Lawrence Tierney - Rotten Tomatoes

Lawrence Tierney

Highest Rated:   94% City of Hope (1991)
Lowest Rated:   0% The Horror Show (1989)
Birthday:  
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

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT BOX OFFICE YEAR
No Score Yet Evicted
  • Actor
2004
No Score Yet Evicted
  • Bob
2000
39% Armageddon
  • Hollis Vernon `Grap' Stamper
1998
38% Southie
  • Colie Powers
1998
59% 2 Days in the Valley
  • Older Man
1996
34% 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
90% 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
39% 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
88% Prizzi's Honor
  • Lt. Hanley
1985
No Score Yet Midnight (Backwoods Massacre)
  • Actor
1982
No Score Yet Midnight
  • Bert Johnson
1982
60% The Prowler
  • Maj. Chatham
1981
90% 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
91% 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
44% 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

TV

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
No Score Yet Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
1993-1999
  • Regent
  • 1997
No Score Yet ER
1994-2009
  • Johnson Mr. Johnson
  • 1996
No Score Yet The Simpsons
1989
  • Voice
  • 1995
No Score Yet Seinfeld
1989-1998
  • Alton Benes
  • 1995
  • 1991
No Score Yet Star Trek: The Next Generation
1987-1994
  • Cyrus Redblock
  • 1988

Quotes from Lawrence Tierney's Characters