Early life, family, educational background
American actor Christopher Sarandon Jr. was born on 24 July 1942, in Beckley, West Virginia, USA. His parents were restaurateurs Cliffie (née Cardullias) and Christopher ‘Chris’ Sarandon. His father was born in Istanbul, Turkey, and his surname was originally ‘Sarondonethes’, but both of Christopher’s parents are of Greek descent. His mother was born in Norfolk, Virginia, and her parents were Greek immigrants. Christopher was raised along with his brother, John Peter Sarandon.
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He matriculated in 1960 from Woodrow Wilson High School in Beckley; while in school, he sang back-up and played the drums in a local band called The Teen Tones.
Wishing a happy birthday to the suavest vampire we know… CHRIS SARANDON.
The band toured with and opened for artists such as Gene Vincent, Bobby Darin, and Danny and the Juniors.
He graduated magna cum laude from West Virginia University with a degree in speech after which he attended The Catholic University of America (CUA) in Washington, D.C., and earned his master’s degree in theatre. While at CUA, he appeared in musical productions, including in “The Musical Man” as Harold Hill.
Chris has switched easily between stage, TV and films throughout his career, and deliberately accepting roles in various genre.
After graduating from university, he toured with improvisational companies and joined regional theatre. In 1998 Christopher shared the influence who encouraged him to major in theater -in a magazine interview, he spoke about Professor Emeritus Charles Neel, and his folklore lecturer at West Virginia University Professor Patrick Ward Gainer. Professor Neel suggested that Christopher major in theater and ‘… after a couple of productions, there was no turning back.’
His theater debut was in “Honey in the Rock” at Theatre West Virginia’s Grandview, appearing in the historical drama for three seasons while portraying several roles, including Stonewall Jackson, a sentry, a New River settler, and a newsreader. He also sang and danced.
His professional debut was in 1965 in the play “The Rose Tattoo.” Afterwards he joined the Long Wharf Theatre Company for a season.
He appeared in Broadway plays such as “The Two Gentlemen of Verona” as Proteus, and “The Rothschilds” as Jacob Rothschild. He regularly appeared in George Bernard Shaw and Shakespeare festivals held in Canada and the United States.
In 1991 he appeared in “Nick & Nora,” a short-lived Broadway musical based on the film “The Thin Man”, alongside Monty Hall’s daughter, Joanna Gleason.
In 2006 he played in the Broadway musical “The Light in the Piazza” at the Lincoln Center, as Signor Naccarelli – the play received six Tony awards. He has most recently appeared as Comte de Guiche in “Cyrano de Bergerac” with Jennifer Garner, Kevin Kline and Daniel Sunjata.
He performed in an off-Broadway production of “Preludes” in 2016, and played several characters in the Dave Malloy musical, including Tchaikovsky, Leo Tolstoy, Anton Chekhov, The Master, Alexander Glazunov, and Tsar Nicholas II.
He is a member of the Advisory Board for the Greenbrier Valley Theatre in Lewisburg, West Virginia.
From 1969 to 1973, Christopher played Dr. Tom Halverson in “Guiding Light,” having moved to New York City in 1968 just before his audition for the show. He wanted to avoid being typecast as a villain, so in 1980 he played Christ in “The Day Christ Died,” a made-for-television movie. That same year, he appeared in another television movie, “A Tale of Two Cities,” as Charles Darnay and Sydney Carton, receiving accolades for his role as the latter.
In 1986 he played Jacque Marchant in the television movie “Liberty”, which is about the Statue of Liberty being made for New York City.
From 2000 to 2002, he played Dr. Burke in NBC’s longest-running medical drama “E.R.”, actually making many television appearances throughout the 2000s. For six episodes of “Judging Amy,” he played superior court judge Barry Krumble; he also appeared in “Charmed” as Armand, the Necromancer demon.
In 1975 Christopher played Al Pacino’s transgender wife, Leon Shermer, in “Dog Day Afternoon,”a performance which earned him nominations for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, and a Golden Globe for Best New Male Star of the Year.
His last two film roles in the 1970s were as Gordon Stuart in the 1976 thriller “Lipstick”, and a demon, Michael Lerman, in “The Sentinel” in 1977.
He co-starred alongside Dennis Hopper in “The Osterman Weekend” as Joseph Cardone in 1983, which was based on the eponymous novel by Robert Ludlum. The following year he co-starred as Michael Ransome alongside Goldie Hawn in “Protocol”.
Christopher played a vampire, Jerry Dandridge, in the 1985 horror, “Fright Night.”, being nominated for a Saturn Award for Best Actor. In 2011 he made a cameo appearance as Jay Dee in the remake, which shares the original film’s name.
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In 1987 he played Prince Humperdinck in “The Princess Bride,” produced by Rob Reiner, and considered Christopher’s most famous role in films. The following year, he portrayed Detective Mike Norris in “Child’s Play.”
In 1991 he played Charles Dexter Ward/Joseph Curwen in “The Resurrected”, a performance which earned him a nomination for the Chainsaw Award for Best Supporting Actor. He voiced the main character, Jack Skellington, in Tim Burton’s 1993 animated Disney film, “The Nightmare Before Christma, a role which he’s reprised since in several forms, including in the Capcom sequel “Oogie’s Revenge,” as well as in Disney/Square video games “Kingdom Hearts” and “Kingdom Hearts II.”
Other reprises included Disneyland Halloween attractions, and events such as the Frightfully Fun Parade, Halloween Screams, and the Haunted Mansion Holiday, a three-month overlay when the actors recreated the movie – Jack and his friends took control of the mansion and tried to take over Christmas. In the 1993 film, Christopher voiced Jack for his speaking lines, but composer Danny Elfman sang for the character. In the video game spin-off “Oogie’s Revenge,” Christopher also sang for Jack.
While attending The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., he met Susan Tomalin. They married on 16 September 1967, a union which lasted for 12 years until they divorced on 20 September 1979. Susan kept Christopher’s surname because she had already appeared in several film and television roles, and was gaining recognition and a reputation.
She has never remarried, but she has children, a daughter, Eva Amurri, who is also an actress with Italian filmmaker, Franco Amurri, and two sons with fellow actor Tim Robbins, Miles Guthrie Robbins, and Jack Henry Robbins. She became a famous actress, and as of mid-2020 has an estimated net worth of over $50 million.
On 4 October 1980, Christopher married fashion model Lisa Ann Cooper; they have two daughters and one son together, Stephanie born in 1982, Alexis in 1984 and Michael in 1988. After nine years of marriage, they divorced on 15 January 1989.
On 22 July 1994, he married singer and actress Joanna Gleason, which made him the brother-in-law of Richard and Sharon Hill and the son-in-law of Marilyn and Monty Hall.
Christopher and Joanna met in 1991 while both were performing in the short-lived Broadway musical “Nick & Nora.” In 1998 they returned to the stage together in “Thorn and Bloom”, and they’ve appeared in several films together too, including “Edie & Pen” in 1996, “American Perfekt” in 1997, and 1999’s “Let the Devil Wear Black.”
In October 2007, they bought a rambling vintage home in Fairfield County, Connecticut.
Chris has dark brown eyes and brown hair, which is graying. He is 6ft 1in (1.85m) tall.
Net worth and salary
Christopher’s net worth is estimated at over $5 million, as of mid-2020.