Robert Englund is an acclaimed character actor who etched his place in cinema history as the sinister Freddy Krueger. As a devoted fan, I’ve admired Robert’s extensive body of work across stage, screens, and canvases for decades. Let’s explore the life and career of this horror icon.
|Full Name||Robert Barton Englund|
|Birthday||June 6, 1947|
|Birth Place||Glendale, California, U.S.|
|Occupation||Actor, Voice Actor, Director|
|Spouse||Nancy Booth (m. 1986–1988)|
|Partner||Roxanne Rogers (2002–present)|
|Height||5′ 10′′ (1.78 m)|
|Net Worth||$16 million|
|Social Media||Facebook, Twitter, Instagram|
Early Life and Entry into Acting
Born in Glendale, California in 1947, Robert took an early interest in acting, drawn to imaginative characters and stories. He started appearing in school plays from age 8, playing characters like the Big Bad Wolf. Robert went on to study acting at California State University, training under renowned actors like Vincent Price. In the early 1970s, he embarked on his professional acting career with roles in films like Buster and Billie (1974).
Rise to Fame in Horror and Sci-Fi
Robert’s breakout role came as the sociopathic Buck in the 1977 horror film Eaten Alive. His chilling performance showcased his talent for portraying unhinged, dangerous characters. He credits this role for kicking off his career in horror. In the subsequent years, Robert starred in genre movies like Galaxy of Terror (1981) and V (1983-85) where he honed his acting skills.
Becoming the Legendary Freddy Krueger
In 1984, Robert Englund took on the career-defining role of child killer Freddy Krueger in Wes Craven‘s smash hit A Nightmare on Elm Street. The sadistic, wisecracking Freddy became ingrained in pop culture and Robert’s spooky portrayal made him a horror icon. He went on to play Freddy in seven sequels over three decades, evolving the character into a sinister maniacal showman. Robert’s lively performances injecting macabre humor into Freddy are a huge part of what makes the franchise so entertaining. Even as the sequels declined, he remained the captivating anchor.
Memorable Roles Beyond Freddy
While Robert is synonymous with Freddy Krueger, he has over 150 diverse acting credits showcasing his range. Some of his standout roles include:
- Willie – The friendly alien V leader masking a reptilian form in the sci-fi miniseries V.
- Erik Destler – A haunting disfigured take on The Phantom in the 1989 film The Phantom of the Opera.
- Djinn – The sinister wish-granting demon in the horror anthology Wishmaster.
- Professor Wexler – The parapsychology professor inspiring a killer in the slasher Urban Legend.
Robert elevated lower budget horror movies like 2001 Maniacs (2005) with his quirky performances. He’s also voiced chilling characters in animated shows like The Spectacular Spider-Man.
Robert has directed episodes of TV shows, including Freddy’s Nightmares and The Nightmare Cafe. He also directed the dark thriller 977-EVIL II in 1991, displaying his creative vision.
An accomplished sculptor and painter, Robert has exhibited his surreal horror-inspired artwork internationally. He draws on nightmarish imagery from his famous roles to craft unsettling sculptures and paintings.
Why Robert Became a Horror Icon
Several qualities that contributed to Robert’s enduring status as a horror legend:
- His instantly recognizable personas like Freddy Krueger.
- Full commitment to every role no matter how small.
- Captivating intensity and presence on-screen.
- Height and unique look including his eyes, mouth, and facial structure.
- Genuine enthusiasm and passion for the horror genre.
Robert breathes life into his chilling characters in a way audiences find both frightening and magnetic.
Legacy as a Master of Horror
Some highlights of Robert Englund‘s horror movie legacy:
- Played Freddy Krueger across 8 films over 33 years.
- Regarded as the definitive Freddy, surpassing successors in the role.
- Inspired mass production of Freddy merchandise like costumes, masks, toys, and art.
- Received awards like the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films.
- Headlined horror conventions where he interacts with legions of loyal fans.
- One of only two actors to play a horror villain across 8 consecutive films (along with Doug Bradley as Pinhead).
Robert Englund helped craft Freddy Krueger into an enduring pop culture icon that remains a Halloween costume staple even today.
Fun Facts About Robert
Over the years following Robert’s prolific career, I’ve picked up some fascinating trivia about him:
- He impressively survived being accidentally stabbed in the chest by Krueger’s glove while filming a scene.
- He auditioned for Luke Skywalker and Han Solo in Star Wars with his good friend Mark Hamill.
- He enjoys surfing and gardening during his time off from acting.
- His personal fan nickname for the battery powered cooling vest he wears under Freddy’s sweater is his “Chilly Buddy”.
- His first on-screen kiss was with actress Linda Blair in the TV movie Summer of Fear (1978).
Robert has lived such a full life on and off screen!
Where is Robert Englund Now?
Now in his mid 70s, Robert Englund keeps busy acting, attending horror conventions, and working on art:
- He continues to act, recently starring in movies like The Last Showing (2014) and the upcoming The Lives of Robots.
- He guest starred as the Joker on the superhero series The Batman in 2005.
- Robert regularly appears at fan conventions like Monster-Mania where he speaks on panels and meets fans.
- He posts updates on upcoming projects and shares memories from his films to his active social media accounts.
- His nightmare-inspired paintings and sculptures have been exhibited around the world, including galleries in New York and Paris.
Far from retiring, Robert plows ahead doing what he loves most – terrifying people!
Get to Know Horror’s Boogeyman
For over 50 years, Robert Englund has solidified his place among horror‘s pantheon of icons. While forever linked to his star-making turn as Freddy Krueger, Robert is a phenomenal character actor who consistently impresses in a wide array of roles across all genres. Off-screen, he is an articulate artist, gifted painter, and director with diverse talents beyond acting. However, it is his legendary contributions to horror cinema that have rightfully earned Robert the affectionate moniker of “horror’s boogeyman”. Robert Englund’s singular career has made him a cherished staple of the horror community.