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Entertainment
Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: Laredo Tribune. Posted by Lexi Schwartz
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Entertainment
Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: Laredo Tribune.
Posted by Lexi Schwartz
760a631d0dea2ae92cb6e9f7b157b927
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Eric Stoltz

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Famous For:
Mask, Some Kind of Wonderful, Pulp Fiction
Networth:
$5 Million
Currently Known For:
Madam Secretary
Famous Years:
1978 - Present
Birthdate:
September 30, 1961
Eric Stoltz


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  Famous For:
Mask, Some Kind of Wonderful, Pulp Fiction

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  Networth:
$5 Million

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For nearly 40 years, Eric Stoltz has been incredibly busy in Hollywood, working both in front of and behind the camera. While many might know him as the original Marty McFly in “Back to the Future” before Michael J. Fox was cast in the role, Stoltz has done just fine for himself. Between film and television and producing and directing, Stoltz is a very influential figure in Hollywood even without securing that one big role.

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Stoltz’s home is Whitter, California, and the actor was born there on September 30, 1961. His parents were both teachers that made their way out of the country when Stoltz was still very young.

“May parents moved to American Samoa when I was three or four years old,” Stoltz said of his childhood. “My dad was principal of a high school there. It was idyllic for a kid. I had a whole island for a backyard. I lived there until I was eight years old and we moved to Santa Barbara. That was a rough transition to make. I remember being the only kid in second grade who couldn’t tie his shoelaces, because I had never worn shoes on the island.”

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Back in the United States, Stoltz remained in Southern California for college when he attended USC in Los Angeles. Stoltz finished his first two years there before leaving school to head to New York City to advance his acting career. After appearing on stage several times, Stoltz started to land on-screen work in the late 1970s with multiple guest appearances and television movies.

Stoltz saw his film career take off during the early 1980s, first playing a supporting role in the movie “Fast Times at Ridgemont High”. After a couple more films like “Surf II”, Stoltz found himself in a starring role with the 1984 film “The Wild Life”.

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“The Wild Life” ended up being a big breakthrough for Stoltz early on in his career. “I got a job at a bowling alley, moved into Oakwood Apartments in Burbank and tried to live that life,” Stoltz said of the preparation for his role. “It was awful. I had to clean other people’s shoes, deal with women’s bowling day. The time really dragged. On one level, it was no fun at all but, on another level, it was real interesting. I had the opportunity to hang out in the apartment complex’s clubhouse and down by the pool. The place was filled with recently divorced people who were licking their wounds. I did that for two months. And, ultimately, it did make it easier to do the character.”

A year after “The Wild Life”, Stoltz took on the starring role as Rocky Dennis in “Mask” that earned him several award nominations. It was a time of anonymity for Stoltz when shooting “Mask”. “Nobody knew who I was at the time, so they just thought that I was the actual guy,” Stoltz said. “We were shooting in the town he was from, and this one time I was walking around and lunchtime and someone shouted his name out of a car.”

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Naturally, you can’t talk about Stoltz’s career in the 1980s without mentioning “Back to the Future”. He had shot several scenes as Marty McFly before ultimately being replaced by Michael J. Fox. Fox had scheduling conflicts that forced him to turn down the role at first, but it was all worked out and he was able to shoot the film.

Stoltz has been asked about nearly becoming Marty McFly many times in the years that have passed since “Back to the Future” was first released. “You know, it was 20 something years ago and I rarely look back, if at all, but in retrospect, I think just getting through that difficult period helped me realize how freeing it really was,” Stoltz said. “I went back to acting school, I moved to Europe, I did some plays in New York and I actually invested in myself in a way that was much healthier for me. If I had become a massive star, I don’t know if I wouldn’t have gone into therapy. On the other hand, I would’ve been exceedingly rich, which would’ve been wonderful.”

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Stoltz followed up the near-casting in “Back to the Future” with 1980s movies such as “Say Anything…”, “Some Kind of Wonderful” and “The Fly II”. During the 1990s, Stoltz had several other big films with “Jerry Maguire”, “Anaconda” and “Kicking and Screaming”. More recently, he’s been in films like “Her Smell”, and has appeared on television shows including “Madam Secretary” and “Caprica”.

As for what Stoltz like to do with his free time, “My perfect day is constantly changing,” he says. “Right now, it would be to lie around in a hammock reading with a portable phone and a table of food next to it. I would spend all day there. And that’s all that I can possibly come up with on the spur of the moment.”

Stoltz knows that he’s been given a gift with his career, as well. “I realize I’m a very lucky man,” he said. “I love what I do. I love films, TV and theater, and the fact that I’m able to make a living at it staggers me.” Stoltz adds that “I’ve been pretty lucky - or slothful - in that I’ve never been a ‘career builder.’ I take the jobs that come along that feel right, and that’s left me fairly open to all genres.”

While he’s still acting, Stoltz does prefer to have a hand in the work that goes on behind the scenes. “I would hope that being an actor has helped me in my directing,” he said. “Because one thing I try to do is I prioritize performance over technique. I try to meet the actors where they are, and bring out the best in them.”

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