“I see myself much more so as an actor. Acting is my career and activism is my passionate hobby. But acting is my livelihood. I was an activist long before I even entertained the possibility of being an actor.” William Baldwin
A leading man of the 1990s, William Baldwin is well-known as one of the acting Baldwin brothers that include Alec, Daniel and Stephen Baldwin. Gaining his initial recognition as a performer in the made-for-TV crime-drama The Preppie Murder (1989), the former Calvin Klein model has established a reputation for himself as a movie star with roles in Backdraft (1991), where he memorably played firefighter Brian McCaffrey, and Sliver (1993). William’s fine portrayal of a wealthy bachelor in the latter even handed him a MTV Movie Award. Since then, he has starred in countless films, including Fair Game (1995, with Cindy Crawford), Shattered Image (1998), Primary Suspect (2000) and Red Rover (2003). In 2005, he offered a well-received supporting turn of a love interest in the comedy The Squid and the Whale.
Off camera, William is an activist, and has been heavily participated in politics. His mother, who was once diagnosed with breast cancer, founded The Carol M. Baldwin Research, Fund, Inc, an organization to raise money for Breast Cancer research, in 1996. Along with his younger brother, Stephen, William co-owns a restaurant in Greenwich, NY called Alaia’s. On more personal note, William, who has a cocker spaniel named Thurman, has been married to actress-singer Chynna Phillips since 1995. The couple shares two daughters and a son.
Childhood and Family:
In Massapequa, Long Island, New York, William Baldwin was born on February 21, 1963, to Irish Catholic parents, Alexander Rae Baldwin, Jr. and Carol Martineau Baldwin. He grew up in Nassau Shores behind the Pennisula Golf Course, along with his five siblings, Alec, Daniel, Stephen, Jane and Elizabeth. As the son of a football coach, William, better known by family and close friends as ‘Billy,’ immediately developed a love for sports. While a student of Alfred G. Berner High School, he joined the school football and baseball team. Besides, he was an excellent wrestler, and carried on the interest at college. He once became an all-country wrestler. Billy attended the State University of New York at Binghamton in 1981 and graduated with a B.A. in Political Science four years later. The success of his older brother Alec encouraged Billy to follow in his footsteps to become an actor.
In 1991, while on a plane back, Billy met actress-singer Chynna Phillips, daughter of renowned The Mamas & The Papas founders, John Phillips and Michelle Gilliam Phillips, who was traveling with her Wilson Phillips band mates. He subsequently fell in love, and they eventually got married on September 9, 1995 at the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary Roman Catholic Church in South Hampton, New York. Billy and Chynna have three children, son Vance Alexander (born October 23, 2001 in New York City) and daughters Jameson Leon (born on Sunday, February 27, 2000) and Brooke Michelle (born on December 6, 2004 in New York).
“I could count my modeling jobs on my hands and toes. When I graduated from college, I moved to New York specifically to study acting, and I needed to pay the bills, and it’s better to make a couple thousand dollars in one day than to wait tables six days a week.” William Baldwin
A successful wrestler throughout high school and college, William Baldwin had a change of heart and decided to pursue an acting career after seeing the success of his older brother, actor Alec Baldwin, in acting. He then took drama lessons, and worked as a model for Calvin Klein as well as a bartender to pay the bills. By the late 1980s, one-forth of Baldwin brothers, William had kicked off his professional career by taking on the costarring role of murderer Robert Chambers in the crime/drama-made-for-television film The Preppie Murder (1989), opposite Danny Aiello and Lara Flynn Boyle. He made the leap to the big screen with a small part in Oliver Stone’s Born on the Fourth of July, that same year, playing an associate of Tom Cruise’s Marine squad.
After small roles in thriller films the Mike Figgis-helmed Internal Affairs (1990, starred Richard Gere and Andy Garcia) and the Julia Robert- Kiefer Sutherland vehicle Flatliners (1990, as hazardous, womanizing medical student Joe), William received his breakthrough role of the sweet firefighter-turned-fire-starting detective Brian McCaffery in Ron Howard’s Backdraft in 1991. He costarred with such well-known actors as Donald Sutherland, Robert De Niro and Kurt Russell. Two years later, he gained additional attention as an affluent spinster involved with Sharon Stone in Phillip Noyce’s thriller Sliver. The role brought the actor a MTV Movie for Most Desirable Male. Also in 1993, he starred as an usher caught up in a triangle with two alienated lesbian lovers (Sherilyn Fenn and Kelly Lynch) in the romantic comedy Three of Heart.
William, however, had to deal with disappointment in 1995 when he starred opposite supermodel Cindy Crawford in her film debut, Fair Game, an actioner which was a box office bomb. He joined Sadie Frost and John Leguizamo in the well-received dark comedy A Pyromaniac’s Love Story, that same year. His choice of weird small projects was further showed in the next year with the comedy Curdled, in which he costarred as sexy serial killer Paul Guell. Following an uncredited part as the title character’s lover in Bulworth (1998), he returned to film with leading role, this time portrayed Annie Parillaud’s husband in Shattered Image (1998), a thriller by Raul Ruiz. He rejoined Donald Sutherland and costarred with Jamie Lee Curtis in horror/thriller Virus (1999), as well as starred as Tom Martinez in the Showtime original Brotherhood of Murder (1999).
A major Hollywood actor, William continued starring in films like Primary Suspect (2000), Double Bang (2001, released on HBO in place of theatrical release), One Eyed King (2001, opposite Dash Mihok) and Red Rover (2003). He also supported such actors as Julie Andrews in the comedy Relative Values (2000), as Nastassja Kinski and Hart Bochner in Say Nothing (2001), Milla Jovovich in romance film You Stupid Man (2002) and Ellen Pompeo in Art Heist (2004). In 2005, William gave an amusing supporting portrayal of Laura Linney’s boyfriend in director Noah Baumbach’s The Squid and the Whale.
The strikingly handsome actor recently starred as Dennis in the comedy film Park (2006), written and directed by Kurt Voelker. He will soon be seen in the upcoming dramas Sakura: Blue-Eyed Samurai (2006), Lenexa, 1 Mile (2006, stars Josh Stewart and Austin Nichols) and Feel (2006, opposite Tom Bower). In 2007, he is set to star in 1/9 (attached to play Mark Phipps) and American Fork (as Truman Hope). On the small screen, William will star as Paul Brennan in the pilot of drama series “Waterfront” (2006).
- MTV Movie: Most Desirable Male, Sliver, 1994