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Peter Frederick Weller (born June 24, 1947) is an American film and stage actor, director and lecturer.
He is best known for his roles as the title character in the first two RoboCop films and Buckaroo Banzai in the cult classic The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension. He received an Academy Award nomination for his direction for the 1993 short Partners, in which he also acted. He also hosted the show Engineering an Empire on the History channel.
Weller was born in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, the son of Dorothy Jean (née Davidson), a homemaker, and Frederick Bradford Weller, a lawyer, federal judge, and career helicopter pilot for the Army. Weller had a "middle-class Catholic" upbringing. As a result of his father's army work, Weller spent many years abroad during his childhood. His family lived in Germany for several years before eventually moving to Texas, where he attended Alamo Heights High School in San Antonio. While enrolled at North Texas State University (now the University of North Texas), he played trumpet in one of the campus bands. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre in 1969, and began his acting career after graduating from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.
Weller's stage career began in the 1970s with appearances on Broadway in Full Circle, directed by Otto Preminger, and Summer Brave, William Inge's rewrite of his play Picnic. About this time, he became a member of the famed Actors' Studio.
He has appeared in more than 50 films and television series, including turns as the title characters in the cult classic The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension, and blockbuster hits RoboCop and RoboCop 2. He has also appeared in such critically acclaimed movies as Woody Allen's Mighty Aphrodite, the Oliver Stone-produced The New Age and Naked Lunch. In a 1977 episode of the TV show Lou Grant, he plays Oberster SA-Führer Donald Sterner/Stryker, a tragically disillusioned Jewish-American Neo-Nazi leader who later committed suicide off-screen with his Colt 45 near the end of the episode when his heritage was discovered.
In 1995, he appeared in Screamers, a science-fiction film based on the short story "Second Variety" by Philip K. Dick and directed by Christian Duguay. Duguay would later direct Weller in the TV series Engineering an Empire for the History Channel.
On television, he played the shuttle captain in the short-lived show Odyssey 5 and made guest appearances as Terran supremacist John Frederick Paxton in the Star Trek: Enterprise episodes "Demons" "Terra Prime" and in Fringe as the character Alistair Pek.
Weller has also directed various projects for television, including episodes of Homicide: Life on the Street, Monk, and three episodes of the aforementioned Odyssey 5. He directed a 1997 adaptation of Elmore Leonard's Gold Coast starring David Caruso and Marg Helgenberger after previously starring in a version of Leonard's thriller Cat Chaser.
Weller is a contributor to the History Channel in several productions, credited as "Peter Weller, Syracuse University," where he is an adjunct faculty member. He is a graduate student in art history at UCLA, focusing on the Italian Renaissance. Weller also hosts the series Engineering an Empire for the network.
In 2005, Weller co-starred as the Captain in a made-for-T.V. remake of The Poseidon Adventure with the same title.
In 2006, Weller joined the cast of 24 as terrorist collaborator Christopher Henderson. Weller received a "cheer" in TV Guide's "Cheers & Jeers" section for his performance. In December 2006, Weller starred as architect Frank Lloyd Wright at Chicago's Goodman Theatre in Frank's Home, a new play by Richard Nelson.
On January 15, 2010 Weller was seen in a teaser trailer for the companion documentary God of War: Unearthing the Legend that was featured in the game God of War III which Weller also hosted.
On April 15, 2010 Weller guest-starred in an episode of the science fiction drama Fringe. Weller will star in a guest role in Dexter.
In 2013 he played the role of Admiral Marcus in the science fiction thriller Star Trek: Into Darkness.
Weller is a fan of Italian filmmaker Michelangelo Antonioni, who directed him in Beyond the Clouds. In an interview in Cigar Aficionado magazine, he was quoted as saying:
"There is no director living except maybe Kurosawa, Bergman, or Antonioni that I would fall down and do anything for. I met Antonioni three years ago in Taormina at a film festival. I introduced myself and told him that I adored his movies, his contributions to film, because he was the first guy who really started making films about the reality of the vacuity between people, the difficulty in traversing this space between lovers in modern day... and he never gives you an answer, Antonioni – that's the beautiful thing."
Weller has been romantically linked to Ali McGraw, Barbra Streisand (1992) and was engaged to Sela Ward. He finally married on his 59th birthday in Positano in 2006.
In 2004, Weller completed a Master's degree in Roman and Renaissance Art at Syracuse University and occasionally teaches courses in ancient history at the university. He was a commentator on the History Channel's documentary, Rome: Engineering an Empire. In 2007, Weller was finishing a Ph.D. at UCLA, in Italian Renaissance art history.