Born in Urbana, Ohio in 1959, he was raised by his mother (a classical musician) and his father (a Congressman). He attended St. Albans School, earning a scholarship for Northwestern University. In 1993, Brown married producer Jeanne Johnson and they currently have three sons.
Although usually playing villains, Brown is considered to be a very friendly person and has backed up different charity campaigns. He is also a collector of animation and an avid reader of science fiction. He is quoted as saying that if he hadn't been an actor he would have been (in order) a fireman, an aristocrat, an archaeologist/anthropologist, a scuba diver and a circus acrobat. While filming Highlander, he made friends with swordmaster Bob Anderson. His appearance in that movie also gave his voice a "cameo appearance" in Queen song Gimme The Prize.
Brown began his acting career in the early 1980s with appearances in The Dukes of Hazzard. He is mostly recognizable for his role as the protagonist's friend in The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension (1984, W.D. Richter), his unforgettable immortal villain The Kurgan in Highlander (1986, Russell Mulcahy), his sadistic guard Byron Hadley in The Shawshank Redemption (1994, Frank Darabont), drill instructor in Starship Troopers (1997, Paul Verhoeven) and the preacher Meacham in Cowboys and Aliens (2011, Jon Favreau). He was a recurrent character in the TV series ER.
Having a deep and resonant voice, he has also continued his career as a voice actor for both animation and video-games: Raiden from Mortal Kombat (1995), Viking Hakon from Gargoyles (1995-1996), Mr. Krabs in SpongeBob SquarePants (1999-present), and Lex Luthor in the DCAU's Superman: The Animated Series (1996-2000), Justice League (2001-2004) and Justice League Unlimited (2004-2006).
Star Wars voice workEdit
- Star Wars: Bounty Hunter (Montross)
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars (Savage Opress, Additional Voices)
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Monster" (Savage Opress, Nightbrother #3)
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Witches of the Mist" (Savage Opress)
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Brothers" (Savage Opress)
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Revenge" (Savage Opress, Human Bounty Hunter)
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Revival" (Savage Opress)
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Eminence" (Savage Opress)
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Shades of Reason" (Savage Opress)
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "The Lawless" (Savage Opress, Mandalorian Super Commando)
- Star Wars Rebels