Stephen Dorff Jr. was born on July 29, 1973, in Atlanta, Georgia. He is the son of Steve Dorff, a country music composer who has worked with such luminaries as George Strait and Clay Walker, garnering multiple award nominations. She has also composed the soundtrack for several television shows, making her a true show business family. Steve and his wife have another son, Andrew, who is a songwriter like his father.
Although Dorff was born in Atlanta, his father’s job was primarily in Los Angeles, so the family moved there, and that’s where Dorff and his brother grew up. He attended various private schools in the area, mostly because he was constantly being kicked out. By Dorff’s own count, he was expelled at least five times from various schools in the Los Angeles area.
Despite his status as a troublemaker at school, casting directors in Hollywood seemed to love the fresh-faced boy, and Dorff soon became a child actor. It first appeared in various commercials for products such as Mattel toys and Kraft food. By the mid-1980s, he had turned to much bigger acting jobs, actively pursuing film and television roles. His first concert was a one-off guest appearance in 1985 on the popular television show “The New Leave it to Beaver.” The same year, he also landed a one-off guest gig as Scott on the classic comedy series “Diff’rent Strokes.”
Dorff didn’t get a single gig in 1986, but then returned to the fold in 1987, when he landed 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 film, it was a leading role that caught the attention of more casting directors, who were suddenly eager to cast Dorff in their films, even as his problems at school mounted.
The year 1988 was a big one for the young actor, who appeared in a total of four television movies. By 1989, he appeared again in guest roles on television, mixing those concerts with more television movies.
Many child actors find the transition to becoming adult actors difficult, and many misbehave and rebel, turning to drugs and alcohol to deal with their problems. Although Dorff was expelled from various schools, he was never arrested or used hard drugs, although he admits that he smoked and partied during his youth. He credits his mom and dad for keeping him in check and not allowing him to go completely insane.
Unlike many of his peers, Dorff seemed to easily transition into adult roles, especially in feature films. His big success that made him a genuine adult actor was as Stuart Sutcliffe in “Backbeat”, a biopic about the early days of the legendary band The Beatles. Dorff received rave reviews for his role as the tragic “fifth Beatle,” paving the way for him to land equally prestigious roles in future productions.
After “Backbeat”, Dorff began working at a furious pace, mainly on feature films, averaging three to four films a year. Some of his most notable work was in movies 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 really go to the next level, when he was cast as the lead vampire Deacon Frost in the vampire hit “Blade” starring Wesley Snipes. He received a lot of praise for his role as a villain, which was a huge departure from the roles he used to take.
He continued to work steadily on movies and even managed to appear in the occasional music video. Many wondered when the busy actor would settle down, but Dorff was in no rush to get married or have children. In fact, the actor, who is now 40 years old, has never been married and keeps his life private.
Dorff is still busy as ever, playing the title role in the 2013 crime drama “Officer Down” alongside “Bones” star David Boreanaz and action movie 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 role in the choral drama “Geography of the Heart.”