JON VOIGHT Biography - Other artists & entretainers


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With his boyish features and baby-blue eyes, Jon Voight could easily have taken the James Dean route to eternal stardom. Two major roles, in Midnight Cowboy and Deliverance - and then bang, gone, but remembered forever as both a pin-up and a consummate, risk-taking artiste, personifying his generation. He could also have done a De Niro - sought out roles that suited him and replayed himself over and over, his very intensity keeping audiences interested. Instead, he took the hardest route of all. He decided, after his first phenomenal success, that he should only take work of depth and meaning. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it, considering Hollywood’s perennial dearth of both. Yet, for better or worse, Voight battled to maintain this high moral standard for nearly a quarter of a century and, even now that he’s mellowed, he remains one of the most fascinating and powerful actors we have. Furthermore, he’s one of the very few convincing role models Hollywood might offer to the youth of today.


As far as charisma and anti-establishment attitude go, he knocks his supposedly rebellious daughter, Angelina Jolie into a cocked hat. He was born Jonathan Voight in Yonkers, New York, on the 29th of December, 1938, a matter of months before the outbreak of World War 2. His father, Elmer, was a Czech-American and a golf pro. Though a back injury in his youth ensured he would not enter competitions beyond the age of 20, he nevertheless became an excellent golf teacher. His wife, Barbara, became a homemaker, and was later described by Jon as “a benign general". She was very active, very responsible, and a terrible cook, for which she was mercilessly teased by her three boys, each of whom would become world-renowned in their chosen field. Barry would become a feted expert on volcanoes, working out of Penn State University, while James Wesley - under the name Chip Taylor - would become a legendary songwriter, penning such classics as Wild Thing and Angel Of The Morning.And then there was Jon. Jon was a born performer, wanting to act from the age of three. Attending the local Archbishop Stepinac High School (exclusively for Catholic boys), he involved himself in school productions in any way he could, both acting and - due to a genuine ability in drawing, painting etc - even designing sets for plays. Jon was a happy, adaptable and, above all, decent student. Taking to heart his religion’s call for us to be good to one another, he found it hard to accept that his Protestant friends were to inevitably burn for Eternity. “I was always trying to be a liaison between the attitudes I was being taught by the Church and my buddies,” he later recalled . “I would say ‘Well, you don’t have to take it THAT seriously’.” This was a problem Jon would face up until his twenties, as after high school he attended the Catholic University of America, in Washington DC.