Born Ronald J. Eldard in Long Island, New York, on the 20th February 1965, the second youngest of SEVEN children. Tragedy befell the family when his mother, a housewife, passed away while Ron was 3 years old. He and his siblings were sent to live with various relatives and Ron ended up splitting the rest of his childhood between Queens, NY and Utah, spending a year in each spot.
He worked from the time he was 12. "Some of us were together more than others," he says of his siblings in one of the interviews. "My high school years I was working probably 30 hours a week. I'd work all weekends, three or four nights a week. I got home at 4 and worked till 11. That was fine. I spent my time acting."
One of the places he worked was Chicken Galore, a fast-food store across from his house. "On Friday night I could start my cleaning work for the next day so I didn't have to go in Saturday morning. But I remember being in there -- just alone -- it was dark, and I'd just act out scenes. I remember, oddly enough, trying to learn my whole job without using my eyes. I remember having chicken cleaning competitions with no eyes, just to see how accurate I could be. I used to empty the fryers and change the oil and try to do it without my eyes. I was always fascinated and very inspired with people who have handicaps," he says when interviewed about his blind detective role in the hit ABC TV series Blind Justice.
Once he decided to be an actor he never questioned whether he'd be able to make a living. "I don't know why, I was just stupid. I think that's from having to work my whole life..."
"I remember before I got my first film they asked me to be the manager at this deli I was at. I was very young, and it was like $600 a week, and lot of that would be off the books, which is what you kind of did. And I said, 'No,' and my family said, 'Are you crazy?' That was a huge amount of money, especially because I was just a kid. But I just thought, 'If I'm going to be a deli guy, I'm going to own a deli and it's going to be the best deli in New York, the best deli on the East Coast. People will come from everywhere to go to my deli.' So I was very ambitious and a hard worker."
Ron studied briefly at the SUNY conservatory in Purchase, NY, then went on to study drama at the New York High School for Performing Arts and HB studios in Greenwich Village. During this difficult period, Ron developed an inner strength which would eventually contribute to his success as an actor and Golden Glove boxer. Boxing became a passion for Ron during his years at the prestigious New York High School for Performing Arts, where he studied drama. His high point in the sport was finishing runner up in New York State's Golden Glove boxing contest.
Ron was fired from his first Broadway job in 1986, having been seen by Neil Simon, the director in the final understudy run-through of Biloxi Blues. After a number of general jobs, that included working in a deli, cleaning offices in Manhattan and a bakery, and lasting a day in dog kennels, Ron made his television debut appearing as Blade in the long running soap One Life to Live in 1989. Later that same year he made his feature film debut in Nancy Savoca's True Love, playing a young Italian, Michael, dealing with the difficult task of planning his wedding.
A number of supporting roles followed, seeing Ron play a childhood sweetheart in the comedy Drop Dead Fred, alongside British comedian Rik Mayall, and Officer Gore, bringing blind Al Pacino's driving antics to a stop in Scent of a Woman. In the same year that Scent of a Woman hit the cinema, Ron made a return to the small screen, this time with far higher billing, in the first two of what would become numerous police roles. The first of these was to last only a year as Ron appeared in the comedy Arresting Behavior as Officer Danny Walsh. Ron's second outing, Bakersfield P.D., more successful than the first, hit the screens in 1994. As part of a comedy detective duo, Ron played Detective Wade Preston, a goofy cop in small town Bakersfield who finds himself partnered with a transferred detective from Washington. Demonstrating a talent for comedy that would later stand him in good stead for more television roles, Ron skated, bumbled and joggled his way through the 17 episodes created for the series.
1995 saw a major boost to Ron's career as he acted in two very different roles, one on the big screen, one on the small. Starring with Bill Paxton and Cameron Diaz in The Last Supper, Ron played Pete, a middle-class grad student who, with the help of four friends, gets involved in a serious of deadly dinner parties. He followed up this success by joining the cast of the hit medical drama ER, playing a character in strong contrast to the arrogant, snobbish Pete. In his performance of the breakdown of the naive paramedic Ray 'Shep' Shepherd, he managed to realistically convey heart wrenching emotion. After a year Ron left, feeling as though he had brought all he could to the character. The role also caused major changes in his private life as his character's on-screen romance with nurse Carol Hathaway spilt over into real life and a long term romance ensued with actress Julianna Margulies.
Starring roles continued for Ron, with the gritty made-for-television film Bastard Out of Carolina in 1995. 1996 saw him appear in the NBC comedy Men Behaving Badly, the film Sex and the Other Man, alongside Stanley Tucci, and his biggest box office success to date, Sleepers. In this he stars as a young man whose life is irreversibly changed when a childhood prank sends him and his three best friends to a juvenile detention centre, where their innocence is destroyed by a sadistic guard. As the adult John Reilly, his chance encounter with the guard in a bar allows revenge, but he then finds himself struggling to escape a lifetime of punishment with the help of his childhood friends.
His performance as pizza delivery boy, Reed, in Delivered won him the third place runner-up slot for the Golden Space Needle Award. Two of Ron's most touching appearances came in 1998, disaster flick Deep Impact and the television war film When Trumpets Fade. As jaded battle veteran David Manning, promoted when the rest of his squadron is wiped out, he skillfully demonstrates the transformation from coward to hero. As Dr Oren Monash in Deep Impact, he again sacrifices his life to save others. More supporting roles followed, seeing him skate alongside Russell Crowe in Mystery, Alaska, deal with a gambling addiction in The Runner and suffer the ravages of war in Black Hawk Down.
Ron has returned again and again to the theatre during his career, appearing in many successful productions on and off-Broadway. In 1999, he was a part of the Tony Award winning production of Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman, playing Biff Loman. A year later he starred in Neil LaBute's Bash: Latterday Plays with Calista Flockhart and Paul Rudd. In both New York and Los Angeles, Bash was a sell-out. He's also had roles in AveNu Boys, Servy'n'Bernice 4 Ever and under the direction of Neil Simon starred in Biloxi Blues and the 1995 production of On the Waterfront.
The past couple years has seen Ron firmly establishing himself as a leading actor in the cinema. The 2002 horror Ghost Ship saw him appear alongside partner Julianna Margulies for the first time since ER. In the most recent releases Just a Kiss and The House of Sand and Fog, he adds the role of romantic lead to his repertoire. His latest works include playing Tom in 2004 movie Fathers and Sons and Detective Jim Dunbar in 2005 TV Series Blind Justice, produced by Steven Bochco, the man behind NYPD Blue, Hill Street Blues, and many
others. Ron delivers an outstanding performance in Bind Justice despite a few reviews stating the weakness in the storyline.
Ron is also working on the new drama Freedomland, which is due in theater in 2006.
-credit of Angela Penfold on The Unofficial Ron Eldard Website and Luaine Lee on Centre Daily Times-… Expand
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