Brian O'Halloran is a classic example of a guy who was in the right place at the right time. As a semi-pro stage actor, O'Halloran auditioned for a role in an independent film being shot on a starvation budget, and launched a successful collaboration with a man who would become one of America's most talked-about filmmakers.
Born and raised in New Jersey, Brian O'Halloran's father was an automotive engineer, and when he was young O'Halloran hoped to follow in his dad's footsteps. However, when O'Halloran was 15, his father passed away, and Brian became disenchanted with his original career choice. O'Halloran soon discovered acting, and became an active figure in his high school's theater department; when he moved on to college, O'Halloran remained active in student and community theater while taking acting classes, but late in his college career O'Halloran took a break from performing arts and took a job at a supermarket. After a couple of disenchanting years in retail, O'Halloran decided to get back into acting, and after diving back into stage work in 1993 he auditioned for a role in an independent film being shot in New Jersey by a first-time writer and director. The writer/director was Kevin Smith, and the film, Clerks, became one of the biggest independent film success stories of the decade, grossing over three million dollars on a production budget of 27,000 dollars and becoming a perennial favorite on home video. O'Halloran's performance as the cranky and often befuddled Dante Hicks was the linchpin of the movie, and he became a member of Smith's stock company, playing supporting roles (usually as characters with the surname Hicks) in Mallrats, Chasing Amy, Dogma, and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back for the director. O'Halloran also reprised the role of Dante by providing the voice for the character on the short-lived animated television series Clerks, as well as the commissioned-for-The Tonight Show with Jay Leno short The Flying Car. In 2006 O'Halloran tackled the role yet again in a the eagerly anticipated Clerks II. Kevin Smith's associate Bryan Johnson cast O'Halloran in the leading role of his first film, the controversial Vulgar, and O'Halloran has also wrapped roles in two independent films outside of Smith's View Askew universe, Groupies and Drop Dead Roses.