Family & Companions
Whether he was playing a physician with perfect bedside manners, a goofy college nerd, or a charming naval aviator, Anthony Edwards always delivered performances that were full of wit, warmth and genuine emotion that even the most jaded viewer could not resist. After he ingratiated himself as one of Hollywood's loveable, go-to geeks in films such as the classic teen comedy "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" (1982), "Revenge of the Nerds" (1984), and "The Sure Thing" (1985), his innate comic flair and endearing presence managed to steal every scene from Tom Cruise in the blockbuster hit "Top Gun" (1986), where Edwards portrayed the easygoing yet ill-fated fighter jet pilot, Goose. Though some wrote him off as simply the goofball sidekick, Edwards proved the doubters wrong years later when he took a more serious turn and landed his most accomplished role - that of Dr. Mark Greene - on the long-running medical drama series "ER" (NBC, 1994-2009). As one of the head doctors working in a hectic emergency room alongside such heavy hitters as Noah Wyle and George Clooney, Edwards as Greene exemplified the qualities of a true leader, and established himself as one of television's most compelling and enduring character actors.
Anthony Charles Edwards was born on July 19, 1962 in Santa Barbara, CA and was raised in an upscale neighborhood known as the Riviera. His parents, an architect father and an artist mother, persuaded Edwards to act when he was 16, which led him to enroll in a theater workshop in London, England before graduating from San Marcos High School in his hometown in 1980. As a teenager, he studied ballet with childhood friend and actor Eric Stoltz - reportedly so the two could meet girls. The future star then attended the University of Southern California, where he received a bachelor of arts in drama. Edwards made his feature film acting debut in no less than the cult film "Fast Times at Ridgemont High, with a minor part as one of two friends of the perpetually stoned surfer Jeff Spicoli (Sean Penn). Considered one of the best films in the teen sex comedy genre, the movie centered on a group of high school students obsessed with sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll, and also jumpstarted the careers of Phoebe Cates, Jennifer Jason Leigh, his ballet buddy Stoltz, and Nicolas Cage. He then went on to star as the son of a top female drag racer in "Heart Like a Wheel" (1983), and had a regular role on the sitcom "It Takes Two" (ABC, 1982-83) opposite Patty Duke Astin and Helen Hunt.
Edwards landed his first starring film role in yet-another classic teen comedy, "Revenge of the Nerds" (1984) as a one of the computer science geeks at a college campus trying desperately to stop a jock fraternity from harassing them. And the hits just kept coming. Edwards' next projects included playing John Cusack's horny best friend in "The Sure Thing" (1985) and as a college nerd who unknowingly becomes involved in international espionage in the lackluster comedy "Gotcha!" (1985). After being typecast as a college nerd in most of his previous work, Edwards' career soared in a whole different direction when he landed a major supporting role in the mega-hit action flick "Top Gun" (1986), starring as Tom Cruise's laid-back and extremely likeable navigator, Nick "Goose" Bradshaw. His "loose as a goose" role perfectly complemented Cruise's character, Maverick, a defiant U.S. naval aviator who often flew dangerously as a way to deal with the guilt he carried regarding his father's death. Though it was also the film that made Cruise a superstar, Edwards often stole the show with his natural comic flair which came in handy during many of the film's more intense moments, and helped elevate the film's predictable plot. His death at film's end became one of the more preeminent onscreen demises always referenced by film fans and critics as one of the most regrettable and gut-wrenching. On a brighter note, not only did Anthony Edwards as Goose become iconic, off-screen he fell for his then unknown onscreen girlfriend, perky Meg Ryan. The two dated for almost a year.
Following the monster success of the Tony Scott-directed "Top Gun," Edwards left his college geek image behind and took on more serious roles in small films like "Hawks" (1988) as a terminally ill patient, and in the independent drama "Miracle Mile" (1988) about an impending nuclear holocaust in Los Angeles. He also played Susan Sarandon's trusty associate in the film version of John Grisham's 1993 novel of the same name, "The Client" (1994), a riveting story about a young boy (Brad Renfro) who witnessed the suicide of a lawyer involved in the murder of a Louisiana senator. Edwards also found steady work on television, including a recurring role as a lawyer and staunch environmental activist on the popular drama series "Northern Exposure" (CBS, 1990-95), which followed a newly graduated doctor (Rob Morrow) from Manhattan as he sets up practice in a remote Alaskan town.
Although Goose made him a star, Edwards' landed his most successful role almost 10 years later portraying the charismatic and sensitive Dr. Mark Greene in the Emmy Award-winning medical drama series "ER" (NBC, 1994-2009). Created by acclaimed novelist Michael Crichton, the popular series detailed the trials and tribulations of emergency room doctors and nurses who worked in the fictional County General Hospital in Chicago, IL. Apart from breathing new life into Edwards' career, the program also made household names of George Clooney, Noah Wyle, Julianna Margulies and Maura Tierney, among many others. As one of the show's major characters, Edwards as Greene embodied the dedicated yet overworked physician who also struggled with his personal life, particularly raising a teenage daughter as a single father - enough that he won the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series in 1998. Edwards' onscreen character played such a crucial role in the show's success that when his storyline took a turn and he died of brain cancer at the end of the 2002 season, millions of viewers were devastated over losing such a beloved character.
During the final season of "ER," the long-departed Edwards reprised his role as Dr. Greene in flashback scenes where he treated another physician's (Angela Bassett) son of leukemia, and consequently, inspired that same doctor to work full-time at County. With "ER" in the rearview mirror, Edwards took on fewer and lesser profile roles on both television and in films, including co-starring in the psychological thriller "The Forgotten" (2004) opposite Julianne Moore. In 2007, he starred in David Fincher's crime thriller "Zodiac" about the infamous serial killer who terrorized Northern California during the 1960s and 1970s. Edwards played the partner of the case's lead investigator who suffers a nervous breakdown due to the assignment. In a role far removed from the loveable Goose and steadfast Dr. Greene, he starred in the feature drama "Flipped" (2010) as a snobby, obnoxious father in the story of young love set in the swinging '60s.
By Candy Cuenco
Director (Feature Film)
Cast (Feature Film)
Producer (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
TV acting debut "The Killing of Randy Webster" (CBS)
Feature acting debut, "Fast Times at Ridgemont High"
TV series debut as regular, "It Takes Two" (ABC) playing the son of Patty Duke Astin and Richard Crenna
First leading role in a feature, the comedy "Revenge of the Nerds"
Breakthrough role as Maverick's (played by Tom Cruise) loyal sidekick Goose in "Top Gun"
Reprised role as Gilbert for "Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise"
Appeared as a terminally ill patient in "Hawks" alongside Timothy Dalton
Co-starred in "Downtown" with Penelope Ann Miller and Forest Whitaker
Cast in a recurring role on the CBS series, "Northern Exposure"
Feature directing debut, "Charlie's Ghost Story"
Played the regular role of Dr. Mark Greene on the NBC medical drama "ER"; also directed several episodes; earned four consecutive Emmy nominations from 1995-1998 for Outstanding Lead Actor
Formed production company, Aviator; signed three-year first-look deal with Warner Bros.
Co-executive produced and starred in the romantic comedy "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" (released theatrically in 1999)
Appeared in the ensemble of "Playing By Heart"
Produced the Showtime original program "My Louisiana Sky"
Starred in "Thunderbirds" which is based on the cult British television show from the 1960s; directed by Jonathan Frakes
Played Julianne Moore's husband in the thriller "The Forgotten"
Played a San Francisco detective in David Fincher's serial killer thriller "Zodiac"
Reprised the role of Dr. Greene (in flashback scenes) during the 15th and final season of "ER" (NBC)
Played Uma Thurman's absent-minded husband in the indie comedy, "Motherhood"
Appeared in the coming-of-age drama "Flipped," based on Wendelin Van Draanen's novel of the same name
Executive produced the HBO biopic "Temple Grandin," starring Claire Danes as Temple Grandin