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Eric Roberts: The Prolific Actor with Over 700 Credits
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Eric Anthony Roberts, born April 18, 1956, is a prolific American actor with a career spanning over 50 years and more than 700 credits across various media, including blockbusters, independent films, television series, and music videos.

 

Roberts' Southern Roots and Stuttering

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Eric Anthony Roberts was born on April 18, 1956, in Biloxi, Mississippi, to Betty Lou Bredemus and Walter Grady Roberts, who were actors and playwrights. The family later moved to Georgia, where his parents co-founded the Atlanta Actors and Writers Workshop and ran a children's acting school in Decatur. As a child, Roberts struggled with a severe stutter, which he described as "horrible" and a source of ridicule from his classmates. However, he discovered that memorizing and reciting lines allowed him to speak fluently, which led him to pursue acting as both a form of therapy and a career path. This early exposure to theater and his personal challenges significantly influenced Roberts' decision to become an actor, setting the stage for his prolific career in the entertainment industry.
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Roberts' Early Career Foundations

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Eric Roberts began his acting journey with formal training at prestigious institutions. He studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London and later at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York, honing his craft and developing his skills. Roberts' professional career started in television, with his first acting role in 1974 on the soap opera "How to Survive a Marriage." He later appeared on another daytime soap, "Another World," in 1977, playing Ted Bancroft. Unsatisfied with soap opera work, Roberts turned to off-Broadway productions to further develop his acting abilities. His breakthrough came in 1978 with the film "King of the Gypsies," which earned him his first Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor Debut and launched his career in feature films.
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Breakthrough with King of the Gypsies

King of the Gypsies (film)
King of the Gypsies (film)
1978 American drama film
Directed by
Frank Pierson
Star cast
Eric Roberts, Sterling Hayden, Shelley Winters, Susan Sarandon, Brooke Shields, Annette O'Toole, Judd Hirsch
Release date
December 20, 1978
Eric Roberts' breakthrough came in 1978 with the film "King of the Gypsies," directed by Frank Pierson and based on Peter Maas' book. Roberts played the role of Dave Stepanowicz, the reluctant heir to the Gypsy throne, in a story that explores the criminal ways and turbulent lives of a modern-day Gypsy family in New York City during the early 1960s. His performance earned him his first Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor Debut, marking a significant milestone in his career and establishing him as a promising talent in Hollywood. The film's success and Roberts' compelling portrayal of Dave set the stage for his prolific career in feature films.
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Eric Roberts (Photos)

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Eric Roberts' Awards and Accolades

Eric Roberts has been recognized with numerous awards and honors for his acting achievements:
AwardCategoryWorkYear
Academy AwardBest Actor in a Supporting Role (Nominee)Runaway Train1986
Golden GlobeBest Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture (Nominee)Runaway Train1986
Golden GlobeBest Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama (Nominee)Star 801984
Golden GlobeBest Motion Picture Acting Debut - Male (Nominee)King of the Gypsies1979
Golden Satellite AwardBest Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Comedy or Musical (Winner)Less than Perfect2003
Bronze WranglerTelevision Feature Film (Winner, shared)The Desperate Trail2000
Robert Altman AwardFilm Independent Spirit Awards (Winner, shared)Inherent Vice2015
In total, Roberts has won 78 awards and received 32 nominations from various film festivals and industry events, showcasing his talent and versatility as an actor across different roles and genres. These accolades span his entire career, from his early breakthrough performances to his more recent work in both independent and mainstream productions.
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Eric Roberts' Extensive Film Repertoire

Eric Roberts has an extensive filmography spanning over five decades, showcasing his versatility across various genres and mediums. Here is a selection of notable films and television appearances from his prolific career:
YearTitleRole
1978King of the GypsiesDave
1983Star 80Paul Snider
1985Runaway TrainBuck McGeehy
1989Best of the BestAlex Grady
1996Doctor WhoThe Master
2002-2005Less than PerfectWill Butler
2007-2010HeroesThompson
2008The Dark KnightSal Maroni
2010The ExpendablesJames Monroe
2014Inherent ViceMichael Z. Wolfmann
2022The Righteous GemstonesJunior
Roberts' career includes a mix of critically acclaimed performances in films like "Runaway Train" and "Star 80," as well as popular blockbusters such as "The Dark Knight" and "The Expendables." His television work spans from early soap opera appearances to recurring roles in hit series, demonstrating his adaptability as an actor across different formats.
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Eric Roberts (Interviews)

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Prolific Acting Career with Over 700 Credits

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Eric Roberts has established himself as one of the most prolific actors in the entertainment industry, amassing an impressive filmography of over 700 credits across various media. His extensive body of work spans blockbusters, independent films, television series, animation, short films, student projects, and music videos. Roberts' versatility is evident in his diverse roles, from playing the villainous Master in the 1996 "Doctor Who" television film to recurring parts in popular series like "Heroes" (2007-2010), "The Young and the Restless" (2010-2011), and "Suits" (2014-2019). His film appearances include notable productions such as "The Dark Knight" (2008), "The Expendables" (2010), and "Inherent Vice" (2014). Roberts' prolific output and ability to work across different genres and formats have made him one of the most active English-speaking screen actors of all time.
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Roberts' Family and Advocacy

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Eric Roberts' personal life has been marked by notable family relationships and personal challenges. He is the father of actress Emma Roberts, born in 1991 to Roberts and his then-girlfriend Kelly Cunningham. Emma followed in her father's footsteps, making her film debut at age 10 in the 2001 drama "Blow." Roberts is also the older brother of renowned actress Julia Roberts, though their relationship has been complicated at times. The siblings were estranged for several years due to Eric's past drug abuse and a custody dispute over Emma, but they reconciled in 2004. Despite overcoming his childhood stutter through acting, Roberts continues to manage the condition and has become an advocate for stuttering awareness, using his platform to raise understanding about the challenges faced by those who stutter.
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Closing Thoughts on Roberts

Eric Roberts' enduring career and extensive filmography underscore his versatility and dedication as an actor. With over 700 credits to his name, Roberts has navigated a wide array of roles across various genres, from critically acclaimed performances in films like "Runaway Train" and "Star 80" to popular blockbusters such as "The Dark Knight" and "The Expendables." His ability to seamlessly transition between independent films, television series, and mainstream movies has solidified his status as one of the most prolific actors in the industry. Despite facing personal challenges and periods of working in less prestigious projects, Roberts' talent and resilience have kept him a prominent figure in Hollywood. His contributions to the entertainment world, coupled with his advocacy for stuttering awareness, highlight a career marked by both professional achievements and personal growth.
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