Celebrity Then And Now
Posted by Jake Frost
Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: Stanton Daily. Posted by Jake Frost
Breaking Bad, Beverly Hills Cop, Wiseguy
Currently Known For:
Better Call Saul
January 31, 1947
If you had to describe the types of characters that Jonathan Banks has played throughout his career, “dark” and “brooding” would be pretty commonly used words. This is especially true thanks to his role in the “Breaking Bad” universe in recent years. For younger fans, they might not realize that Banks has been a star long before the series came around, and the 71 year old is just as in demand as he’s ever been during his lengthy career.
Banks was born in the nation’s capital of Washington, D.C. on January 31, 1947. From a very early age, Banks knew that he wanted to be a performer on stage, and spent much of his youth preparing for a career in the field. After he was finished with high school in the mid 1960s, Banks headed to the midwest, attending Indiana University as a drama major. While Banks wouldn’t finish school because he dropped out, it was to pursue his full-time acting career that ended up being the right choice.
The first professional stage performance for Banks came in the popular musical “Hair” in which Banks was part of the traveling cast. This went on for a few years before Banks wanted to settle down in Los Angeles, heading to Hollywood where he started appearing on stage in a non-traveling setting for the first time. Banks also started to look for roles on screen, which would come during the mid 1970s.
It was in 1976 that Banks appeared on television for the first time, appearing in an episode of “Barnaby Jones” and the TV movie “The Macahans”. The next year, Banks made his film debut in the movie “The Night They Took Miss Beautiful”. For the rest of the 1990s, banks had guest roles in movies such as “Coming Home” and “The Rose”, as well as TV productions like “The Waltons”, “Lou Grant” and “Alexander: The Other Side of Dawn”.
Banks started to make more a name for himself throughout the 1980s. On the big screen, Banks had parts in hit films like “48 Hrs.”, “Gremlins” and “Beverly Hills Cop” just to name a few. He’d add several more TV movies, and had guest spots on “T.J. Hooker” and “Cagney & Lacey”. It would also be the first time that Banks had a regular role on shows, appearing in “Otherworld” and “Falcon Crest” in recurring spots before landing a lead role to round out the decade on “Wiseguy” starting out in 1987.
The 1990s would feature much of the same types of roles. On top of his one-episode appearances on television, Banks had a regular role on the short-lived series “Fired Up” in the middle of the decade. In film, Banks appeared in “Under Siege 2” and “There Goes the Neighborhood”, heading into the new decade with a spot on the show “The Trouble with Normal”.
Banks, despite being a rather well known actor during the late 1980s, hadn’t appeared in the first two “Crocodile Dundee” films. That changed in 2001 when he joined the cast of what would be the most recent Dundee film, “Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles”. In the movie, Banks played the role of Milos Drubnik. Banks played one of the many villains that was trying to spoil Dundee’s good time, holding his love interest Sue (played by Linda Kozlowski) hostage. That type of bad guy role is nothing new to Banks.
Following that role, Banks had continued more guest spots during the 2000s, showing up on shows like “Day Break”, “Ghost Whisperer” and “Shark”. The most notable role he had during this time was in the buddy drama film “Reign Over Me” with Don Cheadle and Adam Sandler.
In recent years, Banks has been as busy as ever on both the big screen and on television. Over the past decade, Banks has starred in some big budget films such as “Identity Thief” and “Horrible Bosses 2”, with several films coming out in the past year alone. This includes roles in “The Commuter” and “Redbad”, and most notably as Rick Dicker in the Pixar hit film “Incredibles 2”.
It was also a decade ago that Banks took on his role as Mike Ehrmantraut for the first time on the AMC series “Breaking Bad”. The show was considered by many to be among the best in television history, with Banks receiving a lot of acclaim for his role. Banks was on the series for three years while also making guest appearances on shows such as “Modern family” and “Breaking Bad”. A recurring role then followed on “Community” before he reprised his role as Mike on “Better Call Saul” in 2015, a role that he’s been playing ever since. Other TV credits over the past few years include a voice role on “Skylanders Academy”, “Dr. Ken” and “Gravity Falls”.
Banks has found that he’s surprised by the fact that the roles he plays can still move him emotionally. Shows like “Breaking Bad” have had a lasting effect on Banks. “I’ll tell you what, I learned that no matter how old you get, you can be crushed with the love of the work and the love of the people you’re around,” he said, adding that when it comes to landing the roles that he gets, “I’m lucky. Wildly lucky.”