When I say ‘Christopher Lloyd,’ only one character comes to mind: Doctor Emmett Brown. The character known for his time traveling shenanigans has resonated deeply with viewers since his inception. He has become one of the most popular characters in modern fiction.
Not many people know just how extensive Christopher Lloyd’s acting career actually is. He has starred in literally hundreds of roles, both on-stage as a Shakespearian actor, and on the big screen. He has appeared in countless productions, films, television shows and video games. Yet, despite his supreme acting prowess, the people of the world only recognize him as the frizzy haired, wide-eyed scientist who made a mockery of the space-time continuum. Not many people even know what he is currently doing today. We all know what happened in 1985, but what has Christopher Lloyd been up to in 2017?
The Space Man from Pluto: Back to the Past
The time hopping story of Christopher Lloyd begins on October 22, 1938. He was born to Samuel and Ruth Lloyd, an attorney and a musician. Christopher Allen Lloyd was the youngest of three boys and four girls and the Grandson of one of the founders of Texaco.
Lloyd first discovered his passion for acting at the age of fourteen by apprenticing himself at theatres over the summer in Mount Kisco, New York and Hyannis, Massachusetts. At the age of nineteen, Lloyd enrolled himself in classes at New York City’s Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre. He was trained under Sanford Meisner, the creator of the unorthodox (but effective) Meisner Technique, and the teacher of many acting giants like Sandra Bullock, Christoph Walz and Alec Baldwin.
With his foot in the door of the New York theater scene, Lloyd made his stage debut in a production of And They Put Handcuffs on the Flowers.
“I was a replacement and it was my first sort of job in New York.” It was a last minute casting change that would launch his career as an actor. His next role, and Broadway debut, was during a production of Red, White and Maddox. While it failed to attract the crowds, it was another notch in his belt. He would go on to work heavily in theater, taking part in many Shakespeare festivals and off-Broadway shows like The Seagull, Macbeth, What Every Woman Knows and Kaspar. He even worked with a young Meryl Streep while starring as Oberon in a Yale University production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 1975. Despite the occasional Broadway role, Lloyd never really expanded outside of his acting realm. It was 1975, when he first entered the film scene, that his acting prowess really showed.
By the time Lloyd appeared in his first film, he had worked in over 200 stage productions on Broadway. His debut role was Max Taber, the belligerent psychiatric patient in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975). The film won five Academy Awards, including best picture, and would inspire Lloyd to move to California to pursue more film work. He appeared in many films over the years, including Three Warriors (1978), The Legend of the Lone Ranger (1981), Mr. Mom (1983) and The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension (1984).
It wasn’t until 1985 that he would appear in the role that would cement him as a pop culture icon.
Great Scott! The Curse of the Type-Cast
1985 saw the birth of Dr. Emmett Brown (AKA the “Doc”) in the commercial smash hit Back to the Future. Directed by Robert Zemeckis, the sci-fi comedy starring Michael J Fox would go on to make $381 million. It would spawn two sequels, Back to the Future Part II (1989) and Part III (1990).
The 80s and early 90s would see a number of huge roles landing in Lloyd’s lap. His roles were wide and famous ones, like the villains in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984) and Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988); and Uncle Fester, appearing alongside Raul Julia and Angelica Houston, in both The Addams Family (1991) and Addams Family Values (1993). None of these roles would define his career as The Doc in Back to the Future has. He has since reappeared as Doc no less than thirteen times in cameo appearances in other films, television shows and video games throughout the decades. Lloyd is the Doc, and the Doc is Lloyd.
He tried to branch out beyond his most well-known character, but he could not escape the curse of being type-cast. During his career, he took on a wide variety of television roles, but sometimes he would be called upon to take on the role of a professor or mad scientist. He played Professor B.O. Beanes on Amazing Stories (1986). He even won an Emmy (for “Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series”) in 1992 for his guest appearance as professor Dimpie on Road to Avonlea (1992). TV fans know him for his role as “Reverend” Jim Ignatowski on Taxi (1978-1983). Despite this renowned role, and the Emmy awards that came with it, the vast majority of his fans still love to see him as a mad scientist or a genius professor.
What’s Christopher Lloyd Doing Now in 2018 – Recent Updates
To this day, while Lloyd is as popular as ever, his presence has quieted down. While he often plays a wide variety of wacky characters in his films, Christopher Lloyd is a quiet individual. He seldom does interviews, and as an actor, roles have begun to dry up. That’s not to say that he has gone completely silent, however. He is slated to appear in Season 3 of 12 Monkeys. He has several upcoming roles in the films The Sound, Making a Killing, Boundaries, and Going in Style.
Did he reach his peak in 1985? It’s hard to say. He is still around and producing quality films. Ask any film fan about Christopher Lloyd’s career. They will almost certainly look back at that time he nearly broke time itself.