With a homely mug and curly mop of hair made for repelling character work, John C. Reilly has defied the odds by drawing in the ladies in recent years with his touching 'common man' portrayals of loveable schmucks. At the rate he is going and the attention he is meriting, he could be approaching sex symbol status. The fifth of six children of Irish-Catholic parents, Reilly was brought up on Chicago's tough Southwest territory. On the amateur stage from age 8, he trained at the Goodman School of Drama and eventually became a member of Chicago's renowned Steppenwolf Theatre. His film break came with a small role in the Vietnam War drama Casualties of War (1989), wherein Brian De Palma liked his work so much during the early stages that he recast him in a major role by the start of shooting as a soldier bent on rape. Reilly gained momentum throughout the 1990s and showed his dazzling stretch of talent in such films as Days of Thunder (1990), Shadows and Fog (1992), What's Eating Gilbert Grape (1993), and The River Wild (1994). He became a major stock player in director Paul Thomas Anderson's films, while finding some of his best roles in Hard Eight (1996) as a compulsive gambler, Boogie Nights (1997) in which he played a porn star, and in Magnolia (1999) as a compassionate policeman. He went on to earn further critical points for his role of the soldier sent to the front lines in Terrence Malick's war epic The Thin Red Line (1998). On stage Reilly has wowed audiences in "The Grapes of Wrath" on Broadway, "A Streetcar Named Desire" and "Othello" at Steppenwolf, and earned an Outer Critics Circle Award and Tony nomination for "True West" alongside another impeccable character player Philip Seymour Hoffman. Reilly finally received the film recognition he deserved in 2002 with a slew of choice, high-profile parts in The Hours, The Good Girl, Gangs of New York, and especially Chicago (2002) as the schleppy husband, Amos Hart, who is played for a patsy by murderous wife Roxie (Renee Zellweger). For this last part he received both Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations for best supporting actor. Though he didn't win either, it's only a matter a time for this talented thespian who can easily switch from being a dream of a nice guy to your worst nightmare on any given day. Reilly is married to producer Alison Dickey.