Stephen Lang

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Stephen Lang
Stephen Lang 2014.jpg
Lang in February 2014
Born (1952-07-11) July 11, 1952 (age 69)[1]
EducationGeorge School
Alma materSwarthmore College
OccupationActor, playwright
Years active1981–present
Spouse(s)Kristina Watson (m. 1980)
RelativesJane Lang (sister)

Stephen Lang (born July 11, 1952) is an American screen and stage actor, and playwright. He is known for roles in films including Manhunter (1986), Gettysburg, Tombstone (both 1993), Gods and Generals (2003), Public Enemies (2009) and Don't Breathe (2016). Outside of these roles, he has had an extensive career on Broadway, and has received a Tony Award nomination for his role in the 1992 production of The Speed of Darkness and won the Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in James Cameron's Avatar (2009). From 2004 to 2006, he was co-artistic director of the Actors Studio.

Early life and education[]

Lang was born in New York City, the youngest child of Theresa (née Volmar, d. 2008) and Eugene Lang (1919–2017), a prominent entrepreneur and philanthropist.[1] Lang's mother was a Catholic of German and Irish descent, while his father was Jewish. Lang's paternal grandparents were Jewish emigrants from Hungary and Russia.[2][3] He has two elder siblings—Jane, an attorney and activist, and David, who served as an executive at REFAC, the company their father founded in 1952.[2] Lang's father donated much of his net worth (in excess of $150 million) to charity and did not leave an inheritance to his children, believing they each needed to learn to become self-sufficient.[4]

Lang attended elementary school in Jamaica Estates, Queens.[5][6] His middle school was a New York City public school, George Ryan Junior High School, in nearby Fresh Meadows.[7] For high school, he attended George School, a Quaker boarding school in Newtown, PA and graduated from there a year early (1969). He graduated from Swarthmore College in 1973 with a degree in English Literature.


Lang with Senator Daniel Inouye
Lang (left) with Senator Daniel Inouye in 2005

Lang played Harold (Happy) Loman in the 1984 Broadway revival of Death of a Salesman and the 1985 television film with Dustin Hoffman as Willy Loman, and appeared in the first Hannibal Lecter film Manhunter (1986), as reporter Freddy Lounds.[8] He played attorney David Abrams in the television series Crime Story (1986–88). He played the title role in the NBC movie Babe Ruth (1991). He later played the "One Armed Man" in The Fugitive, the 2000 revival starring Tim Daly. The series was a modest success but lasted only one season because of its large production budget.

In 1992, he was nominated for a Tony Award for his lead role in The Speed of Darkness. His film role in Last Exit to Brooklyn (1989) garnered him widespread critical acclaim, but its limited release prevented the film from reaching a wider audience. On stage, he was the first to play the role of Colonel Nathan Jessup in A Few Good Men, a role made famous on film (1992) by Jack Nicholson. He is the winner of over half a dozen theatre awards including the Drama Desk and Helen Hayes awards.

In films, he played Maj. Gen. George E. Pickett in Gettysburg (1993) and the lead role of Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson in the Gettysburg prequel Gods and Generals (2003), both from director Ronald F. Maxwell. He considers Gods and Generals to be his finest performance. Arguably, his most famous film role, before Avatar, was his portrayal of the villainous Ike Clanton in the successful Western Tombstone (1993) with Kurt Russell and Val Kilmer.

Shortly before Arthur Miller's death in February 2005, Lang appeared in his long-time friend's last play, titled Finishing the Picture. It premiered in 2004 at Chicago's Goodman Theatre, where Lang had the second run of his own play, Beyond Glory, which had premiered in Arlington, Virginia, early in 2004, and his Tony-nominated portrayal for The Speed of Darkness. Lang also performed Beyond Glory, a one-man show, for troops deployed overseas.[9] In 2006, he played the role of Colonel Littlefield in John Patrick Shanley's play Defiance. He brought Beyond Glory to Roundabout's Off-Broadway Laura Pels Theatre in 2007.[10] Since its New York City premiere, Beyond Glory has been nominated for a Drama Desk Award and a Lucille Lortel Award both for outstanding solo performance.[11][12] A movie about the play has been produced and released.[13]

Lang has a role in the ESPN miniseries The Bronx Is Burning, as well as roles in independent features Save Me and From Mexico with Love. He plays a lead role in James Cameron's sci-fi epic Avatar as the villainous Colonel Quaritch.[14]

Lang at the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con International in San Diego, California, promoting Terra Nova.

In 2009, he appeared in Michael Mann's film Public Enemies as FBI Agent Charles Winstead,[15] the man widely considered to have fired the shots that killed John Dillinger[16][17] and in Grant Heslov's The Men Who Stare at Goats alongside Jeff Bridges, Kevin Spacey, Ewan McGregor, and George Clooney.[18]

Also in 2009, he narrated the audiobook Road Rage—which combines the short stories "Duel" by Richard Matheson and "Throttle" by Stephen King and Joe Hill—and guest-starred in the Law & Order: Criminal Intent season 8 finale, "Revolution" in the role of Axel Kaspers. In 2010 he performed the narration for "The Gettysburg Story: Battlefield Auto Tour,"[19] the top-selling audio tour of the Gettysburg Battlefield at Gettysburg National Military Park in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Written and produced by filmmaker Jake Boritt and based on works by historian Gabor Boritt it tells the story of the Battle of Gettysburg and Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address in Gettysburg National Cemetery. Lang is also the narrator of the companion public television documentary The Gettysburg Story presented by Maryland Public Television.

Lang played the villain Khalar Zym in the 2011 Conan the Barbarian reboot starring Jason Momoa.[20] He also played one of the leads, Nathaniel Taylor, in the Steven Spielberg-produced[21] TV series Terra Nova.[22]

In February 2012, he signed on to play Mary Shannon's estranged father in a three episode arc on the final season of the USA television series In Plain Sight.[23]

In 2013, Lang appeared in The Monkey's Paw for Chiller TV.

Lang has been confirmed as reprising his role as Colonel Miles Quaritch in the upcoming sequels to Avatar.[24]

He plays Increase Mather, in a recurring role, on WGN America's first original scripted series, Salem.[25]

Lang is part of the cast of AMC's martial-arts drama Into the Badlands. He played The Blind Man in Fede Álvarez's hit horror-thriller Don't Breathe (2016), which received positive reviews. He reprised the role in the sequel Don't Breathe 2 in 2021.[26][27]

In February 2016, Lang lobbied for the role Cable in Deadpool 2 through captioned Twitter pictures.[28] The role ultimately went to Josh Brolin. In 2017, he played Colonel Abraham Biggs in Hostiles, from director Scott Cooper. In 2018, he appeared as father of Joe Braven (Jason Momoa), Linden Braven in the action thriller film Braven, and played Shrike in Mortal Engines, which Peter Jackson produced for Universal Pictures and Media Rights Capital.[29][30][31]

Personal life and honors[]

On May 30, 2010, Swarthmore awarded him an honorary degree in recognition of his distinguished career in theatre, television, and film.[32] His youngest son, Noah, received his bachelor's degree during the same ceremony.[32] He also holds an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from Jacksonville University and was an artist in residence at Northeastern University in 2011.[33]

In the fall of 2015, Lang served as a Jury Member for the Woodstock Film Festival.[34]

He has been married to Kristina Watson since 1980.



Year Title Role Notes
1985 Twice in a Lifetime Keith
1986 Band of the Hand Joe Tegra
1986 Manhunter Freddy Lounds
1987 Project X Watts
1989 Last Exit to Brooklyn Harry Black
1991 The Hard Way The Party Crasher
1991 Another You Dibbs
1993 Guilty as Sin Phil Garson
1993 Gettysburg Maj. Gen. George E. Pickett
1993 The Making of Gettysburg Himself/Maj. Gen. George E. Pickett Video documentary
1993 Tombstone Ike Clanton
1995 Tall Tale Jonas Hackett
1995 The Amazing Panda Adventure Dr. Michael Tyler
1996 Loose Women Prophet Buddy
1996 Gang in Blue Moose Tavola
1996 An Occasional Hell Alex Laughton
1997 Shadow Conspiracy The Agent
1997 Niagara, Niagara Claude
1997 Fire Down Below Earl Kellogg
1998 Escape: Human Cargo Aramco Contractor
1999 The Story of a Bad Boy Spygo
2000 Trixie Jacob Slotnick
2001 The Proposal Simon Bacig
2002 D-Tox Jack Bennett
2002 The Making of Tombstone Himself/Ike Clanton
2003 The I Inside Mr. Travitt
2003 Code 11-14 Justin Shaw
2003 Gods and Generals Gen. Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson
2003 Gods and Generals: Journey to the Past Himself/Gen. Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson
2006 The Treatment Coach Galgano
2006 We Fight to Be Free James Craik
2007 Save Me Ted
2008 From Mexico with Love Big Al Stevens
2009 Public Enemies Charles Winstead
2009 The Men Who Stare at Goats General Hopgood
2009 Avatar Colonel Miles Quaritch Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated — Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie Villain
Nominated — Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie Fight (with Sam Worthington)
Nominated — MTV Movie Award for Best Villain
Nominated — MTV Movie Award for Best Fight (with Sam Worthington)
Nominated — Scream Award for Best Villain
2010 Christina Inspector Edgar Reinhardt
2010 False Creek Stories Narrator
2010 White Irish Drinkers Patrick Leary
2011 Conan the Barbarian Khalar Zym
2011 Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You Barry Rogers
2013 Officer Down Lieutenant Jake LaRussa
2013 Pawn Charlie
2013 The Gettysburg Story Himself/Narrator Documentary
2013 Pioneer John Ferris
2013 The Monkey's Paw Tony Cobb
2013 The Girl on the Train Det. Lloyd Martin
2014 The Nut Job King Voice
2014 In the Blood Casey
2014 Jarhead 2: Field of Fire Major James Gavins
2014 A Good Marriage Holt Ramsey
2014 Gutshot Straight Duffy
2014 23 Blast Coach Farris
2015 Exeter Father Conway
2015 Band of Robbers Injun Joe
2015 Gridlocked Korver
2015 Beyond Glory: Tour of Duty Himself Documentary
2015 Isolation William
2016 Don't Breathe Norman Nordstrom (The Blind Man)
2016 Beyond Valkyrie: Dawn of the 4th Reich Major General Emil F. Reinhardt
2017 Hostiles Colonel Abraham Biggs
2017 Justice Mayor Pierce
2018 Braven Linden Braven
2018 Mortal Engines Shrike
2018 The Gandhi Murder Sunil Raina
2019 VFW Fred Parras
2019 Rogue Warfare President
2019 Rogue Warfare 2: The Hunt President
2020 Rogue Warfare: Death of a Nation President
2020 Death in Texas John
2021 The Seventh Day Archbishop
2021 Don't Breathe 2 Norman Nordstrom (The Blind Man) Also executive producer
TBA Old Man Filming
2022 Avatar 2 Colonel Miles Quaritch[35] Post-production
2024 Avatar 3 Colonel Miles Quaritch[35] Post-production


Year Title Role Notes
1985 Death of a Salesman Happy TV movie
1986–1988 Crime Story Attorney David Abrams 26 episodes
1989 The Equalizer Joseph Morrison Episode: "Lullaby of Darkness"
1991 Babe Ruth Babe Ruth TV movie
1992 Taking Back My Life: The Nancy Ziegenmeyer Story Steven Ziegenmeyer
1993 Darkness Before Dawn Guy Grand TV Movie
1994 Baseball Various voices Documentary miniseries by Ken Burns
1995 The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Criminal Gun Shooter Episode: "Bullets Over Bel-Air"
1996 The West Various voices Documentary miniseries by Ken Burns
1997 The Outer Limits Dr. James Houghton Episode: "New Lease"
1997 Liberty! The American Revolution George Washington Voice; 6 episodes
1998 Escape: Human Cargo Dennis McNatt TV movie produced by Showtime.
2000 Running Mates Ron Noble (Financier) Uncredited
2000–2001 The Fugitive Ben Charnquist 5 episodes
2001 After the Storm Sergeant Major Jim TV movie
2002 Ed Jack Foster Episode: "Wheel of Justice"
2003 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Michael Baxter Episode: "Escape"
2005 Jonny Zero Officer Tanner Episode: "To Serve and to Protect"
2005 Law & Order Terry Dorn Episode: "New York Minute"
2007 The Bronx Is Burning Inspector Dowd 3 episodes
2008 Medal of Honor Narrator PBS documentary
2009 Law & Order: Criminal Intent Axel Kaspers Episode: "Revolution"
2009 Psych Mr. Salamatchia Episode: "Shawn Gets the Yips"
2011 Terra Nova Commander Nathaniel Taylor 13 episodes Lead Role
2012 In Plain Sight James Wiley Shannon 3 episodes
2014–2015 Salem Increase Mather 10 episodes
2015 To Appomattox John Brown Upcoming series
2015–2019 Into the Badlands Waldo 10 episodes
2019 The Rookie Chief Williams Episode: "The Checklist"
2021 The Good Fight David Cord 6 episodes


Year Title Role Notes
2018 Uncharted Live Action Fan Film Victor "Sully" Sullivan Fan Film

Video games[]

Year Title Role Notes
2009 James Cameron's Avatar: The Game Colonel Miles Quaritch
2013 Call of Duty: Ghosts Elias Walker[36]

Awards and nominations[]

Year Nominated work Award Category Result
1991 The Speed of Darkness Tony Award Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play Nominated
2003 Gods and Generals Grace Award for Acting N/A Won
2009 Avatar MTV Movie Award Best Fight (with Sam Worthington) Nominated
2009 Avatar MTV Movie Award Best Villain Nominated
2009 Avatar Saturn Award Best Supporting Actor Won
2009 Avatar Teen Choice Award Choice Movie: Fight (with Sam Worthington) Nominated
2009 Avatar Teen Choice Award Choice Movie: Villain Nominated
2016 Don't Breathe Fangoria Chainsaw Award Best Supporting Actor[37] Won


  1. ^ Jump up to: a b c "Stephen Lang Biography (1952-)". Archived from the original on 2010-02-04. Retrieved 2010-05-30.
  2. ^ Jump up to: a b Stark, John (1990-05-28). "Forgoing His Father's Millions, Stephen Lang Bootstraps to Acting Fame with the Help of a Few Good Men. Vol. 33. № 21.". Archived from the original on 2010-03-26. Retrieved 2010-05-30.
  3. ^ Panarello, Joseph. "The Multiple Personalities of Stephen Lang". Archived from the original on 2013-05-14. Retrieved 2009-08-12.
  4. ^ Breitman, Rachel; Jones, Del (2006-07-26). "Heirs not-so-apparent?". USA Today. Archived from the original on 2012-06-25. Retrieved 2017-09-15.
  5. ^ "Stephen Lang Biography - Yahoo! Movies". 1952-07-11. Archived from the original on 13 October 2007. Retrieved 2010-05-30.
  6. ^ Klein, Alvin (1998-04-19). "Stephen Lang, 'An Actor's Actor'". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-04-03.[failed verification]
  7. ^ Orion 1966 - Junior High School 216 Yearbook. Yearbook - distributed to graduates.: Faculty Press Inc., 1449 37th Street Brooklyn, NY 11218. 1966. p. 48.
  8. ^ "STEPHEN LANG - Bing Afbeeldingen". Archived from the original on July 14, 2012. Retrieved 2010-05-30.
  9. ^ "In Step With: Stephen Lang". Parade Magazine. June 5, 2005.
  10. ^ Daniel Henninger (2007-08-09). "Wonder Land -". Archived from the original on 2010-05-22. Retrieved 2010-05-30.
  11. ^ Dziemianowicz, Joe (2008-04-28). "Drama Desk nominees announced". New York: Retrieved 2010-05-30.
  12. ^ Lucille Lortel Awards; Lucille Lortel Foundation; Off-Broadway database. "Lucille Lortel Awards, Off-Broadway Awards". Archived from the original on February 6, 2010. Retrieved 2010-05-30.
  13. ^ McNary, Dave. "Stephen Lang's Medal of Honor Movie 'Beyond Glory' Picked Up by Gravitas". Variety Magazine. Retrieved 3 February 2020.
  14. ^ Thompson, Anne (2007-08-02). "Lang, Rodriguez armed for 'Avatar'". Variety. Archived from the original on 2012-06-08. Retrieved 2007-08-03.
  15. ^ "Crudup to play Hoover in 'Public' - Entertainment News, Film News, Media". Variety. 2008-04-02. Archived from the original on 2009-05-23. Retrieved 2010-05-30.
  16. ^ Biffle, Kent (6 August 2005). "Who drilled Dillinger? Credit goes to Texan". The Dallas Morning News. Archived from the original on July 12, 2009. Retrieved 15 July 2009.
  17. ^ Matera, Dary (1933-05-22). John Dillinger: The Life and Death ... - Google Books. ISBN 9780786715589. Retrieved 2010-05-30.
  18. ^ Kit, Borys (2008-10-10). "Rebecca Mader joins 'Goats' herd". Archived from the original on October 13, 2008. Retrieved 2010-05-30.
  19. ^ "Home - The Gettysburg Story". The Gettysburg Story.
  20. ^ Frappier, Rob. "Stephen Lang Talks 'Conan' Remake" Archived 2010-10-08 at the Wayback Machine Screen Rant; June 29, 2010
  21. ^ Sweney, Mark. "Fox unveils Steven Spielberg's Terra Nova as it hunts for new Simon Cowell" Archived 2016-12-01 at the Wayback Machine The Guardian; May 18, 2010
  22. ^ Rice, Lynette. "Stephen Lang joins Fox's 'Terra Nova'" Archived 2010-09-18 at the Wayback Machine Entertainment Weekly; September 14, 2010
  23. ^ Hmybrd. "Stephen Lang Cast as Mary's Father on In Plain Sight". TV Fanatic. Archived from the original on 2012-02-11. Retrieved 2012-02-08.
  24. ^ Mike Fleming Jr. "James Cameron Books Stephen Lang For Next 3 Avatar Films - Deadline". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on 2013-10-26. Retrieved 2013-10-23.
  25. ^ The Deadline Team. "Stephen Lang Joins WGN America's 'Salem'". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on 2014-05-02. Retrieved 2014-05-04.
  26. ^ Rebecca Ford (18 June 2015). "Stephen Lang, Jane Levy Join Fede Alvarez's Thriller (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on 2015-11-13. Retrieved 2015-06-29.
  27. ^ Jeff Sneider (12 May 2015). "'Avatar's' Stephen Lang Joins AMC's 'Into the Badlands,' Returns to 'Salem' (Exclusive)". TheWrap. Archived from the original on 2015-07-15. Retrieved 2015-06-29.
  28. ^ Michael Martin (February 14, 2016). "Deadpool 2: Avatar's Stephen Lang Lobbies for Cable Role". IGN. Retrieved August 28, 2016.
  29. ^ "Stephen Lang, Jihae, Newcomer Leila George Join Peter Jackson's 'Mortal Engines' (Exclusive)". Archived from the original on 2017-06-08. Retrieved 2017-03-17.
  30. ^ "Stephen Lang Joins Jason Momoa in Action Movie 'Braven' (Exclusive)". Archived from the original on 2016-10-12. Retrieved 2016-09-29.
  31. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (27 July 2016). "Ben Foster Rounds Out Scott Cooper's 'Hostiles' Cast As Shooting Starts". Archived from the original on 2017-09-05. Retrieved 2016-09-29.
  32. ^ Jump up to: a b Attendee of the ceremony for his son Sergio's graduation, Ricardo V Rivas, EA, president of the Texas Society of Enrolled Agents and Archived 2010-04-08 at the Wayback Machine
  33. ^ Stephen Lang Archived 2012-12-05 at the Wayback Machine
  34. ^ "Woodstock Film Festival - 2014 MAVERICK Awards". Archived from the original on 2016-01-13. Retrieved 2016-01-12.
  35. ^ Jump up to: a b Max Evry (August 8, 2017). "Colonel Quaritch Will be the Main Villain in the Avatar Sequels". Retrieved September 30, 2017.
  36. ^ "Brandon J. Routh and Stephen Lang confirmed as one of voice actors for Ghosts". Charlie INTEL. Archived from the original on 2013-10-04. Retrieved 2013-10-04.
  37. ^ "Never mind Oscar, here's the 2017 FANGORIA Chainsaw Awards Nominees Ballot!". FANGORIA®. Archived from the original on 2017-08-06. Retrieved 14 February 2017.

External links[]

Preceded by
Estelle Parsons
Vacant (2003–2004)
Artistic Director of the Actors Studio
With: Carlin Glynn
and Lee Grant
Succeeded by
Carlin Glynn
Lee Grant
Retrieved from ""