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Biography
Initially stunning audiences with his wild-eyed portrayal of psychotic Dr. Herbert West in the over-the-top 1985 splatter-comedy Re-Animator, actor Jeffrey Combs made a name for himself in films based on the works of legendary horror author H.P. Lovecraft and such Star Trek spin-offs as Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Enterprise. Born in Oxnard, CA, in 1954, Combs was raised in nearby Lompoc. After graduating from high school in 1972, he entered the world of acting by attending numerous theatrical schools and performing in repertory theater. Frequently appearing in such venues as the Mark Taper Forum and South Coast Repertory, Combs made his film debut in Whose Life Is It Anyway? (1981), which was followed by supporting roles in Honky Tonk Freeway (1981), Frightmare (1983), and The Man With Two Brains (1983). Still performing frequently on-stage during this period, Combs was approached by a young director named Stuart Gordon and asked if he would be interested in appearing in an adaptation of a Lovecraft story. Attracted by the strong script, the actor agreed. Released in 1985, Re-Animator shocked and nauseated audiences into uncontrolled laughter with its outrageous violence and imaginative set pieces. Combs' manic portrayal of a mad doctor who claims to have discovered the key to immortality immediately earned him a place in the lexicon of horror history as one of the great screen psychos. Subsequently re-teaming with Gordon for yet another Lovecraft adaptation, From Beyond (1986) proved to be a disappointment when it was released in a truncated form. Knowing that the excess of Re-Animator would be difficult, if not impossible, to top, Combs and Gordon remained undaunted, collaborating on such efforts as Robot Jox and The Pit and the Pendulum (both 1990). Released that same year and directed by Gordon-cohort Brian Yuzna, Bride of Re-Animator didn't quite live up to fan expectations, although ultimately proved to be an entertaining sequel by remaining loyal to the tone and content to its predecessor. Subsequently working with such horror stylists as Fred Olen Ray (The Phantom Empire [1986] and Cyclone [1987]) and Full Moon's Charles Band (Trancers II: The Return of Jack Deth [1991] and the Dr. Strange-influenced Doctor Mordrid [1992]), Combs continued to build a dedicated cult following who remained eager to see what the quirky actor would attempt next. Continuing to appear in Lovecraft-based films, he also branched out with a role as a hitman in Love and a .45 (1994) and as actor Montgomery Clift in the made-for-TV Norma Jean and Marilyn (1996). A seemingly natural teaming with New Zealand splatter-king Peter Jackson also resulted in a hilarious turn as an unstable FBI agent in The Frighteners (1996). Combs' career took an unexpected turn later that year. Having previously lost the role of Commander William Ryker in Star Trek: The Next Generation to Jonathan Frakes, he returned to the Star Trek fold when Frakes (as director) cast him as Weyoun in an episode of Deep Space Nine. Returning in various capacities later, Combs would become the first actor to play three different characters in a single season of any Star Trek series. His popularity in the franchise growing, he was later cast in a recurring role in the subsequent Enterprise series. Simultaneously continuing to appear in such features as I Know What You Did Last Summer (1998), House on Haunted Hill (1999), and Yuzna's long awaited Faust: Love of the Damned (2001, channeling Bruce Campbell), Combs fans were thrilled to hear that he would be returning to the role of Herbert West in Beyond Re-Animator (again helmed by Yuzna) in late 2003.
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