William James Dafoe, popularly known as Willem Dafoe is a veteran American actor. In a career spanning over three decades, Dafoe has produced phenomenal acting performances and has been a part of some of the biggest blockbusters in the history of film-making. Needless to say, Dafoe is still active in the film industry with numerous upcoming projects.
The veteran actor has aged gracefully and maintains an impeccable physique that belies his 67 years of age. This is his short biography, diet and workout routine as well as statistics.
Willem Dafoe Statistics
|Full Name: William James Dafoe
|70 kg (155 lbs)
|5’9” (175 cm)
|Date of Birth
|July 22, 1955
|American and Italian
Willem Dafoe Biography
William James Dafoe was born on July 22, 1955 to Dr. William Alfred Dafoe and Mauriel Isabelle in Appleton Wisconsin, USA. He was one of the eight siblings and has a brother named Donald Dafoe, a renowned surgeon and research scientist. William was raised in Appleton and adopted the name Willem (Dutch version of William) after becoming an actor. He left drama studies from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in favour of joining a theatre company – Theatre X. He moved to New York in 1976 to do an apprenticeship under Richard Schechner and later joined the Wooster Group which was created by his romantic partner Elizabeth Lecompte.
Dafoe Made his acting debut in 1979 and did many supporting, leading as well as negative roles through the mid-1980s. His performance in the 1985 movie ‘To live and die in L.A.’ was widely acclaimed and Dafoe built up on that in the 1986 war movie Platoon. Willem Dafoe continued to produce strong performances throughout the 1980s and 1990s. During this time, he became one of the more famous Hollywood actors. However, his moment to shine came in 2002 when he played the main antagonist in Spider-Man. Not surprisingly, the role made him a global star and gave him the recognition he deserved.
Over the years, Dafoe has played crucial roles in iconic movies like The English Patient, American Psycho, John Wick as well as The Grand Budapest Hotel. Dafoe has received nominations for four Academy awards along with other notable accolades. However, he has not stopped and continues to produce excellent performances on the silver screen.
Willem Dafoe Workout
Willem Dafoe is nearing his 70s and heavy lifting or arduous training routine is difficult to commit to at that stage of life. Therefore he was in search of a physical training routine that could help him feel energetic, younger and help him explore spirituality. The 67-year-old actor came across the Ashtanga Yoga (Sanskrit: Ashta – Eight Anga – Limbs or body parts) practice.
Ashtanga yoga is a dynamic and athletic form of Hath Yoga. It is one of the most famous branches of Yoga in the western world and requires immense physical strength, flexibility and control over mind and muscles. Therefore it is considered as an intense form of physical activity. Along with outdoor running, Dafoe found Yoga to be a perfect system that could help him achieve the fitness goals and live a healthy, happy life. The John Wick actor enjoys his running and Yoga based training routine immensely and tries to get the most out of it with consistency and dedication.
Monday – Outdoor run
William Dafoe starts his day early. Monday mornings in his training routine are dedicated for outdoor runs or treadmills in his home gym. Outdoor running is one of the most basic yet most effective forms of physical work. Since it is a weight bearing exercise, running promotes bone and muscle strengthening.
A large part of living a healthy life rides on a healthy and smooth functioning cardiovascular system especially as you grow older. Running promotes cardiovascular health along with maintaining a healthy body weight by burning calories. As a result, it is a must have physical activity unless someone is advised against it due to prevailing medical conditions. Willem Dafoe enjoys a busy career and active lifestyle. Therefore it is no wonder that outdoor running occupies an important place in his training routine.
Tuesday – Yoga practise
Willem Dafoe discovered yoga while on a quest to improve flexibility, balance and overall physical strength as he got older. The benefits of yoga and its different schools are well known now and there is no denying that it can have miraculous effects on heart health and age-related decline in cognitive and physical abilities. Willem Dafoe practices yoga for one hour on Tuesday mornings and also does meditation to improve focus and build a positive mindset.
Wednesday – Low impact walk
As the saying goes: ‘If you wanna go fast, go alone and if you wanna go far, go together.’ Willem Dafoe’s training routine on Wednesdays is not merely a physical activity to maintain fitness. Rather, it serves as the quality time he spends with his wife. Dafoe usually goes on low impact long walks with his wife Giada Colagrande on Wednesday mornings in their West Village neighborhood in New York, USA.
Thursday – Yoga class
As mentioned before Yoga and its different schools of thought have tremendous impact on the physical and mental well-being in the high stress lifestyle of today’s world. When combined with medical and surgical therapies through expert guidance, it can also help recover from serious health conditions in a surprisingly effective way. In many ways, practicing Yoga is actually preventing a plethora of health issues that can arise as a result of poor lifestyle, dietary choices or just wear and tear borne out of complex human life.
It is no wonder that an actor like Willem Dafoe who has had a long career in the film industry and has dealt with the stress of busy filming schedules, performance pressures and other difficult situations gives so much importance to practicing Yoga as frequently and as religiously as he does.
Willem Dafoe usually attends Yoga classes on Thursdays near his home in New York. Although he has a home gym, the veteran actor does go to the class to get a change of scenery and add variety to his training routine.
Friday – Low impact jog
Willem Dafoe firmly believes in the idea that ‘an object in motion stays in motion’. Low impact jogging and long distance running are some of the most impactful activities to live gracefully in old age. No wonder that they are Willem Dafoe’s go-to training methods along with Yoga. Dafoe dedicates his Fridays to low impact jogging to improve circulation and maintain a healthy cardiovascular system.
The primary objective of jogging is to maintain a steady pace without necessarily putting a lot of stress or impact on the bones, muscles and cardiovascular system. This allows an individual to cover longer distances without extreme fatigue.
There is no specific difference in running or jogging. However, you typically take smaller steps in order to cover relatively less distance per stride when you are jogging. As a thumb rule, you are jogging when you are running at a pace slower than 10 km per hour or 5 minutes per kilometre. Once again, there is no defined break even point where running becomes jogging and it differs for every individual.
Saturday and Sunday – Rest
Dedicating a rest day in a training routine is as important as maintaining a certain level of intensity in training. Apart from allowing your muscles to recover from the intense training, rest is important to avoid overtraining syndrome as well as to reduce the chances of training related injuries. While the younger populus may not be able to relate to the importance of training, those who have stepped on the other side of forty and have faced the problem will certainly agree. The Platoon actor takes rest on Saturdays and Sundays, He spends this time with his family, meditates and relaxes at home to allow his body to recover to tackle another week of activity.
Willem Dafoe Diet
Willem Dafoe has never been overly restrictive about his dietary choices. He stays away from fad diets that promise miraculous health benefits or boast unverified claims about improving performance and longevity. However, Dafoe has switched to a mostly vegan diet over the past few years. Beans, lentils, tofu, nuts, whole grains, natural oils, vegetables, avocado and coconuts form the staple of his diet these days. He is not a hardline promoter of the vegan diet but he sticks to it for the vast majority of his meals.
The Spider-Man actor feels that consuming a clean, plant-based and organic diet helps him maintain high energy levels throughout the day and also induces better sleep at night. Dafoe feels younger, more energetic and healthier with this diet than he did when he consumed dairy, red meats as well as chicken.
His day typically starts with toast and peanut butter with banana, almonds and unsweetened coffee that help him sustain the energy levels till lunch time. The lunch is a modest combination of tofu, lentils and veggies with edamame which provides balanced amounts of protein, fats, carbohydrates and fiber. His dinners are a little more enjoyable and consist of spaghetti and vegan meatballs with veggies.
Willem Dafoe has played many characters in his younger years that required him to look shredded, muscular and athletic. One example is his portrayal of Norman Osborn / Green Goblin in the 2002 movie Spider-Man. Dafoe must have taken assistance from dietary supplements to look the part in such roles. However, he still uses vegan proteins, vitamin and mineral supplements to meet his daily nutritional requirements.
A typical full day of eating for Willem Dafoe looks like this:
- Whole-grain toast with peanut butter and banana
- Black Coffee
- Tofu bowl with lentils and veggies
- Spaghetti with vegan meatballs made from black beans, walnuts and beets
- Roasted Cauliflower
Willem Dafoe moved to New York city in 1976 to do an apprenticeship under Richard Schneider and met Elizabeth LeCompte. The couple remained in a romantic relationship until 2004 but never got married. They have a son named Jack (born in 1982). Following the split with Elizabeth, Dafoe met and married Italian actress, screenwriter and director Giada Colagrande in 2005.
As mentioned before, Dafoe left the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in favour of joining a theatre group. However, he was invited by the chancellor of the university to serve as a keynote speaker and received an honorary Doctor of Arts Degree from the university.
William Dafoe is one of the most recognizable actors around the world. He has made a name for himself through various performances that are critically acclaimed, complex and even dark. But the 67-year-old actor has found a way to stay away from media spotlight in his personal life. He has a Zen calmness to his personality and keeps to himself and his family when not working. It is a rare and appreciable achievement that does not get spoken about a lot.
His training routine and diet drives home a point that you don’t have to forcefully follow a practice that is perceived as being ‘more effective’ or ‘the best’ to achieve fitness goals. Instead, you should do what you can do consistently and be the best version of yourself.