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Creator / Lance Henriksen

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"My feeling is, I do a lot of low-budget films. I don't do low-budget acting. I have no interest in just goofballing my way through, thinking, 'Ah, no one's ever going to see this anyway.'"

Lance James Henriksen (born May 5, 1940 in Manhattan, New York) is a veteran American actor who is best known for his work in various fantasy and sci-fi projects over the last five decades, along with his prominent voice work in various video games and animated series over the last decade.

Born in New York, Henriksen floated through various jobs until he hit his 30's, where he took a course at the Actors Studio and began appearing in small but memorable parts in films like Dog Day Afternoon, Network and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. His big break came in 1984 when Henriksen, who had just appeared in Piranha Part Two: The Spawning, was cast by director James Cameron in the role of Detective Vukovich in The Terminator. That role led to a career-defining role for Henriksen as the android Bishop in Aliens, which brought immediate fame. Henriksen would appear in many more projects over the years, ranging from westerns and vampire horror films to Direct-to-DVD sci-fi and fantasy films.

Part of Henriksen's fame comes from his distinctive, gruff voice, which he has used to great effect as imposing authority figures and stern fathers in various roles over the years (the alpha-male gorilla, Kerchack, from Tarzan being one of the most recognized). He has also lent his voice to several notable video game franchises - he voiced Admiral Steven Hackett in the Mass Effect franchise, General Shepherd in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and appeared as Karl Bishop Weyland in the 2010 Aliens Vs. Predator video game.

To date, Henriksen has starred in nearly 200 film and television projects, and continues to appear in several projects each year.

He and Bill Paxton also hold one of the most interesting distinctions of Chronically Killed Actors: They are the only two actors to have been killed by an Alien, a Terminator and a Predator - Paxton had the slight advantage though, as Henriksen is killed off-screen in The Terminator.

Selected filmography:


Film - Animation

Film - Live-Action

Live-Action Television

Video Games

Western Animation

Tropes embodied by Henriksen and his work include:

  • Bigfoot, Sasquatch, and Yeti: He's got a particular repertoire for being in many, many movies about the cryptic ape creature.
  • Chronically Killed Actor: He and the late Bill Paxton are the only two actors to have been killed by a Alien, a Terminator and a Predator.
  • Creator Backlash:
    • His first film role was in a 1972 snowmobile movie called It Ain't Easy, and a film he considers to be his worst.
    • He also doesn't look fondly on Alien³, as the commentary and documentary "Wreckage and Rage" for the DVD and Blu-Ray both feature him stating bluntly that he finds the film nihilistic, the latter even seeing him agree with fan criticism about the convicts being hard to root for due to their nature as murderers and rapists, and finding Ripley sleeping with Clemens to be out-of-character.
  • Doing It for the Art: He has no aversion to acting in lower-budget films, and with Pumpkinhead in particular, he personally purchased a plethora of items (a WWI shotgun, old silver dollars, etc.) and got the makeup department to make him false teeth just so he could inhabit the role of Ed Harley more effectively.
  • Dyeing for Your Art: Grew his own beard to play Abraham Lincoln.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Whenever he plays a villain, expect this trope to be in full effect.
  • Money, Dear Boy: As noted above, he has over 200 roles in his resume.
    I went through a phase where I was being invited to Eastern Europe to do these movies. And I thought: It's a payday. It's an adventure. I never thought they'd be shown in America. I really didn't... I call them jet-lag movies, because I always got there feeling jet-lagged and then we'd start shooting the next day.
    • On the other hand, many of those are in No Budget productions, because he likes the challenge. He also takes pride in never half-assing it either way and many can attest he's usually the best thing about said films.
  • Never Learned to Read: Not until he was 30.
  • Took the Bad Film Seriously: As can be seen from the page quote, Henriksen will always do his best with the role and material he's given and will usually end up being the best thing in said work as a result.
  • Typecasting: Deadpan, imposing, monotone father-figure character. At times, instead of a father figure it's a villain.


Video Example(s):


That wasn't funny, man!

Hudson finds himself just a little too close to the action after asking Bishop to "do the thing with the knife!"

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Example of:

Main / FiveFingerFillet

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