Birthplace: Rahway, New Jersey, U.S.
Paul Le Mat (born September 22, 1945) is an American actor. He first came to prominence with his role in American Graffiti (1973); his performance was met with critical acclaim and earned him the Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year - Actor.
Le Mat's breakout performance in American Graffiti landed him the lead role in box office hit Aloha, Bobby and Rose (1975). He also is known for his work in the Jonathan Demme films Handle with Care (1977) and Melvin and Howard (1980). He won another Golden Globe award for his performance in the TV film The Burning Bed (1984) and starred in the cult film Puppet Master (1989) which spawned a franchise.
Le Mat was born to Matthew (1914-1963) and Paula Le Mat (1912-1990). He is of French, Scottish, English, Cuban, and Irish descent. He graduated from Newport Harbor High School in 1963, and although he never received a degree, he attended various colleges in California. Le Mat served in the Vietnam War with the U.S. Navy on an SP-5B Marlin seaplane in a maritime patrol squadron. He married to Suzanne de Passe in 1978 and they have three daughters. La Mat and de Passe have since divorced.
Le Mat starred in the pilot episode of Firehouse in 1973. In 1972, he appeared in American Graffiti (released in 1973), a coming-of-age film about a group of friends in Modesto, California in the early 1960s. He played John Milner - a role that would earn him his first Golden Globe Award. The film received universal acclaim and was a box office smash. Le Mat also starred in Floyd Mutrux's 1975 crime spree film Aloha, Bobby and Rose, another commercial hit. In 1977, he starred in Jonathan Demme's acclaimed comedy Citizens Band, later re-titled Handle with Care. Le Mat would reunite with Demme for 1980's Melvin and Howard, in which he played the titular role of Melvin Dummar. The film was based upon the true story of a gas station attendant who claimed to be an heir of eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes, and it won two Academy Awards. Le Mat was nominated for a Golden Globe Award. In 1979, Le Mat reprised his role of John Milner in More American Graffiti.
In 1982, Le Mat played the character John Dortmunder in Jimmy the Kid, opposite Gary Coleman in the role of Jimmy. He also provided the voice of Omar in the American release of the animated film Rock & Rule. Le Mat starred in the made-for-TV movie The Burning Bed with Farrah Fawcett. The film was based on the true story of an abusive husband who drives his wife to drastic measures with his aggressive ways. Le Mat was awarded the second Golden Globe Award of his career for his role in the film. He starred in other television films such as The Night They Saved Christmas, Into the Homeland and Secret Witness. He appeared in the TV miniseries On Wings of Eagles and in the film Puppet Master. In the 1990s, Le Mat worked on independent films and TV movies. He played Josiah Peale in Lonesome Dove: The Series and in the follow-up Lonesome Dove: The Outlaw Years. He had a small role in the 1998 film American History X. More recently, Le Mat starred in the film Stateside.
|1973||Firehouse||Billy Dalzell||TV series; episode “Pilot”|
|1973||American Graffiti||John Milner||Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year - Actor|
|1975||Aloha, Bobby and Rose||Bobby|
|1977||Handle with Care (aka Citizen’s Band)||Spider|
|1979||More American Graffiti||John Milner|
|1980||Melvin and Howard||Melvin Dummar||Nominated - Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy|
|1982||The Gift of Life||Dwayne Sutton||Television film|
|1982||Jimmy the Kid||John Dortmunder|
|1983||Rock & Rule||Omar||Voice role, American dub|
|1983||Strange Invaders||Charles Bigelow|
|1984||The Burning Bed||Mickey Hughes||Television film
Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Miniseries or Television Film
|1984||The Night They Saved Christmas||Michael Baldwin||Television film|
|1986||On Wings of Eagles||Jay Coburn||TV mini-series|
|1986||Long Time Gone||Nick Sandusky||Television film|
|1987||P.K. and the Kid||Kid Kane|
|1987||Deadly Nightmares||Jake Purly||TV series; episode “Doctor’s Orders”|
|1987||The Hanoi Hilton||Earl Hubman|
|1987||P.I. Private Investigations||Detective Wexler|
|1987||Into the Homeland||Derrick Winston||Television film|
|1988||Murder, She Wrote||Carl Mattson / Luke Purdue||TV series; episode “Showdown in Saskatchewan”|
|1988||Secret Witness||Kurt||Television film|
|1988||The Twilight Zone||Tom Bennett||TV series; episode "Appointment on Route 17"|
|1989||Puppet Master||Alex Whitaker|
|1989||Grave Secrets||David Shaw|
|1989||Veiled Threat||Jack Purcell|
|1989||Blind Witness||Detective Mike Tuthill||Television film|
|1992||The Ray Bradbury Theater||Charlie||TV series; episode “The Jar”|
|1992||In the Line of Duty: Siege at Marion||Doug Bodrero||Television film|
|1992||Woman with a Past||Merle||Television film|
|1994||Caroline at Midnight||Emmet|
|1995||Grace Under Fire||The Stranger||TV series; episode “Memphis Bound”|
|1994-1995||Lonesome Dove: The Series||Josiah Peale||TV series; 16 episodes|
|1995-1996||Lonesome Dove: The Outlaw Years||Josiah Peale||TV series; 14 episodes|
|1998||American History X||McMahon|
|2000||Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction||Sheldon Ludovic||TV series; episode “Eclipse”|
|2001||Big Bad Love||Monroe|
|2004||The Long Shot||Guido Levits||Television film|