Family & Companions
They say it's the quiet ones you have to watch out for, which is something veteran character actor Leland Orser knows all too well. The California-born actor has the kind of boyish good looks that go a long way in concealing the black heart of his deranged, neurotic, and often unstable characters. First there was the flamboyant drug dealer in the thriller "Cover Story" (1993), then the john driven to unspeakable violence in "Se7en," (1995), and his duplicitous best man in the bachelor party-gone-wrong comedy "Very Bad Things" (1998). A turn as a vengeful lab technician in "The Bone Collector" (1999) highlighted Orser's serial killer creepiness, while a recurring role as surgeon Lucien Dubenko on the long-running "ER" (NBC, 1994-2009) showcased his tight-lipped arrogance. Married to actress Jeanne Tripplehorn since 2000, Orser stepped behind the camera in 2007 for the short film "Morning," which he later expanded into a feature film starring himself and Tripplehorn. After portraying Liam Neeson's right-hand man in "Taken" (2008) (and 2012's inevitable "Taken 2"), Orser brought his paranoid tendencies to primetime as a political consultant on "24" (Fox, 2001-2010) and as a weapons specialist on the blackout drama "Revolution" (NBC, 2012-14). Looks like Orser isn't so quiet anymore.
Born and raised in San Francisco, CA, Orser didn't show much interest in acting as a child and spent his 20s traveling through the U.S. and Europe in pursuit of a career as an international banker. In 1987 he eloped to Italy with actress Roma Downey, and though their marriage ended just two years later, Orser's newfound enthusiasm for acting did not. He made his TV debut in 1991 on the legal drama "Gabriel's Fire" (ABC, 1990-91), and quickly racked up guest roles on such NBC hits as "Golden Girls" (1985-1992) and "Cheers" (1982-1993). In 1993 he landed his first film role in "Cover Story," where he portrayed a flashy homosexual who just happens to be a drug dealer. As intense as it was, it didn't hold a candle to his performance a few years later in "Se7en" as an unfortunate massage parlor patron forced to kill a prostitute in a gruesomely novel fashion.
But a little bit of horror never hurt anybody. After a steady string of supporting roles in everything from the bawdy "Married with Children" (Fox, 1987-1997) to the highly anticipated (and universally disappointing) "Escape from L.A." (1996) and "Alien Resurrection" (1997), Orser was cast in his biggest role yet as Charles Moore, Jon Favreau's best man, in the pitch-black comedy "Very Bad Things." Though the widely panned film marked the second time Orser played a character who had to deal with a dead prostitute, one bright spot was co-star Jeanne Tripplehorn, whom he married in 2000. Another bright spot was the exposure he received, which led to a role as a vengeance-seeking medical technician in 1999's serial killer thriller "The Bone Collector," starring Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie.
The 2000s saw Orser appear in increasingly high-profile projects like Michael Bay's "Pearl Harbor" (2001), where he portrayed a injured Army officer; and the long-running medical series "ER," which he joined in 2004 as talented but arrogant surgeon Lucien Dubenko. After being cast as a ruthless anti-Nazi investigator in Steven Soderbergh's noir experiment "The Good German" (2006), in 2007 Orser wrote and directed the short film "Morning," about a couple's struggle to move on after a devastating loss. In a creative 180, Orser next appeared as Sam, Liam Neeson's best friend and former colleague, in the surprise hit revenge film "Taken" (2008), and, after leaving "ER" in 2009, portrayed wily political consultant Martin Collier on "24." In 2010 Orser expanded "Morning" into a full-length film starring Tripplehorn and himself as the grieving parents. Orser continued his small-screen success in 2013 when he was cast as John Sanborn, a high-strung weapons expert, on J.J. Abrams' popular post-apocalyptic drama "Revolution."
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Cast (Feature Film)
Writer (Feature Film)
Made TV debut on ABC's "Gabriel's Fire"
Made film debut in "Cover Story"
Cast as "Crazed Man in Massage Parlor" in "Se7en"
Played Charles Moore in "Very Bad Things"
Cast in a recurring role on "ER"
Portrayed a political consultant on "24"
Landed a supporting role on NBC's "Revolution"