas Film Critics Society, 1998, all for The Apostle; Special Texas Legend Award, Lone Star Film and Television Awards, 1998; Filmmaker Award, Blockbuster Entertainment Awards, 1998; Screen Actors Guild Award, best supporting actor, Florida Film Critics Circle Award, best supporting actor, Academy Award nomination, best actor, Golden Globe Award nomination, best supporting actor in a motion picture, Chicago Film Critics Association Award nomination, best supporting actor, Golden Satellite Award nomination, best supporting actor in a motion picture drama, and Blockbuster Entertainment Award nomination, favorite supporting actor in a drama, all 1999, for A Civil Action; Blockbuster Entertainment Award nomination, favorite science fiction actor, 1999, for Deep Impact; nomination for Grand Special Prize, Deauville Film Festival, 2003, for Assassination Tango; Donostia Lifetime Achievement Award, San Sebastian International Film Festival, 2003; received star on Hollywood Walk of Fame, 2003; award from the National Association of Theatre Owners.


Film Appearances:

Arthur "Boo" Radley, To Kill a Mockingbird, Universal, 1962.

Captain Paul Cabot Winston, Captain Newman, M.D., Universal, 1963.

Motorcyclist, Nightmare in the Sun, Zodiac, 1964.

Edwin Stewart, The Chase, Columbia, 1966.

Weissberg, Bullitt, Warner Bros., 1968.

Chiz, Countdown, Warner Bros., 1968.

Nestor, The Detective, Twentieth CenturyFox, 1968.

Gordon, The Rain People, Warner Bros., 1969.

Ned Pepper, True Grit, Paramount, 1969.

Major Frank Burns, M*A*S*H, Twentieth CenturyFox, 1970.

Despard, The Revolutionary, United Artists, 1970.

Vernon Adams, Lawman, United Artists, 1971.

Title role, THX 1138, Warner Bros., 1971.

Jesse James, The Great Northfield, Minnesota Raid, Universal, 1972.

Frank Harlan, Joe Kidd, Universal, 1972.

Jackson Fentry, Tomorrow, Filmgroup, 1972.

Tom Hagen, The Godfather (also known as Mario Puzo's The Godfather ), Paramount, 1972, released as part of The Godfather Trilogy, 19011980 (also known as The Godfather Saga and The Godfather Trilogy ), Paramount, 1992.

Eddie Ryan, Badge 373, Paramount, 1973.

Ford Pierce, Lady Ice, National General, 1973.

Earl Macklin, The Outfit (also known as The Good Guys Always Win ), MetroGoldwynMayer, 1973.

(Uncredited) Director, The Conversation, Paramount, 1974.

Tom Hagen, The Godfather, Part II (also known as Mario Puzo's The Godfather, Part II ), Paramount, 1974, released as part of The Godfather Trilogy, 19011980 (also known as The Godfather Saga and The Godfather Trilogy ), Paramount, 1992.

Ray Wagner (some sources cite Jay Wagner), Breakout, Columbia, 1975.

George Hansen, The Killer Elite, United Artists, 1975.

Frank Hackett, Network, United Artists, 1976.

Bill McDonald, The Greatest, Columbia, 1977.

Dr. John H. Watson (the narrator), The Seven Percent Solution, Universal, 1977.

Colonel Max Radl, The Eagle Has Landed, Columbia, 1977.

Loren Hardeman III, The Betsy (also known as Harold Robbins' The Betsy ), Allied Artists, 1978.

(Uncredited) Priest on a swing, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, United Artists, 1978.

Lieutenant Colonel William "Bill" Kilgore, Apocalypse Now, United Artists, 1979, released as Apocalypse Now Redux, 2001.

Bull Meechum, The Great Santini (also known as The Ace and The Gift of Fury ), Warner Bros., 1979.

Gruen, The Pursuit of D. B. Cooper (also known as Pursuit ), Universal, 1981.

Tom Spellacy, True Confessions, United Artists, 1981.

Mac Sledge, Tender Mercies, Universal, 1982.

Joe Hillerman, The Stone Boy, Twentieth CenturyFox, 1984.

Max Mercy, The Natural, TriStar, 1984.

Interviewee, Sanford Meisner: The American Theatre's Best Kept Secret (documentary), Columbia, 1984.

Calvin Caspary, The Lightship (also known as Killers at Sea ), Warner Bros., 1985.

Roberto Carrasco (Luca), Hotel Colonial, Hemdale, 1986.

The preacher, Belizaire the Cajun, Skouras/Norstar, 1986.

Norman Shrike, Let's Get Harry (also known as The Rescue ), TriStar, 1987.

Tango bayle nuestro (documentary; also known as Tango, Our Dance ), [Argentina], 1987.

Officer Bob Hodges, Colors, Orion, 1988.

Howard Baslin, A Show of Force, Paramount, 1990.

Commander, The Handmaid's Tale (also known as Die Geschichte der Dienerin ), Cinecom, 1990.

Harry Hogge, Days of Thunder, Paramount, 1990.

Roots in a Parched Land, 1990.

Daddy Hillyer, Rambling Rose, Seven Arts, 1991.

Soll Gautier, Convicts (also known as Horton Foote's Convicts ), Management Company Entertainment Group, 1991.

Joseph Pulitzer, Newsies (also known as Newsboys ), Buena Vista, 1992.

Walter, Wrestling Ernest Hemingway, Warner Bros., 1993.

Joseph Grand, La peste (also known as The Plague ), Live Home Video, 1993.

Al Sieber, Geronimo: An American Legend (also known as Geronimo ), Columbia, 1993.

Prendergrast, Falling Down (also known as Chute libre ), Warner Bros., 1993.

Himself, Cachao: Like His Rhythm There Is No Other (documentary; also known as Cachao ... como su ritmo no hay dos ), 1993.

Bernie White, The Paper, Buena Vista, 1994.

Mr. Cox, The Stars Fell on Henrietta, Warner Bros., 1995.

Dr. Roger Prynne/Roger Chillingsworth, The Scarlet Letter, Buena Vista, 1995.

Wyly King, Something to Talk About (also known as Grace under Pressure ), Warner Bros., 1995.

Earl Pilcher, Jr., A Family Thing, MetroGoldwynMayer/United Artists, 1996.

Doc Brunler, Phenomenon, Buena Vista, 1996.

Frank Childers, Sling Blade (also known as Reckoning ), Miramax, 1996.

Euliss F. "E. F."/"Sonny" Dewey, The Apostle, October Films, 1997.

Captain Spurgeon "Fish" Tanner, Deep Impact (also known as Impact ), DreamWorks, 1998.

Jerome Facher, A Civil Action, Buena Vista, 1998.

Dixon Doss, The Gingerbread Man, PolyGram Filmed Entertainment, 1998.

Otto Halliwell, Gone in Sixty Seconds, Buena Vista, 2000.

Dr. Griffin Weir, The 6th Day (also known as Le sixieme jour ), Columbia, 2000.

Lieutenant Frank Grimes, John Q, New Line Cinema, 2002.

Gordon McLeod, A Shot at Glory, Mac Releasing, 2002.

John J. Anderson, Assassination Tango, MetroGoldwynMayer, 2002.

General Robert E. Lee, Gods and Generals, Warner Bros., 2003.

Boss Spearman, Open Range, Buena Vista, 2003.

Hub, Secondhand Lions, New Line Cinema, 2003.

Film Work:

Director, We're Not the Jet Set (documentary), 1977.

Producer (with Philip S. Hobel, Mary Ann Hobel, and Horton Foote), Tender Mercies, Universal, 1982.

Producer (with others) and director, Angelo, My Love (documentary), Cinecom International, 1983.

Producer, A Family Thing, MetroGoldwynMayer/United Artists, 1996.

Director and executive producer, The Apostle, October Films, 1997.

Producer, A Shot at Glory, Mac Releasing, 2002.

Producer and director, Assassination Tango, MetroGoldwynMayer, 2002.

Television Appearances; Miniseries:

General Dwight D. "Ike" Eisenhower (title role), Ike (also known as Ike: The War Years ), ABC, 1979.

Captain Augustus "Gus" McCrae, Lonesome Dove, CBS, 1989.

Television Appearances; Movies:

Ernie Milden, Cosa Nostra, Arch Enemy of the F.B.I., 1968.

Bill Vigars, The Terry Fox Story, HBO, 1983.

Josef Stalin (title role), Stalin, HBO, 1992.

Adolf Eichmann, The Man Who Captured Eichmann, TNT, 1996.

Television Appearances; Specials:

John Brown's Raid, NBC, 1960.

Howard, Flesh and Blood, NBC, 1968.

Narrator, Mary Baker Eddy: A Heart in Protest, The Learning Channel, 1989.

Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse, Showtime, 1991.

The Godfather Family: A Look Inside, HBO, 1991.

Lonesome Dove: The Making of an Epic, The Nashville Network, 1992.

Interviewee, Ralph Emery: On the Road with Waylon Jennings, The Nashville Network, 1996.

The Kennedy Center Honors: A Celebration of the Performing Arts, CBS, 1996.

Workin' Man: A Tribute to Merle Haggard, The Nashville Network, 1998.

With the Filmmaker: Portraits by Albert Maysles, Independent Film Channel, 2001.

Interviewee, James Caan: Making a Scene, Arts and Entertainment, 2001.

Television Appearances; Episodic:

"The Jailbreak," Armstrong Circle Theatre, CBS, 1959.

"Positive Identification," Armstrong Circle Theatre, CBS, 1960.

"A Hole in the City," Naked City, ABC, 1961.

"The Newborn," Route 66, CBS, 1961.

Title role, "William Wilson," Great Ghost Tales, NBC, 1961.

Tom Nugent, "King of the Mountain," Cain's Hundred, NBC, 1961.

Arnie, "Birdcage on My Foot," Route 66, CBS, 1961.

Al Rogart, "Perjury," The Defenders, CBS, 1961.

Bart Collins (some sources cite Bart Conway), "Bad Actor," The Alfred Hitchcock Hour (also known as Alfred Hitchcock Presents ), NBC, 1962.

"The One Marked Hot Gives Cold," Naked City, ABC, 1962.

"Five Cranks for Winter ... Ten Cranks for Spring," Naked City, ABC, 1962.

"Torment Him Much and Hold Him Long," Naked City, ABC, 1962.

Eddie Moon, "Blues for a Gone Goose," The Untouchables, ABC, 1963.

"Suppose I Said I Was the Queen of Spain," Route 66, CBS, 1963.

Luke Jackson, "Metamorphosis," The Defenders, CBS, 1963.

Johnny Keel, "The Golden Door," The Virginian, NBC, 1963.

Joby Pierce, "Joby," Stoney Burke, ABC, 1963.

Eric Christian, "Never Wave Goodbye: Parts 1 & 2," The Fugitive, ABC, 1963.

"The Quality of Justice," Arrest and Trial, ABC, 1963.

Charley Parkes, "Miniature," The Twilight Zone, CBS, 1963.

Louis Mace, "The Chameleon," The Outer Limits, ABC, 1964.

Adam Ballard, "The Inheritors: Parts 1 & 2," The Outer Limits, ABC, 1964.

"Lament for a Dead Goldbrick," The Lieutenant, NBC, 1964.

Harvey Farnsworth, "Portrait of an Unknown Man," Kraft Suspense Theater, NBC, 1964.

"Fingerman," Brenner, CBS, 1964.

Karl, "The Enemy," Combat!, ABC, 1965.

Leslie Sessions, "Brass Ring," The Fugitive, ABC, 1965.

Zar, "The Invaders," Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, ABC, 1965.

Bill Andrews, "Only a Child," The Defenders, CBS, 1965.

Joseph Maurice Walker, "The Giant Killer," The F.B.I., ABC, 1965.

"The Theory of the Innocent Bystander," Hawk, ABC, 1966.

Johnny Albin, "The Scourge," The F.B.I., ABC, 1966.

Albie Froehlich, "Death of a Dream," Felony Squad, ABC, 1966.

Tom Gary, "Poor Tom's ACold," Shane, ABC, 1966.

Scorpio, "Crossing at Destino Bay," T.H.E. Cat, NBC, 1966.

Peter Halsman, "A Cry for Help," Combat!, ABC, 1966.

Laurent, "The Long Chase," T.H.E. Cat, NBC, 1967.

Ernie Milden, "The Executioners: Parts 1 & 2," The F.B.I., ABC, 1967.

Michel, "The Partisan," Combat!, ABC, 1967.

Dr. Horace Humphries (the Falcon), "The Night of the Falcon," The Wild, Wild West, CBS, 1967.

Joe Wyman, "The Roarer," Cimarron Strip, CBS, 1967.

Raul Niman, "Chase through Time," The Time Tunnel, ABC, 1967, later broadcast as Aliens from Another Planet, 1982.

"The Killing Scene," Run for Your Life, NBC, 1968.

Joseph Troy, "The Harvest," The F.B.I., ABC, 1968.

"Murder in a Square Hole," Judd, for the Defense, ABC, 1968.

"Square House," Judd, for the Defense, ABC, 1968.

Matt Jenkins, "Keep the Faith, Baby," Mod Squad, ABC, 1969.

Gerald Wilson, "Nightmare Road," The F.B.I., ABC, 1969.

Guest, Late Night with David Letterman, 1986.

Guest, CBS This Morning, CBS, 1989.

Guest, Late Show with David Letterman, between 1996 and 1999.

Guest, The Howard Stern Show, E! Entertainment Television, 1998.

Guest, Saturday Night Live, NBC, 1998.

"Robert Duvall," Autograph, 2002.

"On the Set with Robert Duvall," Autograph, 2002.

Guest, The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn, CBS, 2003.

Guest, The Best Damn Sports Show Period, 2003.

Also appeared in episodes of Celebrity Profile, E! Entertainment Television; Festival Pass with Chris Gore, Starz!; and Unseen Hollywood, AMC.

Television Appearances; Pilots:

Frank Reeser, Guilty or Not Guilty (broadcast as an episode of Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theater ), NBC, 1966.

Eddie Franchot, Fame Is the Name of the Game (also known as The Name of the Game ), NBC, 1966.

Television Appearances; Awards Presentations:

Presenter, The 45th Annual Academy Awards, NBC, 1973.

The 56th Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 1984.

Presenter, The 57th Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 1985.

The 41st Annual Emmy Awards Presentation, Fox, 1989.

The 26th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards, NBC, 1991.

Presenter, The 64th Annual Academy Awards Presentation, ABC, 1992.

Blockbuster Entertainment Awards, UPN, 1998.

The 70th Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 1998.

The 14th Annual Independent Spirit Awards, Bravo and Independent Film Channel, 1999.

The 75th Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 2003.

Television Appearances; Other:

Voice of Gopher, Apocalypse Pooh, 1987.

Television Work; Movies:

Executive producer, The Man Who Captured Eichmann, TNT, 1996.

Stage Appearances:

Frank Gardner, Mrs. Warren's Profession, Gate Theatre, New York City, 1958.

"The Midnight Caller," Two Plays by Horton Foote, Sheridan Square Playhouse, New York City, 1958.

Doug, Call Me by My Rightful Name, Sheridan Square Playhouse, 1961.

Bob Smith, The Days and Nights of Beebee Fenstermaker, Sheridan Square Playhouse, 1962.

Eddie, A View from the Bridge, Sheridan Square Playhouse, 1965.

Wait until Dark, Ethel Barrymore Theatre, New York City, 1966.

Jackson Fentry, Tomorrow, 1968.

Walter "Teacher" Cole, American Buffalo, Ethel Barrymore Theatre, then Belasco Theatre, both New York City, 1977.

Also appeared in Camino Real.



Fearful Symmetry (also known as Fearful Symmetry: The Making of "To Kill a Mockingbird "), Universal Studios Home Video, 1998.

Miracles & Mercies, Anchor Bay Entertainment, 2002.

Behind the Scenes of "John Q ", New Line Home Video, 2002.



Angelo, My Love (documentary), Cinecom International, 1983.

The Apostle, October Films, 1997.

A Shot at Glory, Mac Releasing, 2002.

Assassination Tango, MetroGoldwynMayer, 2002.

Songs Featured in Films:

"Love Me and Let Me Love You," Apocalypse Now, United Artists, 1979, released as Apocalypse Now Redux, 2001.

Tender Mercies, Universal, 1982.



Newsmakers 1999, Issue 3, Gale, 1999.

Slawson, Judith, Robert Duvall, Hollywood Maverick, St. Martin's Press, 1985.

St. James Encyclopedia of Pop Culture, St. James Press, 2000.


Empire, July, 1998, pp. 7274.

Entertainment Weekly, February 13, 1998, pp. 2426; March 13, 1999, p. 72.

Flicks, June, 1998, p. 37.

Interview, October, 1991; March, 1998, pp. 10002.

Los Angeles Times, March 18, 1998.

New York Times, January 29, 1989, section 2, pp. 1, 37.

Parade, August 16, 1998, p. 12.

People Weekly, April 15, 1996, p. 160; February 23, 1998, p. 23.

Premiere, March, 1998, p. 55.

Time, January 26, 1998, pp. 6870.

Times (London), June 3, 1998.

TV Guide, February 4, 1989; November 21, 1992.

Washington Post, September 27, 2002, pp. C1, C4.

Duvall, Robert

views updated May 11 2018

DUVALL, Robert

Nationality: American. Born: Robert Selden Duvall in San Diego, California, 5 January 1931. Education: Attended Principia College, Illinois. Military Service: U.S. Army, in Korea, early 1950s. Family: Married 1) Barbara Benjamin, 1964 (divorced); 2) Gail Youngs, 1982; 3) Sharon Brophy, 1991. Career: Studied acting with Sanford Meisner at Neighborhood Playhouse in New York; acted in Horton Foote's The Midnight Caller; 1957—cast by stage director Ulu Grosbard in studio production of A View from the Bridge, beginning long professional relationship; late 1950s—began acting on television; 1962—cast in first film, To Kill a Mockingbird, at Horton Foote's insistence; 1965—critical acclaim for role in Grosbard's off-Broadway production of A View from the Bridge, and for role in Wait until Dark on Broadway; 1977—on Broadway in American Buffalo directed by Grosbard; first directorial effort, We're Not the Jet Set; 1979—played title role in TV mini-series Ike; 1989—in TV mini-series Lonesome Dove.Awards: Best Supporting Actor, New York Film Critics, for The Godfather, 1972; Best Supporting Actor, British Academy, for Apocalypse Now, 1979; Academy Award for Best Actor, for Tender Mercies, 1983. Agent: Arnold Rifkin, William Morris Agency, 151 El Camino Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90212, U.S.A.

Films as Actor:


To Kill a Mockingbird (Mulligan) (as Boo Radley)


Nightmare in the Sun (Lawrence) (as motorcyclist); Captain Newman, M.D. (David Miller) (as Capt. Paul Cabot Winston)


Fame Is the Name of the Game (Rosenberg—for TV); The Chase (Arthur Penn) (as Edwin Stewart)


Costa Nostra: An Arch Enemy of the FBI (Medford—for TV)


Countdown (Moonshot) (Altman) (as Chiz); The Detective (Gordon Douglas) (as Nestor); Bullitt (Yates) (as Weissberg)


True Grit (Hathaway) (as Ned Pepper); The Rain People (Francis Ford Coppola) (as Gordon)


M*A*S*H (Altman) (as Major Frank Burns); The Revolutionary (Williams) (as Despard)


Lawman (Winner) (as Vernon Adams); THX-1138 (Lucas) (title role)


The Godfather (Francis Ford Coppola) (as Tom Hagen); The Great Northfield, Minnesota Raid (Kaufman) (as Jesse James); Joe Kidd (John Sturges) (as Frank Harlan); Tomorrow (Anthony) (as Jackson Fentry)


Badge 373 (Koch) (as Eddie Ryan); Lady Ice (Gries) (as Ford Pierce); The Outfit (Flynn) (as Earl Macklin)


The Conversation (Francis Ford Coppola); The Godfather, Part II (Francis Ford Coppola) (as Tom Hagen)


Breakout (Gries) (as Jay Wagner); The Killer Elite (Peckinpah) (as George Hansen)


Network (Lumet) (as Frank Hackett); The Seven-Per-Cent Solution (Ross) (as Dr. Watson); The Eagle Has Landed (John Sturges) (as Col. Max Radl)


The Greatest (Gries) (as Bill McDonald)


The Betsy (Petrie) (as Loren Hardeman III); Invasion of the Body Snatchers (Kaufman) (as guest)


Apocalypse Now (Francis Ford Coppola) (as Lt. Col. Bill Kilgore); The Great Santini (The Ace) (Carlino) (as Bull Meechum)


True Confessions (Grosbard) (as Tom Spellacy); The Pursuit of D. B. Cooper (Spottiswoode) (as Bob Gruen)


Tender Mercies (Beresford) (as Max Sledge, + co-pr); The Terry Fox Story (Thomas—for TV)


The Stone Boy (Cain) (as Joe Hillerman); The Natural (Levin) (as Max Mercy)


Belizaire the Cajun (Pitre) (as Preacher); The Lightship (Skolimowski) (as Caspary)


Hotel Colonial (Torrini) (as Carrasco); Let's Get Harry (Smithee [Stuart Rosenberg]) (as Norman Shrike)


Colors (Dennis Hopper) (as Bob Hodges); Convicts (Masterson); Roots in a Parched Ground (Masterson)


The Handmaid's Tale (Schlöndorff) (as Commander); A Show of Force (Barreto) (as Howard Baslin); Days of Thunder (Tony Scott) (as Harry Hogge)


Rambling Rose (Coolidge) (as Daddy Hillyer); Convicts (Masterson) (as Soll Gautier)


Newsies (Ortega) (as Joseph Pulitzer); The Plague (La peste) (Puenzo) (as Joseph Grand); Stalin (Passer—for TV) (title role)


Wrestling Ernest Hemingway (Haines) (as Walt); Falling Down (Schumacher) (as Prendergast); Geronimo: An American Legend (Walter Hill) (as Al Sieber); Cachao . . . como su ritmo no hay dos (Like His Rhythm There Is No Other) (García—doc) (as himself)


The Paper (Ron Howard) (as Bernie White)


The Scarlet Letter (Joffé) (as Roger Chillingworth); Something to Talk About (Hallstrom) (as Wyly King); The Stars Fell on Henrietta (Keach) (as Mr. Cox)


A Family Thing (Richard Pearce) (as Earl, + co-pr); The Man Who Captured Eichmann (for TV) (as Adolf Eichmann/ Ricardo Clement, + co-pr); Phenomenon (Turteltaub); Sling Blade (Thorton) (as Karl's Father)


The Apostle (Duvall) (as Euliss "Sonny" Dewey)


Deep Impact (Leder) (as Spurgeon "Fish" Tanner); A Civil Action (Zaillian) (as Jerome Facher); The Gingerbread Man (Altman) (as Dixon Doss)


Gone in Sixty Seconds (Sena) (as Otto Halliwell); The 6th Day (Spottiswoods) (as Dr. Graham Weir)


John Q (Cassavetes)

Films as Director:


We're Not the Jet Set (doc)


Angelo, My Love (+ co-pr, sc)


The Apostle (+sc, ex-pr, ro as Euliss "Sonny" Dewey)


By DUVALL: books-

The Apostle, New York, 1998.

By DUVALL: articles—

Interview in Interview (New York), September 1977.

Interviews in Time Out (London), 27 March 1981 and 8 July 1983.

"Robert Duvall: America's Hard-Boiled Olivier," interview with L. McCormick, in American Film (Washington, D.C.), September 1981.

Interview with K. M. Chanko, in Films in Review (New York), May 1983.

Interview with T. Ryan, in Cinema Papers (Melbourne), July 1984.

Interview with Laura Dern, in Interview (New York), October 1991.

Interview with G. Cheshire, in Filmmaker (Los Angeles), no. 2, 1998.

Interview with E. Weitzman, in Interview (New York), March 1998.

On DUVALL: book—

Slawson, Judith, Robert Duvall: Hollywood Maverick, New York, 1985.

On DUVALL: articles—

Current Biography 1977, New York, 1977.

Foote, Horton, "Robert Duvall: No Limits," in Close-Ups: The Movie Star Book, edited by Danny Peary, New York, 1978.

Bogre, M., "The Filming of Angelo My Love," in American Cinematographer (Los Angeles), July 1981.

"Robert Duvall," in Films in Review (New York), May 1983.

Robert Duvall Section of Positif (Paris), April 1984.

Hibbin, S., "Robert Duvall," in Films and Filming (London), May 1986.

Weinraub, Bernard, "Playing Stalin the Man Not Stalin the Monster," in New York Times, 5 November 1992.

Alexander, Max, "Above the Line," in Variety (New York), 15 November 1993.

Lally, K., "Keeping the Faith," in Film Journal International (New York), vol. 101, January 1998.

* * *

From his screen debut as silently staring Boo Radley, the antithesis of a childhood bogeyman, the skull-faced Duvall has often acted like the eye of a hurricane, unleashing his power upon spectators when they least expect it. His specialty is submerged violence that overheats and then steams out of simple souls, and he is an expert at playing self-controlled men who should not be pushed too far. Throughout his steady career as a character star on a par with Gene Hackman, Duvall has (until recently) never given a less than multifaceted performance in even the smallest roles.

With just a glance, he sums up Boo Radley's entire solitary life as a child-man cut off from normal human experience in To Kill a Mockingbird. Psychologically damaged in Captain Newman, M.D., way too sure of himself in True Grit, and disastrously clueless about Shirley Knight's needs in The Rain People, Duvall never seemed like the same actor in any of these movies, and that invisible adaptability may have prevented him from coming to prominence sooner. Although he is a drolly funny born-again phony in M*A*S*H, and touchingly overwhelmed as a futuristic man in THX-1138, Duvall's key role is Tom Hagen, the buttoned-down Mafia facilitator in the Godfather movies. Always weighing his options and always loyally cleaning up after his colorful masters, Duvall's outsider is a fully realized characterization, the compromised man blinded by forever looking the other way.

Over the years, Duvall continued painting his one-man gallery of regional types—luminous portraits of faceless Americans living lives of quiet desperation. Instead of repeating himself, Duvall broadened his artistry and reworked his stage performance as the hapless Jackson Fentry in a grim Tomorrow with an intuitive grasp of how to scale down the performance for the cinema. As vital a presence when gearing up for bombast as he is with harkening attention with an actor's silences, Duvall can be insinuatingly sinister while running a Network, appallingly macho while badgering his family with Marine mentality in The Great Santini or hilariously psychotic as a lieutenant colonel treating Vietnam like a vacation spot in Apocalypse Now. Even in junk such as The Betsy, he does not abdicate his responsibility to the audience. Although he beat four acclaimed Brits to win his best actor Oscar for Tender Mercies, his redemption-seeking country-western singer does not have the full-bodied richness of his detective eaten up by the acid of departmental corruption in True Confessions, or his rock-solid street cop in Colors or his loving family man in Rambling Rose. Perhaps that is because he is playing a symbolic force in the dry-as-dust Tender Mercies and can develop the characters in these other films along less pretentious lines.

Lately, Duvall has been stretching himself with roles outside his safe Yankee territory. Despite his wavering accent, he is touching as a straight-laced Cuban gentleman in the geriatric soap opera, Wrestling Ernest Hemingway. If he appears to be home on the world-weary prairies of Lonesome Dove, he seems out of place in Russia as Stalin. As versatile as he is, his uncluttered directness is more compatible with interpreting such American figureheads as Ike than foreign despots.

Floundering in the Harlequin Romancing of Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, Duvall is betrayed by the insipid writing and composition-conscious director into botching a part that he is temperamentally attuned to, the demented Roger Chillingworth, an avenging angel hiding behind a bible. In the comedy Something to Talk About, he makes his mint-julep patriarch dismayingly funny without softening the edges of this bullying father role. In the legal eagle thrillers, A Civil Action and The Gingerbread Man, he breathes fresh histrionic life into stale courtroom theatrics. Although he can be an imposing presence, Duvall can seamlessly ease himself into the gentle framework of domestic dramas like A Family Thing (as a white man improbably bonding with Afro-American relatives) and Stars Fell Over Henrietta (as a smoothie redeeming himself by making his piein-the-sky promises come true). In these films, Duvall manages to embody common folk while denying none of the force of his star personality. Like Thomas Mitchell or Claude Rains, Duvall is a great character actor, who is also a star. Unlike those supporting leads, however, Duvall can carry a movie on his own; when he steps into a tiny role, he usually steals the film from its nominal leads.

Taking time out from acting to direct personal projects (e.g. Angelo, My Love), Duvall wrote a juicy role for himself and elicited a great performance for himself in The Apostle, which took 13 years for this actor/director to bring to the screen. Although some critics noticed that he had stacked the plot decks too favorably in his character's direction, Duvall is mesmerizing as an evangelist who brooks no questions of faith from his own family. In a shocking indictment of pride going before a fall, the hypnotic preacher flees prosecution for beating his wife's lover, only to find he's locked in a guilt-mode worthy of Raskolnikov.

Even in unmitigated blockbuster rubbish like Deep Impact, Duvall remains a tower of strength. When he cares about his material, he's unforgettable. To move with such ease from gem-like cameos (Slingblade) to mass entertainments (Phenomenon) to star turns (The Apostle) is the mark of a singular talent. In the Duvall canon, the part may be that of an ordinary person, but Duvall always gives a face to anonymity. Other actors are in touch with their feelings; Duvall is in synch with the desires of the characters he inhabits.

—Robert Pardi