Eric Stoltz

Last updated

Eric Stoltz
Eric Stoltz-2009 cropped.jpg
Stoltz promoting Caprica in April 2009
Born (1961-09-30) September 30, 1961 (age 60)
  • Actor
  • director
  • producer
Years active1978–present
Bernadette Moley
(m. 2005)

Eric Cameron Stoltz (born September 30, 1961) is an American actor, director and producer. He played the role of Rocky Dennis in the biographical drama film Mask , which earned him the nomination for the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture, [1] and has appeared in a wide variety of films from mainstream fare like Some Kind of Wonderful to independent films like Pulp Fiction , Killing Zoe , and Kicking and Screaming . He was nominated for the Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Male for his performance in Pulp Fiction. In 2010, he portrayed Daniel Graystone in the science fiction television series Caprica , and became a regular director on the television series Glee .


Early life

Stoltz was born in Whittier, California, the son of Evelyn B. (née Vawter), [2] a violinist and schoolteacher, and Jack Stoltz, an elementary school teacher. [3] He has two sisters, Catherine, an opera singer, [4] and Susan, a writer. [5]

Stoltz was raised in both American Samoa and Santa Barbara, California, where as a child he once earned money playing piano for local musical theatre productions. [6] He attended the University of Southern California, but dropped out after his junior year. [7] He moved to New York in 1981 and studied with Stella Adler and Peggy Feury. [8]



In the 1970s, Stoltz joined a repertory company that performed ten plays at the Edinburgh Festival. He returned to the United States in 1979, when he entered USC as a drama student, but subsequently dropped out to pursue film and television roles. [9]

In 1978, he was cast as Steve Benson in the television adaptation of Erma Bombeck's The Grass Is Always Greener over the Septic Tank. [10]

Director Cameron Crowe and Stoltz became friends while making Stoltz's first feature film, Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982), which Crowe wrote and in which Stoltz had a minor role. According to Stoltz, Crowe promised Stoltz a role in all of his future films. [11]

He appeared in each of Crowe's next four films, The Wild Life (1984), Say Anything... (1989), Singles (1992), and Jerry Maguire (1996).

In 1985, Stoltz garnered attention with a Golden Globe nomination starring as Rocky Dennis in Mask . Among other roles in the 1980s, he appeared in the 1987 film Some Kind of Wonderful , written and produced by John Hughes.[ citation needed ]

Stoltz was originally cast as Marty McFly in Back to the Future . His view of the movie clashed, however, with that of the director, Robert Zemeckis. While the film was to become an action-comedy (and box office smash hit), Stoltz had read the script from a more serious angle, apparently focusing on the tragic consequences of going back to live a life that wasn't one's own. Five weeks into shooting the film, Zemeckis replaced Stoltz with Michael J. Fox. This highly unusual move required buy-in from his own studio, which allowed for reshooting much of the film, as well as an agreement from the producers of television's Family Ties , which had earlier refused to allow its star to play the role because it would interfere with shooting the tv show; the deal allowed Fox to shoot the movie around Fox’s television schedule. [12] [13] [14]

During the 1990s, Stoltz went back and forth between stage, film, and television, appearing in studio and independent films such as The Waterdance (1992), Pulp Fiction (1994), Grace Of My Heart (1996), and Anaconda (1997).

During the 1990s, Stoltz produced the films Bodies, Rest & Motion (1993), Sleep with Me (1994), and Mr. Jealousy (1997). [15]

He continued to appear on the New York stage, both on Broadway ( Three Sisters , Two Shakespearean Actors, Arms and the Man Our Town ) and off-Broadway ( The Importance of Being Earnest , The Glass Menagerie , Sly Fox ). He was nominated for a Tony Award as Featured Actor for his performance as George Gibbs in the 1989 Broadway revival of Thornton Wilder's Our Town . [16]

A performance of this production was featured on Great Performances: Live from Lincoln Center , which received a 1989 Emmy nomination. [17]

On television, he had a recurring role as Helen Hunt's character's ex-boyfriend on Mad About You (five episodes, 1994–1998), spent a year on Chicago Hope (1994), and did some television and cable films such as Inside (1996) (directed by Arthur Penn) and The Passion of Ayn Rand (1999), with Helen Mirren. Stoltz received the Indie Sup(Y)port Award at the 1998 Los Angeles Film Festival. [18]


During the first part of the 2000s, he starred with Gillian Anderson in The House of Mirth (2000), based on the novel by Edith Wharton. From 2001 to 2002, he had a recurring role as the English teacher-poet August Dimitri in ABC's Once and Again , wherein Julia Whelan's character, a teenager, fell in love with his character. He directed an episode of the show in 2002.

In 2003, he played his first leading TV role in Out of Order , which was canceled after five episodes. In 2004, he appeared in The Butterfly Effect as a child molester; the following year, he guest-starred in the NBC sitcom Will & Grace as Debra Messing's love interest. He was nominated for a Daytime Emmy for his direction of the cable movie My Horrible Year! (2001). [19] He also directed a short film entitled The Bulls [6] as well as the highest rated episode of Law & Order in 2005, entitled "Tombstone". He appeared in the music video of The Residents' "Give It to Someone Else", featured on The Commercial DVD. [20]

He has contributed essays to the books City Secrets—New York as well as Life Interrupted by Spalding Gray and appears on the children's CD Philadelphia Chickens. [21]

Beginning in 2007, Stoltz directed episodes of the drama series Quarterlife , which began airing as webisodes and were then picked up to air on the NBC network in 2008. Stoltz played a serial killer in need of medical attention in three episodes of the fifth season of Grey's Anatomy . [22] He has also directed two episodes of Grey's Anatomy.

Stoltz starred as Daniel Graystone, inventor of the Cylons, in the science fiction television series Caprica , a prequel set 58 years before the Battlestar Galactica series.

He became a regular director of Glee , directing a total of 12 episodes, including "Nationals", in which the Glee club finally wins the championship. [23]

In 2011 Stoltz was seen back on the silver screen with the film Fort McCoy ; he earned accolades for his leading role as a conflicted barber of German heritage forced to suppress his American patriotism after moving his family to a post–World War II military base housing a German POW camp.

Starting in 2014, Stoltz became the producing director of the CBS political drama series Madam Secretary . The following year he became one of its four executive producers, alongside Morgan Freeman and Barbara Hall, and has directed more than ten episodes, as well as starring alongside Téa Leoni in several episodes as her brother, Will Adams. [24]

Personal life

Stoltz met Bridget Fonda in 1986 and they began dating in 1990. The relationship ended after eight years. [25]

In 2005 Stoltz married Bernadette Moley, a singer and former animator for Disney who had migrated to the United States from Ireland. [26]

Stoltz is a vegetarian. [27]




1982 Fast Times at Ridgemont High Stoner Bud
1984 Surf II Chuck
1984Running HotDanny Hicks
1984 The Wild Life Bill Conrad
1985 The New Kids Mark
1985 Mask Rocky Dennis Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture
1985 Code Name: Emerald Lt. Andy Wheeler
1987 Some Kind of Wonderful Keith Nelson
1987 Lionheart Robert Nerra
1987 Sister, Sister Matt Rutledge
1988Greasy LakeThe Narrator Direct-to-video
1988 Haunted Summer Percy Shelley
1989 The Fly II Martin Brundle (not a Formula One driver)
1989 Say Anything... Vahlere
1990 Memphis Belle Sgt. Danny "Danny Boy" Daly
1991 Money Franck Cimballi
1992 The Waterdance Joel Garcia
1992 Singles The Mime
1993 Bodies, Rest & Motion SidProducer
1993 Naked in New York Jake Briggs
1994 Killing Zoe Zed
1994 Pulp Fiction LanceNominated—Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Male
1994 Sleep with Me JosephProducer
1994 Little Women John Brooke
1995Killing TimeStop N Start ManagerShort film
1995 The Prophecy Simon
1995 Rob Roy Alan MacDonald
1995Never Say Goodbye Aids Benefit by Yoko OnoMan From HamptonsDirect-to-video short film
1995 Fluke Jeff Newman
1995 Kicking and Screaming Chet
1996 Grace of My Heart Howard Cazsatt
1996 2 Days in the Valley Wes Taylor
1996 Jerry Maguire Ethan Valhere
1997 Keys to Tulsa Richter Boudreau
1997 Anaconda Dr. Steven Cale
1997 Mr. Jealousy Lester Grimm, aka VinceExecutive producer
1997 Highball Darien
1998 Hi-Life Jimmy
1998The Rocking Horse WinnerUncle JoeShort film
1998 A Murder of Crows Thurman Parks III
2000It's a Shame About RayMr. StoltzShort film
2000Jesus & HutchJesusShort film
2000 The Simian Line Sam Donovan
2000 The House of Mirth Lawrence Selden
2001 Things Behind the Sun Dan
2001 Harvard Man Teddy Carter
2002 The Rules of Attraction Mr. Lawson
2003 Happy Hour Levine
2003 When Zachary Beaver Came to Town Otto
2004 The Butterfly Effect Mr. Miller
2004 Childstar Fresno Burnbaum
2005HelloMaxShort film
2005 The Honeymooners William Davis
2006The Lather EffectMickey
2007The Grand DesignJoshShort film (executive producer)
2009SparksJosephShort film
2011 Fort McCoy Frank StirnProducer
2014 5 to 7 Galassi
2015 Larry Gaye: Renegade Male Flight Attendant Russ Peterson
2018 Her Smell Howard
2019 Lucky Day Voice of AuthorityVoice


1978 James at 15 JackEpisode: "Hunter Country"
1978The Grass Is Always Greener Over the Septic TankSteve BensonTV movie
1979 A New Kind of Family BurtEpisode: “Invasion of Privacy’’
1979 The Seekers First BoyTV movie
1980 The Waltons Sr. Boy #1Episode: "The Valediction"
1980 Eight Is Enough Kurt HarperEpisode: "Finally Grad Night"
1981 Walking Tall David CoombsEpisode: "The Killing of McNeal County's Children"
1981 Knots Landing LukeEpisode: "Man of the Hour"
1981The Violation of Sarah McDavidPete BradyTV movie
1982Paper DollsSteveTV movie
1982 Seven Brides for Seven Brothers KevinEpisode: "Challenges"
1983 The Fall Guy Little Juice AtkinsEpisode: "One Hundred Miles a Gallon"
1983 Love, Sidney RickEpisode: "The Movie"
1983 A Killer in the Family Ricky TisonTV movie
1983 St. Elsewhere Eddie CarsonEpisodes:
"Under Pressure"
"All About Eve"
1984Things Are Looking UpNeil 'Trout' TroutmanTV movie
1989 Great Performances George GibbsEpisode: "Our Town"
1990 American Playhouse Younger EdwardEpisode: "Sensibility and Sense"
1991A Woman at WarFranz BuellerTV movie
1992 The Heart of Justice David LeaderTV movie
1993Foreign AffairsFred TurnerTV movie
1993 Frasier Don (voice)Episode: "Miracle On Third Or Fourth Street"
1994 Roommates Bill ThomasTV movie
1994–1998 Mad About You Alan Tofsky6 episodes
1995 Fallen Angels Nick BallestierEpisode: "A Dime a Dance"
1995 Partners CameronEpisode: "How Long Does It Take to Cook a 22-Pound Turkey?"
1996 Don't Look Back Jesse ParishTV movie
1996 Inside Marty StrydomTV movie
1997 Homicide: Life on the Street Drew KellermanEpisode: "Wu's on First?"
1998 Blackout Effect John DantleyTV movie
1998–1999 Hercules Theseus (voice)/The Grim Avenger (voice)Episodes:
"Hercules and the Minotaur"
"Hercules and the Grim Avenger"
1998–1999 Chicago Hope Dr. Robert YeatsSeries regular
1999 The Passion of Ayn Rand Nathaniel BrandenTV movie
1999 Our Guys: Outrage at Glen Ridge Prosecutor Bob LaurinoTV movie
2000 Common Ground Johnny BurroughsTV movie
2000One KillCapt. Wallker RandallTV movie
2000The Last DanceTodd CopeTV movie
2001 My Horrible Year! Uncle CharlieTV movie (director)
2001–2002 Once and Again August Dimitri7 episodes (directed Episode 3.13 "Falling in Place")
2002 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Father Michael SweeneyEpisode: "Silence"
2003 Out of Order Mark ColmTV mini-series
2005 Will & Grace Tom CassidyEpisodes:
"Friends with Benefits"
"Kiss and Tell"
2005 The Triangle Howard ThomasEpisodes:
"Episode 1.1"
"Episode 1.2"
"Episode 1.3"
2007 Medium Sonny TroyerEpisode: "We Had a Dream"
2007 Close to Home Det. Chris VeederEpisodes:
"Drink the Cup"
"Fall from Grace"
"Eminent Domain"
2008Blank SlateSean SullivanTV movie
2009 Grey's Anatomy William DunnEpisodes:
"Wish You Were Here"
"Sympathy for the Devil"
"Stairway to Heaven"
2009–2010 Caprica Daniel Graystone Lead role (directed "Unvanquished")
2011 Leverage Alan ScottEpisode: "The Long Way Down Job"
2013 Maron DannyEpisode: "Projections"
2014BlueArthur WIGS Original Series
2014–2019 Madam Secretary Will AdamsEpisodes:
"Catch and Release"
"Invasive Species" (uncredited)
"Tectonic Shift"



2005The BullsShort film
2007The Grand DesignShort film
2017Confessions of a Teenage Jesus JerkIndependent film
2017 Class Rank Independent film


2001 My Horrible Year! TV movie
2002 Once and Again Episode: "Falling in Place"
2005 Law & Order Episode: "Tombstone"
2007 Boston Legal Episodes:
"Dumping Bella"
"The Object of My Affection"
2008 Quarterlife Episodes:
"Home Sweet Home"
2008 Grey's Anatomy Episodes:
"Brave New World"
"These Ties That Bind"
2009 Nip/Tuck Episode: "Lola Wlodkowski"
2009–2011 Private Practice Episodes:
"Do the Right Thing"
"Eyes Wide Open"
"If You Don't Know Me By Now"
2010 Huge Episode: "Talent Night"
2010 Caprica Episode: "Unvanquished"
2010–2014 Glee Episodes:
"Blame It on the Alcohol"
"Prom Queen"
"The Purple Piano Project"
"Mash Off"
"Big Brother"
"Guilty Pleasures"
"Opening Night"
2011 Off the Map Episode: "On the Mean Streets of San Miguel"
2012 Californication Episode: "Love Song"
2012 White Collar Episode: "Ice Breaker"
2013 Nashville Episodes:
"There'll Be No Teardrops Tonight"
"Take These Chains from My Heart"
2014 How to Get Away with Murder Episodes:
"He deserved to die"
2014–2016 Madam Secretary Episodes:
"Just Another Normal Day"
"Collateral Damage"
"Whisper of the Ax"
"There But For the Grace of God"
"The Doability Doctrine"
"The Greater Good"
"The Linchpin"

He has directed many shows on The Learning Channel, TLC Network.



1993 Bodies, Rest & Motion
1994 Sleep with Me
1997 Mr. Jealousy Executive producer
2005The BullsShort film (executive producer)
2006The Lather EffectAssociate producer
2007The Grand DesignShort film (executive producer)
2011 Fort McCoy

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