"Hey, if Hollywood wants to pay me the big bucks to be a bad guy, bring it on, I say." Arnold Vosloo
South Africa-born actor Arnold Vosloo gained substantial recognition in America while portraying High Priest Imhotep, the title role of the eponymous dead man with a grudge, in ''The Mummy'' (1999) and its sequel, ''The Mummy Returns'' (2001). The classically trained actor also appeared in such films as "Hard Target" (1993), "Zeus and Roxanne" (1997), "Rough Draft" (1998; aka "Diary of a Serial Killer"), "Progeny" (1998), and "Agent Cody Banks" (2003).
Vosloo portrayed Darkman/Peyton Westlake in the straight-to-video released "Darkman II: The Return of Durant" (1994) and "Darkman III: Die Darkman Die" (1996). He recently appeared as Colonel Coetzee, a South African mercenary and Leonardo DiCaprio's former commander, in Edward Zwick's Academy Award-nominated adventure/drama film, "Blood Diamond" (2006). Next, he will be seen in the upcoming film "Odysseus and the Isle of the Mists," a sci-fi directed by Terry Ingram in which Vosloo takes the title role.
On the small screen, Vosloo has appeared in such TV shows as "American Gothic," "Fallen Angels," "Nash Bridges," "Charmed," "Alias" and "Shark." He starred as Vincent Siminou, opposite Ryan Merriman, on the ABC sci-fi adventure TV series, "Veritas: The Quest" (2003), and played Habib Marwan in season four (2005) of FOX’s critically acclaimed action/thriller series starring Kiefer Sutherland, "24."
More personally, Vosloo, who became a naturalized United States citizen in 1988, was married to his "Skeleton Coast" (1987) and "Act of Piracy" (1988) co-star, Nancy Mulford, from 1988 to 1991. His present wife is a Mexican-American marketing director named Sylvia Ahi, whom he married in 1998.
South Africa Roots
Childhood and Family:
Born into a theatrical family in Pretoria, South Africa, on June 16, 1962, Arnold Vosloo (his last name is pronounced ''Fos-Lwi'') spent much of his formative years traveling South Africa with his parents. They have lived in Port Elizabeth, where his father, a former carpenter, managed a drive-in theatre, and Alberton. Vosloo has one sister named Nadia.
After leaving school, young Vosloo served in the army, but was given an honorable discharge because he suffers from the blood disease Porphyria. He then spent two years with the Performing Arts Council of the Transvaal.
Vosloo, nicknamed ''Arny,'' ''Boetie'' and ''Boeta,'' became a naturalized United States citizen in 1988. On the set of "Skeleton Coast" (1987) and then "Act of Piracy" (1988), Vosloo worked with actress Nancy Mulford and the two were married in 1988. Three years later in 1991, their marriage ended in divorce.
On October 16, 1998, Vosloo married his second and present wife, Sylvia Ahi, a Mexican-American marketing director. Both Vosloo and Ahi have become spokespersons for the Animal Rights and Rescue group IFAW, the International Fund For Animal Welfare.
Vosloo currently lives in Santa Monica with his over-sized dog.
Son of actors in Pretoria, South Africa, Arnold Vosloo began his acting career in regional theatre and quickly established a fine reputation as an actor after showing off his versatility in such plays as ''Don Juan,'' ''Hamlet'' and ''Môre is 'n Lang Dag'' (''Tomorrow is a Long Day''), which won him several Dalro Awards. He soon became a regular at the Pretoria's State Theatre, played the lead in ''Torch Song Trilogy,'' and took home another award for the TV show ''Meisie van Suid-Wes'' (''Girl from South-West-Africa'').
The classically trained actor moved on to film in 1984 and delivered the Dalro Award-winning performances in ''Boetie gaan Border toe'' (''Little Brother Goes to the Border''), a comedy about the Border War in which he played the title role of a young man who finds love while doing his compulsory military service, and ''Circles in a Forest'' (1990), an adaptation of the book ''Kringe in 'n Bos'' by author Dalene Matthee in which he portrayed a young lumber jack who falls for the daughter of heartless penny-pinching owner of the sawmill he works.
He also starred in ''Morenga'' (1985), which was inspired by the novel by Uwe Timm, ''Saturday Night at The Palace'' (1987), which was based on the two-act play by Paul Slabolepszy about racism in South Africa, John 'Bud' Cardos' descent action flick ''Skeleton Coast'' (1987; starring Ernest Borgnine, Robert Vaughn and Oliver Reed), and Lance Hool's post-apocalyptic Western "Steel Dawn" (1987; starring Patrick Swayze).
He also acted in a string of independent films including Cardos' action/thriller "Act of Piracy" (1988; opposite Gary Busey), Fritz Kiersch's adaptation of John Norman's novel, "Gor" (1988), Tim Spring's drama/thriller "Reason to Die" (1989), Cedric Sundstrom's thriller "The Revenger" (1989; with Oliver Reed), David Lister's ''The Rutanga Tapes'' (1990), Wings Hauser's crime/mystery "Living to Die" (1990), and Gérard Kikoïne's horror/thriller "Buried Alive" (1990; alongside Robert Vaughn).
A newcomer to the U.S., Vosloo worked in theatre and performed in ''Born in the U.S.A.'' at Chicago's Northlight Theatre and in the NY's Circle in the Square Uptown's short-lived production of ''Salome'' (June 28, 1992-July 2, 1992) along with Al Pacino.
He recalled, ''Al Pacino's people called and asked me to come and read for 'Salome,' the Oscar Wilde play. I was certain they were going to want a big name actor to take the role opposite Pacino and Sheryl Lee from 'Twin Peaks,' who was great. But I was there in New York and I said 'What the heck? I'm flying out in two days. I'll go in.' So, I went in and I was so filled with fear I gave a good reading and they hired me!"
Vosloo made his American movie debut with Ridley Scott's Golden Globe-nominated adventure/drama ''1492: Conquest of Paradise'' (1992; starring Gérard Depardieu and Sigourney Weaver) and followed it up with John Woo's action film starring Jean Claude van Damme, "Hard Target" (1993), in which he co-starred as Pik van Cleef, the evil mercenary partner to Lance Henriksen's character.
He subsequently starred in the 1994 direct-to-video sequel to Sam Raimi's huge hit 1990 film, "Darkman II: The Return of Durant," and the 1996 direct-to-video sequel "Darkman III: Die, Darkman, Die," playing Darkman/Scientist Peyton Westlake, which was initially portrayed by Liam Neeson in the original film. Meanwhile, TV viewers could catch him in an episode of CBS’ supernatural drama series "American Gothic," Showtime’s anthology series "Fallen Angels," and CBS’ cop drama starring Don Johnson, "Nash Bridges."
During the rest of the 1990s, Vosloo became Kathleen Quinlan's greedy partner in George T. Miller's fun family movie "Zeus and Roxanne" (1997; also starring Steve Guttenberg), the serial killer who makes a deal with a struggling freelance writer (played by Gary Busey) in Joshua Wallace's thriller "Rough Draft" (1998), and a UFO professor in Brian Yuzna's independent alien abduction film, "Progeny" (1998). The following year, he appeared in two episodes of ABC’s short-lived medical drama series "Strange World."
1999 proved to be Vosloo's breakout year when he snagged the title role of the resurrected mummy, High Priest Imhotep, in writer/director Stephen Sommers' loose remake of the original 1932 movie, "The Mummy," opposite Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz. He later reprised his role in its sequel, "The Mummy Returns" (2001). On working in the movie that features some dialogue in ancient Egyptian language, Vosloo remarked, "The language was impossible for me. You wouldn't believe the number of times I screwed up Imhotep's dialogue. Or they would suddenly ask me to add something on the fly and God knows what I'd say."
He also said about the costume, "I'm no Mr. Fitness, but I had done some exercise. When I finally got to London, they showed me my costume and it was like the size of a postage stamp."
Meanwhile, Vosloo returned to television to guest star in an episode of The WB supernatural drama series "Charmed" and appear in the made-for-TV movie "The Red Phone: Manhunt" (2001). He then resumed his film work and could be seen in such minor films as Kevin Tenney's horror/thriller "Endangered Species," Byron W. Thompson's adventure/action "Warrior Angels" and Terry Cunningham's drama/thriller "Global Effect" (all three in 2002). He also co-starred as the henchmen of an evil mastermind (played by Ian McShane) in Norwegian director Harald Zwart's teen spy movie, "Agent Cody Banks" (2003; also starring Frankie Muniz and Hilary Duff).
Vosloo subsequently co-starred as Vincent Siminou, opposite Ryan Merriman, on ABC’s sci-fi adventure TV series, "Veritas: The Quest" (2003), and appeared in the TV movies "The Red Phone: Checkmate" (2003) and "Meltdown" (2004). He was also spotted as a guest in a January 2004 episode of ABC’s series starring Jennifer Garner, "Alias."
After returning to South Africa to star in Ian Gabriel's dramatic film "Forgiveness" (2004), Vosloo went back to America and played Habib Marwan, the terrorism mastermind and the main villain, in season four (2005) of FOX’s critically-acclaimed action/thriller series starring Kiefer Sutherland, "24." He then starred in the action/adventure TV movie, "Im Auftrag des Vatikans" (2006; aka "Death Train").
2006 saw Vosloo play Colonel Coetzee, a South African mercenary and Leonardo DiCaprio's former commander, in Edward Zwick's Academy Award-nominated adventure/drama/thriller film, "Blood Diamond." He was recently seen in writer/director Jon Keeyes' action/thriller movie "Living & Dying" (2007) alongside Edward Furlong, Michael Madsen and Bai Ling, as well as in the thriller TV movie "Hidden Camera" (2007) with Dean Cain. Vosloo also appeared in an episode of CBS’ legal drama starring James Woods, "Shark."
Vosloo is currently on set working on his upcoming film project, "Odysseus and the Isle of the Mists," a sci-fi movie directed by Terry Ingram in which Vosloo takes the title role. TV audiences will soon watch him in an adventure/fantasy TV movie titled "Fire and Ice."