- Made professional stage debut in David Rabe's Sticks and Bones in 1971, two weeks after graduating from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York.
- While filming 1987's RoboCop, had to endure six and a half hours of prosthetic makeup, plus an hour and a half of getting into the suit, putting in an eight-hour day before filming could begin.
- Plays jazz trumpet in a group called Three Guys from Italy, with Jeff Goldblum on keyboards.
- Has an avid interest in ancient Rome and lectures on the subject as an occasional professor at Syracuse University.
- Enjoys traveling and learning about other cultures.
- Education is an issue he uses his celebrity status to draw attention to, particularly pre-school and early-elementary education.
- Participates in celebrity golf tournaments.
- Portraying the lead in RoboCop (1987) was his breakout role; in 2010, he portrayed a cop again in several episodes of Dexter.
- 1993, Oscar — Best Short Film, Live Action: Nominee
- 2010, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series: Nominee
- 1992, Genie Awards — Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role: Nominee
- 2003, Independent Spirit Awards — Best Supporting Male: Nominee
- Dorothy Weller — Mother
- Sheri Stowe — Wife
- Frederick Weller — Father
- North Texas State University, Denton, TX, US (BA, 1969); American Academy of Dramatic Arts, New York, NY, US (1971); Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY, US (MA in Roman and Renaissance Art, 2004); University of California, Los Angeles, CA, US (PhD, 2014)
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