The Croatian actor became involved with local theater at age 9 and tackled Shakespearean stage roles before segueing to film and TV parts in his homeland. With war approaching, Visnjic became a paratrooper and served in the Yugoslav army before enlisting in the Croatian army at age 18. When his service was over, Visnjic attended the Academy of Dramatic Arts in Zagreb and, at age 21, landed the lead in Hamlet
at the National Theatre, a part he held on-and-off for seven years. After a talent agent spotted him in Welcome to Sarajevo
, he went to Hollywood and took notable English-speaking roles in the films The Peacemaker
and Practical Magic
. This exposure led to his being cast as the brooding Dr. Luka Kovac beginning in the sixth season of the popular medical drama ER
. Married to a Croatian sculptor, Visnjic maintains strong ties to his native country and continues to act in Croatian—as well as Hollywood—projects.Goran Visnjic Fast Facts:
- Made film debut at age 16 before serving in Croatian and Yugoslavian armies.
- At 21 played the lead in Shakespeare's Hamlet at the Dubrovnik Summer Festival and won three national Best Actor Awards and an Orlando (which is comparable to a Tony Award).
- Appeared in commercials for Tuborg beer.
- Had a breakthrough role as Risto Bavic in 1997's Welcome to Sarajevo.
- Featured in Madonna's 1998 video "The Power of Good-bye."
- Named People magazine's Sexiest Import in 1999 and one of TV's Sexiest Men by TV GUIDE in 2005.
- Worked with PETA and Animal Friends Croatia on PETA's first anti-fur campaign in eastern Europe.
- Goran Visnjic Relationships:
- Vigo Leo Visnjic - Son
- Ivana Visnjic - Wife
- Zeljko Visnjic - Father
- Lana Lourdes Visnjic-Rupic - Daughter
- Josko Visnjic - Brother
- Tin Visnjic - Son
- Mirela Rupic - Ex-significant Other
- Goran Visnjic Awards:
- 2000 Screen Actors Guild Awards: Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series - Nominee
- 1999 Screen Actors Guild Awards: Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series - Nominee
- Attended Academy of Dramatic Arts, Zagreb, Croatia