American film and television actor D.B. Sweeney has recently drawn the attention of public with his outstanding directorial debut in the festival darling Dirt Nap (2006), from which he won a Best Director Award from the 2006 Boston International Film Festival. He is remarkable for his roles as Jackie Willow in Francis Coppola’s Gardens of Stone (1987), the tragic Shoeless’ Joe Jackson in John Sayles’ captivating Eight Men Out (1988), a nasty hokey player in The Cutting Edge (1992) and Terry Fitzgerald in Spawn (1997). For his work in The Weekend (1999), Sweeney nabbed a Seattle International Film Festival Award, sharing with costars like Gena Rowlands and Brooke Shields. Other film credits include No Man’s Land (1987), Memphis Belle (1990), Fire in the Sky (1993), Hear No Evil (1993), Roommates (1995) and Hard Ball (2001). He also has lent his voice for two Disney films, Dinosaur (2000) and Brother Bear (2003).
On the small screen, Sweeney is probably best known for portraying Dish Boggett in the highly successful miniseries “Lonesome Dove” (1999). He appeared as Mike Pinnochio in “Harsh Realm” (1999-2000), Scott Stoddard in ABC’s drama “C16: FBI” (1997) and Fox’s “Strange Luck” (1995).
Off camera, an aspiring baseball player, Sweeney had never lost his love for the game. He once even formed a New York team called “The Skins,” along with old school friends. He says, “the funny thing is, back in 1919 (when the film is set) I probably would have been good enough to compete professionally…it was much more a strategic game back then, less about raw athletic ability.” Sweeney’s passion for baseball finally cost him $25,000 when he prepared for his role in Eight Men Out (1988) by traveling with a minor-league baseball team, The Twins. On a more personal note, 6-foot Sweeney is married to Ashley Vachon and has one child with her.
Childhood and Family:
In Shoreham, Long Island, New York, Daniel Bernard (D.B) Sweeney was born on November 14, 1961. He graduated from Shoreham-Wading River High School and Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana. In 1985, he received a BFA in drama from New York University, Tisch School of the Arts. Sweeney has three siblings: a brother, Tommy, and two sisters, Kathleen and Barbara.
Sweeney is married. With wife Ashley Vachon, he has one child together.
The Cutting Edge
An Athletic performer, D.B. Sweeney originally wanted to become a professional baseball player, but a devastating motorcycle accident in 1980 subsequently put his prospective sports career to an end. He then turned his attention to acting. Despite difficulty in finding substantial roles in student productions, upon his graduation, the Tulane University graduate soon landed a role in the 1983 Broadway revival of “The Caine Mutiny Court Martial,” a production that marked his professional stage debut. It was followed by bit parts in the television film Out of the Darkness (1985) and Power (1986), a drama film by Sidney Lumet and starring Richard Gere. In between, Sweeney had his first guest spot in a TV series, “Spenser: For Hire” (1985).
After a supporting role, as Thomas Baxter, in the Craig Sheffer-Virginia Madsen starring vehicle Fire with Fire (1986), Sweeney got his major break by portraying a gung-ho sergeant named Jackie Willow in the Francis Coppola-helmed Gardens of Stone (1987), opposite James Caan and Anjelica Huston. He then starred in the leading role of Benjy Taylor in the crime/drama No Man’s Land (1987), but her performance was overshadowed by co-star Charlie Sheen, whom previously released Platoon. Re-teamed with Sheen, the actor eventually stood out with his role as the heartbreaking ‘Shoeless’ Joe Jackson in Eight Men Out (1988), a fascinating baseball saga from John Sayles. Other costars included John Cusack, Michael Rooker, Christopher Lloyd, Gordon Clapp and David Strathairn. At the end of the decade, Sweeney attracted the attention of TV audience with his role in the enormously successful Western miniseries “Lonesome Dove,” playing Dish Boggett.
Sweeney reunited with his Eight Men Out co-star David Strathairn in Memphis Belle (1990) and after this took on roles in four low-key films: Blue Desert (1991), Heaven Is a Playground (1991), Leather Jackets (1992) and A Day in October (1992). Also in 1992, the actor offered an impressive starring turn as former hockey player turned figure skater, Doug Dorsey, in the romantic sleeper The Cutting Edge, along side Moira Kelly. The movie became Sweeney’s first solo hit, and was highly amusing in places. Next up, he could be seen in Miss Rose White (1992, TV), the popular science fiction Fire in the Sky (1993, opposite Robert Patrick) and Hear No Evil (1993, with Martin Sheen, Marlee Matlin and John C. McGinley) before taking a two-year hiatus.
Returning to showbiz in 1995, Sweeney undertook a starring regular on the Fox series “Strange Luck,” opposite Frances Fisher and Pamela Gidley. In this short-lived show, he portrayed an amnesiac freelance photojournalist with outlandish powers that results from being the sole survivor of an airplane crash. On the big screen, he was cast as Michael Holezcek, a demanding and dramatic role in the comedy Roommates, opposite Peter Falk and Julianne Moore, and had an uncredited part in Patrick Swayze vehicle Three Wishes (both 1995). Two years later, he secured an important role in the big-budget comic book adaptation of Spawn, as Terry Fitzgerald. The same year, he resurfaced on the small screen to play Scott Stoddard in the ABC drama “C16: FBI.” Unfortunately, the show was cancelled after only 13 episodes.
Undaunted by the failure, Sweeney essayed a starring role in the appealing Chris Carter-created series “Harsh Realm” in 1999. He portrayed Mike Pinnochio until the Fox drama came to an end in 2000. Meanwhile, the talented player made cameo roles in such films as The Book of Stars (1999), Introducing Dorothy Dandridge (1999, TV) and The Weekend (1999). The latter production even brought Sweeney a 2000 Seattle International Film Festival for Ensemble Cast Performance, an award he shared with costars Deborah Kara Unger, Gena Rowlands, Brooke Shields, David Conrad, James Duval, Jared Harris and Gary Dourdan.
From 2000-2002, Sweeney found himself acting in After Sex, Hard Ball and Superfire (TV). Additionally, he provided the voice of Aladar in Disney’s Dinosaur (2000) and appeared as Graham Rympalski in three episodes of television series “Once and Again” (2001). Sweeney again did voice over work, this time as Sitka in an animation film for Disney, Brother Bear (2003). The next year, he appeared in television films Speak and Going to the Mat, as well as portrayed Michael Whitman in several episodes of the Kelly Osbourne drama “Life As We Know It.”
After a two-year break, Sweeney recently guest starred on “House M.D.,” playing an ex-bandmate of House’s, Dylan Crandall, and had a feature role, as Detective Maguire, in the adventure film The Darwin Awards (2006), starring Joseph Fiennes, Winona Ryder, David Arquette and Chris Penn. It was also in 2006 that Sweeney made his debut as writer/director with Dirt Nap, in which he also acted in and served as a producer. The comedy film has become a favorite at many film festivals. For his bright behind-the-scene work, Sweeney picked up a 2006 Boston International Film Festival for Best Director.
45-year-old Sweeney is scheduled to play supporting role Christian in the drama/music film Yellow (2006), for director Alfredo De Villa. Among his costars are Erika Michels Brown, Bill Duke, Manny Perez, Roselyn Sanchez, Richard Petrocelli and Sammi Rotibi.