Date of Birth: September 9, 1972
"Lots of people want to be movie stars. But they don't realize that to be a celebrity is not that beautiful if you can't go to the store to buy toothpaste."
The youngest of two brothers, Goran Visnjic's mother worked at a food market and his father was a bus driver. Visnjic grew up in a small town in his native Croatia off the Adriatic Sea, where he decided at an early age that he wanted to be an actor. But duty called and Visnjic trained as a paratrooper in the Croatian army at age 18. When war broke, Visnjic found he could not leave. "When somebody is attacking your hometown, and you're just sitting in the basement, you feel really useless. I felt I had to do it to defend my country. That's normal." He volunteered to stay on for an additional three months during the war with Yugoslavia.
He first performed in local theater groups and then entered the Academy of Dramatic Arts in Zagreb. He gained popularity in Croatia when, at the age of 21, he was cast as Hamlet in the prestigious Dubrovnik Summer Festival's staging of Shakespeare's play. The production received rave reviews, with Visnjic's own performance earning him three national Best Actor awards, including the Orlando (the Croatian equivalent of a Tony).
His additional theater credits include Les Fourberies de Scapin, L'Ecole des Femmes, Miss Julie, Ivanov, The Brothers Karamazov and Le Baruffe Chiozotte.
In 1998, he appeared in Madonna's music video for the song The Power of Goodbye and in 1999, he was named Sexiest Import by People Magazine.
The year 1999 also saw Visnjic join the cast of the hit television series ER in its sixth season; playing the role of Dr. Luka Kovac, a Croatian doctor. "ER is a pretty big deal in Croatia," Goran explains. "When my agent called and told me about this show, I said, 'Are we talking about the same ER?' And I thought about it for half a second and then said, 'Yes, of course!' I was watching them in Croatia when I was still at the Academy of Dramatic Arts, and now I'm working with them." The series ended in 2008, and Goran has since played a starring role in the 2010 mini-series The Deep.
Visnjic's film credits include The Peacemaker (1997) opposite fellow former ER star George Clooney, Committed (2000) opposite Heather Graham, Practical Magic (1998) and Elektra (2005) with Jennifer Garner, Beginners (2011) with Ewan McGregor and the much anticipated The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011), playing Dragan Armansky. He has also starred in three Croatian feature films, and made his American motion picture debut in the critically acclaimed drama, Welcome to Sarajevo.
In his leisure time, Visnjic enjoys swimming and diving. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Ivana, a sculptor.