Actor Chris Sarandon Jr. was born July 24, 1942, in Beckley. He graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School in Beckley in 1960. In 1964, he received a bachelor’s degree in theater from West Virginia University. He later earned a master’s degree from Catholic University in Washington, where he met and married Susan Tomalin, who later gained fame as the actress Susan Sarandon. In 1994, he married Joanna Hall Gleason, an actress who has appeared in plays and musicals.
Chris Sarandon has appeared on stage and screen, with films including The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993), The Princess Bride (1987), and Fright Night (1985). Sarandon was nominated in 1976 for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar and a Best Acting Debut Golden Globe Award for his performance in the motion picture Dog Day Afternoon, which starred Al Pacino. In 1980, Sarandon starred as Jesus Christ in the television movie The Day Christ Died. His television work has included appearances on such network shows as NBC’s Judging Amy, Felicity, and ER.
In a magazine interview in 1998, Sarandon cited the influence in his life of WVU Professor Patrick Ward Gainer, who taught a folklore course, and Professor Emeritus Charles Neel, who suggested that Sarandon consider majoring in theater. ‘‘After a couple of productions, there was no turning back,’’ Sarandon said. In 2006 he appeared in the Broadway production of The Light in the Piazza and in 2007 in another Broadway production, Cyrano de Bergerac, along with Jennifer Garner, another West Virginian. Sarandon and his wife, Joanna, live in Connecticut.
This Article was written by Larry Sonis
Last Revised on October 29, 2010
Terman, Tim. Distinguished Alumni Recall West Virginia University. West Virginia University Alumni Magazine, (Summer 1998).