Tom Berenger (born Thomas Michael Moore; May 31, 1949) is an American actor. He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of Staff Sergeant Bob Barnes in Platoon (1986). He is also known for playing Jake Taylor in the Major League films and Thomas Beckett in the Sniper films. Other films he appeared in include Looking for Mr. Goodbar (1977), The Dogs of War (1980), The Big Chill (1983), Eddie and the Cruisers (1983), Betrayed (1988), The Field (1990), Gettysburg (1993), The Substitute (1996), One Man’s Hero (1999), Training Day (2001), and Inception (2010).
Berenger won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie for his performance as Jim Vance in the 2012 miniseries Hatfields & McCoys.
Early life and education
Berenger was born as Thomas Michael Moore in Chicago, on May 31, 1949, to a Catholic family of Irish ancestry with his great-grandfather and grandmother settling in Chicago. He has a sister, Susan. His father was a printer for the Chicago Sun-Times and a traveling salesman.
Moore graduated in 1967 from Rich East High School in Park Forest, Illinois. He studied journalism at the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri, but decided to seek an acting career following his graduation in 1971 with a Bachelor of Arts degree.
He worked in regional theatre and in 1972, he worked as a flight attendant with Eastern Airlines, based in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He transferred to New York in 1973.
Moore selected “Berenger” as his professional name after he was forced to change his surname professionally, as there was already a “Tom Moore” in the Actors’ Equity Association.
Berenger worked in soap operas and had a starring role as lawyer Tim Siegel on One Life to Live. His feature film debut was the lead in Rush It (1976), an independent film. In 1977, he had a small role as the killer of the lead character (played by Diane Keaton) in Looking for Mr. Goodbar based on the murder of schoolteacher Roseann Quinn. In 1978, he had a starring role in In Praise of Older Women for Avco-Embassy Pictures. In 1979, he played Butch Cassidy in Butch and Sundance: The Early Days, a role he got in part because of his resemblance to Paul Newman, who played the character in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969).
Berenger starred in several significant films in the 1980s, including The Big Chill (1983), Eddie and the Cruisers (1983), Platoon (1986), Someone to Watch Over Me (1987), Shoot to Kill (1988), and Major League (1989). In 1986, he received an Academy Award nomination for his portrayal of Staff Sergeant Barnes in Platoon (this performance won him a Golden Globe Award for “Best Supporting Actor”). A role for which he has become well known for is Thomas Beckett, the main character in the mid-1990s film Sniper (which would later be followed by six sequels, featuring Berenger in the starring role for four). Other notable films from that period in which he was featured include Born on the Fourth of July (1989), Shattered (1991), Sliver (1993), and Chasers (1994). When asked in a 1999 interview to name his favorite film out of those in which he had acted, Berenger said it was too difficult to choose but that the one he had watched most frequently was his 1993 film Gettysburg, where he played the role of General James Longstreet.
He established the Tom Berenger Acting Scholarship Fund in 1988 to award theatre students for excellence in performance.
In more recent years, Berenger has continued to have an active acting career in film and television, although often at a supporting level. One of his most notable television appearances was on Cheers in its last season as Rebecca Howe’s blue collar-plumber love interest, for which he was nominated for an Emmy Award for “Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series”. He also began a career as a producer in the 1990s. Berenger co-produced the 1997 miniseries Rough Riders, also starring as Theodore Roosevelt.
Berenger was also seen on the box art and promotional content for Novalogic’s Delta Force: Black Hawk Down, as his roles in Sniper 2 and Sniper 3 were very similar to what was chosen for the game’s artwork. He starred in the mini-series version of Stephen King’s Nightmares & Dreamscapes, as a celebrated author who realizes the warped painting he recently purchased is alive with illustrations of impending doom for him in “The Road Virus Heads North”. Berenger stars opposite Armand Assante and Busta Rhymes in the dramatic thriller Breaking Point, which had a limited release starting in December 2009.
Berenger appeared in the 2010 science fiction thriller Inception with Leonardo DiCaprio and Cillian Murphy, where he played a business executive who served as a mentor to and was an associate of the father of Murphy’s character. It was his first major film role since Training Day in 2001. In 2012 he appeared in the TV miniseries Hatfields & McCoys as Jim Vance, uncle of protagonist Devil Anse Hatfield (played by Kevin Costner). On September 23, 2012 Berenger earned a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie for the role.
Berenger married four times and has six children. He has two children by his first wife, Barbara Wilson, to whom he was married from 1976 to 1984: Allison Moore (born 1977) and Patrick Moore (born 1979). He has three daughters by second wife Lisa Williams (to whom he was married from 1986 to 1997): Chelsea Moore (born 1986), Chloe Moore (born 1988) and Shiloh Moore (born 1993). He has a daughter named Scout Moore (born 1998) with Patricia Alvaran, to whom he was married from 1998–2011. He married Laura Moretti in Sedona, Arizona, in early September 2012.
|1977||The Sentinel||Man at End|
|1977||Looking for Mr. Goodbar||Gary|
|1978||Rush It||Richard Moore|
|1978||In Praise of Older Women||Andras Vayda|
|1979||Butch and Sundance: The Early Days||Butch Cassidy / Robert Leroy Parker|
|1980||The Dogs of War||Drew Blakeley|
|1982||Beyond the Door||Matthew Jackson|
|1983||The Big Chill||Sam Weber|
|1983||Eddie and the Cruisers||Frank Ridgeway|
|1984||Fear City||Matt Rossi|
|1985||Rustlers’ Rhapsody||Rex O’Herlihan|
|1986||Platoon||Staff Sergeant Bob Barnes||Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture
Nominated—Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
|1987||Someone to Watch Over Me||Detective Mike Keegan|
|1988||Shoot to Kill||Jonathan Knox|
|1989||Major League||Jake Taylor|
|1989||Born on the Fourth of July||Gunnery Sergeant Hayes|
|1990||Love at Large||Harry Dobbs|
|1990||The Field||The American|
|1991||At Play in the Fields of the Lord||Lewis Moon|
|1993||Sniper||Gunnery Sergeant Tom Beckett|
|1993||Sliver||Jack Landsford||Nominated—Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Supporting Actor|
|1993||Gettysburg||Lieutenant General James Longstreet|
|1994||Major League II||Jake Taylor|
|1995||Last of the Dogmen||Lewis Gates|
|1996||The Substitute||Jonathan Shale|
|1996||An Occasional Hell||Dr. Ernest Dewalt|
|1998||The Gingerbread Man||Pete Randle|
|1998||Shadow of Doubt||Jack Campioni|
|1999||A Murder of Crows||Detective Clifford Dubose|
|1999||One Man’s Hero||John Riley|
|1999||Diplomatic Siege||General Buck Swain|
|1999||Turbulence 2: Fear of Flying||Sikes||Direct-to-video|
|2001||Training Day||District Attorney Stanley ‘Stan’ Gursky|
|2001||The Hollywood Sign||Tom Greener|
|2001||True Blue||Rembrandt ‘Remy’ Macy|
|2002||Sniper 2||Gunnery Sergeant Tom Beckett||Television film|
|2004||Sniper 3||Gunnery Sergeant Tom Beckett||Direct-to-video|
|2007||The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey||Jonathan Toomey|
|2009||Silent Venom||Admiral Bradley Wallace|
|2009||Breaking Point||Steven Luisi|
|2010||Smokin’ Aces 2: Assassins’ Ball||Hal Leuco / FBI Agent Walter Weed||Direct-to-video|
|2010||Sinners and Saints||Captain Trahan|
|2010||Inception||Peter Browning||Nominated—Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Cast|
|2011||Last Will||Frank Emery|
|2011||Bucksville||The Patron of Justice|
|2012||Brake||Agent Ben Reynolds|
|2012||War Flowers||General McIntire|
|2014||Doc Holliday’s Revenge||Judge Wells|
|2014||Lonesome Dove Church||John Shepherd|
|2014||Sniper: Legacy||Gunnery Sergeant Tom Beckett||Direct-to-video|
|2015||Impact Earth||Herbert Sloan|
|2017||Sniper: Ultimate Kill||Gunnery Sergeant Tom Beckett||Direct-to-video|
|2017||Cops and Robbers||Captain Randolph|
|2018||American Dresser||John Moore|
|2018||Battle of the Bulge: Wunderland||Major McCulley||Direct-to-video|
|2018||Gone Are the Days||Will|
|2018||1st Born||Jefferson Tucker|
|2020||Blood and Money||Jim Reed|
|2020||Sniper: Assassin’s End||Gunnery Sergeant Tom Beckett||Direct-to-video|
|2020||Battle of the Bulge: Winter War||Major McCulley||Direct-to-video|
|1975–1976||One Life to Live||Tim Siegel||66 episodes|
|1977||Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye||Billy Sutton||Television movie|
|1979||Flesh & Blood||Bobby Fallon||Television movie|
|1986||If Tomorrow Comes||Jeff Stevens||3 episodes (miniseries)|
|1993||Cheers||Don Santry||2 episodes
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series
|1995||Body Language||Gavin St. Claire||Television movie|
|1995||The Avenging Angel||Miles Utley||Television movie|
|1997||Rough Riders||Theodore Roosevelt||2 episodes (miniseries)|
|1999||In the Company of Spies||Kevin Jefferson||Television movie|
|2000||Law & Order||Dean Tyler||Episode: “Panic”|
|2000||Cutaway||Red Line||Television movie|
|2001||Johnson County War||Cain Hammett||Television movie|
|2002||Ally McBeal||Harrison Wyatt||Episode: “Nine One Nine”|
|2002||The Junction Boys||Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant||Television movie|
|2003||Third Watch||Aaron Noble||4 episodes|
|2003||Peacemakers||Marshal Jared Stone||9 episodes|
|2004||Capital City||Senator Foxworthy||Television movie|
|2005||Into the West||Colonel J. Chivington||Episode: “Hell on Wheels”|
|2005||Detective||Sergeant Malcolm Ainslie||Television movie|
|2006||Nightmares & Dreamscapes: From the Stories of Stephen King||Richard Kinnell||Episode: “The Road Virus Heads North”|
|2007||America’s Iliad: The Siege of Charleston||Narrator (voice)||Television movie|
|2007–2008||October Road||Bob ‘The Commander’ Garrett||19 episodes|
|2008||Amber Alert: Terror on the Highway||Larsan||Television movie|
|2011||XIII: The Series||Rainer Gerhardt||6 episodes|
|2012||Hatfields & McCoys||Jim Vance||3 episodes (miniseries)
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie
|2013–2015||Major Crimes||Jackson Raydor||7 episodes|
|2014||Hawaii Five-0||Eddie Williams||Episode: “Ma lalo o ka ‘ili”|
|2017||Training Day||District Attorney Stanley ‘Stan’ Gursky||Episode: “Elegy” (reprised character from 2001 film of the same name)|