About Craig Sheffer
A promising player of college baseball and football until derailed by a knee injury, Sheffer brought authority to his portrayal of a talented college quarterback with a distant alcoholic father in "The Program" (1993). Raised in York, a Pennsylvania steel town, he was the son of a prison guard father (who moonlighted as a screenwriter) and a mother who worked in a nursing home. Sheffer and his brother performed for their family from an early age, first in impromptu sketches and later in more elaborate home movies. He acted in high school plays and majored in drama in college when not on the playing fields.
Sheffer has reported a larger-than-life autobiography, complete with epic cross-country hitchhiking jaunts, a stint of homelessness in NYC, prodigious partying, nervous breakdowns, dire illness and near-miraculous recovery. These events may strain our credulity but provide a colorful yarn. Often eccentric and edgy, Sheffer has declined to pursue traditional careers as either a Hollywood player or an indie/art-house aesthete. Shifting comfortably from a daytime soap (Ian on ABC's "One Life to Live" in the early 1980s) to the NY stage (assuming the role of Harvey Fierstein's lover in "Torch Song Trilogy" in 1983) to A-movies to genre potboilers, he has remained a working actor who befuddles would-be handlers by taking off for months at a time for travel and self discovery.
Sheffer has also written fiction, poetry and unproduced screenplays. He and a partner, Stephen J. Bratter, have formed a production company called Desert Winds Films. They took executive producer credits on their own little indie romantic comedy "Instant Karma" (1990) as well as the much bigger "Demolition Man" (1993). The latter was a satirical sci-fi vehicle for Sylvester Stallone on which the pair received credit after arbitration with Warner Bros.
Sheffer made his primetime TV debut in the short-lived soap "The Hamptons" (ABC, 1983) and landed his first film work opposite Emilio Estevez in "That Was Then...This Is Now" (1985). Subsequent features include "Some Kind of Wonderful", as the rich-kid heavy; Clive Barker's "Nightbreed" (1990), as a man who finds himself unexpectedly allied with monsters; and the unsympathetic but wrongly accused logger in the intriguingly low-key UFO drama "Fire in the Sky" (1993). He also portrayed French aviator Henri Gillaumet in the 40-minute featurette, "Wings of Courage" (1995), the first dramatic film made in the spectacular IMAX 3-D format and a doctor studying the effects of syphilis on black men in the 1930s in the well-received HBO drama "Miss Evers' Boys" (1997). That same year, Sheffer returned to the indie scene to portray a husband learning how to satisfy his wife (Sheryl Lee) in "Bliss".
|Gabrielle Anwar. met in London in 1989; no longer together|
|East Stroudsburg State College, East Stroudsburg , Pennsylvania|
|Appeared on the ABC daytime drama "One Life to Live"|
|At the urging of Fierstein, returned to the role of Alan in "Torch Song Trilogy" until a fall reinjured his knee; left the show; underwent reconstructive surgery|
|Began performing with his brother as a child, putting on shows for their parents|
|Broke up with girlfriend, lost his job and spent several weeks homeless; slept under the marble staircase in Grand Central Station; occasionally was able to afford a bed at the YMCA|
|Claims to have performed a matinee of "Torch Song Trilogy" under the influence of psychoactive mushrooms|
|Formed Desert Winds Films with partner Stephen J Bratter|
|Grew up in York, a Pennsylvania steeltown|
|Hitchhiked around the US|
|Played college football at East Stroudsbourg State College; athletics derailed by knee injury|
|Progressed to amateur filmmaking when his family purchased a Super-8mm camera|
|With his partner Bratter (and two others), received executive producer credits on the feature "Demolition Man", a Sylvester Stallone sci-fi satire, as part of a settlement with Warner Brothers over who conceived the story|
|Worked in a steel mill|
|At age 15, began competing in regional and state high school drama competitions|
|Found an agent; began getting acting jobs in commercials|
|Moved to NYC at the urging of his girlfriend|
|Broadway debut, assumed the role of Alan in Harvey Fierstein's "Torch Song Trilogy"|
|TV series debut with "The Hamptons"|
|Feature debut, "That Was Then...This Is Now" opposite Emilio Estevez|
|Suffered what he described as "a nervous breakdown" during which he was unable to leave his home for several months (date approximate)|
|Has retroactively claimed that he was diagnosed with cancer which subsequently went into remission after filming "A River Runs Through It" (date approximate)|
|Feature producing debut, "Instant Karma"|
|Co-starred in Robert Redford's acclaimed "A River Runs Through It"|