Brendan Fraser starred in a host of films in the 1990s, gaining fame for his comic timing, affable persona, and old-school Hollywood looks.
His first leading role was in the comedy Encino Man in 1992, where he played the caveman of the title, adapting to life in the 20th century. His gift for cinematic comedy led to similar roles in Airheads and George of the Jungle. A string of films kept him in movie theaters, including fantasy romantic comedy Bedazzled opposite Elizabeth Hurley in 2000.
He is probably most famous for headlining Universal’s action-horror Mummy trilogy between 1999 and 2008. As that series ended, Fraser took the lead role in the fantasy adventure movie Inkheart after original novel author Cornelia Funke hand-picked him.
While most famous for action and comedy hits, Fraser has also gained acclaim for his dramatic roles. He starred in the Academy Award-winning Gods and Monsters in 1998 opposite Sir Ian McKellen and shared the screen with Sir Michael Caine in 2002’s The Quiet American. He also brought gravitas to the ensemble cast of 2006’s Academy Award-winning Crash.
Behind the camera, he took on producing duties for 2008’s Journey to the Center of the Earth and 2013’s Breakout. Around 2014, he stepped back from acting on the big screen and hasn’t appeared in movie theaters since.
What happened to Brendan Fraser?
An interview Fraser recorded in 2016 launched the ‘Sad Brendan Fraser’ meme, but his withdrawn appearance had an explanation. The actor had lost his mother shortly before the interview. That loss, along with his 2009 divorce from Afton Smith⏤the mother of his three children⏤is among the factors Fraser said contributed to him stepping back from movies.
In 2018, Fraser alleged a sexual assault by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association president at a Beverly Hills luncheon in 2003. He’s spoken about the depression that followed the incident and subsequent retreat from film. Although he didn’t talk about his experience publicly at the time, Fraser believed declining Hollywood roles were due to blacklisting.
Fraser has also talked about the impact of performing stunts in some of his most famous roles. His action film work has resulted in several surgeries, including a partial knee replacement, two laminectomies, and work on his vocal cords. Fraser has described the first part of the century as seven years spent repeatedly visiting hospitals.
While these contributed to Brendan Fraser’s extended break from movie theaters, he didn’t stop acting. His roles on television since 2015 have included Texas Rising, Trust, and The Affair. In 2018 he joined DC Entertainment’s alternative superhero team Doom Patrol, voicing Cliff ‘Robotman’ Steele and playing the character in flashbacks.
As of 2021, Fraser has indicated that his break from movies is over. He joined the ensemble cast of Steven Soderbergh’s crime thriller No Sudden Move, released on HBO Max in July 2021. Next up are roles in Whale, directed by Darren Aronofsky, and Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon.
His most high-profile film role for some time will come in 2022 when he brings a second DC Comics character to life. Fraser is scheduled to play Gotham supervillain Firefly in Batgirl next year.