Lance James Henriksen (born May 5, 1940) is an American actor and artist best known to film and television audiences for frequent collaboration with James Cameron, as well as his roles in science fiction, action, and horror films such as Bishop and the Weyland family members in the Alien film franchise, and on television shows such as Millennium. Henriksen is also a voice actor, notably having voiced Kerchak the gorilla in Disney's Tarzan.
Henriksen was born in New York City. His father was a Norwegian merchant sailor and boxer nicknamed "Icewater" who spent most of his life at sea. His mother, Margueritte Werner, struggled to find work as a dance instructor, waitress, and model. His parents divorced when he was two years old, and he was raised by his mother. As he grew up, Henriksen found himself in trouble at various schools and even saw the inside of a children's home. Henriksen left home and dropped out of school at the age of twelve; he would not learn to read until he was 30, when he taught himself by studying film scripts. Henriksen served in the United States Navy from 1955-1958 and attained the rank of Petty Officer Third Class.
Henriksen's first job in the theater world was as a designer of theatrical sets; in fact, he received his first role because he built the set for the production. In his early 30s, Henriksen graduated from the prestigious Actors Studio and began acting in New York City. In film, he first appeared in It Ain't Easy in 1972. Henriksen went on to portray a variety of supporting roles in noteworthy genre films such as Dog Day Afternoon, Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) and Damien: Omen II (1978). He also played "Police Chief Steve Kimbrough" in Piranha Part Two: The Spawning, the astronaut Walter Schirra in The Right Stuff (1983) and actor Charles Bronson in the 1991 TV-movie Reason for Living: The Jill Ireland Story (1991).
When James Cameron was writing the movie The Terminator (1984), he had originally envisioned Henriksen, whom he had worked with on Piranha II: The Spawning, playing the title role. Regardless, the role ultimately went to Arnold Schwarzenegger. Henriksen did appear in the film, in the supporting role of Detective Hal Vukovich. Henriksen is perhaps best known for portraying the android Bishop, an artificial life-form, in Aliens (1986, another Cameron film) and Alien 3 (1992). He also played Charles Bishop Weyland, the man Bishop's appearance was based on, in Alien 3 and Alien vs. Predator (2004). Henriksen also portrayed renegade vampire leader Jesse Hooker in Kathryn Bigelow's Vampire cult film Near Dark.
Hard Target (1993) is one of Henriksen's favorite films. He especially enjoyed working with director John Woo, saying "He let me do some real work as an actor. 'No' never came out of his mouth: it was always 'What could this be?' He's one of the greatest directors ever: gentle, communicative and supportive. He caught everything that was important to me as an actor on film and oddly enough used the lot. The times I've seen my work and gone 'Jesus, they cut the behaviour, the motivation, the only reason I made the movie in the first place.' Not John. All my major scenes are intact." That film was also notable for a scene in which Henriksen was accidentally engulfed in flames, as a stunt double was not used. Although surprised, the film crew let the cameras keep rolling so that the incident became part of the final cut. Henriksen later commented, "My training makes me fight until the very last cell in my body collapses with exhaustion. I competed with Van Damme using tremendous will against his iron strength. I held my ground pretty well although I didn't really like him until we came to reshoot the ending to give it a higher octane finish." Reviewer Neil H. Jones stated that this film showed "Henriksen at his best. Henriksen's deep voice waxes eloquently to an unknowing [sic] victim of the hunt, Elijah Roper (Willie Carpenter): "Think of what this $10,000 can do for you (if you reach the river alive). You can have respect, you can restore yourself to dignity rather than the shadow of a man who used to be." Lance exudes confidence, intellect, and talent whether playing Beethoven on the piano or firing his Thompson-Contender handgun at Chance. His acting is so convincing, you would not want his steel-cold eyes to glance your way. If you like Lance, you'll love Hard Target." Henriksen portrayed gunfighters in westerns Dead Man and The Quick And The Dead and appeared alongside British actor Bruce Payne in Aurora: Operation Intercept in 1995. He would appear alongside Payne again in Face the Evil in 1997 and the dystopian classic Paranoia 1.0 in 2004. That same year, he played the role of Sheriff Doug Barnum in the controversial film Powder.
In 1996, Henriksen starred in the television series Millennium, created and produced by Chris Carter, the creator of The X-Files. Henriksen played Frank Black, a former FBI agent who possessed a unique ability to see into the minds of killers. Carter created the role specifically for the actor. Henriksen's performances on Millennium earned him critical acclaim, a People's Choice Award nomination for Favorite New Male TV Star, and three consecutive Golden Globe nominations for Best Performance by an Actor in a TV Series (1997â"1999). The series was cancelled in 1999. Henriksen's daughter, Alcamy, appears uncredited in an episode of Millennium. He later moved to the state of Hawaii with his wife Jane Pollack and their daughter Sage Ariel.
No less than three prominent franchise roles have been written specifically for Henriksen, though he would only star in one of them. James Cameron wrote The Terminator (1984) hoping Henriksen would play the title character. Chris Carter created Millennium (1996) specifically for Henriksen, then convinced him to become hero Frank Black. Lastly, Victor Salva wrote Jeepers Creepers (2001) with Henriksen in mind for the role of the Creeper.
On television, Henriksen appeared in the ensemble of Into the West (2005), a miniseries executive-produced by Steven Spielberg. He has also recently appeared in a Brazilian soap opera, Caminhos do CoraÃ§Ã£o (Ways of the Heart) from Rede Record. Henriksen guest-starred on a Season 6 episode of NCIS (2009) playing an Arizona sheriff, and appeared in a recurring role as The Major on NBC's The Blacklist.
In the years after Millennium, Henriksen has become an active voice actor, lending his distinctive voice to a number of animated features and video game titles. In Disney's Tarzan (1999) and its direct-to-video followup Henriksen is Kerchak, the ape who serves as Tarzan's surrogate father. He provided the voice for the alien supervillain Brainiac in Superman: Brainiac Attacks (2006). He voiced the character Mulciber in Godkiller for HALO 8 Entertainment in 2009. Henriksen is the voice of the character Molov in the video game Red Faction II (2002), which was developed by Volition, Inc. and published by THQ, and has also contributed to GUN (2005), Run Like Hell (2002), the canceled title Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (2004), and BioWare's role-playing game Mass Effect (2007) as Admiral Hackett of the Human Systems Alliance. Henriksen was also the voice behind PlayStation 3's internet promotional videos. In 2005, Henriksen was the voice of Andrei Rublev in Cartoon Network's IGPX. Currently, the actor is lending his voice to the animated television series Transformers: Animated as the character Lockdown. In 2009, Henriksen voiced Lieutenant General Shepherd in the award-winning game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. He would later voice Karl Bishop Weyland in Aliens vs. Predator; also, this character's appearance resembles Henriksen's. Henriksen voiced Master Gnost-Dural in Star Wars: The Old Republic, and he also reprised his role as Admiral Hackett in Mass Effect 3. He is also the narrator of the recent Verizon Droid commercials. Recently, Henriksen reprised his role as Bishop in Aliens: Colonial Marines.
Henriksen maintains a prominent role in live action television. He has starred in a 2003 series of Australian television commercials for Visa, titled Unexplained (about the raining of fish from the sky over Norfolk) and Big Cats (about the Beast of Bodmin Moor). In these commercials, Henriksen speaks as a Frank Black-type character about these phenomena as Mark Snow-inspired mysterious music plays in the background, as a link to Henriksen's former series, Millennium. Unexplained went on to a gold world medal at the 2004 New York Festivals.
In addition to his television and voice acting work, Henriksen continues to be active in film. He made a cameo appearance in the 2009 horror comedy Jennifer's Body, and starred in the After Dark Horrorfest film, Scream of the Banshee, released in 2011. He played Henry Gale in Leigh Scott's The Witches of Oz. It has been announced that Henriksen will star in Frost Road, the directorial debut of video game director Keith Arem. In January 2015 was signed for the lead of Indie thriller Monday at 11:01 A.M. on the side of Briana Evigan.
Henriksen is also an accomplished ceramic artist and has work in the permanent collection of the American Museum of Ceramic Art.
- B.A.D. Cats (1980) - Timothy
- Ryan's Hope (1980) - Preston Post
- Cagney & Lacey (1983) - Johnny 'Nose'
- Hardcastle and McCormick (1983) - Deseau
- The A-Team (1984) - Mack Dalton
- Riptide (1984) - John McMasters
- Legmen (1984) - Finch
- Cagney & Lacey (1984) - Sgt. King
- Hardcastle and McCormick (1984) - Josh Fulton
- Beauty and the Beast (1989) - Snow
- Tales from the Crypt (1990) - Reno Crevice
- Tales from the Crypt (1991) - Sergeant Ripper
- Millennium (1996â"1999) - Frank Black
- The X-Files (1999) - Frank Black
- Harsh Realm (1999) - General
- The Legend of Tarzan (2001) - voice of Kerchack
- Static Shock (2004) - voice of Kobra Leader
- Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go! (2005) - voice of Mobius Quint
- IGPX: Immortal Grand Prix (2005) - voice of Andrei Rublev
- Caminhos do CoraÃ§Ã£o (2007) - Dr. Walker
- DEA (2008) - Narrator
- Transformers: Animated (2008â"2009) - voice of Lockdown
- NCIS (2009) - Sheriff Clay Boyd
- The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes (2010) - voice of Grim Reaper
- Castle (2010) - Benny Stryker
- Memphis Beat (2011) - Tom Harrison
- The Dog Who Saved Halloween (2011) - Prof. Eli Cole
- Tron: Uprising (2012) - voice of Tesler
- The Legend of Korra (2012) - voice of The Lieutenant
- Hannibal (2013) - Lawrence Wells
- The Strain (2014) - Narrator
- The Blacklist (2015) - Bill Mcready
- Run Like Hell (2002) - Nick Conner (voice)
- Red Faction II (2002) - Molov (voice)
- Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (2002â"2004) - Abaddon (voice)
- Gun (2005) - Thomas MacGruder (voice)
- Transformers Animated (2008) - Lockdown (voice)
- The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena (2009) - Max Dacher (voice)
- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (2009) - General Shepherd (voice)
- Aliens vs. Predator (2010) - Karl Bishop Weyland (voice and likeness)
- Star Wars: The Old Republic (2011) - Jedi Master Gnost-Dural (voice)
- Mass Effect (2007) - Admiral Steven Hackett (voice)
- Mass Effect 2: Arrival (2011) - Admiral Steven Hackett (voice)
- Mass Effect 3 (2012) - Admiral Steven Hackett (voice)
- Infex (2012) - Hazelton (voice)
- Aliens: Colonial Marines (2013) - Bishop/Michael Weyland (Younger likeness and voice)
- Metro: Last Light (2013) (Voice)
- To Hell You Ride (Motion-Comic Video from Dark Horse Comics) (2012) - Lance Henriksen and Joseph Maddrey (co-authors), Tom Mandrake (artist), Lance Henriksen (narrator), TKU: Tecamachalco Underground (Cesar Gallegos/Mateo Latosa) (musical score)
- Not Bad for a Human - The Life and Films of Lance Henriksen - Lance Henriksen with co-author Joseph Maddrey, published in 2011 by Bloody Pulp Books, featuring art by Bill Sienkiewicz, Mike Mignola, Tom Mandrake, Tim Bradstreet, Eric Powell and Ashley Wood.
- To Hell You Ride (5-issue comic book from Dark Horse Comics) (2012) - Lance Henriksen and Joseph Maddrey (co-authors) with Tom Mandrake (artist)
- Lance Henriksen at the Internet Movie Database
- Lance Henriksen at the Internet Broadway Database
- Lance Henriksen at FEARnet
- Lance Henriksen at AllMovie
- Lance Henriksen Magic
- Films in Review interview
- The Making of Hard Target on YouTube