Willem Dafoe (born July 22, 1955) is a versatile American actor. He is a founding member of the experimental theatre company The Wooster Group.
Born William Dafoe Jr., in Appleton, Wisconsin, the seventh of eight children, he acquired the nickname "Willem" in childhood. He studied drama at the University of Wisconsin, but left before graduation in order to join the newly formed avant-garde group Theatre X. After touring with Theatre X for four years in the United States and Europe, he moved to New York City and joined the Performance Group, where he met director Elizabeth Lecompte . Lecompte and Dafoe left the Performance Group together and became both collaborators and life partners; they are not married, but have a son.
Dafoe's film career began in 1981, when he was cast in Heaven's Gate, but his role was removed from the film during editing. A year later he starred as the leader of a motorcycle gang in The Loveless , but his first breakthrough film role was as Sergeant Elias in Platoon (1986). He has since become a popular character actor; due to his harsh facial features, he is often typecast as unstable or villainous characters, most recently the Green Goblin in the Spider-Man movies. He also played Jesus in The Last Temptation of Christ (1988). He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in 1986 for the Platoon and 2000 for the Shadow of the Vampire.
Dafoe also worked briefly as a model in a 1990 Prada campaign.
In 2004 Dafoe lent his likeness and voice for the highly successful James Bond video game Everything or Nothing.