Thompson in 2017
Brian Earl Thompson
August 28, 1959
Ellensburg, Washington, U.S.
Brian Earl Thompson (born August 28, 1959) is an American actor. Thompson has worked in the action adventure and science fiction genres where his stature and unique appearance often lends him to imposing roles, although he has earned many comedic parts as well. His career began with a small role in the 1984 film The Terminator. His second feature was the hit comedy The Three Amigos. He played the villainous "Night Slasher" in the 1986 film Cobra. His first named role was on Werewolf, a horror series that ran during Fox's inaugural broadcasting year of 1987-1988. Thompson has played several characters in the Star Trek franchise, the Alien Bounty Hunter on The X-Files, and Eddie Fiori on Kindred: The Embraced. In 2014, he produced, wrote and starred in the B movie parody The Extendables.
Thompson was born in Ellensburg, Washington, and raised in Longview. He attended Central Washington University, where he studied business management, played football, and appeared in many school productions. He then moved to California and received a Master of Fine Arts from the University of California, Irvine. He initially trained and pursued a career in musical theater, performing at Riverside Civil Light Opera's production of "The King and I", Long Beach Civic Light Opera's "Bittersweet", and several other musicals. In 1982, he was a resident actor at the Colorado Shakespeare Festival.
Thompson's athletic build and unique facial structure were key in the initial roles he was offered. He has stated that it has occasionally been a double-edged sword when it comes to auditioning for roles, but it has provided him with consistent work. Thompson said, "If you're very physical in stature, you're gonna get hired for action movies. The star's always going to be chasing someone so they need an equal adversary. I'm never going to play a nebbish geek."
He followed that up with roles on Moonlighting, Otherworld, Street Hawk and Knight Rider before landing the role in the Sylvester Stallone vehicle, Cobra (1986). Although the film was critically panned, it was a commercial success. The New York Times wrote of Thompson's portrayal, "the archvillain, a character that is a cross between a James Bond fantasy villain such as Jaws and a raging psychopath, delivers a scorching monologue - a feat of linguistic sophistication that Cobra would have a hard time matching."
In 1993, Thompson landed another comedic role on the large ensemble series Key West which was filmed on location in the Florida Keys. The series lasted for 13 episodes. He played a "new-age sheriff", which Thompson stated was the favorite role of his career. The character uttered the introductory line, "I'm Sheriff Cody Jeremiah Jefferson. I'm a direct descendant of Wyatt Earp and the Lone Ranger. My personal heroes are Ted Nugent, Buddha and Davy Crockett. I am the last real lawman and the first peace officer of the 21st century."
The following year, Thompson began his tenure on The X-Files and followed that with roles in the science fiction-fantasy series Seven Days, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Charmed. Between these, Thompson made dozens of appearances in other series and films. In 1996, he appeared in Dragonheart as the commander of the armies of David Thewlis' villainous king. The fantasy film, starring Dennis Quaid and Sean Connery, was a moderate success.
Thompson then returned to the big screen as lead antagonist Shao Kahn in the film adaptation of Mortal Kombat: Annihilation. The film was both a critical and commercial failure, with a 3% approval rating at Rotten Tomatoes.The New York Times called it "colossal compendium of logic-defying martial arts, noisy, hyperactive special effects..." In 2014, Thompson released The Extendables, a film he produced, wrote, and starred in. A parody of movies like The Expendables, Thompson stated that it contained true-to-life instances from his own career. It was released via iTunes.
In 1989, Thompson landed his first Star Trek role on Star Trek: The Next Generation. His size worked against him at first, because the producers were originally looking to cast someone who could fit in a certain costume. He was able to convince them to give him a try: "That was the first of five auditions that I've had for Star Trek and they've hired me every time." Thompson played a Klingon in the episode "A Matter of Honor". In 1993 and 1996, he appeared in episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine as different characters. In 1994, he appeared in the feature film Star Trek Generations.
In 2005, Thompson was cast as Admiral Valdore in three episodes of Star Trek: Enterprise. Thompson has since participated, to some extent, in Star Trek fandom, giving narrative DVD extras and appearing at conventions.
|1984||The Terminator||Street Punk||Small role|
|1986||Cobra||Night Slasher||Main villain|
|1986||Three Amigos||Thug||A lackey of the German|
|1988||Fright Night Part 2||Bozworth||Bug-eating lackey|
|1988||Alien Nation||Trent Porter|
|1988||Miracle Mile||Helicopter Pilot|
|1990||Lionheart||Russell / Roc|
|1990||Moon 44||Jake O'Neal|
|1991||Life Stinks||Mean Victor|
|1992||Doctor Mordrid||Kabal||Main villain, an evil wizard|
|1992||Rage and Honor||Conrad Drago||Main Villain,an evil martial arts expert|
|1993||The Naked Truth||Bruno|
|1994||Star Trek Generations||Klingon Helmsman|
|1997||Mortal Kombat: Annihilation||Shao Kahn||Main antagonist|
|2000||Jason and the Argonauts||Hercules||Television miniseries|
|2001||Joe Dirt||Buffalo Bob||Parodies the Buffalo Bill role from The Silence of the Lambs|
|2001||The Order||Cyrus Jacob||Main villain|
|2007||Fist of the Warrior||Max|
|2007||Flight of the Living Dead: Outbreak on a Plane||Kevin|
|2014||The Extendables||Vardell Duseldorfer||With Mark Dacascos, Kevin Sorbo, Martin Kove, Patrick Warburton, Gary Graham and Marisa Ramirez|
|2016||Beyond the Game|
|2017||Dark Games||Detective Joe Grimes|
|2017||Big Muddy||Wyatt Cooper|
|2017||I Am That Man||Halpin|
|1984||Hardcastle and McCormick||Police Officer||Episode: "Ties My Father Sold Me"|
|1985||Knight Rider||Kurt||Episode: "Sky Knight"|
|1988||Favorite Son||Rolf Petersen||3 episodes|
|1988||Werewolf||Nicholas Remy||6 episodes|
|1989||Star Trek: The Next Generation||Klingon Officer Klag||Episode: "A Matter of Honor"|
|1990||Alien Nation||Peter Rabbit||Episode: "Rebirth"|
|1993||Key West||Sheriff Cody Jeremiah Jefferson||13 episodes|
|1993||Star Trek: Deep Space Nine||Inglatu||Episode: "Rules of Acquisition"|
|1994||The X-Files||Alien Bounty Hunter||Episodes: "Colony", "End Game", and 7 more episodes|
|1995||Hercules: The Legendary Journeys||Goth the Barbarian||Episode: "Siege at Naxos"|
|1996||Star Trek: Deep Space Nine||Toman'torax||Episode: "To the Death"|
|1996||Kindred: The Embraced||Eddie Fiori||6 episodes as the leader of the Brujah clan of vampires|
|1997||Buffy the Vampire Slayer||Luke||Episodes: "Welcome to the Hellmouth", "The Harvest"|
|1998||NYPD Blue||Todd||Episode: "Czech Bouncer"|
|1998||Buffy the Vampire Slayer||The Judge||Episodes: "Surprise", "Innocence"|
|2000||Charmed||Horseman of War||Episode: "Apocalypse, Not"|
|2002||Birds of Prey||The Crawler||Episode: "Split"|
|2003||Charmed||Titan Cronos||Episode: "Oh My Goddess (Part 1 & 2)"|
|2004||NCIS||Master Chief Vince Nutter||Episode: "The Truth is Out There"|
|2005||Star Trek: Enterprise||Romulan Admiral Valdore||3 episodes|
|2009||Chuck||Cliff Arculin / Cliff Siljak||Episode: "Chuck Versus the Suburbs"|
|2012||Californication||Mr. Scary||Episode: "At the Movies" (Directed by Helen Hunt)|
|2012||Spirit of a Denture||Captain Jasper Crow||With Kevin Spacey|
|2014||Hawaii Five-0||IA Detective Nicholas Cruz||Episode: "Hana Lokomaika'i"|
|2017||The Orville||Drogen||Episode: "Into the Fold"|
|2018-19||9-1-1||Captain Vincent Gerrard||2 episode|