Actor-director Bill Pullman

Celebrities, Celebrity Q&A, People
on September 1, 2002

I'd like to know more about Bill Pullman. I've seen him in a few movies on television. My favorite was The Virginian, which he starred in, directed, and produced.
—Rita M., Arizona

Actually, you might have seen Pullman, 48, in more movies than you think. Remember the extremely stupid kidnapper in Ruthless People, the president in Independence Day, the sweet older brother in While You Were Sleeping? Comedy, drama, romance—he covers it all. Born in Hornell, N.Y., to a doctor dad and nurse mom, he was an outdoorsy type, very athletic, who planned to major in building construction in college. He loved the idea of building barns in the country. But he discovered an interest in theater after auditioning for a play and ended up with a master's degree in directing for theater. He took a job teaching at Montana State University, eventually becoming chairman of the theater department. Finally, at age 37, he decided to pursue a professional acting career. After some theater work in New York, he nabbed the Ruthless People role and has acted steadily since. He maintained his interest in construction and built a barn on the California farm where he lives with his wife and three children. The Virginian was his film-directing debut. This year, he also played the lead in the Broadway play, The Goat.