The Devil’s Rejects
“I work with the director and the other actors, but I figure that is about two inches of something that is a yard long. The other 34 inches is what I have to do myself. So far, I have not conflicted with a director or writer or anybody else. But I know basically what I want to do as far as acting goes.” Geoffrey Lewis
American character actor Geoffrey Lewis is perhaps best recognized for his many guest star appearances in Clint Eastwood’s vehicles like High Plains Drifter (1973), Every Which Way But Loose (1978), Broncho Billy (1980), Pink Cadillac (1989) and Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997). The performer is also famous for playing Roy Sullivan in Rob Zombie’s The Devil’s Rejects (2005) and the title character in the 22-minute short Old Man Music (2005), from which he was handed a Slate Award at the 2006 California Independent Film Festival. As a TV actor, Lewis made a name for himself as a Golden Globe nominee thanks to his notable turn as bartender Earl Tucker in the 1980 series “Flo.” Four years later, he took home a CableACE nomination for his work in the series “Maximum Security,” playing Frank. Since making his debut in 1970s, he has also appeared as a guest star in countless TV series and acted in many television films.
Recently appearing in Cold Ones (2007), the 72-year-old actor is set to participate in such forthcoming projects as Chinaman’s Chance (2007), Moving McAllister (2007), The Butcher (2007) and the animated The Haunted World of El Superbeasto (2007).
Aside from his far-reaching TV and film exposure, the multi-talented actor has also been a part of a somewhat unique musical/storytelling group professionally known as Celestial Navigations, alongside award-winning composer songwriter Geoff Levin. So far, the duo’s performances have earned them tremendous feedback from some of Hollywood’s top actors and renowned musicians.
As for his personal life, Lewis has been married twice. After divorcing actress Juliette Lewis’ mother, Glenis Batley, in 1975, the appealing entertainer married present wife Paula Hochhalter In addition to Juliette, the father of 10 children is also the father of actors Dierdre Lewis, Lightfield Lewis, Matthew Lewis and producer Brandy Lewis.
Father of 10
Childhood and Family:
Geoffrey Lewis was born on July 31, 1935, in San Diego, California. He was raised on a farm in Rhode Island until age 10, when his family headed west to a small village in the mountains of California. Aside from the performing arts, young Geoffrey developed a passion for skiing. He attended the Plymouth Summer Theatre Festival in Massachusetts and went on to study the craft at NYC’s Neighborhood Playhouse.
Geoffrey was married to Glenis Batley, and they had a daughter, Juliette Lewis, on June 21, 1973. The marriage ended in 1975. Now the husband of Paula Hochhalter, Geoffrey has nine other children.
Old Man Music
While pursuing his acting studies in New York City, San Diego native Geoffrey Lewis, who had early exposure by appearing in summer stock at Massachusetts’ Plymouth Theater, performed in the city’s several off-Broadway productions. After traveling throughout the United Sates and overseas as well, Lewis, who was highly interested in the dramatic arts at high school, returned to his first love and landed his first small film role, as a cowboy, in the Western The Culpepper Cattle Co. (1972), directed by Dick Richards. He also appeared in Welcome Home, Soldier Boys (1972), a brutal movie representing the quandary Vietnam veterans faced after returning home, and made his TV movie debut in the horror Moon of the Wolf (also 1972), playing the supporting role of Lawrence Burrifors.
A number of television guest roles followed until Lewis started his fruitful affiliation with Clint Eastwood. As a strong member of the Eastwood stock company, he made his debut as small town crook Stacey Bridges in the director-actor’s Western-drama High Plains Drifter (1973), which he continued with performances in Eastwood’s later movies such as the Michael Cimino-helmed Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (1974, portrayed a sympathetic thief), director James Fargo’s Every Which Way But Loose (1978), director Buddy Van Horn’s Any Which Way You Can (1980), Broncho Billy (1980, as a henpecked husband), Pink Cadillac (1989, again directed by Van Horn) and Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997, the eccentric, bee-loving juror Luther Driggers).
Meanwhile, Lewis took part in numerous other projects. He was cast as criminal Harry Pierpont in John Milius’ Dillinger (1973), appeared opposite Robert Redford in The Great Waldo Pepper (1975), portrayed the parade president in Michael Ritchie’s Smile (1975), reunited with the ‘Dillinger’ director Milius for the Sean Connery vehicle The Wind and The Lion (1975), played Hard Case Williams in the comedy Lust in the Dust (1985), teamed up with director-actor Mel Gibson in the touching and awe-inspiring drama Man Without a Face (1993) and appeared as a banker in the Academy award nominee Maverick (1994, starred Mel Gibson and Jodie Foster). On television, the prolific actor enjoyed success as bartender Earl Tucker in the short-lived sitcom “Flo” (1980), from which he earned a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV. He was also nominated for a CableACE for Best Actor in a Dramatic Series after playing Frank in the 1984 series “Maximum Security,” costarring Robert Desiderio. Other works include making his miniseries debut in 1975’s “Attack on Terror: The FBI Versus the Ku Klux Klan,” appearing as Barney Broomick in the short-lived revival “Bret Maverick” (1981), as well as assuming roles in TV Westerns like Desperado: The Outlaw Wars (1989, NBC), Gunsmoke: The Last Apache (1990, CBS) and The Gambler V: Playing For Keeps (1994, CBS).
In the new millennium, the renowned character actor kept himself busy by working in movies like The Way of the Gun (2000), Sunstorm (2001), A Light in the Darkness (2002), The New Guy (2002), Mind Games (2003), John Grisham’s A Painted House (2003, TV), My Life with Men (2003, TV), Blueberry (2004), Plainsong (2004, TV), Formosa (2005), Down in the Valley (2005), The Fallen Ones (2005, TV) and Voodoo Moon (2005). He, however, is probably best remembered as Roy Sullivan in the Rob Zombie-helmed horror The Devil’s Rejects (2005) and the Old Man in Old Man Music (2005), a 22-minute short directed and written by Scott Slone. For his effort in the latter film, he picked up a Best Actor award at the 2006 California Independent Film Festival. In addition, Lewis made many guest appearances and was seen in “Pensacola: Wings of Gold” (2000), “The Guardian” (2003), “Odyssey 5” (2002-2003), “Dawson’s Creek” (2003), “Nip/Tuck” (2003) and “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” (2004).
Recently, Lewis could be seen playing Hank in Wild Hearts (2006, TV), Keeler in Fingerprints (2006), Harold in the zombie film Wicked Little Things (2006) and Felton Jones in Cold Ones (2007, starred C. Thomas Howell and Duane Whitaker). As for upcoming projects, he will play Lewis in Chinaman’s Chance (2007), support Mila Kunis and Ben Gourley in the comedy Moving McAllister (2007), costar with Eric Roberts in the action The Butcher (2007) and star as Major Sullivan in Retreat. Additionally, he will provide the voice of Lenny in the animated movie The Haunted World of El Superbeasto (2007), opposite Danny Trejo as Rico, Paul Giamatti as Dr. Satan and Sheri Moon as Susie-X.
- California Independent Film Festival: Slate, Best Actor, Old Man Music, 2006