A portly, often bespectacled veteran character actor, David Huddleston knew from an early age he wanted to pursue a career as an actor. The Virginia native participated in school and church productions and after military service headed to NYC's American Academy of Dramatic Arts for his training. Almost immediately after graduating, he found work. appearing in touring companies of musicals and plays. He began to make inroads in film in the 1970s, supporting John Wayne in "Rio Lobo" (1970), James Stewart in "Fools' Parade" (1971) and Gregory Peck in "Billy Two Hats" (1973). As the vicious gang leader who is not without humor in "Bad Company" (1972), Huddleston earned much critical praise, but the film's lack of box-office did not advance his feature career. Mel Brooks used the actor to good effect in "Blazing Saddles" (1974) but he was relegated to inferior material for much of the next decade. In 1985, Huddleston was tapped for the title role in "Santa Claus: The Movie," a less than magical telling of the story of the Christmas icon. It took more than another ten years before the actor found a worthy role, this time as a wheelchair-bound Southern California millionaire known as "The Big Lebowski" (1998) in the Coen brothers feature.