Stephen Dorff Jr. was born on July 29, 1973, in Atlanta, Georgia. He is the son of Steve Dorff, a country music songwriter who has worked with such luminaries as George Strait and Clay Walker, garnering multiple awards nominations. He also has composed the score for several television shows, making this a true show business family. Steve and his wife have another son, Andrew, who is a songwriter just like his father.
Though Dorff was born in Atlanta, his father’s work was largely in Los Angeles, so the family relocated there, and that is where Dorff and his brother were raised. He attended several private schools in the area, mostly because he kept getting kicked out of them. By Dorff’s own count, he was expelled at least five times from various schools in the Los Angeles area.
Despite his troublemaker status at school, casting directors in Hollywood seemed to love the fresh-faced kid, and Dorff soon became a child actor. He was first cast in several commercials for products such as Mattel toys and Kraft foods. By the mid-1980s, he had turned to much bigger acting gigs, actively pursuing film and television roles. His first gig was a one-time guest appearance in 1985 on the popular television show “The New Leave it to Beaver.” The same year, he also got a one-time guest gig as Scott on the classic comedy series “Diff’rent Strokes.”
Dorff didn’t land a single gig in 1986, but then came back into the fold in 1987, when he got his first part in a television movie called “In Love and War” with Jane Alexander and James Woods. Later that year, he also landed his first feature film, a horror movie called “The Gate.” Not only was it his first major motion picture, it was a lead role that got him noticed by more casting directors, who were suddenly eager to cast Dorff in their films, even as his troubles at school mounted.
The year 1988 was a big one for the young actor, who was cast in a total of four made-for-television movies. By 1989, he was appearing in guest roles on television again, mixing those gigs in with more television movies.
Many child actors find the transition to becoming adult actor to be a hard one, and many act out and rebel, turning to drugs and alcohol to deal with their issues. Although Dorff was kicked out of several schools, he never got arrested or did any hard drugs, though he does admit to smoking and partying during his youth. He credits his mom and dad with keeping him in check and not allowing him to go completely wild.
Unlike many of his peers, Dorff seemed to transition easily into adult roles, especially in feature films. His big breakout that made him a bona fide adult actor was as Stuart Sutcliffe in “Backbeat,” a biopic about the early days of legendary band The Beatles. Dorff received rave reviews for his turn as the tragic “fifth Beatle,” paving the way for him to get equally prestigious roles in future productions.
After “Backbeat,” Dorff began working at a torrid pace, mostly in feature films, averaging between three and four films each year. Some of his more notable work was in films like “I Shot Andy Warhol,” where he played the person who literally shot Andy Warhol. However, it wasn’t until 1998 that his career would truly enter the next level, when he was cast as head vampire Deacon Frost in the vampire hit ” Blade ” starring Wesley Snipes. He got much acclaim for his villainous turn, which was a big departure from the roles he usually took.
He continued to work steadily in films, and even managed to pop up in the occasional music video. Many wondered when the busy actor would settle down, but Dorff was in no hurry to marry or have kids. In fact, the actor, who is now in his 40s, has never married and keeps his life very private.
Dorff is still busy as ever, taking the lead role in the crime drama “Officer Down” in 2013 opposite “Bones” star David Boreanaz and action film star Stephen Lang. In 2014, he is scheduled to appear in at least two films, the lead in “Oliver’s Deal” with David Strathairn and a part in the ensemble drama “Geography of the Heart.”