One of the screen's most versatile and woefully under-appreciated character actors, John C. Reilly has appeared in a series of films united only in their complete lack of similarity. To date, he has been used most intelligently by director Paul Thomas Anderson, who has cast him in Hard Eight, Boogie Nights, and Magnolia.
A native of Chicago, where he was born May 24, 1965, Reilly broke into film in 1989, the year he starred in Casualties of War and We're No Angels, both of which featured Sean Penn and a less than stellar reception. Reilly subsequently spent the early '90s appearing in films of every conceivable genre, from the Tom Cruise testosterone extravaganza Days of Thunder (1990) to Woody Allen's Shadows and Fog (1992) to What's Eating Gilbert Grape (1993). Thanks to his unglamorous appearance, Reilly also did an obligatory turn as a backwoods psycho, popping up alongside Kevin Bacon in The River Wild (1994) long enough to freak out Meryl Streep and her family.