It was perhaps inevitable that Eric Roberts would somehow have a career in show business. His father was a director of a children’s theatre where Eric was bitten by the acting bug, and he went on to study at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London as well as the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York.
His big break came in 1976 when he landed the part of Ted Bancroft in the daily soap Another World. This led to a role in the film King Of The Gypsies and then a television movie called Paul’s Case.
In the 1986 film Blood Red (although it wasn’t actually released for another three years), he played opposite his sister Julia who was making her film debut. Julia, of course, went on to become well-known for her parts in Sleeping With The Enemy, Pretty Woman and Notting Hill among others.
Eric has worked almost constantly since, earning Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for Runaway Train, and further Golden Globe nominations for King Of The Gypsies and Star 80. He won a Golden Satellite Award for Less Than Perfect in 2002.
He has also recently played the part of the mysterious Mr Thompson in the popular tv drama Heroes, and will be in the next Batman film, The Dark Knight, as a Gotham City Mafioso.
Treading the boards certainly is a family affair as, aside from Julia, Eric has another actress sister, Lisa Roberts Gillen. Eric’s daughter Emma Roberts is also making her way in the business, having played the title role in the film Nancy Drew.
"I don’t talk about Emma," says Eric, "because she prefers to have her career remain independent, but I hope the Roberts name has helped her. The family I love to talk about are my stepkids, Keaton Simons and Morgan Simons."
Keaton is a musician who was a finalist in the 2007 John Lennon Song Writing Contest, and Morgan, after graduating from the California School of Culinary Arts, founded a catering company with many high-profile clients.
"I would appreciate it very much if you would check them out on keatonsimons.com and acateringco.com," plugs Eric shamelessly. But, hey, why not…?
Is there anything in acting that Eric hasn’t done that he’d like to do?
"I’d like to settle into a long-running television series that has real flavour, like Tell Me You Love Me."
What about away from acting?
"I’d like to visit the Amazon and I’d like to live a while in France. Also I’d like to do more child abuse prevention work. And keep reading books, my favourite pastime."
So there we have it. The Master is, after all, a nice guy.
"Thank-you. I’ve loved being in England this month and a half. It’s been heaven."
As long as he doesn’t start calling himself Mr Saxon and trying to become Prime Minister again, I think we’ll be all right…
(c) Nick Brown
Image by Vendetta