The son of a former US Congressman, prolific performer Clancy Brown began his career with a menacing portrayal of Viking Lofgren, a nemesis to Sean Penn, in "Bad Boys" (1983) and, partly because of his height and hulking presence, made his reputation alternating between heavies and law officers in movies like "Highlander" (1985), "Shoot to Kill" (1988) and "Blue Steel" (1990). Both 1990's "Waiting for the Light", which cast him as a laconic loner in support of an eccentric Shirley MacLaine, and "Past Midnight" (USA Network, 1992), as Natasha Richardson's protective co-worker and former lover, offered him the chance to expand his range beyond the parameters established by his earlier work. He returned to villainy with a memorably sadistic turn as prison guard Captain Hadley in "The Shawshank Redemption" (1994), opposite Tim Robbins. When it came time to cast the role of a state trooper in "Dead Man Walking", director Robbins tapped Brown to appear opposite Sean Penn. The actor segued to sci-fi playing Sergeant Zim in Paul Verhoeven's "Starship Troopers" (1997) and then offered a comic turn as a bumbling henchman of a corrupt businessman trying to get his hands on "Flubber" (also 1997).
Brown made his TV-movie debut in "The Room Upstairs", a 1987 CBS "Hallmark Hall of Fame" presentation, and starred in the NBC miniseries "Love, Lies and Murder" (1991) and movies "Desperate Rescue: The Cathy Mahone Story" (NBC, 1993) and "The Patron Saint of Liars" (CBS, 1998), among others. Beginning in 1994, he embarked on a career as a frequently sought-after voice actor with his recurring role of Hakon in the syndicated animated series "Gargoyles". Since then, he has lent his voice to "Mighty Ducks" (ABC), "Superman" (The WB), "All Dogs Go To Heaven: The Series" (syndicated), "Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm" (USA), "The Legend of Calamity Jane" (The WB) and "Zorro" (syndicated). Brown was a regular on the short-lived sci-fi series "Earth 2" (NBC, 1994-95) and played the recurring role of Dr Ellis West, a love interest for Laura Innes' Dr. Weaver on NBC's hit medical drama "ER" in 1997. On stage he has appeared in plays by Chekhov, Strindberg and Shakespeare and starred opposite Mercedes Ruehl in Shaw's "Anthony and Cleopatra" at the Actors Theatre of Louisville in 1992.