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Eric Bana

Actor

Born: 9 August 1968
Birthplace: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Best known as: Star of The Hulk and Munich

Name at birth: Eric Banadinovich

Eric Bana was a comedy star in Australia before making the big leap to Hollywood films such as Black Hawk Down (2001) and Ang Lee's The Hulk (2003). He went from doing stand-up comedy in Melbourne to becoming a popular cast member on the comedy sketch show Full Frontal (1993), then developed television shows of his own during the late 1990s. As a film star, he first earned critical praise for his dramatic portrayal of underworld figure Mark "Chopper" Read in the 2000 Australian movie Chopper (Bana reportedly gained 30 pounds for the role). Black Hawk Down (co-starring Josh Hartnett) received mixed reviews, but Bana had proven his chops on screen and was hired to portray comic book hero The Incredible Hulk (a.k.a. Dr. Bruce Banner) in the blockbuster The Hulk (veteran actor Nick Nolte plays his dad). His other big-budget Hollywood projects include the animated film Finding Nemo (2003, with Willem Dafoe and Ellen Degeneres), 2004's Troy (with Brad Pitt and Orlando Bloom), Steven Spielberg's Munich (2005), and The Other Boleyn Girl (2008, with Bana as King Henry VIII). His leading man diminished somewhat after a few box office duds, and his other films include Star Trek (2009) and The Time Traveler's Wife (2009, with Rachel McAdams).

Extra credit: The 1978-82 TV series The Incredible Hulk starred Bill Bixby as Banner and Lou Ferrigno as The Hulk.

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