Family & Companions
The self-described "black sheep" of movie star siblings the Baldwin brothers - along with Alec, William and Stephen - Daniel Baldwin entered the family business relatively late in life, and while an early television role garnered him strong notices, his continuing battle with drug abuse eventually threatened to overshadow his work as an actor. After chipping away at minor roles in films that included "Born on the Fourth of July" (1989), "Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man" (1991) and "Hero" (1992), he broke out with a prominent regular cast role on the celebrated police procedural "Homicide: Life on the Street" (NBC, 1993-99). Promising work in projects such as "Mulholland Falls" (1996), "Trees Lounge" (1996), and "John Carpenter's Vampires" (1998) was quickly eclipsed by a much publicized drug overdose in a luxury New York City hotel. What followed was a lengthy stretch of appearances in direct-to-DVD movies, punctuated by multiple arrests, stints on reality television, and the occasional high-profile project, such as the Emmy-winning cable drama "Grey Gardens" (HBO, 2008). Obviously talented as an actor in his own right, it became clear that the shadow Baldwin most needed to get out from under was not that of his illustrious brothers, but his own personal demons.
Born Daniel Leroy Baldwin on Oct. 5, 1960 in Massapequa, NY, he was the third of six children born to Alexander, a local high school football coach and social studies teacher, and Carol Baldwin, a homemaker. His father's work ethic and his mother's brave - and successful - battle against breast cancer would greatly influence Baldwin in his later years. Growing up with his highly competitive siblings in the large, middle-class Irish-American family, he found his niche as an outstanding football player while attending McKenna Junior High School and Alfred G. Berner High School, the latter of which he graduated from in 1979. After attending Indiana's Ball State University as a psychology major for a period of time, he fell into the occupation of a professional sports-betting handicapper for several years before finally succumbing, as his brothers had before him, to the siren call of acting. Having accrued a bit of a nest egg from his days as an odds-maker, Baldwin studied acting and theater - something he had dabbled in at Ball State - at the famed HB Studio in New York. Within a year, he became the final Baldwin brother to make his acting debut with a small role in the Loni Anderson-Patrick Duffy made-for-TV thriller "Too Good to Be True" (NBC, 1988). Certainly his family name had helped open a few doors, but the aspiring actor soon realized that if he were to make a real go of it in the highly competitive industry, he would have to stand on his own ability.
After guest turns on several television sitcoms, Baldwin landed his first feature film role opposite Tom Cruise in the Oliver Stone-directed "Born on the Fourth of July" (1989), which also featured his younger brother Stephen, who had entered the "family business" a few years earlier. He picked up work as a series regular on the short-lived Valerie Bertinelli sitcom "Sydney" (CBS, 1990), prior to a small turn in the Dan Aykroyd comedy disaster "Nothing But Trouble" (1991), which co-starred Chevy Chase and Demi Moore. That same year, he played the trench-coated bad guy in the disappointing Don Johnson-Mickey Rourke action-adventure "Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man" (1991), and later garnered a minor role as a firefighter in the Dustin Hoffman-Andy Garcia drama "Hero" (1992). With his nascent career gaining momentum, Baldwin won the title role in the historical Western "Ned Blessing: The True Story of My Life" (CBS, 1992). A subsequent series spin-off followed, although Baldwin would not reprise his role, due to the fact that he had already joined the cast of the gritty ensemble police drama "Homicide: Life on the Street" (NBC, 1993-99). Cast as tough-talking Detective Beau Felton in the Baltimore-based series, he garnered good reviews, but nonetheless left the show after two seasons, with his character written out and eventually reported as the victim of an offscreen murder.
TV movies such as "The Attack of the 50-Foot Woman" (HBO, 1993), in which he played the gargantuan Daryl Hannah's loutish husband, and a turn as Charles Bronson's son in "Family of Cops" (CBS, 1995), played to Baldwin's strengths. His big screen career, however, failed to ignite, despite admirable contributions to Lee Tamahori's stylish noir thriller "Mulholland Falls" (1996) and "Trees Lounge" (1996), an ensemble drama starring, written and directed by Steve Buscemi. A string of direct-to-video releases followed before better roles slowly began coming his way. Unfortunately, while in New York to begin work on a film in February 1998, Baldwin was arrested after police responded to a disturbance call at the posh Plaza Hotel. Rambling incoherently and stark naked in his room, the actor was arrested and taken to the hospital where he was treated for a nearly fatal cocaine overdose. Fired from the production he had been in town to film, the troubled star next appeared onscreen in "John Carpenter's Vampires" (1998) - a project filmed before the New York incident - while Baldwin was ensconced in a rehab facility. As vampire hunter James Woods' trusted cohort, the role exhibited some of Baldwin's best feature work, although it was his drug-fueled meltdown at the Plaza that earned him the most press at the time.
Also filmed prior to Baldwin's incident at the Plaza - albeit less seen than "Vampires" - was the crime thriller "Phoenix" (1998), in which he played a cop drawn into a robbery scheme with his gambling addict friend and fellow officer, Ray Liotta. Struggling to put his career back on track, Baldwin continued to pay the bills with steady work in low-budget and direct-to-DVD movies, which boasted such titles as "The Treat" (1998), "Love Kills" (1999), "Active Stealth" (1999), and "Double Frame" (2000). Baldwin was called back to that familiar Baltimore police precinct when he revived his breakout role as a spirit version of the deceased Det. Felton during the closing dream sequence of "Homicide: The Movie" (NBC, 2000). Working both behind and in front of the camera, he made his directorial debut with a pair of low-budget actioners, "The Fall" (2001), and "Tunnel" (2002), and later appeared alongside rapper-turned-actor Coolio in trash cinema impresario Mark L. Lester's erotic thriller "Stealing Candy" (2003). Shortly thereafter, he played one of the titular sleazy "Paparazzi" (2004) in the Mel Gibson-produced tale of role reversal and revenge that starred another actor frequently in the news for his own struggles with drug addiction - Tom Sizemore.
Like so many other public personalities who found their original careers floundering, Baldwin inevitably turned to reality television and took part in the weight-loss competition "Celebrity Fit Club" (VHI, 2005-2010) on the show's first season. Considered a model team captain up until his no-show for the final weigh-in, Baldwin later revealed that his sudden departure had been due to his continued narcotics abuse and his entering a rehab facility. A brief, but notable, appearance came for Baldwin with a pair of guest spots in the final season of "The Sopranos" (HBO, 1999-2007), in which he played himself taking part in a slasher movie being produced by Christopher Moltisanti (Michael Imperioli), a mobster with dreams of Hollywood. The personal travails for Baldwin continued, however, with a dangerous car accident and a series of arrests throughout 2006-07. In retrospect, it came as a surprise to no one when he turned up on another reality program - "Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew" (VH1, 2007-13) in 2008. Excuses were made and rumors swirled when Baldwin also left this program abruptly, only to later divulge that his departure was in large part a result of inappropriate text messages sent between himself and fellow celebrity patient Mary Carey, a porn star who had previously made a bid for the Governorship of California.
Baldwin was in better television company when he joined a cast that included Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange in the biographical drama "Grey Gardens" (HBO, 2008). Beginning in 2008, he brought his considerable first hand experience of run-ins with the law to bear as a celebrity guest commentator on "The Smoking Gun Presents: World's Dumbest" (truTV, 2007- ). The actor was lured back to reality TV when he joined his brother, Stephen Baldwin, in the jungles of Costa Rica for the short-lived reality game show "I'm a Celebrity. Get Me Out of Here!" (NBC, 2009), only to become the second person evicted from the camp. Baldwin temporarily lined up a recurring role as Moe Kitchener, a military school instructor harboring a dark secret, for the final season of "Cold Case" (CBS, 2003-2010). Participating in a project near and dear to his heart, Baldwin next appeared in the breast cancer awareness documentary "1 a Minute" (2010). His brother William contributed to the film, as well, and both spoke eloquently about their mother's winning battle against the horrible disease.
Director (Feature Film)
Cast (Feature Film)
TV debut in NBC movie "Too Good to be True"
Feature debut in "Born on the Fourth of July"
TV series debut as regular in CBS sitcom "Sydney"
First sizeable film role in "Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man"
Had small role in Stephen Frears' "Hero" starring Dustin Hoffman
Played title role in "Ned Blessing: The True Story of My Life" (CBS), not cast in the short-lived 1993 series ("Ned Blessing: The Story of My Life and Times") that followed
Starred opposite Daryl Hannah in HBO remake of "Attack of the 50 Ft. Woman"
Had regular role of Detective Beau Felton on NBC series "Homicide: Life on the Street"
Returned to the Ned Blessing role for the feature "Lone Justice"
Portrayed Charles Bronson's son in CBS movie "A Family of Cops"; replaced by Joe Penny in sequels
Appeared in two features, Lee Tamahori's "Mulholland Falls" and Steve Buscemi's feature directing debut, "Trees Lounge"
Acted opposite significant other Isabella Hofmann in NBC movie "Twisted Desire"
Delivered arguably his best feature work to date in "John Carpenter's Vampires" as James Woods' vampire-hunting partner (filmed before hotel incident)
Replaced by Michael Rispoli in "It Had to Be You" after much-publicized cocaine overdose at NYC's Plaza Hotel
Feature directorial debut, "Fall"; also co-starred with Michael Madsen and Chad McQueen; released direct-to-video
Starred in "Paparazzi" about a celebrity who turns the tables on a persistent photographer; produced by Mel Gibson
Cast in Showtime's "Our Fathers," an adaptation of David France's epic book about the sex scandals in the Roman Catholic Church
Portrayed Julius Krug, the former secretary of the interior in HBO Films' "Grey Gardens."
Cast in a recurring role in the final episodes of HBO's Emmy-winning mob drama "The Sopranos"
Took on the recurring role of Moe Kitchener on the series "Cold Case."
Appeared on the procedural "Hawaii Five-O."
Appeared in the horror comedy "Lady Psycho Killer."