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Born in Huntington, Brad Dourif (March 18, 1950-) is a veteran actor best known for his portrayal of off-beat characters, including Billy Bibbitt in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Grima Wormtongue in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy.

He was born Bradford Claude Dourif, the son of Joan Mavis Felton and Jean Henri Dourif, who owned a dye factory in Huntington. His father died when he was 3 years old, and his mother remarried Bill Campbell, a businessman and an amateur golf champion. He was introduced to theater by his mother, Joan, who was active in community theater productions. He attended prep schools outside the state before returning to Huntington and enrolling at Marshall University. While performing in a play, he met Marshall graduate Conchata Ferrell, who encouraged him to move to New York City.

While performing in a stage production at New York’s Circle Repertory Theater, Dourif was spotted by director Milos Forman, who eventually cast him as Bibbit in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. To prepare for the role, Dourif worked with speech therapists to learn Bibbit’s stutter. The role earned him a Golden Globe and an Oscar nomination and brought him other film offers, but Dourif returned to New York, where he did more work on stage and taught acting and directing.

In 1988, he returned to California and began working steadily in television and movies, including Ragtime, The Eyes of Laura Mars, and Mississippi Burning. He appeared in numerous horror movies and is the voice of the evil doll Chucky in the Child’s Play franchise. In 2002, he portrayed the character Grima Wormtongue in Lord of the Rings: Two Towers. For the role, he adopted a British accent and maintained it so well that his own co-stars were surprised to learn he was American. He also has appeared in television series including Deadwood, Law & Order, Once Upon a Time, and The X-Files.

Dourif has been married twice and has two children. His daughter, Fiona Dourif, is also an actor and has appeared in numerous television shows and movies.

This Article was written by Becky Calwell

Last Revised on February 26, 2019

Cite This Article

Calwell, Becky "Brad Dourif." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 26 February 2019. Web. 23 April 2024.


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