Sunday, November 13, 2011

Tim Robbins

Tim Robbins is an actor, filmmaker and activist. His first big role came in 1988 when he played a baseball player in the film Bull Durham, starring opposite a woman he would eventually be with for 23 years, actress Susan Saradon. Robbins is best known for his roles as Andy in The Shawshank Redemption and as Dave Boyle in Mystic River, for which he won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.

Breakthrough Role
Actor, director, producer, writer, activist. Born Timothy Francis Robbins on October 16, 1958, in West Covina, California. An Academy Award-winning actor, Tim Robbins is just as well known for his activism as he is for his dramatic talents. The son of folk singer Gil Robbins, he grew up in New York City’s famous bohemian neighborhood, Greenwich Village. He began acting as a teenager with the Theatre for the New City.

After graduating from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1981, Robbins helped found the theater group known as The Actor’s Gang. After a number of small roles, he first caught the public’s attention as a likeable, oafish baseball player in Bull Durham (1988) with Kevin Costner and Susan Sarandon. Robbins and Sarandon became romantically involved and were one of Hollywood's enduring couples before their split in 2009 after 23 years together.

Career Highlights
He went on to portray a diverse mix of lead characters, showing his great range as a performer. In Jacob’s Ladder (1990), he played a Vietnam War veteran having difficulty separating reality from delusion. Working with director Robert Altman, Robbins shined as the sharp, but shady movie executive in The Player (1992) and as an unfaithful, power-abusing cop in Short Cuts (1993). Around this time, Robbins also made the political mock documentary Bob Roberts (1992), which he wrote, directed, and starred in.

In 1995, Robbins stepped completely behind the camera for the critically acclaimed death penalty drama Dead Man Walking starring Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn. He received an Academy Award nomination for his directorial efforts, and his then partner Sarandon won her Academy Award for Best Actress for her portrayal of Sister Helen Prejean, a nun who counsels a convicted killer waiting on death row.

Throughout his career, Robbins has been outspoken on many issues and has used his celebrity to bring attention to specific causes. Serving as presenters at 1993 Academy Awards, he and Sarandon took some of their time on camera to highlight the plight of HIV-positive Haitian refugees who were being detained by the U.S. government. While their efforts were successful in securing the refugees’ release, the couple received harsh criticism for their actions from the media and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. They were banned from the next year’s ceremonies.

Later Roles
Robbins received recognition from the academy for his artistic talents in 2003. He received the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as an abuse victim haunted by the past and murder suspect named Dave Doyle in Mystic River (2003), directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Sean Penn and Kevin Bacon.

More recently, Robbins has appeared in the independent drama The Secret Life of Words (2005), the family friendly fantasy Zathura: A Space Adventure (2005), and War of the Worlds (2005). He also lent his voice to the animated political satire about the Iraqi War, Embedded (2005). He also serves as the artistic director of The Actor’s Gang theater company in Los Angeles.

Robbins has two children with Sarandon together - sons Miles and Henry.

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