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in Appleton, Wisconsin, the seventh of eight children, he acquired the nickname "Willem" in childhood. After graduating from Appleton East High School, he studied drama at UW-Milwaukee, but left before graduation in order to join the newly formed avant-garde group Theatre X. After touring with Theatre X for four years in the United States and Europe, he moved to New York City and joined the Performance Group, where he met director Elizabeth LeCompte. LeCompte and Dafoe left the Performance Group together became professional collaborators, and began a relationship. Their son, Jack, was born in 1982. Dafoe married Italian actress Giada Colagrande on March 25, 2005. [+]