After working in commercials in NYC to support his acting studies, handsome dark-haired Eric Thal auditioned for a small role in Sidney Lumet's "A Stranger Among Us" (1992). Lumet was so impressed by the young actor that he invited Thal back to audition for the leading male role. Although he had virtually no professional credits, Thal landed the role of an Hasidic scholar who becomes involved with an undercover police officer (Melanie Griffith). While the film failed to impress critics or the public, Thal's carefully measured intensity and equanimity were praised. He subsequently played a police officer (and the anti-heroine's husband) in the farcical "The Gun in Betty Lou's Handbag" (1992) and followed up with a small role in "Six Degrees of Separation" (1993), as a heterosexual driven to suicide after an intimate encounter with a con artist (Will Smith). Thal later co-starred as Donald Sutherland's disaffected son in "The Puppet Masters" (1994) and as a man who must face romance after the excitement has worn off in "Joe's So Mean to Josephine" (1997). He segued to the small screen playing the hirsute strongman in the TNT Biblical epic "Samson and Delilah" (1997), opposite Elizabeth Hurley. The following year, Thal was cast as a musician engaged to Halle Berry in the ABC TV-movie "The Wedding." In 2001, he portrayed a mechanic who becomes enmeshed in a rash of elevator accidents in the thriller "Down."