Dean Norris


One of the busiest character actors of the late 20th and early 21st century, Dean Norris worked steadily in features and on television, essaying an astonishing number of policemen, detectives, military men and the occasional criminal, all without name recognition or acclaim until his much-lauded turn as a DEA agent on "Breaking Bad" (AMC, 2008-2013). His flinty exterior made him an ideal...


One of the busiest character actors of the late 20th and early 21st century, Dean Norris worked steadily in features and on television, essaying an astonishing number of policemen, detectives, military men and the occasional criminal, all without name recognition or acclaim until his much-lauded turn as a DEA agent on "Breaking Bad" (AMC, 2008-2013). His flinty exterior made him an ideal screen match for such Hollywood tough guys as Mel Gibson and Arnold Schwarzenegger, though he could be found more often on small screen dramas ranging from "NYPD Blue" (ABC, 1993-2005) and "The X-Files" (Fox, 1993-2002; 2016- ) to "24" (Fox, 2001-2010) and "The West Wing" (NBC, 1996-2006). In 2008, he was cast as Hank Schrader, the blustery brother-in-law to Bryan Cranston's teacher/meth kingpin on "Breaking Bad," which became a major critical hit for five years. In addition to increasing his profile, the series also allowed Norris to show a greater range of emotions than in previous projects, which in turn, made him a much-desired character player in higher profile feature projects. Norris' tenacity and professionalism gave living proof that acting careers could still blossom after decades in the business. Born Dean Joseph Norris in South Bend, IN on April 8, 1963, he was one of five children and the only son of Jack Norris, a furniture store owner who moonlighted as a singer in a band, and his wife, Rosie. After graduating from Clay High School, Norris was accepted at Harvard, which made him the first member of his family to attend college. He accepted a job with an investment banking firm while still a student at Harvard. The company's frequent business trips to New York City also allowed him to audition for roles in theater, as well as a chance to train with the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, which accepted him after graduation from Harvard in 1985. Upon completion of his studies in London, Norris began appearing in supporting roles on television. His burly frame and intense presence made him ideal for hardnosed authority figures like policemen and military officers, which comprised the majority of his early projects, including his feature film debut in "Lethal Weapon 2" (1989). More action-oriented films soon followed, including "Total Recall" (1990) and "Terminator 2: Judgment Day" (1991), though on occasion, he worked outside of the genre, most notably in a recurring turn as a priest on "NYPD Blue." In 1995, he made an appearance on "The X-Files," which marked his first collaboration with "Breaking Bad" creator Vince Gilligan. Norris worked steadily throughout the 1990s and 2000s, moving from independent and low-budget projects like "Without Limits" (1998), which cast him as Olympian-turned-coach Bill Dellinger, who was instrumental in training distance running legend Steve Prefontaine, to major films and television series like "Gattaca" (1997), "Starship Troopers" (1997) and "24." His first stint as a series regular came in 2003 with the Sci Fi Channel series "Tremors," a spin-off of the popular science fiction comedy-thriller franchise. Television soon became his primary showcase, including appearances on "The West Wing," "Nip/Tuck" (FX, 2003-09) and "Bones" (Fox, 2005-17). However, his profile increased considerably after he was cast as Hank Schrader, DEA agent and brother-in-law to terminally ill teacher-turned-meth dealer Walter White (Bryan Cranston) on "Breaking Bad." Initially portrayed as a blowhard, Hank developed into a more sympathetic character over the course of the series' five seasons, especially after being shot and paralyzed after unknowingly taking a drug cartel bullet for Walter. Audiences soon came to see him as a fiercely loyal family man who hid his own fear of coming across as weak, most notably in a lengthy second season story arc when he suffered traumatic stress after a nearly fatal explosion while on border patrol. For his work on "Breaking Bad," Norris received a Best Supporting Actor nomination from the Saturn Awards, as well as a Writers Guild Award nomination for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama. The critical acclaim that surrounded "Breaking Bad" led to additional work for Norris outside of the series, including recurring roles on "Medium" (NBC/CBS, 2005-2011) and "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" (CBS, 2000-15), as well as guest appearances on "True Blood" (HBO, 2008-14), among countless other series. In 2012, he returned to features opposite Mel Gibson in "Get the Gringo" (2012) before adding a slew of supporting roles in features to his already busy slate, including "The Frozen Ground" (2013) with Nicolas Cage and John Cusack. After the conclusion of "Breaking Bad," Norris co-starred in the Stephen King drama "Under the Dome" (CBS 2013-15) and the nail salon-set comedy-drama "Claws" (TNT 2017- ), and began a recurring role as a military intelligence officer in "The Big Bang Theory" (CBS 2007- ). During the same period, he also appeared in films including Ridley Scott's "The Counselor" (2013), crime comedy "Small Time" (2014), Jason Reitman's comedy-drama "Men, Women and Children" (2014), and Atom Egoyan's "Remember" (2015). Norris also appeared in the broad comedy "Fist Fight" (2017), Colin Trevorrow's critical misfire "The Book of Henry" (2017), espionage drama "Beirut" (2018) and the Bruce Willis remake of "Death Wish" (2018).



Cast (Feature Film)

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019)
The Hustle (2019)
High Wire Act (2018)
Death Wish (2018)
Fist Fight (2017)
The Book of Henry (2017)
Remember (2016)
The Secret in Their Eyes (2015)
Small Time (2014)
The Counselor (2013)
The Frozen Ground (2013)
Get the Gringo (2012)
Prom (2011)
How Do You Know (2010)
Linewatch (2008)
The Heartbreak Kid (2007)
Evan Almighty (2007)
Mrs. Harris (2006)
American Gun (2005)
THE ONE (2001)
3 Strikes (2000)
The Cell (2000)
My Little Assassin (1999)
Lansky (1999)
Without Limits (1998)
The Negotiator (1998)
On the Line (1998)
Starship Troopers (1997)
Gattaca (1997)
Riot (1997)
Death Benefit (1996)
Rod Montgomery
After Jimmy (1996)
Ray Johnson
Forgotten Sins (1996)
It Came From Outer Space II (1996)
Dave Grant
Safe (1995)
In the Line of Duty: Hunt For Justice (1995)
Ray Levasseur
Lakota Woman: Return to Wounded Knee (1994)
Red Arrow
Playmaker (1994)
Barbarians At the Gate (1993)
Full Eclipse (1993)
It's Nothing Personal (1993)
Michael Dawson
The Firm (1993)
The Lawnmower Man (1992)
Secrets (1992)
Till Death Us Do Part (1992)
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (Director's Cut) (1991)
The Other Side Of Love (1991)
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
Murderous Vision (1991)
When You Remember Me (1990)
Montana (1990)
Hard to Kill (1990)
Total Recall (1990)
Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990)
Desperate Hours (1990)
Disorganized Crime (1989)
Lethal Weapon 2 (1989)
Gladiator School (1988)
Ralph Thomas
Leap of Faith (1988)

Cast (Special)

Things That Go Bump (1997)
Override (1994)
Blind Alleys (1985)

Cast (TV Mini-Series)

Dean Koontz's Mr. Murder (1999)
Innocent Victims (1996)
Frank Sarazin
Seduced by Madness: The Diane Borchardt Story (1996)
Texas Justice (1995)

Life Events


Made his screen acting debut on an episode of "Beyond Our Control"


Had his first role in a major film in "Lethal Weapon 2"


Appeared in sci-fi flick "Total Recall"


Led a S.W.A.T. team in the horror-comedy sequel "Gremlins 2: The New Batch"


Again played a S.W.A.T. team leader in "Terminator 2: Judgment Day"


Had a recurring turn as a priest on "NYPD Blue"


First collaborated with "Breaking Bad" creator Vince Gilligan on "The X-Files"


Played a beat cop on sci-fi thriller "Gattaca"


Was cast as a C.O. in sci-fi war thriller "Starship Troopers"


Played Olympian-turned-coach Bill Dellinger in sports drama "Without Limits"


Had his first stint as a series regular on "Tremors"


Had recurring guest stints on "Medium"


Had his breakout role as DEA agent Hank Schrader on "Breaking Bad"


Landed a guest spot on "True Blood"


Returned to features, opposite Mel Gibson, in "Get the Gringo"


Had a supporting role in the Nicolas Cage and John Cusack-starring "The Frozen Ground"


Co-starred on sci-fi drama "Under the Dome"


Played Ben Franklin on TV mini-series "Sons of Liberty"


Had a recurring guest stint on "The Big Bang Theory"


Appeared on the short-lived series "Girlboss"


Was cast as a villain in the drama "The Book of Henry"


Played Uncle Daddy on crime comedy series "Claws"


Began playing Fenton Glackland on "Scandal"


Played a detective in Eli Roth's crime drama "Death Wish"


Played a supporting role to Jon Hamm and Rosamund Pike in thriller "Beirut"