Craig Sheffer is an American actor and producer, who became famous for his roles in “A River Runs through It” and “One Tree Hill.”
Early life and family
Craig Eric Sheffer was born on 23 April 1960, in York, Pennsylvania USA, to a father who worked as a jail guard and as a scriptwriter, and a mother named Anna who worked in a nursing home. He was raised in Windsor Park; his parents encouraged him and his brother when they were still kids to follow their dreams, and become whoever they wanted to be.
His brother, Mark Wayne “Hogan” Sheffer, was an Emmy Award-winning soap opera writer. He was the head writer on CBS’ “As the World Turns” (2000-2005), NBC’s “Days of Our Lives” (2006-2008), and CBS’ “The Young and the Restless” (2008-2013). Hogan passed away at the age of 61 in 2019.
Happy Birthday Craig Sheffer, ex Ian Hayden (1982)
Craig matriculated from York Suburban High School, and attended East Stroudsburg State University for two years before he dropped out when he suffered a knee injury, and realized the futility of pursuing a career playing football.
Craig was persuaded by his girlfriend to move to New York, and went through a rough time when he later lost his job and girlfriend – he was homeless for three months, and had to sleep under the Grand Central Terminal marble staircase, living off Unification Church dinners. When he was able to resell newspapers, he’d sleep on a warm bed at Y.M.C.A. (Young Men’s Christian Association), instead of on top of his suitcase on the street so it wouldn’t get stolen.
It took him a year to acquire an agent to represent him, and eventually made his television debut in 1982 in “One Life to Live” as Ian Hayden, and his movie debut in 1984 in “Voyage of the Rock Aliens” as Frankie. After filming the movie, he was cast in the Broadway play, “Torch Song Trilogy,” taking over the role of Alan; the play won a Tony and Drama Desk Award.
He starred opposite Emilio Estevez in the movie “That was then…This Is Now” (1985), and although it received negative reviews from critics, it had some success at the box office with gross earnings of more than $8.5 million against a $3.5 million production budget. In 1987, he was part of one of the hit teen flicks at that time, entitled, “Some Kind of Wonderful,” which was criticized for being a tad unrealistic but still entertaining.
Craig has made more than 60 movies in various genres over almost four decades that he has been appearing in the big screen, mostly in lead roles but some supporting roles too.
“A River Runs Through It” was a drama produced and directed by Robert Redford in 1992, inspired by the autobiography of Norman Maclean published in 1976. Sheffer was called in to audition for a small part, and Redford was impressed and wanted to cast him but didn’t know which part to give him, so he kept calling him back until he finally decided to give him the lead role of Norman – Brad Pitt played the role of Paul, his younger brother. It grossed more than $40 million in the US, and was praised by critics.
He was part of the 1993 biopic sci-fi mystery “Fire in the Sky,” that received positive reviews from critics, and grossed almost $20 million on a budget of $15 million. It was based on the book, “The Walton Experience,” which was about the author Travis Walton’s own experience as he was allegedly abducted by aliens.
Sheffer played the role of Dr. Douglas on HBO’s war drama TV-movie, “Miss Evers’ Boys” in 1997, starring Laurence Fishburne as Caleb Humphries, Alfre Woodard as Nurse Evers, and Joe Morton as Dr. Brodus. It was based on a true story about the inhumane clinical study conducted from 1932 to 1972 by the government in Tuskegee, Alabama, on willing but not fully informed African-American males with and without syphilis.
The film was adapted from David Feldshuh’s stage play of 1992, and won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Made-For-Television Movie.
In 2019, he won Best Actor at the Crimson Screen Horror Film Festival for playing the lead in the horror-thriller “Widow’s Point,” which was the film adaptation of the book written by Richard Chizmar and his son Billy, and directed by Gregory Lamberson, who also wrote the screenplay. His daughter, Willow Anwar, was also in this film in the role of Rebecca. He is in another horror film, “Sarah,” still in the pre-production stage, suspended because of the Covid 19 pandemic.
Craig was in more than a dozen television series from 1982 to 2013.
He was the voice actor of the character Mick McAllister in the animated TV series “Teen Wolf,” which ran for two seasons (1986-1988) with 21 episodes. He was cast as Constant Bradley in the crime drama miniseries “A Season of Purgatory” in 1996, starring Patrick Dempsey and Sherilyn Fenn, and based on the New York Times bestseller novel of the same title by Dominick Dunne.
He was a series regular portraying the character of Keith Scott in the drama series “One Tree Hill”, that ran for nine seasons (2003-2012) with 187 episodes – he was in 58 of them. The series initially revolved around the lives of two brothers, Lucas and Nathan Scott, living in the fictional Tree Hill town in North Carolina. He said playing a good character might lack challenge, but that ‘it was a nice thing to play and come home at the end of the day because you don’t bring too much with you.’
In 2005, he was in episode six of Steven Spielberg’s “Into the West” miniseries, that earned 16 nominations from the Emmy Awards and won two of them. He also appeared in various television series as a guest star, including “Psych” and “Criminal Minds” in 2010, as well as “The Mentalist” and “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” in 2012.
Other stage productions he was part of include “Punchy,” “Fresh Horses,” “Death of a Salesman,” and “The Tempest.”
Sheffer was the producer of “Instant Karma” (1990), the executive producer of “Demolition Man” (1993) starring Sylvester Stallone and Wesley Snipes, and the associate producer of “Code of Honor” (2016) starring Steven Seagal.
He wrote the screenplay, directed and produced the straight‑to‑video comedy movie, “American Crude” in 2008.
Craig had been in a relationship with Gabrielle Anwar, 10 years his junior, from 1989 to 1996 and had a daughter with her named Willow Xylia Anwar in 1993. He later became godfather to Hugo and Paisley, her children with her ex-husband John Verea. Craig and Willow were seen together when they attended the premiere of “The Cinderella Story” in 2004. Gabrielle is an English-American actress, who is best remembered for dancing tango with the blind Lt. Col. Frank Slade played by Al Pacino, in the box-office hit “Scent of a Woman” in 1992, as well as for her role as Margaret Tudor in the historical series “The Tudors,” and as Rapunzel/Lady Tremaine on the fantasy series, “Once Upon A Time.”
He married Leigh Taylor-Young in 2003, but they divorced in 2004. She is 15 years his senior, and he had worked with her when he was cast as her son, Brian Chadway, in the TV series “The Hamptons” in 1983. Leigh made her TV debut in 1966 in “Peyton Place”, and her film debut in 1968 in the romantic comedy, “I Love You, Alice B. Toklas,” which earned her a nomination for the Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year. She played the role of Mayor Rachel Harris in CBS’ “Picket Fences”, and won an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, and was also nominated at the Golden Globe Award and Screen Actors Guild Award. She was in more than 70 movies and television series.
Sheffer is 60 years old – it’s not disclosed if he is currently in a relationship.
— People Convention (@peoplecons) November 12, 2017
Interesting facts and rumors
- A scene in the movie “The Program” (1993), in which Craig’s character Joe Kane, on a test of bravery, was lying down along the lane divider on the road with cars passing by barely missing him, became controversial when teenagers did the same thing after watching the film which resulted in one death and two injured. The said scene was deleted afterwards.
- Sheffer had a case of wanderlust early in his career; once he received his pay, he would travel to India or Europe for as long as six months. His agent told him that being gone too long or too often would make people forget him, and this wasn’t good for his career. Writing his autobiography in the early 1990’s had him reassessing his life, and drove him to focus on his work as an actor.
- Craig was 25 when he started writing, and it somewhat surprised him because he was more of an athlete than an academic. He also wrote a book of poetry.
- He was in his 20’s when he did a lot of partying, drinking, etc – he said that stage of his life was both ‘beautiful and torturous’, and that he learned so much about himself, the nature of people, and life in general.
- He reportedly had a nervous breakdown in 1985 that left him unable to leave his residence for many months.
- Sheffer’ was rumored to have been diagnosed with cancer in 1990, and went into remission in 1992. However, apparently this wasn’t true.
He is 6ft 2ins (1.88m) tall. He has dark brown hair and dark brown eyes.
Craig Sheffer has an estimated net worth of over $1 million as of June 2020, according to sources.