Baldwin was born in Massapequa, Long Island, New York to
Catholic parents Alexander Rae Baldwin II, an Irish American
high school history teacher, drama club director and football
coach, and Carol Newcomb Martineau, who had distant French
ancestry. Alec Baldwin's brothers are Daniel, Stephen and
William Baldwin, all of whom are actors; he also has two
sisters, Jane and Elizabeth.
When Baldwin was young, he worked as a busboy at famous New York City disco Studio 54. He graduated from the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute in 1979, and took Political Science at The George Washington University.
Alec Baldwin's first major role was as Billy Aldrich on the daytime soap The Doctors from 1981 to its cancellation a year later. He shot to stardom co-starring on Knots Landing, and spent most of the 1980s appearing in television series, before turning to film in 1988, making his film debut with a minor role in She's Having a Baby. That year, Alec Baldwin had major roles in Beetlejuice and Working Girl, both of which were box office successes and raised his profile. After appearing in several other supporting roles, he starred as lead character Jack Ryan in The Hunt for Red October, which grossed over $100m after its release in March of 1990. He subsequently had several notable roles in early 1990s films, including opposite ex-wife Kim Basinger in 1991's The Marrying Man, as one of an ensemble cast in Glengarry Glen Ross, and as the title character in 1994's superhero film, The Shadow. He appeared opposite Basinger again in The Getaway, a 1994 remake of the same-name 1972 film.
Alec Baldwin's late 1990s roles varied in terms of critical and box office reception, and included several thrillers, such as The Edge, The Juror (opposite Demi Moore) and Heaven's Prisoners. He has since appeared mostly in supporting roles, including his Academy Award nominated turn in 2003's The Cooler, and several voice over roles, including work in the film Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within.
On June 9, 2005, Alec Baldwin appeared in a concert version of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical South Pacific Carnegie Hall. Alec Baldwin starred as Billis, alongside Reba McEntire as Nellie and Brian Stokes Mitchell as Emile. The production was taped and telecast by PBS on April 26, 2006.
Alec Baldwin's next role will be in the ensemble drama-comedy Running with Scissors, which will be released in September 2006.
Alec Baldwin was married to Kim Basinger on August 19, 1993; the two separated on December 5, 2000 and filed for divorce in January 2001. They were the subject of much media attention for the bitter divorce and custody fight for their daughter, Ireland Eliesse Baldwin (born October 23, 1995), and accusations that Baldwin was an abusive husband, in addition to allegations of him having anger management problems. He has spent over $1m trying to get access to his daughter and claims she is the subject of parental alienation syndrome.
Since his divorce, Alec Baldwin has dated actresses Kristin Davis (in the summer of 2001) and Tatum O'Neal (in the spring of 2002).
Alec Baldwin was criticized by Jack Valenti, Rush Limbaugh, and Brit Hume for his appearance on Late Night with Conan O'Brien on December 11, 1998, eight days before President Bill Clinton was impeached. In a skit that Baldwin later referred to as a "parody," he said that "if we were in another country... We would stone Henry Hyde to death and we would go to their homes and we’d kill their wives and their children. We would kill their families". Alec later apologized to Hyde for his remarks. NBC has promised never to re-air the show.
In 2000, an interview with Basinger appeared in the German magazine Focus, in which the actress said that Baldwin promised to leave the United States if George W. Bush beat Al Gore for the presidency. This alleged promise provoked a great deal of controversy for Baldwin and Basinger. He was chastised by Florida governor Jeb Bush for his alleged statements. Baldwin had to temporarily shut down his website due to what he described as hundreds of "hideous and graphic" writings from "political extremists whose only goal is to harass and disrupt." Baldwin claimed he never heard of Focus and that Basinger was never interviewed, although subsequently he did admit the interview took place. He has stated that he never threatened to leave the United States and believed he might be confused with Robert Altman, a director who did make a vow to leave the United States if Bush was reelected. As Snopes.com has shown, no actual quote has ever been published showing that Baldwin in fact made the controversial promise.
Alec Baldwin, a liberal Democrat, has always had an active interest in politics and is frequently rumored to be a candidate for public office. He recently revealed in a British magazine interview that he plans to leave acting in a few years to pursue a career in politics. He has recently called Vice President Dick Cheney a "terrorist", and claimed that "he terrorizes our enemies abroad and innocent citizens here at home indiscriminately." He later recanted this statement, saying that Cheney was not a terrorist but rather "a lying, thieving oil whore or a murderer of the U.S. Constitution". Baldwin has continued to level strong criticisms at the Bush Administration on his blog labeling President Bush a "trust fund puppet" and Vice President Cheney a "constitution hating sociopath" and a "hate-filled maniac".
Alec Baldwin and commentator Bill O'Reilly have been in a number of conflicts, yet despite their political differences, Baldwin stated on his blog after an interview with O'Reilly, that he "was aggressive, but was a gentleman throughout.", and also called O'Reilly a "talented broadcaster." Alec, however, also referred to O'Reilly's employer, Fox News Channel, in the same blog post as "Roger Ailes' Luftwaffe/Looney Bin news operation".
On March 26, 2006, Baldwin guest-hosted Brian Whitman's talk show on WABC radio in New York. During the show, conservative talk show hosts Sean Hannity and Mark Levin called into the show and were heard on the air. Both Hannity and Levin confronted Baldwin about his previous comments about Vice-President Cheney and Rep. Hyde. After a brief conversation, Baldwin attempted to move on to the next caller, but Hannity told him "you don't tell the truth," and Baldwin responded by stating that Hannity was "a no-talent, former construction worker hack." The conversation turned into a series of verbal taunts between Hannity/Levin and Baldwin. According to the actor, Whitman made no attempt to assist Baldwin or curtail the call, then Alec Baldwin walked out of the studio. On March 28, according to Baldwin, WABC President and General Manager Tim McCarthy telephoned him to "apologize for Sean's attacks".
Alec Baldwin serves on the board of People for the American Way.
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