William George “Billy” Zane, Jr. is an American actor, producer and director. He is probably best known for his role as Caledon “Cal” Hockley in TITANIC, his lead role in THE PHANTOM and his cameo in ZOOLANDER.
Zane’s first two screen roles were in science fiction films BACK TO THE FUTURE in 1985 and CRITTERS in 1986. Zane later reprised his henchman role in the 1989 sequel, BACK TO THE FUTURE II. Earlier that same year, Zane gained international recognition with the role of villain Hughie Warriner in the thriller DEAD CALM alongside Nicole Kidman and Sam Neill.
Zane’s first starring role was in the 1990 independent science fiction thriller MEGAVILLE. In 1990, he also co-starred in MEMPHIS BELLE, a film version of a 1944 documentary about a World War II bomber plane. Zane also forayed into television work, and in 1991 he appeared as John Justice Wheeler in several episodes of David Lynch’s hit TV-show TWIN PEAKS. In 1993, he played the Shakespearean actor “Mr. Fabian” in TOMBSTONE, and took a starring role in SNIPER. He also starred in a couple of TALES FROM THE CRYPT productions.
In 1996, Zane played the eponymous classic comic book hero in the big budget action film THE PHANTOM, based on Lee Falk’s comic. Zane achieved success shortly after by playing the millionaire misanthrope Caledon Hockley in James Cameron’s 1997 blockbuster TITANIC. This role as Kate Winslet’s fiancé earned him an MTV Movie Award nomination for “Best Villain” and a Blockbuster Entertainment Award. He was also nominated for a SAG award.
In 1998, Zane produced and starred in I WOKE UP EARLY THE DAY I DIED, a silent film based on Ed Wood’s last script, a parody on bad filmmaking. For this he won several awards at the B-Movie Film Festival, including Best Movie and Best Actor. The year after, he starred opposite Timothy Dalton, Bruce Payne, Sean Pertwee and Leonor Varela (who later became his fiancé) in a TV- movie about Cleopatra. Zane played the part of Mark Antony.
Zane was instrumental in getting critically acclaimed THE BELIEVER made, which won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance in 2001. In the film, he portrayed neo-Nazi Curtis Zampf, starring opposite Ryan Gosling. The same year, he also played a cameo as himself in the hit comedy ZOOLANDER. Zane made his directing debut with BIG KISS, a light-hearted romantic comedy about two journalists, who follow Billy Zane’s advice, involving a diamond caper in which he also starred. In January 2006, he made his debut on the London stage in Arthur Allan Seidelman’s production of SIX DANCE LESSONS IN SIX WEEKS by Richard Alfieri, a two-hander in which he co-starred with Claire Bloom.