Lawrence Tierney

Highest Rated: 94% City of Hope (1991)
Lowest Rated: 0% The Horror Show (1989)
Birthday: Mar 15, 1919
Birthplace: Not Available
A one-time model with a long rap sheet of less-than-ideal behavior, character actor Lawrence Tierney nevertheless managed to amass scores of film credits over a five-decade acting career before he passed away in 2002. Born in Brooklyn, NY, five years before actor/ brother Scott Brady, Tierney excelled in high school track, winning a scholarship to Manhattan College. Rather than stay in school, however, Tierney dropped out and became an itinerant laborer before his looks brought him a job as a catalogue model. In the early '40s, Tierney began acting in theater and was subsequently signed by RKO. Strengthening his skills with supporting roles in such films as Val Lewton's moody thriller The Ghost Ship (1943) and early teen drama Youth Runs Wild (1944), Tierney sealed his fame, and his image, with his performance as the eponymous gangster in the superb B-picture Dillinger (1945). Cashing in on Dillinger's success, RKO slotted Tierney into numerous tough guy roles, including two turns as archetypal Western outlaw Jesse James in Badman's Territory (1946) and Best of the Badmen (1950), a murderer in cult noir Born to Kill (1947), a sociopath in The Devil Thumbs a Ride (1947), and a career criminal in The Hoodlum (1951). His B-movie stardom also garnered Tierney a typically villainous role in Cecil B. De Mille's Oscar-winner The Greatest Show on Earth (1952). Tierney became just as well known in this period, though, for his offscreen exploits involving copious booze and physical violence. Tierney was such a regular in the Los Angeles jail that cops assured fellow RKO star and hell-raiser Robert Mitchum after his famous 1948 drug arrest, "We're keeping Lawrence Tierney's cell warm for ya." By the mid-'50s, Tierney's roles were becoming smaller and scarcer. His professional situation unchanged despite appearing in John Cassavetes' praised mental hospital drama A Child Is Waiting (1963), Tierney moved to Europe but he continued to get in trouble with the law. After he returned to New York in the late '60s, Tierney supported himself with a variety of jobs, including bartending, and maintained his pugnacious, drunken ways; he was stabbed in a brawl in 1973 and questioned in connection with a woman's suicide in 1975. Still, Tierney managed to score the occasional acting gig, appearing in Otto Preminger's Such Good Friends (1971), Andy Warhol's Bad (1977), and the blockbuster comedy Arthur (1981). Dry by 1983, Tierney returned to Hollywood to resurrect his career in earnest, and soon landed regular work on TV as well as in movies. Along with a role on NBC's Hill Street Blues, Tierney also appeared in Star Trek: The Next Generation and played a sheriff in the TV movie Dillinger (1991). On film, Tierney was as comfortable in John Sayles' thoughtful drama City of Hope (1991) as in John Huston's esteemed Mafia black comedy Prizzi's Honor (1985) and the tastelessly hilarious The Naked Gun (1988); he drew attention for his vigorous turn as Ryan O'Neal's alcoholic father in Tough Guys Don't Dance (1987). Tierney's most memorable late-career performance, however, was his no-nonsense, dryly funny criminal mastermind Joe Cabot in Quentin Tarantino's heist film Reservoir Dogs (1992). His longevity assured by Dogs, Tierney remained active into the late '90s, appearing in the Arnold Schwarzenegger comedy Junior (1994) and stylish Tarantino rip-off 2 Days in the Valley (1996), as well as playing Joey Buttafuoco's father in the TV yarn Casualties of Love: The "Long Island Lolita" Story (1993). Following the crime drama Southie (1998) and playing hard-nosed oil driller Bruce Willis' gruff father in Armageddon (1998), Tierney's health began to fail. He died in his sleep in February 2002.

Highest Rated Movies



No Score Yet Evicted Actor 2004
No Score Yet Evicted Bob 2000
38% Armageddon Hollis Vernon `Grap' Stamper 1998
38% Southie Colie Powers 1998
59% 2 Days in the Valley Older Man 1996
36% Junior Mover 1994
No Score Yet Wizards of the Demon Sword Slave Master 1994
No Score Yet Fatal Passion Actor 1994
No Score Yet A Kiss Goodnight Sgt. Harwood 1994
No Score Yet Eddie Presley West 1992
91% Reservoir Dogs Joe Cabot 1992
94% City of Hope Kerrigan 1991
No Score Yet The Runestone Richardson 1991
No Score Yet Dillinger Sheriff Sarber 1991
No Score Yet The Death Merchant Actor 1991
86% Red Actor 1991
No Score Yet Why Me? Armenian Robber #1 1990
0% The Horror Show Warden 1989
40% Tough Guys Don't Dance Dougy Madden 1987
No Score Yet From a Whisper to a Scream Official at Execution 1987
No Score Yet Murphy's Law Cameron 1986
47% Stephen King's 'Silver Bullet' Owen Knopfler 1985
86% Prizzi's Honor Lt. Hanley 1985
No Score Yet Midnight (Backwoods Massacre) Actor 1982
No Score Yet Midnight Bert Johnson 1982
67% The Prowler Maj. Chatham 1981
88% Arthur Man in Coffee Shop 1981
No Score Yet Never Pick Up a Stranger Actor 1979
No Score Yet The Kirlian Witness Detective 1978
71% Andy Warhol's Bad O'Reilly/O'Crapface 1977
No Score Yet Abduction FBI Agent 1975
No Score Yet Naked Evil (Exorcism at Midnight ) Actor 1973
No Score Yet Such Good Friends Guard 1971
25% Custer of the West Gen. Philip Sheridan 1967
92% A Child Is Waiting Douglas Benham 1963
No Score Yet Female Jungle Det. Jack Stevens 1956
No Score Yet Singing In The Dark Biff 1956
45% The Greatest Show on Earth Henderson 1952
No Score Yet The Bushwhackers Actor 1952
No Score Yet The Bushwackers Sam Tobin 1952
No Score Yet The Hoodlum Vincent Lubeck 1951
No Score Yet Best of the Badmen Jesse James 1951
No Score Yet Hoodlum Actor 1951
No Score Yet Shakedown Coulton 1950
No Score Yet Bodyguard Michael C. 'Mike' Carter 1948
No Score Yet The Devil Thumbs a Ride Steve Morgan 1947
80% Born to Kill Sam Wild 1947
No Score Yet San Quentin Jim Roland 1946
No Score Yet Step by Step Johnny Christopher 1946
No Score Yet Badman's Territory Jesse James 1946
No Score Yet Back to Bataan Lt. Cmdr. Waite 1945
No Score Yet Dillinger John Dillinger 1945
No Score Yet Youth Runs Wild Duncan 1944
71% Ghost Ship Louie 1943
No Score Yet Mama Loves Papa Sharpe 1933


90% Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
  • 1997
No Score Yet ER
Johnson Mr. Johnson
  • 1996
85% The Simpsons
  • 1995
89% Seinfeld
Alton Benes
  • 1991
89% Star Trek: The Next Generation
Cyrus Redblock
  • 1988
No Score Yet Remington Steele
  • 1985