The Summer of Love, which spanned nearly a full year,
Ron Perlman turns 65 years old this week. Everyone recognizes Perlman’s face, although it’s often hidden beneath layers of makeup magic for his iconic roles. Perlman isn’t a classically handsome man, but he is a classically trained actor and wears his rugged looks well. Here are some facts about the man behind the makeup.
1. Perlman’s biggest fear is quicksand: In an interview with GQ, Perlman admitted an irrational phobia of quicksand after first watching it in a Tarzan movie. During his childhood, “I would only go to movies that were shot in cities. Anything that was shot rurally, that could possibly include a scene with quicksand? I would stay home.”
2. Perlman considers Guillermo Del Toro to be a brother: After working together on a handful of projects, Perlman reflects upon feeling an instant connection after only knowing Del Toro for five minutes: “This instantaneous friendship and recognition. Very, very similar way of viewing the world. And then we found, that working with each other, there was a real simpatico.” The two men consider each other to be “alter egos.”
3. Del Toro lovingly calls Perlman “a fat man”: During a Reddit AMA session, Del Toro called out Perlman as having a major sweet-tooth, to the point of being “secretly a fat man.” Del Toro revealed that Perlman goes to great lengths to whip himself into shape before a movie or television project begins.
4. Perlman attempted suicide in high school: In an interview with the Daily Beast, Perlman detailed his teenage depression and constant struggle with an absence of “Adonis-like qualities.” In his memoir, Easy Street, Perlman covered his suicide attempt in depth. Unfortunately, he forgot to tell his mom about the attempt before she read about the near-tragedy in his book.
5. Perlman is a classically trained actor: He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts for Theater in 1971 at Lehman College in NYC. Perlman went on to earn his Master’s in Fine Arts for Theater from the University of Minnesota in 1973.
6. Perlman’s Hellboy tranformation was epic: Perlman endured a daily, 4-hour makeup job each day on the Hellboy set. As of 2008’s Hellboy II: The Golden Army, Perlman stood as the oldest actor to play a leading-role superhero (at age 58). To prepare for both movies, he worked out three hours per day almost every day of the week. A rumored Hellboy 3 movie could be on the way.
7. Perlman’s villainous turn in Sons of Anarchy was “uncomfortable”: Perlman revealed to HuffPo that he would have changed the way his Clay Morrow character was killed: “What I would’ve loved to have seen is kind of ‘Oedipus at Colonus.’ I would’ve hoped, because of the nobility that I saw in Clay from the get-go, that he had gone out that way. He didn’t, but that wasn’t my choice.” In regards to Clay’s final few seasons on the show, Perlman told the AV Club, “I’m not going to lie; he’s very uncomfortable to play.”
8. Beauty and the Beast was an acting breakthrough: The television drama, which co-starred Linda Hamilton, was one of Perlman’s first experiences with heavy makeup and prosthetics. He loved the role: “Getting to play the Beast—I mean, literally someone who is completely unacceptable in a societal setting, and has to live in a nether region, but who longs for human contact because his human impulses and kindnesses are stronger than most humans—was huge.” Perlman was offered many advertising opportunities as Vincent, but he refused to exploit the character.
9. Perlman smokes cigars both onscreen and off: Perlman considers himself a cigar aficionado, and his expertise has lent him an easy presence with onscreen cigar smoking. He can be seen doing the deed in Hellboy, The Last Supper, Night Class, Happy, Texas, and The Price of Glory (among other films).
10. He takes what he can get & doesn’t complain: Like everyone, Perlman prefers working jobs that he loves, but he doesn’t whine when he isn’t filming a passion project: “I’ve done millions of mediocre movies. I’ve done way more than my fair share. You do what you gotta do. This is not heart surgery. I’m not curing cancer. I’m just trying to put my kids through school.”