Family & Companions
A character actor and leading man seemingly cut from the same square-jawed, upstanding mold of studio contract players from the 1950s, Neal McDonough essayed flinty, often dangerous roles in films and on television throughout the late 1990s and early 2000s. Yeoman work in theater and independent releases brought him to the attention of Steven Spielberg, who cast him in pivotal roles in both his HBO production "Band of Brothers" (2001) and "Minority Report" (2002). The exposure gained him a foothold in Hollywood, where he impressed on both the small screen with "Boomtown" (NBC, 2002-03) and in theaters with Clint Eastwood's "Flags of Our Fathers" (2005). He continued to divide his time between mediums for the next few years, garnering positive buzz for turns like his unstable salary man on "Desperate Housewives" (ABC, 2004-2012), followed by a small but meaty role as "Dum Dum" Dugan in the summer superhero blockbuster "Captain America: The First Avenger" (2011). Soon after, McDonough found himself showered with rave reviews for his recurring role as scheming underworld figure Robert Quarles on the acclaimed series "Justified" (2010-15). McDonough's innate ability to make his masculine characters - both good and bad - not only formidable, but interesting, made him one of Hollywood's more in demand talents.
Born to Irish émigrés Catherine and Frank McDonough in Dorchester, MA on Feb. 23, 1966, he was raised in Barnstable, MA and earned his first standing ovation as Snoopy in a high school production of "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown." The experience clearly left a positive impression on McDonough, who went on to study acting at the London Academy of Dramatic Arts and Sciences after graduating from Syracuse University in 1988. He was working in professional theater shortly after completing his studies, and earned a Dramalogue Award for Best Actor in 1991 for "Away Alone." McDonough's screen debut began in 1990 with a minor role in Sam Raimi's superhero film "Darkman," which preceded a long string of appearances on television series and in made-for-TV features. His turn as Lou Gehrig opposite Stephen Lang's "Babe Ruth" (NBC, 1991) earned him strong notices, as did a lead role in the Francis Ford Coppola-produced "White Dwarf" (Fox, 1995). McDonough also lent his deep, distinctive voice to numerous animated series, including Dr. Bruce Banner on "The Incredible Hulk" (UPN, 1996-97), and fulfilled a personal goal by appearing on the bridge of the USS Enterprise for "Star Trek: First Contact" (1996).
By the late 1990s, McDonough was working steadily in films and on television, though the projects, including "Murder One" (NBC, 1995-97) and the feature "Ravenous" (1999), failed to elevate him to leading man status. That all changed with "Band of Brothers," which provided him with a terrific showcase for his talents in the role of Lieutenant Lynn "Buck" Compton, who struggles with combat shock after witnessing the maiming of two friends from artillery fire. His performance caught the attention of series producer Steven Spielberg, who later cast him as Tom Cruise's partner and friend in the science fiction thriller "Minority Report" (2002). The year proved to be a high point for McDonough, as he added another attention-garnering role to his résumé with the crime drama "Boomtown." Though the critically acclaimed series was short-lived, his performance as a slick, upwardly mobile district attorney brought him both praise from the press and a Golden Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor in 2004.
The demise of "Boomtown" was soon followed by "Medical Investigation" (NBC, 2004-05), a spin-off of "Third Watch" (NBC, 1999-2005) about a team of investigators from the National Institutes of Health led by McDonough's tightly-wound Gulf War vet. He was also remarkably active in film during this period, most notably as the crooked pal of star Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson in "Walking Tall" (2004) and as an Army captain leading the men who raised the flag on Iwo Jima in "Flags of Our Fathers" (2006). His next few ventures on screen faltered at the box office; among these was a remake of "The Hitcher" (2007) and the Al Pacino-led thriller "88 Minutes" (2008), so he returned to television, first as a duplicitous Homeland Security Chief for the conspiracy-fueled drama "Traveler" (ABC, 2007), and later, as the titular character in "Tin Man" (2007), a Sci Fi Channel miniseries that put a modern fantasy spin on "The Wizard of Oz" (1939).
The following year, McDonough joined the cast of "Desperate Housewives" as Dave Williams, a mystery man who marries Nicollette Sheridan's gold-digging Edie. A seemingly "perfect" husband and provider, Dave's handsome exterior hides a burning desire to avenge the deaths of his wife and daughter at the hands of Susan (Teri Hatcher) and Mike (James Denton). Dave's slow unraveling was among the highlights of the show's fifth season. In 2009, McDonough returned to theatrical features as Bison, the chief villain of the Capcom video game series "Street Fighter," in the critically dismissed "Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li." More notable that year was his nomination by the Screen Actors Guild as part of the cast of "Desperate Housewives."
McDonough jumped into the comic book universe with both feet when he voiced the archery-themed vigilante Oliver Queen in the animated DVD release "DC Showcase: Green Arrow" (2010), then played Timothy "Dum Dum" Dugan, one of the Howling Commandos who fought alongside Captain America (Chris Evans) during World War II in the blockbuster "Captain America: The First Avenger" (2011). The actor immediately earned high marks for his recurring role on "Justified" (FX, 2010-15), joining the acclaimed crime-drama at the start of its third season. Gleefully demonstrating his villainous side, McDonough played Robert Quarles, a Detroit mob enforcer with Machiavellian designs on Kentucky's Harlan County - a plot that puts him in direct conflict with the area's "old school" protector, Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant).
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Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Feature film debut in bit part as a dockworker in "Darkman"
Portrayed Lou Gehrig in the NBC TV biopic "Babe Ruth"
Co-starred in "Angels in the Outfield"
Was the expendible Lt. Hawk in "Star Trek: First Contact"
Appeared in "Ravenous"
Was featured in the ensemble of "Band of Brothers" (HBO)
Cast as Tom Cruise's best friend in "Minority Report"
Cast in starring role on NBC drama "Boomtown"
Acted in the Richard Donner action feature "Timeline"
Cast opposite The Rock in "Walking Tall"
Cast as Stephen Connor, a doctor on NBC's "Medical Investigation"
Cast in Clint Eastwood's WWII drama "Flags of Our Fathers"
Played Kevin Costner's protégée in "The Guardian"
Cast as Cain in the Syfy miniseries "Tin Man," based on L. Frank Baum's book <i>The Wonderful Wizard of Oz</i>
Played Lindsay Lohan's father in the thriller "I Know Who Killed Me"
Co-starred with Al Pacino in the thriller "88 Minutes"
Joined the cast of ABC's "Desperate Housewives" in a recurring role
Cast as Dum Dum Dugan in "Captain America: The First Avenger"