Robert Englund Celebrates His 73rd Birthday Today

Robert Englund in A Nightmare on Elm Street

When you think of horror movie icons, a few names come to mind. Jason, Michael Myers and Jigsaw are just a few. But perhaps the best of all of them is Freddy Krueger. He certainly has more personality than all of the other killers I just mentioned and he might just be the most iconic, too. Of course, the man responsible for Krueger’s lasting legacy is Robert Englund, who’s played the role eight times, and today he’s celebrating his 73rd birthday.

The actor has a special relationship with horror and it goes all the way back to when he was a child, with Englund once saying:

“When I was 9, I went to a birthday party. We were supposed to see a cowboy movie, but the programming got screwed up and we saw The Bad Seed instead. Horrifying. For years I was frightened of girls with pigtails.”

It must have made an impression on him as well because in addition to the aforementioned eight Nightmare movies, Englund has appeared in numerous other films in the genre, too, including The Phantom of the Opera, Night Terrors, The Mangler, Wishmaster, Urban Legend and 2001 Maniacs.

But he’ll always be synonymous with Krueger. Many actors might seem embarrassed to be only known for one thing, but Englund embraces it as it made his career. And he was fascinated with the character from the very beginning it seems.

“Freddy Krueger is a great politically incorrect villain, the logo character of a franchise spawned by a low-budget movie, made by some reasonably artistic people who came up with a gimmick. And it is a great gimmick – the idea that a bogeyman, a revenge-motif serial killer could manifest himself in the subconscious of the children of the people that did him wrong. Freddy likes it, he is having fun doing it. He is unapologetic about that. You have a punk-rock nihilistic villain.”

England also recognizes that it might be time for someone else to dawn the hat and claws. He’s previously talked about Kevin Bacon being a good fit for the role and he seems eager to see the franchise get a reboot. In the wake of Halloween’s rejuvenation, there’s certainly room for A Nightmare on Elm Street.

It might not be Robert Englund playing Freddy when he appears again next, but whoever it is that ends up in the part will have some mighty big shoes to fill. That’s for sure.