Steve Railsback

D.O.B: Nov 16, 1945 |  Dallas, Texas, USA

22Credit Score

Noted for his dangerous, chameleon-like portrayals while possessing the scariest-looking pair of eyes in the business, leathery-looking Steve Railsback has mesmerized us over the years with a number of weird, often warped roles both on film and television. While never achieving the degree of stardom deserved, he, like the equally infamous and unpredictable Dennis Hopper, always commands interest whether the material is good or inferior.

Biography

Noted for his dangerous, chameleon-like portrayals while possessing the scariest-looking pair of eyes in the business, leathery-looking Steve Railsback has mesmerized us over the years with a number of weird, often warped roles both on film and television. While never achieving the degree of stardom deserved, he, like the equally infamous and unpredictable Dennis Hopper, always commands interest whether the material is good or inferior. Born on Nevember 16, 1945 in Dallas, Texas, he was raised in Wichita Falls. Participation in a local college production of Cinderella at the age of 7 spurred his interest in acting. After graduating from high school, he took a job as a shoe salesman and eventually made enough money to leave his native Texas and relocate to New York in order to pursue acting in 1967. As a student of Lee Strasberg and the Actors Studio, Railsback was forced to work menial jobs in order to initially survive, but he eventually became a regular fixture in the New York theatre scene in the late 1960s/early 1970s, appearing in such stage productions as The Bluebird, Orpheus Descending and This Property Is Condemned. While working out at the Studio, he caught the attention of renowned director Elia Kazan, who noticed his strong potential, and offered the fledgling actor a showy role in the low-budget film The Visitors (1972). However, he returned to the theatre with roles in The Petrified Forest, One Sunday Afternoon and The Cherry Orchard before making his Broadway debut in the short-lived José Quintero-directed production of The Skin of Our Teeth starring Elizabeth Ashley in 1975. Following a second film role with James Woods in Cockfighter (1974) and the title role in the PBS piece Charlie Siringo (1976), Steve delivered one of the most shockingly vivid lead roles ever present in a miniseries with his all-consuming reincarnation of cult leader and mass murderer Charles Manson in Helter Skelter (1976). While the new guy on the block was unjustly ignored at Emmy time, Hollywood could not help but pay attention to this electrifying performer. Thanks primarily to Railsback, the miniseries was the highest-rated television movie at the time until Roots (1977) came along the following year. Eager to avoid the threat of being typecast in psycho parts, Steve complemented this infamous role with a much more humane performance in the miniseries From Here to Eternity (1979), tackling the role of Pvt.