Lance Henriksen
Birth Date:
May 5, 1940
Birth Place:
New York, New York, USA
Famous for:
His role in 'Hard Target' (1993)
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“I always wanted to be an actor, even when I was a little kid. When I used to run away from home, I'd go to movies and sit all night watching Kirk Douglas. When I was 16, I tried getting into the Actors Studio and they told me to get lost. I said, 'I'll come back when I'm a man,' and I came back when I was 30. I went to sea. I traveled the world. I was waiting.” Lance Henriksen

Three-time Golden Globe-nominated American actor Lance Henriksen had already made a name for himself as a versatile and prolific film actor when he was seen as former FBI agent Frank Black in “Millennium” (Fox, 1996-1999), from which he received Golden Globe nominations. Rarely appearing on the small screen, the hard-working actor was frequently cast as cops, federal agents, or hard-hearted villains and earned a Golden Satellite nomination for his portrayal of Abraham Lincoln in TNT's film “The Day Lincoln Was Shot” (1998). On the big screen, the lean green-eyes performer is probably best recalled as Bishop in James Cameron's “Aliens” (1986), a role he recreated for David Fincher's “Alien 3” (1992) and Paul W. S. Anderson's “Alien Vs. Predator” (2004), and Emil Fouchon in John Woo's “Hard Target” (1993), for which he won a Saturn Award. Other impressive credits include Walter Hill's “Johnny Handsome” (1989), “Jennifer 8” (1992), “The Quick and the Dead” (1995), “Dead Man” (1996) and “Abominable” (2006, netted a Jury Prize Award at the Austin Fantastic Fest). He also picked up a Saturn nomination for “Pumpkinhead” (1988) and a Fantafestival Award for “The Pit and the Pendulum” (1991). His more recent and upcoming credits include “Deadwater” (2007), “Dark Reel” (2007), “Pistol Whipped” (2008), “Dying God” (2008), “The Chosen One” (2008), “Appaloosa” (2008), “Necessary Evil” (2008) and “The Lost Tribe” (2008).

Henriksen is also known as an accomplished painter and has been working on pottery for more than 40 years.

Currently, the actor lives in southern California with his wife of 13 years, Jane Pollack, and their 9-year-old daughter, Sage Ariel. Henriksen also has a daughter named Alcamy from his previous marriage to Mary Jane Evans (together from 1985 to 1988).

Bothered Youth

Childhood and Family:

Lance James Henriksen was born on May 5, 1940, in New York, New York, to a Norwegian merchant sailor and boxer nicknamed “Icewater” and his wife who worked as a dance instructor, waitress and model to support the poor family. His parents divorced when Lance was only two years old. The son of a seaman, Lance went to sea with his father and was dropped off with relatives in Borneo for three years. He again joined his father for one year island hopping around Fuji and Malaysia. Upon returning to New York, the young Lance was sent to a military school, which turned out to be an unpleasant experience for him. By age 12, he had left both school and home and lived as a street urchin in New York for most of his adolescence. As a teenager, he did several short terms in jail for vagrancy. He later studied at the New York Actors Studio. Lance was illiterate until age 30, when he learned to read by studying movie scripts.

On February 10, 1985, Lance married Mary Jane Evans, but the marriage ended after three years. The marriage produced one daughter named Alcamy (born in 1987). Lance married Jane Pollack on April 22, 1995. The couple had a daughter named Sage Ariel on October 12, 1999.

Hard Target


A product of a broken home, Lance Henriksen had a troubled life throughout his early years that eventually sent him to the Yuma, Arizona, county jail when he was a teenager. He had just been released from prison when he landed his first film job. He was paid five dollars for appearing as an extra in a Lee Marvin movie. This led to his meeting with movie stunt double Rex Rossi, from whom Henriksen learned how to ride a horse and fly a plane. It was Rossi that also encouraged him to try his luck as an actor.

Returning to New York, Henriksen started his training with the renowned Actors Studio, but the sea came calling. He shipped out as a crew member of a Swedish freighter and then joined the crew of a windjammer in the Bahamas. After serving in the Navy for three years and the Merchant Marines for two years, Henriksen again returned to New York and supported himself by creating ceramic murals before joining the Boston Opera Company as a mime. By age 30, he had scored a leading role in a New York revival of Eugene O'Neill's “Three Plays of the Sea.” He followed it up with more stage work, including the Broadway production of David Rabe's “The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel” (1977), with Al Pacino.

Henriksen made his feature acting debut with a small role in the adventure film “It Ain't Easy” (1972). Three years later, he was cast as an FBI agent in Sidney Lumet's “Dog Day Afternoon,” after which the actor began to appear in at least two movies a year. The actor had small parts in such films as “Network” (1976, again directed by Lumet), Steven Spielberg's “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” (1977, starred Richard Dreyfuss and François Truffau) and the horror/thriller “Damien: Omen II” (1978).

Gaining his first taste in front of the TV camera in the TV film “Return to Earth” (1976), Henriksen opened up the new decade with the role of Timothy in the short-lived series “B.A.D. Cats” (1980) and followed it up that same year with a recurring role as Preston Post in the soap “Ryan's Hope.” 1981 saw Henriksen reunite with Lumet for the director's drama film “Prince of the City,” which starred Treat Williams, and start a partnership with writer-director James Cameron in “Piranha Part Two: The Spawning” (1981), where he played the supporting role of Police Chief Steve Kimbrough. Following his heroic portrayal of Mercury astronaut Captain Wally Schirra in the Philip Kaufman-directed “The Right Stuff” (1983), he rejoined lifetime friend Cameron in his compelling science-fiction film, “The Terminator” (1984). Henriksen was first considered for the title role in the film, but it eventually went to Arnold Schwarzenegger. Instead, he was re-cast as Detective Hal Vukovich. Henriksen also was credited as one of the writers on “The Terminator.”

It was also Cameron that provided Henriksen with his screen breakthrough role of Bishop on the breathtaking sci-fi classic “Aliens” (1986), opposite Sigourney Weaver, Carrie Henn and Michael Biehn. The role, which he reprised later in the 1992 sequel directed by David Fincher, won Henriksen widespread notice from moviegoers.

Henriksen was next seen as a Civil War-era vampire named Jesse Hooker in Kathryn Bigelow's “Near Dark” (1987) before landing his first lead role as Ed Harley in “Pumpkinhead” (1988), from which he was nominated for a Best Actor Saturn from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films. More starring roles followed, including1989's “The Horror Show” and 1991's “The Pit and the Pendulum,” where his role as Torquemada won the actor a Fantafestival for Best Actor. Henriksen was also seen in Walter Hill's “Johnny Handsome” (1989), in which he supported Mickey Rourke and Ellen Barkin as a murderous thief named Rafe Garrett, “Jennifer 8” (1992), playing Andy Garcia's sympathetic old friend and a fellow cop, John Woo's “Hard Target” (1993), where he won a Saturn for his scene-stealing role as a brutal hunter of humans, and Victor Salva's “Powder” (1995), which cast him as the likable sheriff. He also offered memorable turns as a quick-shooting dandy in Sam Raimi's “The Quick and the Dead” (1995), opposite Russell Crowe, Sharon Stone and Gene Hackman, and a barbarian gunfighter in Jim Jarmusch's “Dead Man” (1996), starring Johnny Depp.

Since his early TV credits in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Henriksen sporadically revisited the small screen with guest spots in shows like “Beauty and the Beast” (1989) and HBO's “Tales From the Crypt” (1990) and roles in a few TV films, including “Reason for Living: The Jill Ireland Story” (1991), where he played actor Charles Bronson. His first major TV role arrived in 1996 when he was cast in his first starring regular role on the Fox show “Millennium,” a supernatural crime series executive produced by Chris Carter. As retired FBI agent Frank Black, Henriksen received three consecutive Golden Globe nominations for Best Performance by an Actor in a TV-Series-Drama in 1997, 1998 and 1999 and two Saturn nominations for Best Genre TV Actor (1997, 1999). The series was canceled after three seasons in 1999. Still on TV, Henriksen netted a Golden Satellite nomination for his supporting role of Abraham Lincoln in the 1998 TNT original film “The Day Lincoln Was Shot.”

After the demise of “Millennium,” Henrikson provided the voice of Kerchak, the Gorilla King, on the Disney animated film “Tarzan” (1999). The busy actor went on to appear in Wes Craven's “Scream 3” (2000), Thomas J. Wright's “Unspeakable” (2002, with Dennis Hopper ), “The Last Cowboy” (2003, TV), the award-winning sci-fi “One Point O” (2004), “Modigliani” (2004, starred Andy Garcia), “Dream Warrior” (2004) and “Starkweather” (2004). Henrikson was put back in the limelight when he portrayed the human forefather of Bishop: Charles Bishop Weyland, in “Alien vs. Predator” (2004), written and directed by Paul W. S. Anderson.

His more recent film credits include “A Message from Fallujah” (2005), “House at the End of the Drive” (2006), “The Garden” (2006), “Abominable” (2006, won a Jury Prize for Best Supporting Actor at the Austin Fantastic Fest), “The Da Vinci Treasure” (2006), “Pirates of Treasure Island” (2006), “Bone Dry” (2007), the short “My Cousin's Keeper” (2007), the thriller “Deadwater” (2007, with James Russo) and “Dark Reel” (2007, opposite Edward Furlong). He also reprised his award-nominating role of Ed Harley in “Pumpkinhead: Ashes to Ashes” (2006) and the direct-to-video “Pumpkinhead: Blood Feud” (2007). Meanwhile, on the small screen, he played Daniel Wheeler in the Western miniseries “Into the West” (2005) and Dr. Lecorpus on the made-for-TV film “In the Spider's Web” (2007).

The action film “Pistol Whipped” is Henrikson's opening film in 2008. He has also completed two films, “Dying God” and “The Chosen One” (both 2008), and has four projects in-post-production: “Appaloosa” (2008), “Necessary Evil” (2008), “Prairie Fever” (2008) and “Alone in the Dark II” (2009). The latter two are set to be released direct to video. It is rumored that Henrikson will portray Gallo in the thriller film “The Lost Tribe” (2008).


  • Austin Fantastic Fest: Jury Prize, Best Supporting Actor, “Abominable,” 2006

  • Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films: Saturn, Best Supporting Actor, “Hard Target,” 1994

  • Fantafestival: Best Actor, “The Pit and the Pendulum,” 1991

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