He is known for his tall strapping stature, his bald head, his arrogant and intimidating demeanor, as well as his over pronunciation of his dialogue.
John is a Democratic Party supporter, and in 2008 he took part in fundraisers for Barack Obama.
Drama Desk Awards
Outstanding Actor in a Play for True West (1983) (Nomination)
Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play for Death of a Salesman (1984) (Winner)
Outstanding Sound Design/Music in a Play for Balm in Gilead (1985) (Nomination)
Outstanding Director of a Play for Balm in Gilead (1985) (Winner)
Outstanding Actor in a Play for Burn This (1988) (Nomination)
Theatre World Awards
For True West (1983) (Winner)
Village Voice (Obie)
Performance for True West (1984) (Won).
Direction for Balm in Gilead (1985) (Won).
On Broadway, John starred in Burn This (1987/88), Arms and the Man (1985, which he also directed), and Death of a Salesman (1984). In 1986 he directed and designed the costumes for a production of The Caretaker.
Film and Television Awards Academy Awards Best Actor in a Supporting Role for Places in the Heart (1985) (Nomination). Best Actor in a Supporting Role for In the Line of Fire (1994) (Nomination). Jerusalem Film Festival Achievement Award (2008). Screen Actors' Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a TV Movie or Mini-series for Heart of Darkness (1995) (Nomination). Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture for Being John Malkovich (2000) (Nomination), Emmy Award Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Special (won) for Death of a Salesman(1985).
John is one of the backers for the Big Sleep Hotel in Eastbourne, on the South Coast of the UK.
John directed the English play Hysteria in it's first American production, at the Steppenwolf Theater in Chicago in December, 1999.
John starred in Lost Land at Chicago's Steppenwolf Theater in Spring 2005. He also designed the costumes for the production.
John attended acting classes with both Joan Allen and John Mahoney. He encouraged both actors to join the Steppenwolf Theater Company, which they did.
John starred in the BBC TV 10-minute long documentary on NYC's Chrysler Building. He also provided his personal film essay for the short.
John appeared in the TV commercial for Les cahiers du Cinéma (France) in 2000 in the TV commercial for Eurostar (France) in 2001.
John's favorite films include: The Battle of Algiers, The 400 Blows, Citizen Kane, The Conformist, This is Spinal Tap, High Noon and It's a Wonderful Life. His music preferences include singer Tom Waits and rap artist Dr. Dre.
When John was 16, he decided to get his excessive weight under control and lost 70 pounds by eating nothing but Jell-O for two months.
John has developed a great passion for Portugal, where he has filmed some movies, and now he also keeps a house here, as he co-owns a disco in Lisbon.
John's first film experience was a job as an extra in Robert Altman's feature A Wedding (1978).
John was listed as one of twelve "Promising New Actors of 1984" in John Willis' Screen World, Vol. 36.
John was chosen by Empire magazine as one of the 100 Sexiest Stars in film history (#70) in 1995.
The costume John wore in the Annie Lennox video, Walking On Broken Glass was borrowed from the set of Dangerous Liaisons (1988).
John is 6 feet, 2 inches (1.88 m) tall.
John Malkovich: (Discussing the film "Being John Malkovich" (1999)) When I first looked at the script, the title seemed like a one-line joke, but it turned out to be a 100-page joke.
John Malkovich: I want to be successful. I would like it to be a success with something that doesn't make me want to vomit all over the screening room after I've seen it.
John Malkovich: (On "Dangerous Liaisons" (1988)) The movie should appeal to everyone. It's sleazy, elegant, vicious and mean, and it's about people doing hideous things to each other. If that weren't enough, it has a tragic end. What more could people ask for?
John Malkovich: (On why he enjoys playing evil characters) I'm drawn to a character with a lack of humanity. People give reasons for being cruel or sadistic but I think it is just a lack of humanity and concern for others. I think I'm good at them because I don't like them. Audiences are attracted to them but I hate them. It's strange.
John Malkovich: We're all going to die, so the death penalty should be called the early-death penalty. And the furor about it strikes me as ridiculous. To make criminals feel what they've chosen to provoke others to feel would be the ideal penalty, but it's impossible to do that. Many of them are psychopaths without conscience. People can debate all this as much as they like, but I really don't care. I'm not a big believer in the judicial system, our laws or our Constitution. All the things Americans rave about as being sacrosanct are to me incredibly deeply flawed.
John Malkovich: I've always felt that if you can't make money as an actor, you`re either incredibly stupid or tragically unlucky.
John Malkovich: Film is about what appears to be. You can't fake theater, but you can fake anything in movies. You can fake chemistry between people. You can fake sex, love, explosions, special effects, horror...
John Malkovich: (on his jobs before becoming an actor) I did a million things. I worked in an office supply store, I drove a school bus, I painted houses, I worked for a Mexican landscape gardening company, picking out weeds. And generally when I was doing something it somehow took my interest. In fact, it must be a kind of shallowness. When I did office supplies mostly I thought about office supplies, and then when I got on the train I'd think about theatre, and then I would do theatre. But the next morning I would go in and, you know, reorganize the paper clips.
John Malkovich: The other day I was walking down the street in the rural town where we live (in France) and a truck hit me, rather hard, going fairly fast. And he starts to drive off, so I chase after him, reach in the window and grab his steering wheel. And I say, "Normally, in a civilized society, when we hit someone with a truck, we might inquire as to their well being." So he said, "I'm sorry," and I said, "Great. Try and be a little more careful and that would be fantastic, and so sorry to have troubled you." I walk another 30 meters and he pulls up beside me a second time -- and asks me if he can have an autograph.
John Malkovich: (on fashion) It's something I always liked. I don't know where that came from. I always imagine it was from being very fat as a child. I was a very good baseball player and football player as a kid, but my father always told me - occasionally while striking me - that I was much more interested in how I looked playing baseball or football than in actually playing. And I think there's great truth in that.
John Malkovich: I don't think, personally, I'm much like any character I ever played, including "John Malkovich" (in Being John Malkovich). I don't really see the resemblance at all. It's more a frequency you transmit than something that you fundamentally are.
John Malkovich: (Acting is) always things about imaginary people, imaginary events, imaginary things. That can make you know that what you're doing is very trivial. The nature of what it is, remaining, in some way, a child. Sometimes you look at it like an adult and think, 'What difference does this make to anything?' But you can say the same thing about banking or journalism or anything in the world ...
John Malkovich: I'm not prone to talk much about what I do. But then I never have been. I mean, I don't think hookers rush home from work and say, "Honey! I had the most incredible hand-job today!"
John Malkovich: You focus on how a character views the world. And, if you have talent, you focus on what they do to get what they want, on what they do when they don't know what they want, on how they look and sound and react. I don't go out and buy a false nose every time I pick up a script. I don't lose or gain 40 pounds. But I think about stuff like that. I've done a monocle part or two. It just seems to me that monocles and canes are only useful if they help the performance.