Thomas Ian Griffith
March 18, 1962
Hartford, Connecticut, United States
Actor, Producer, Dancer, Pianist, Screenwriter
Mary Page Keller
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The cliched description of tall, dark and handsome can apply to many actors, but in the case of Thomas Ian Griffith it is an appropriate one. With his shoulder-length tresses, sparkling blue eyes and lean, 6'5" muscular physique, the actor cuts an imposing figure. Trained as a musician and a dancer, Griffith spent part of his youth traveling throughout Great Britain and Ireland performing tradition Irish step dancing. He dropped out of college to pursue a stage career, landing his first gig as a dancing football player in the Broadway hit "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" in 1979. Several years of chorus work and small roles followed before the handsome player got his first break and his first taste of stardom playing Caitlin Ewing on the NBC daytime drama "Another World." After three years (1983-86) of playing a romantic lead on the soap (cast opposite real-life significant other Mary Page Keller), Griffith headed to the West Coast. He landed his first film role partly because his background fit the character. Griffith holds a black belt in karate so he was more than comfortable cast as a martial arts expert with a sadistic streak who takes on Ralph Macchio in "The Karate Kid III" (1989). In order to prove his versatility, the actor undertook the demanding title role in the NBC biopic "Rock Hudson" (1990), earning generally positive notices for his portrayal of the screen legend.In a bid for more control over his career, Griffith branched out into producing and scriptwriting starting with the martial arts-themed "Night of the Warrior" (1991). He continued to appear, write and produce genre fare like that over the next several years, although the films tended to received limited release or were consigned to the video shelves. In 1997, Griffith landed another villainous role as the nemesis to Kevin Sorbo's "Kull the Conqueror." While he proved a suitable foil in that sword and sorcery epic, the film itself tanked at the box-office. But the actor appeared to have found his mettle; his next role was Valek, the 600-year old leader of a band of the undead, in "John Carpenter's Vampires." With his dancer's training and sexy charisma, Griffith cut a memorable figure of evil and proved a worthy opponent to James Woods' vampire hunter.