Debuting with a bit part as a dockworker in Sam Raimi's sci-fi action Darkman (1990), Neal McDonough received broader attention when he appeared as 1st Lt. Lynn "Buck" Compton on HBO’s Emmy and Golden Globe-winning miniseries "Band of Brothers" (2001; co-produced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks) and as the best friend of Tom Cruise's character in Spielberg’s loose adaptation of Philip K. Dick short story, Minority Report (2002). The actor who played Lt. Sean Hawk in Star Trek: First Contact (1996) also popular to TV viewers as the manipulative deputy D.A. David McNorris (2003) on NBC's action/drama series “Boomtown” and as team leader Dr. Stephen Connor (2004-2005) on NBC’s medical drama "Medical Investigation."
Moviegoers could recently catch McDonough playing Kevin Costner's protégé in The Guardian, and in Clint Eastwood's soon-to-be released war drama, Flags of Our Fathers, alongside Ryan Phillippe, Adam Beach and Jesse Bradford. His upcoming films include 88 Minutes, Machine, The Hitcher, and Forever Strong.
Off screen, the 6' tall, square-jawed blonde actor with steely blue eyes is married to Ruve Robertson, a former model from South Africa.
Childhood and Family:
Born on February 13, 1966, in Dorchester, Massachusetts, Neal McDonough grew up on Cape Cod where his Ireland-born parents, Frank and the late Kitty McDonough, owned a small mom-and-pop motel. The youngest of six children, Neal has four older brothers and one sister. In 1984, he graduated from Barnstable High School, Hyannis, Massachusetts, where he was named Mr. BHS in his senior year (a male spoof on the Junior Miss Pageant). Although he received scholarships to play baseball at several colleges including Connecticut and Maine, the aspiring actor went to Syracuse University, where he earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1988 and was a knuckleball pitcher for the University's club team. From there, he trained as an actor at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA).
On Christmas Day, 2002, Neal became engaged to Ruve Robertson, a 6’ 3” tall former model from South Africa. They exchanged vows in a Beverly Hills church on December 1, 2003, and the wedding reception was held at a local country club.
“Sports junkie” Neal McDonough likes to play tennis and golf. He is also a regular on the celebrity hockey circuit, playing benefit games with such stars as Jason Priestley, Denis Leary and David Boreanaz.
A Perfect Little Man
"I really wanted to be an actor. My dad thought I was nuts." Neal McDonough.
As a freshman in high school, Neal played Snoopy in a senior-class production of "You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown" and says, "I knew what I wanted to do for the rest of my life." After finishing his university, he trained at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art and soon was credited in such stage productions as “Cheap Talk,” “Foreigner,” “As You Like It,” “Rivals,” “Bald Soprano,” “Waiting for Lefty” and “A Midsummer Night's Dream.” In 1991, the young actor took home a Best Actor Dramalogue Award for his role in “Away Alone.”
In 1990, McDonough moved into film with a bit part as a dockworker in Sam Raimi's sci-fi action Darkman, starring Liam Neeson. The next year, he began familiar to TV viewers as he appeared as a guest in such popular television series as ABC’s award-winning and highly acclaimed dramatic series “China Beach” (in July 1991) and NBC’s sci-fi series “Quantum Leap” (in September 1991). He subsequently found frequent works in several made-for-TV movies, including the NBC TV biopic Babe Ruth (1991; he portrayed New York Yankees' first baseman Lou Gehrig), The Burden of Proof (1992), Cruel Doubt (1992), In the Line of Duty: Ambush in Waco (1993) and Jack Reed: Badge of Honor (1993).
McDonough returned to the big screen in 1994, in a Disney baseball film starring Danny Glover, Tony Danza and Christopher Lloyd, Angels in the Outfield. After guest starring in an episode of NBC original adventure drama “JAG,” the ABC police drama "NYPD Blue" and the animated series "The Incredible Hulk" (voiced Dr. Robert Bruce Banner), the lifelong Star Trek fan had his childhood dream came true when he was cast as Lt. Sean Hawk, the helmsman on the USS Enterprise-E during a Borg incursion, in Jonathan Frakes-directed Star Trek: First Contact (1996), the eighth feature film based on the popular sci-fi TV series.
In the late 1990s, McDonough’s career shifted increasingly toward feature works. He snagged memorable roles in such features as writer-director Adam Kreutner's Circles (1998; alongside Antonio Sabato Jr.), as one of the two men who delicately intertwined Amy Smart's life, and Antonia Bird's quirky pseudo-horror film revolves around cannibalism in 1840s California, Ravenous (1999; starring Guy Pearce), in which he played Pvt. Reich. He also won Best Actor at the Atlantic City Film Festival, thanks to the role of boxer/security guard Billy Morrisson he played in writer-director Jeff Hare's 46-minute film, A Perfect Little Man (1999).
In 2001, famed director Steven Spielberg cast McDonough as 1st Lt. Lynn "Buck" Compton, a Silver Star winner while commanding the 2nd platoon of "Easy Company" in the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment during World War II, on HBO’s acclaimed 10-part miniseries "Band of Brothers." The
Spielberg-Tom Hanks produced miniseries, based on a book of the same name by historian and biographer Stephen Ambrose, was nominated 19 Emmy Awards, and won six, including for "Outstanding Mini-Series," "Outstanding Casting for a Mini-Series, Movie or a Special" and "Outstanding Directing for a Mini-Series, Movie or a Dramatic Special." It also won a Golden Globe for "Best Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television."
The following year, McDonough reunited with Spielberg in the director’s loose adaptation of Philip K. Dick short story, Minority Report, playing the best friend of Tom Cruise's character. The film earned four Saturn Awards, including Best Science Fiction Film and Best Direction, adding to an Academy Award nomination for Best Sound Editing. It helped McDonough to be a recognizable Hollywood figure and was quickly developing a solid screen persona. He subsequently went back to the small screen for NBC's action/drama series “Boomtown,” starring as the manipulative deputy D.A. David McNorris (2003), a role formerly occupied by Jimmy Smits who quit at the last minute.
Meanwhile, moviegoers saw McDonough in Richard Donner action feature Timeline (2003; starring Paul Walker, Frances O'Connor and Gerard Butler) and Kevin Bray's remake of the Phil Karlson’s 1973 semi-biopic, Walking Tall (2004), in which he portrayed Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson’s wealthy high school rival who has closed the once-prosperous lumber mill for criminal gains. The next year, he appeared in writer-director Paul Kampf's drama American Gothic, alongside Patrick Wilson, and Bashar Shbib's drama comedy Silent Men, as Alexandra Woodward's best friend who helped her to find a suitable potential father for her child. Back on the small screen, McDonough starred on NBC’s medical drama "Medical Investigation," as Dr. Stephen Connor (2004-2005), the leader of the team whose medical career has separated him from his family.
More recently, McDonough was cast as Kevin Costner's protégé in Andrew Davis' Coast Guard's movie The Guardian (also starring Ashton Kutcher) and in writer-director Michael Caleo's romantic drama comedy The Last Time (costarring with Michael Keaton and Brendan Fraser). He will appear in Clint Eastwood's soon-to-be released war drama based on the bestselling book by James Bradley and Ron Powers, Flags of Our Fathers (starring Ryan Phillippe, Adam Beach and Jesse Bradford).
McDonough just completed a Jon Avnet's movie starring Al Pacino, the crime drama thriller 88 Minutes, and will soon finish writer-director-actor Michael Lazar's crime drama movie, Machine, as a crooked vice cop who pursues Lazar's character, and Dave Meyers' remake of Robert Harmon's 1986 horror/thriller film, The Hitcher (starring Rutger Hauer, C. Thomas Howell, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Sophia Bush), portraying a career lawman. He is currently on set filming Ryan Little's upcoming rugby drama, Forever Strong, playing Sean Faris' rugby-coach father.
Satellite Awards: Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Drama, "Boomtown," 2004
Atlantic City Film Festival: Best Actor, A Perfect Little Man, 1999