John Gavin Malkovich (born December 9, 1953) is an American actor and director. He has appeared in more than 70 motion pictures. For his roles in Places in the Heart and In the Line of Fire, he received Academy Award nominations. He has also appeared in films such as Empire of the Sun, The Killing Fields, Con Air, Of Mice and Men, Being John Malkovich, Burn After Reading, RED, and Warm Bodies, as well as producing films such as Ghost World, and The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
Malkovich was born in Christopher, Illinois. His paternal grandparents were Croatian natives of Ozalj. His mother was of English, French, German, and Scottish ancestry. He grew up in Benton, Illinois, in a large house on South Main Street, where his next door neighbor was future Olympic and NBA basketball star and coach, Doug Collins. His father, Daniel Leon Malkovich, was a state conservation director and publisher of Outdoor Illinois, a conservation magazine. His mother, Joe Anne (née Choisser) (1928–2009), owned the Benton Evening News, as well as Outdoor Illinois. Malkovich has three younger sisters and an older brother.
Malkovich attended Logan Grade School, Webster Junior High School, and Benton Consolidated High School. During his high school years, he appeared in various plays and the musical Carousel. He was also a member of a folk gospel group, singing in area churches and community events. He was also was a member of a local summer theater/comedy project where he co-starred in Jean-Claude van Itallie’s America Hurrah in 1972. Upon graduating from high school, he entered Eastern Illinois University, and then transferred to Illinois State University, where he majored in theater.
Malkovich was married to actress Glenne Headly from 1982 to 1988. They divorced after Malkovich became involved with Michelle Pfeiffer on the set of Dangerous Liaisons. He later met his long-term partner Nicoletta Peyran on the set of The Sheltering Sky, where she was the second assistant director, in 1989. They have two children, Amandine and Loewy.
Malkovich is fluent in French, and for nearly 10 years, lived and worked in a theater in Southern France. He and his family left France in a dispute over taxes in 2003, and he has since lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In a 2008 interview on the Late Show with David Letterman, Malkovich said he had just spent five weeks that summer living in France. He is also the co-owner of a restaurant called “Bica do Sapato”, located in Lisbon, Portugal.
Malkovich lost millions of dollars in Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme when it collapsed in 2008. He has raised funds for the Steppenwolf Theater Company, his sole charity.
Malkovich stated in a 2011 interview that “I’m not a political person actually, and I don’t have an ideology”. He also said that he had not voted since George McGovern lost his presidential run in 1972. However, according to actor William Hootkins, Malkovich is “so right-wing you have to wonder if he’s kidding”.
When asked in an interview with the Toronto Star whether it was necessary to have spiritual beliefs to portray a spiritual character, Malkovich said: “No, I’d say not… I’m an atheist. I wouldn’t say I’m without spiritual belief particularly, or rather, specifically. Maybe I’m agnostic, but I’m not quite sure there’s some great creator somehow controlling everything and giving us free will. I don’t know; it doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense to me.”
In a 2002 appearance at the Cambridge Union Society, when asked whom he would most like to fight to the death, Malkovich replied that he would “rather just shoot” journalist Robert Fisk and Scottish politician George Galloway, apparently motivated by the latter’s outspoken criticism of Israeli military actions in Palestinian territories and his opposition to the imminent war in Iraq. Both Fisk and Galloway reacted with outrage.
On June 6, 2013, Malkovich saved a 77-year-old man’s life after the man tripped in the streets of Toronto and slashed his throat on scaffolding as he fell. Malkovich applied pressure to the man’s neck before the man was rushed to a hospital, where he received stitches. Malkovich left as soon as the man was safe in the hands of paramedics.
He is known for his wish to maintain a private life and often travels under different aliases. Some known false names given by Mr. Malkovich, as reported by BuzzFeed here, are ‘Arturo Grondona’, ‘Felix Plebs’, and ‘Lindsay Jones’