In the following text, I will describe the life story of Eric Roberts, the most famous villain in movies and series!
Eric Roberts was born in Biloxi, Mississippi, and grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, where he attended Grady High School.
After his parents divorced, who ran a children’s theater company, Eric moved to Atlanta with his father Walter, and sisters Lisa and Julia continued to live in Georgia with their mother Betty. As a child, he suffered greatly from stuttering, not occasionally, but every time he opened his mouth. Because of that, his peers at school laughed at him for years, which killed him.
He found salvation in acting, because he discovered that by learning the text by heart, he could speak without stuttering. He spent part of the summer at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, and later attended classes at the American Academy of Dramatic Art. He got a role in the soap opera “Second World”, but he says that he was the worst actor in the soap opera in the world, which is why he was fired in the middle of the first season.
A turning point in life
Luck anointed him when he met the casting director, Marion Doherty, who discovered Robert Redford and punched star after star. Seeing him in the play of the American Academy, which she came to see her protégée Juliette Taylor, Doherty decided to introduce Eric to the manager Bill Trush, who represented Chris Walken and Sisi Spacey.
“We signed the same day we talked. He never saw me work, but he accepted Marion and Juliet’s recommendation. He found my first film “, recalls Erik and adds that it was the film” Gypsy King “.
It was about 40 years ago, and after an excellent debut role in the film “The Gypsy King” by Frank Pearson from 1978 and the roles that followed in the films “Raggedy Man” (1981), “Star 80” (1983) and “Pope Greenwich Village” (1984), Eric was on his way to becoming a big name in Hollywood. His role in Andrei Konchalovsky’s 1985 film Mad Train earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor in 1986, and a Golden Globe nomination for Best Picture Debutant. “To the Gypsy King”, a film that could change his life. Instead, Eric’s life changed.
Director Doug Campbell, who shot the third sequel to the “Stalked by My Doctor” franchise with him in 2018, Roberts ’74th film in a year, says the actor is a great collaborator who is very easy to work with.
“He is always on time on the set, the first of the actor’s comes out of make-up and wardrobe, he wants to shoot, he wants to work and he likes to act. He is without ego, without any vanity and very down to earth “, says Campbell and adds that although he played a lot of bad guys, Roberts has an exceptional sense of comedy and has no problem playing a fool in front of the camera.
Given that love of work, his dedication, extraordinary beauty and his undeniable talent, what went wrong and he didn’t make a career like Tom Hanks, Harrison Ford, Leonardo DiCaprio or Johnny Depp? In the end, why did his younger sister Julia Roberts become one of the world’s biggest stars, and he didn’t?
What happened so he failed to make a bigger career?
There are two possible answers to this question. The first is related to Eric’s decade-long drug abuse, and although it is a thing of the past, it once had a strong impact on his life and work. Then there was a car accident that left him in a coma for three days and left a mark on his face and neurological damage that he overcame with several months of therapy.
During the filming of “The Gypsy King”, Eric was among the experienced actor’s of Sterling Hayden, Sheila Winters and the young Susan Sarandon. As a terrified 21-year-old and the only rookie in the cast, Eric worked hard all night before filming began. On set, he was greeted by Sterling with a pipe in his mouth, in a trailer full of hashish-smelling smoke. The first thing a more experienced colleague asked him was if he wanted to try. Eric thanked them with the explanation that he can’t work if he is petrified, so they went to work.
Hayden then asked him how he was doing with the improvisation, noting that this was what they were doing, so they improvised the whole scene they were filming at the time.
“I felt like I was falling from the sky, but I had a parachute and I wasn’t afraid, I was already delighted,” Erik recalls of an interesting collaboration, after which Hayden told him that great things awaited him, but also that they would try to make him to move to Hollywood, and advised him not to do so.
At the time, Roberts says, cocaine spread like wildfire in Hollywood. Already in the morning on the set, they were sent to the props, where containers full of white powder would be waiting for them, and everyone took it, from the management staff to the craft workers on the set. He spent it to such an extent that his wife Eliza gave him an ultimatum: “Either me or cocaine”!
In 1981, he had a horrible car accident on cocaine.
He was in a coma, his speech was very slow and he had to learn to walk and speak again. He went to rehabilitation every day for two months. He was getting back in shape, but he still had problems with short-term memory, which is not uncommon during brain trauma.
He was slowly returning to work, so he was hired for a role in the play “Mass Appeal” on Broadway. Since he had already played that role, he knew the text by heart, but he and director Geraldine Fitzgerald could not agree on the role. He left the show before the show started, and because of that, it spread the word that he did not recover from the car accident. He stopped getting phone calls, and the only one who invited him to audition was Bob Fossil.
After reading to him five, six times, Fossil, a dancer and choreographer, asked him to get up, walk and jump around the room, after which he admitted that he had been told he was mutilated and then offered the role of the villain Paul Snyder in the film. “Star of the 80s.”
His performance of the deranged Snyder was so convincing that he would walk through Manhattan for months after the premiere of the film, and women would cross the street to avoid him.
“The first ten times it happened, I felt weird, and then I asked Chris Walken why it was happening. “Because you’re so spooky, man,” he replied, “Eric threatens. After that film, he received offers for the roles of problematic, dangerous guys, which was connected with the generally accepted misconception that he simply plays himself in those films.
“I met Woody Allen very petrified, and he did what he was supposed to do – he fired me. I did it for ten years, and the whole point was that I asked for help to cry out “you see where I am, help me because I am worth helping.” I just didn’t understand everything when I needed to, but now I understand, ”explains Roberts.
He also went to psychotherapy, and in 1987 he was arrested for possession of marijuana, cocaine and resisting the police. Marijuana has returned, and he says that his whole life has been inflated with several abstinence breaks, which he calls excessive sobriety.
Although he managed to end his cocaine addiction years earlier, Eric entered the world of reality television in 2010, appearing in the fourth season of the show “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew, ”because of his marijuana addiction.
“Absolutely everyone, from his family to his agents, told him not to do that,” said Eric’s wife, Eliza. Entering a show that brought together a few celebrities struggling with substance abuse, for an actor trying to still work, it’s usually a kiss of death, but in his case, an interesting thing happened.
After leaving the show, Eliza called several producers and casting directors asking them if they would stop considering people who appeared on shows like “Celebrity Rehab,” to which everyone replied, “No, we are already looking at how to give them more support”.
Instead of being rejected, Eric was welcomed by the casting director, and some of the best series he filmed, says Eliza, he filmed after the show “Celebrity Rehab”.
An actor who used to be very promising, today he shoots more than ever, and he attributes his consistent, dedicated and obsessive work to his wife. He told her that he would be happiest if he could work as an actor every day. But, the main roles in big films stopped coming, so he started shooting B productions, and there was no shortage of offers.
“They arrived one after the other and I made 30 films at once in two or three years. But I started having fun working in the craft and I can do it every day, all day long. And then they started making fun of me, so I asked Eliza why they were doing that, ”Erik recalls.
“Because even when your shit you’re f****** great Eric”, his wife replied.
Suddenly he had 250 films behind him, and the joke that he would shoot everything became a joke “is there anything he can’t do”? He flatly turned down offers to record videos, but his wife Eliza said that, of course, he would record that as well.
And so he ended up in the “Killers” video, then Akon, and Mariah Carey. He gained a whole new audience, and it turned out that Rihanna is a big fan of Eric Roberts.
Although he is the busiest actor in America, Roberts no longer receives big offers
“In my opinion, Eric is a great actor. He uses himself in a very honest and unique way. It is more than what the character actor’s offer you, and perhaps one of the problems it faces: it is an extremely unique presence trapped in this beautiful exterior, ”says David Duchovny.
“Quentin knows that everyone longs for the cooperation of Tarantino – Eric Roberts – it makes sense at every level. He brought Travolta back, ”says Eliza.
“I think Quentin is calling me to tell me – no,” says Eric, adding that he has auditioned for the famous director four or five times.
“In this business, luck and real timing play a huge role. You know, it is very possible that there is someone at the moment, someone we have never heard of, who is writing the perfect film for Eric Roberts “, says Duchovny.
About the relationship with the famous sister Julia Roberts
“I was crazy about my sisters, I adored them. They were precious to me and there were times of great intimacy. We felt very protective of each other, but the hardest thing is to protect ourselves, ”says Eric, adding that his long-term drug abuse has distanced him from Julia.
“It was terribly exhausting to be around me. Regret, blame, inability to enjoy. Everyone in my world sometimes needed a break from me, and that certainly included Julia, ”Eric is honest.
When Julia and husband Danny Moder had twins in 2004, Eric and Eliza went to the hospital to leave presents.
“Instead, they took me into their room and I was immediately overwhelmed by the love of my brother and uncle,” reveals Eric, whose visit changed his relationship with his sister, and they now enjoy “Thanksgiving” together and often communicate by e-mail.
When asked about his daughter Amy Roberts, whom he got with actress Kelly Cunningham, Eric says, “If it weren’t for me, there would be no Julia Roberts and Emma Roberts as celebrities and I’m very proud of that. And I’m proud that everyone knows that I was the first, because I started filming a long time ago. “I was the first to receive nominations for the Golden Globe and the Oscar, which I am also proud of,” said Eric.
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