Bud Cort

From Academic Kids

Bud Cort, an American actor, was born Walter Edward Cox on March 29, 1948 in New Rochelle, New York.

He grew up in Rye, NY, with his mother Alma Mary Court (whose maiden name he would later use professionally), his father, Joseph Parker Cox, Sr., who suffered from multiple sclerosis, three younger sisters and an older brother. His father was a bandleader, pianist, and merchant, his mother a reporter, who later took over the family clothing business when her husband took ill. Bud Cort graduated from Iona Prep School in New Rochelle in 1966.

He entered New York University to study design in 1967, but dropped out in 1969 to pursue acting. His first role was as an extra in the film version of Up the Down Staircase, and he then went on to study acting with Stella Adler and do television commercials, as well as stand-up comedy in New York City. He was discovered in a revue by Robert Altman and cast in two Robert Altman movies, M*A*S*H and given the leading role in Brewster McCloud.

Cort next went on to his most famous role, as the suicide-obsessed Harold, in Harold and Maude. The film was not a hit when it came out, but later gained cult status. Cort feared being typecast after playing Harold; he was offered the role of Billy Bibbit opposite Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, but he wanted Nicholson's role instead. Because Director Milos Forman wouldn't give it to him, and as he didn't want to be stereotyped in another film as "a crazy," he turned down the role. Instead he turned to a career in theater.

In 1979, Cort was in a serious car accident in Los Angeles, and underwent reconstructive surgery. He subsequently lost a court case against the driver of the abandoned car he had the accident with, and suffered career difficulties. He directed and starred in the film Ted and Venus, which garnered unfavorable reviews, as well as doing radio and voiceover work. During the 1980s he was a familiar face on TV and appeared in such films as the remake of Invaders From Mars.

Cort continues to act, and recently appeared in Kevin Smith's Dogma, Pollock, and the latest film by director Wes Anderson, The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou.

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