“Before 'Grease 2' came out, I was being hailed as the next Richard Gere or John Travolta. But when 'Grease 2' flopped nobody would touch me. It felt like a bucket of cold water had been thrown in my face. It took me 10 years to get over 'Grease 2.'” Maxwell Caulfield
Maxwell Caulfield enjoyed some success on stage thanks to his award winning performance in 1979's “Class Enemy” and leading roles in the Broadway plays “The Elephant Man” and “Entertaining Mr. Sloane” before making his Hollywood debut opposite Michelle Pfeiffer in the highly-anticipated musical “Grease 2” (1982). The movie went on to became a critical and commercial disaster, which subsequently put his career on hold.
Apart from high-profile roles in “The Boys Next Door” (1985), “Empire Records” (1995) and “The Real Blonde” (1997), the versatile actor appeared in a number of forgettable features during the 1980s and 1990s. It was TV work that kept Caulfield in the limelight. He was convincing as bad boy Miles Colby in “Dynasty” (1985-1986) and the spin-off “The Colbys/Dynasty II: The Colbys” (1985-1987) and as loathsome artist Pierce Rile in “All My Children” (1996-1997). More recently, the handsome performer had a big hit in the U.K. with the popular series “Casualty,” where he played Dr Jim Brodie from 2003 to 2004.
Off screen, Caulfield, who was included in John Willis' Screen World, Vol. 37 as one of 12 “Promising New Actors of 1985,” is the husband of actress Juliet Mills, whom he married in 1980. He is 18 years her junior.
Childhood and Family:
Maxwell Caulfield was born on November 23, 1959, in Glasgow, Scotland, to Peter Nelby Maclaine and Oriole Maclaine. He grew up in London. At age 15, Maxwell lived separately from his family after being kicked out of the house by his U.S. stepfather, a Marine instructor. Three years later, he immigrated to America to try his hand at acting.
On December 2, 1980, Maxwell married London beauty Juliet Mills of the “Nanny and the Professor” fame (born on November 21, 1941), whom he met while starring in the 1980 Broadway play “The Elephant Man.” The marriage received extensive media attention because Juliet was 18 years his senior. About his wife he commented, “I could sail the seven seas and not find a woman with as much integrity and heart and passion.”
Maxwell has a stepson, Sean, and a stepdaughter, Melisa (actress, born in 1978), from Juliet's previous marriages. His younger brother, Marcus Mclaine, a musician, was romantically involved with Juliet's sister, Hayley.
Before becoming an actor, Scotland-born, London-raised Maxwell Caulfield was a nude dancer at the Windmill Theatre in London. He relocated to the United States in 1978 and made his New York debut in a production of “Hot Rock Hotel.” His stage breakthrough arrived the following year when he landed a lead role in “Class Enemy” at the Player's Theater in West Village where he won a Theater World Award for his performance. Caulfield made his Los Angeles debut with a part in a 1980 production called “Hitting Town.” He also starred in the Broadway play “The Elephant Man” (also 1980), where he met soon to-be-wife Juliet Mills, and in a revival of “Entertaining Mr. Sloane” (1981). He received positive feedback for his work in the latter play.
Spotted by movie producer Alan Carr while performing in “Entertaining Mr. Sloane,” Caulfield experienced a memorable moment when he was picked out of thousands of applicants to play Michael Carrington in “Grease 2” (1982), the sequel to one of the most successful musical films of all time. Starring opposite newcomer Michelle Pfeiffer, the two were heralded as the “next over night sensation.” Unfortunately, “Grease 2” was a commercial and critical flop and his career stalled.
Following the failed big screen debut, Caulfield turned his focus to television. Making his debut in the WWI drama “Journey's End” (1983), as Captain Stanhope, he offered a strong starring turn as Jeff in the Emmy Award winning drama “Parade” (CBS, 1984), alongside Michael Learned, Frederic Forrest and Rosanna Arquette, and in 1985, he began his notable role of bad boy Miles Colby on the ABC long-running soap “Dynasty” (until 1986) and its spin-off series, “The Colbys/Dynasty II: The Colbys” (until 1987). Later, he reprised the role in the miniseries “Dynasty: The Reunion” (1991). Caulfield also portrayed Alain Marais in the CBS miniseries “Judith Krantz's 'Till We Meet Again'” (1989), opposite Michael York, Courteney Cox and Hugh Grant.
Meanwhile, Caulfield also played the supporting role of Bill in the film “Electric Dreams” (1984), starring Lenny von Dohlen and Virginia Madsen, delivered a fantastic turn in the Penelope Spheeris-helmed “The Boys Next Door” (1985), where he starred with Charlie Sheen, and was cast in Bob Yari's forgettable thriller, “Mind Games” (1989). Several other undistinguished roles followed the next decade, including roles in Frank Shields' “Project: Alien/Fatal Sky” (1990), “Animal Instincts” (1992, with Jan-Michael Vincent and Shannon Whirry), Peter Foldy's “Midnight Witness” (1993) and Charles T. Kanganis' “No Escape, No Return” (1993). He also appeared with Tom Berenger and Martin Sheen in Ronald F. Maxwell's “Gettysburg” (1993), which was adapted from Michael Shaara's novel, “The Killer Angels,” and stood out as spoiled rock star Rex Manning in “Empire Records” (1995).
Caulfield made a guest appearance in “Beverly Hills, 90210” in 1990 and had a recurring role in “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman” (1994-1995) before joining the cast of the ABC daytime drama “All My Children,” where he portrayed Pierce Rile from 1996 to 1997. He voiced Alistair Smythe in the cartoon series “Spider-Man” from 1995 to 1998 and appeared in episodes of the Kirstie Alley vehicle “Veronica's Closet” (1998, as Brian), “The Love Boat: The Next Wave” (1998) and “The Nanny” (1999, as Rodney Pembroke). Caulfield revisited the stage with roles in “An Inspector Calls” (1992) at the Royal National Theatre, “Salonika,” opposite Jessica Tandy and Elizabeth Wilson at the Public Theater, and “Loot” at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles.
Thanks to his stage performances and role in “Empire Records,” Caulfield won the regarded role of Bob in the comedy film “The Real Blonde” (1997), which was directed and written by Tom DiCillo. He starred in the movie with Matthew Modine, Catherine Keener, Daryl Hannah and Elizabeth Berkley. Subsequent film projects were 1997's “The Man Who Knew Too Little” (as a British Agent), Paul Lynch's and David Lister's “More to Love,” “Dazzle” and David Wendell's “Smut” (all 1999).
Entering the new millennium, Caulfield landed a regular role in the lesbian-themed series “Strip Mall,” which also starred Julie Brown, Jim O'Heir and Tim Bagley. He portrayed Rafe Barrett from the show's debut on June 18, 2000, to its cancellation in 2001. In “La Femme Nikita,” Caulfield was cast as Helmut Volker, a role he played in two episodes in 2000. He portrayed Duchotel in a 2002 adaptation of “He Hunts” at the Geffen Playhouse in California, starred in “Tryst” (2006) at the Promenade Theatre in New York and teamed up with Kate Mulgrew in the off-Broadway production of “Our Leading Lady” (2007) at the New York City Center. Recent film credits include Glen Trotiner's “Overnight Sensation” (2000), “Submerged” (2000), “Facing the Enemy” (2001), “Dragon Storm” (2004, TV), “Cry of the Winged Serpent” (2006, TV), “Dog Lover's Symphony” (2006) and “The Great San Francisco Earthquake” (2006, TV).
“Coming back here has reignited my love of acting and put me back in touch with my essence. I’m really delighted with the character they’ve fashioned for me. He’s a bit of a live wire and a bit of a romantic, it would appear.” Maxwell Caulfield
Back in the United Kingdom, Caulfield scored success with the hit BBC hospital soap “Casualty,” playing Dr Jim Brodie. He was on the series from 2003 to 2004.
The star of the 2007 “Nightmare City 2035” will star as Sheriff Parker in the upcoming horror film “Dire Wolf” (2009), which will be directed by Fred Olen Ray. He is also set to work with Gabriel Byrne, Emma Bolger and Lenore Andriel in the John Henderson new adventure “The Snow Prince” (2009).
“I’d like to think I had the opportunity to work in both countries. I’d certainly like to make a success of this role. I’m joining a very strong ensemble of cast and I see myself as a team player. But I think my career is possibly moving to behind the camera than in front of it – writing and producing.” Maxwell Caulfield
Theater World Award: “Class Enemy”