Steven Berkoff

Last updated 09 January 2020

Steven Berkoff
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Leslie Steven Berks

Born: Tuesday 3rd August 1937 (age: 86)


Steven Berkoff is an English actor, writer and director. 

He is best known for his performance as General Orlov in the James Bond film Octopussy, and is typically cast in villanous roles, such as Lt. Col Podovsky in Rambo: First Blood Part II, Victor Maitland in Beverly Hills Cop, and Adolf Hitler in epic mini-series War and Remembrance.

Berkoff was born in Stepney, in the East End of London. His earliest plays are adaptations of works by Franz Kafka: The Metamorphosis (1969); In the Penal Colony (1969); and The Trial (1971). In the 1970s and 1980s, he wrote a series of verse plays including: East (1975); Greek (1980); Decadence (1981); West (1983); Sink the Belgrano! (1986); Massage (1997); Sturm und Drang; and The Secret Love Life of Ophelia (2001). 

In the late 1980s, he directed an interpretation of Salome by Oscar Wilde in the Gate Theatre, Dublin and later in the United Kingdom. In 1998, his solo play Shakespeare's Villains, premiered at London's Haymarket Theatre, was nominated for a Society of London Theatre Laurence Olivier Award for Best Entertainment.

In 2011, Berkoff performed a one man show at Riverside Studios in Hammersmith called One Man. It consisted of two monologues; the first was an adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe's short story "The Tell-Tale Heart" and the second was a piece written by Berkoff called 'Dog', which was a comedy about a loud-mouthed football fan and his dog.

In Hollywood films, Steven Berkoff has played villains such as the corrupt art dealer Victor Maitland in Beverly Hills Cop; gangster George Cornell in The Krays; the sadistic Soviet officer Col. Podovsky in Rambo: First Blood Part II and General Orlov in the James Bond film Octopussy. He also appeared in the 1967 Hammer film Prehistoric Women, in the 1980 film McVicar alongside Roger Daltrey and in the Australian biographical film on the early life of Errol Flynn entitled Flynn (1996) In Stanley Kubrick's films A Clockwork Orange (1971) and Barry Lyndon (1975), Berkoff plays a police officer and a gambler nobleman (Lord Ludd), respectively.