Actor, screenwriter, producer, director
Leslie Steven Berkoff (born 3 August 1937) is an English character actor, author, playwright and theatre director. As an actor, he is best known for his performances in villainous roles, such as Lt. Col Podovsky in Rambo: First Blood Part II, General Orlov in the James Bond film Octopussy, Victor Maitland in Beverly Hills Cop and Adolf Hitler in the TV mini-series War and Remembrance. Berkoff was born Leslie Steven Berks on 3 August 1937, in Stepney in the East End of London. He is the son of Pauline (née Hyman), a housewife, and Alfred Berks (né Berkoff), a tailor. His family was Jewish (originally from Romania and Russia). Berkoff's father had anglicised his family surname to "Berks" in order to aid the family's assimilation into Britain. Berkoff later removed the "s" from and added back the "off" to his own name, and went by his middle name. Berkoff attended Raine's Foundation Grammar School (1948–50), Hackney Downs School, the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art (1958) and L'École Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq (1965). In 1996, Berkoff appeared as the Master of Ceremonies in a BBC Radio 2 concert version of Kander & Ebb's Cabaret. He provided the voice-over for the N-Trance single "The Mind of the Machine", which rose to No. 15 in the UK Singles Chart in August 1997. He appeared in the opening sequence to Sky Sports' coverage of the 2007 Heineken Cup Final, modelled on a speech by Al Pacino in the film Any Given Sunday (1999). Berkoff voices the character General Lente, commander of the Helghan Third Army, in Killzone. He provides motion capture and voice performance for the PlayStation 3 game Heavenly Sword, as General Flying Fox. Berkoff's 2015 novel, Sod the Bitches has been described as "a kind of Philip Roth-like romp through the sex life of a libidinous actor". A memoir, Bad Guy! Journal of a Hollywood Turkey (2014) records his time working on a Hollywood blockbuster. Berkoff appeared in the British Heart Foundation's two-minute public service advertisement, Watch Your Own Heart Attack, broadcast on ITV in August 2008. He also presented the BBC Horizon episodes, "Infinity and Beyond" (2010) and "The power of the Placebo" (2014). He is patron of Brighton's Nightingale Theatre, a fringe theatre venue.
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