|Height:||175 cm (5' 9'')|
|Birth Day:||August 3, 1937|
|Birth Place:||Stepney, London, England, United Kingdom|
|Height||Weight||Hair Colour||Eye Colour||Blood Type||Tattoo(s)|
|175 cm (5' 9'')||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
Berkoff was born Leslie Steven Berks on 3 August 1937, in Stepney in the East End of London, the son of Pauline (née Hyman), a housewife, and Alfred Berks, a tailor. His family was Jewish, with roots in Romania and Russia. The family name was originally Berkoff, but had been anglicised to Berks in order to aid the family's assimilation into Britain. Berkoff later legally changed his surname to the original family name, and went by his middle name.
In television, Berkoff had early roles in episodes of The Avengers and UFO episodes "The Cat with Ten Lives" and “Destruction’ in 1970. Other TV credits include: Hagath, in the episode "Business as Usual" of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine; Stilgar, in the mini-series Children of Dune; gangster Mr. Wiltshire in one episode of Hotel Babylon; lawyer Freddie Eccles in "By the Pricking of My Thumbs", an episode of Agatha Christie's Marple; and Adolf Hitler in the mini-series War and Remembrance. In 1998, he made a guest appearance in the Canadian TV series La Femme Nikita (in the episode "In Between"). In 2006, he played celebrity/criminal Ray Cook in the New Tricks episode "Bank Robbery".
As well as an actor, Berkoff is a noted playwright and theatre director. His earliest plays are adaptations of works by Franz Kafka: The Metamorphosis (1969); In the Penal Colony (1969), and The Trial (1971). In the 1970s and 1980s, he wrote a series of verse plays including East (1975), Greek (1980), and Decadence (1981), followed by West (1983) (later adapted and recorded at Limehouse Studios for transmission on Channel 4 in 1983), Harry's Christmas (Lunch) (also recorded at Limehouse Studios in 1983 but was never transmitted by C4 as it was considered "too dark"), Sink the Belgrano! (1986), Massage (1997), and The Secret Love Life of Ophelia (2001). Berkoff described Sink the Belgrano! as "even by my modest standards ... one of the best things I have done".
In 1988, Berkoff directed an interpretation of Salome by Oscar Wilde, performed in slow motion, at the Gate Theatre, Dublin. For his first directorial job at the UK's Royal National Theatre, Berkoff revived the play with a new cast at the Lyttelton Auditorium; it opened in November 1989. In 1998, his solo play Shakespeare's Villains premièred at London's Haymarket Theatre and was nominated for a Society of London Theatre Laurence Olivier Award for Best Entertainment.
In the 1989 romantic comedy The Tall Guy, struggling actor Dexter King (Jeff Goldblum) auditions unsuccessfully for an imaginary "Berkoff play" called England, My England. In the audition, characters dressed as skinheads swear repetitively at each other and a folding table is kicked over. Afterwards, Dexter's agent Mary (Anna Massey) muses, "I think he's probably mad ..."
In 1991, Berkoff's play Kvetch won the Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Comedy. In 1997, Berkoff won the first Total Theatre Lifetime Achievement Award. In 1998, he was nominated for a Society of London Theatre's Laurence Olivier Award for Best Entertainment for his one-man show Shakespeare's Villains. In 1999, the 25th-anniversary revival of the play East, directed by Berkoff, received the Stage Award for Best Ensemble work at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. In 2000, he won the LA Weekly Theater Award for Solo Performance, again for Shakespeare's Villains. Also in 2000, his play Messiah, Scenes from a Crucifixion received a Scotsman Fringe First Award at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. In 2001, The Secret Love Life of Ophelia won a Bank of Scotland Herald Angel.
"I'm scared of Steven Berkoff" is a line in the lyrics of the song "I'm Scared" by Queen guitarist Brian May, issued on his 1993 debut solo album Back to the Light. May has declared himself to be an admirer of Berkoff and his wife, Anita Dobson, has appeared in several of Berkoff's plays.
In 1994, he both appeared in and directed the film version of his verse play Decadence. Filmed in Luxembourg, it co-stars Joan Collins.
In 1996, Berkoff appeared as the Master of Ceremonies in a BBC Radio 2 concert version of Kander and Ebb's Cabaret. He provided the voice-over for the N-Trance single "The Mind of the Machine", which rose to No. 15 in the UK Singles Chart in August 1997. He appeared in the opening sequence to Sky Sports' coverage of the 2007 Heineken Cup Final, modelled on a speech by Al Pacino in the film Any Given Sunday (1999).
In 1996, Berkoff won Berkoff vs. Burchill, a libel civil action that he brought against Sunday Times journalist Julie Burchill after she published comments suggesting that he was "hideously ugly". The judge ruled for Berkoff, finding that Burchill's actions "held him to ridicule and contempt."
According to Annette Pankratz in her 2005 Modern Drama review of Steven Berkoff and the Theatre of Self-Performance by Robert Cross: "Steven Berkoff is one of the major minor contemporary dramatists in Britain and – due to his self-fashioning as a bad boy of British theatre and the ensuing attention of the media – a phenomenon in his own right." Pankratz further asserts that Cross "focuses on Berkoff's theatre of self-performance: that is, the intersections between Berkoff, the public phenomenon and Berkoff, the artist."
In a Daily Telegraph travel article written while visiting Israel in 2007, Berkoff described Melanie Phillips' book Londonistan: How Britain Is Creating a Terror State Within, as "quite overwhelming in its research and common sense. It grips me throughout the journey."
Berkoff was the main character voice in Expelling the Demon (1999), a short animation with music by Nick Cave. It received the award for Best Debut at the KROK International Animated Films Festival. He has a cameo in the 2008 film The Cottage. Berkoff appeared in the 2010 British gangster film The Big I Am as "The MC", and in the same year, portrayed the antagonist in The Tourist. Berkoff portrayed Dirch Frode, attorney to Henrik Vanger (Christopher Plummer), in David Fincher's 2011 adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Another 2011 credit is the independent film Moving Target. He also stars in Decline of an Empire (2014) playing the role of Liberius.
Berkoff appeared in the British Heart Foundation's two-minute public service advertisement, Watch Your Own Heart Attack, broadcast on ITV in August 2008. He also presented two episodes of the BBC Two Horizon episodes: "To Infinity and Beyond..." (2010) and "The Power of the Placebo" (2014).
In a 2010 interview with guest presenter Emily Maitlis on The Andrew Marr Show, Berkoff stated that he found it "flattering" to play evil characters, saying that the best actors assumed villainous roles. In 2011, Berkoff revived a previously performed one-man show at the Hammersmith Riverside Studios, titled One Man. It consisted of two monologues; the first was an adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe's short story The Tell-Tale Heart, the second a piece called Dog, written by Berkoff, which was a comedy about a loud-mouthed football fan and his dog. In 2013, Berkoff performed his play An Actor's Lament at the Sinden Theatre in Tenterden, Kent; it is his first verse play since Decadence in 1981. His 2018 one-act play Harvey deals with the story of Harvey Weinstein.
In 2010, Berkoff played former Granada Television chairman Sidney Bernstein for the BBC Four drama, The Road to Coronation Street. He has played the historical Florentine preacher Girolamo Savonarola in two separate TV productions: the 1990 TV film A Season of Giants and the 2011 series The Borgias. Berkoff appears as himself in the "Science" episode of the British current affairs satire Brass Eye (1997), warning against the dangers of the fictional environmental disaster "Heavy Electricity". In September 2012, Berkoff appeared in the Doctor Who episode "The Power of Three".
Speaking to The Jewish Chronicle in May 2010, Berkoff criticised the Bible but added, "it inspires the Jews to produce Samsons and heroes and to have pride". Berkoff went on to say of the Talmud in the same article: "As Jews, we are so incredibly lucky to have the Talmud, to have a way of re-interpreting the Torah. So we no longer cut off hands, and slay animals, and stone women."
In 2012, Berkoff, with others, wrote in support of Israel's national theatre, Habima, performing in London.
In 2014, Berkoff played a supporting role in the second season of the Lifetime TV show Witches of East End as King Nikolaus, the patriarch of the Beauchamp family.
Berkoff's 2015 novel Sod the Bitches has been described as "a kind of Philip Roth-like romp through the sex life of a libidinous actor". His 2014 memoir Bad Guy! Journal of a Hollywood Turkey records his time working on a Hollywood blockbuster.
In 2016, he appeared in series 3, episode 1 of the Channel 4 sitcom Man Down as Mr. Klackov, a "terrifying" caretaker with a Eastern European accent "who makes covering [series protagonist Dan's] mistakes even more complicated" when his job as a schoolteacher is threatened.
Currently, Steven Berkoff is 83 years, 11 months and 22 days old. Steven Berkoff will celebrate 84th birthday on a Tuesday 3rd of August 2021.
Find out about Steven Berkoff birthday activities in timeline view here.