Elias Koteas biography
Date of Birth: March 11, 1961
Elias Koteas is one of Canada's most well-respected actors, working with Canadian directors Atom Egoyan in The Adjuster and Exotica , and David Cronenberg in Crash has established him as a recognizable face in Canadian cinema. Of Greek descent, the actor was born and raised in Montreal and was an incredibly shy child. So, being a film star was not what he imagined he'd be doing some day — as a child he had actually planned to become an architect. It was watching the television series Happy Days that changed the course of his life, "I thought the kids on Happy Days were having so much fun. I just assumed the actors felt the same way."
Koteas attended Vanier College in Montreal and then New York's prestigious American Academy of Dramatic Arts. After graduating he joined the Actors Studio, where he studied under Ellen Burstyn and Peter Masterson. Eventually he started getting work in plays. Koteas has starred in productions of Kiss of the Spider Woman, Death of A Salesman, Bent and The Cherry Orchard.
The actor quickly made the leap to film, for both television (Sugartime, Onassis: The Richest Man in the World) and the big screen. Koteas gained recognition through his work with Canadian directors and was nominated for a Genie Award (Canadian Oscar), for his performance in Exotica . Although turtle fans may remember him playing hockey freak Casey Jones in the action hit flick, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990), his big break in the U.S. came in 1998, when he starred in the ensemble drama The Thin Red Line , directed by Terrence Malick. The film provided him with the opportunity to work with one of his idols, Nick Nolte. "It was a dream come true for more reasons than just sharing screen time with Nick. He proved to be everything I'd suspected and hoped he would be. He's a totally committed actor. All those screaming matches we have were played at top volume and intensity whether the camera was on him or on me."
In 2003, he won a much deserved Best Supporting Actor Genie for his performance in Ararat (2002). In 2009, along with the rest of the cast, he was nominated for an "Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture" Screen Actors Guild award for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008). Koteas can most recently be seen playing the role of Colonel de Vries in the film Winnie (2012), which follows the life of Nelson Mandela's wife.
After three years of marriage to American actress Jennifer Rubin, he divorced in 1990. He has since dated Heather Graham.