What became of Tom Hulce, the eccentric Mozart from ‘Amadeus’?

Step into the shoes of the great composer Wolfang Amadeus Mozart in the acclaimed Amadeus (1984), by Milos Forman, marked a before and after in Tom Hulce’s film career. In fact, it was the role of his life, with which he achieved notoriety and for which everyone will always remember him.

Born December 6, 1953 in Detroit, Hulce as a child I dreamed of being a singer, but when he reached adolescence his voice changed and he saw clearly that it was no longer a way to follow to earn a living. As he wanted to be linked to the artistic world, he was curious about acting. With 14 years he participated in the work Oliver and, after graduating from the University of Michigan, he gave himself ten years to achieve his goal of being an actor. He worked as an usher and Christopher Walken was his role model after seeing him in play on Broadway.


Young tom it did not take long to debut on the tables. He did it in 1975 with the work Equus, by Peter Shaffer, in which he appeared naked (years later it would be Daniel Radcliffe who would take the witness to prove that he was more than just the wizard Harry Potter). He was hired as a substitute for Peter Firth and his risky performance did not leave audiences and critics indifferent.


Hulce then went through various television miniseries until he made an appearance on the big screen with September 30 1955 (1977), which recounted the fateful day that James Dean died. John Landis’s cult comedy would follow American style riot (1978), alongside John Belushi, the popular television series St.Elsewhere, with which Denzel Washington would become known, and would star in the romantic Those eyes, those lips (1980).

At the beginning of the eighties, a play written by Schaffer and inspired by a short script by the Russian poet Alexander Pushkin, which recounted the rivalry between Mozart and the Italian composer Antonio Salieri, triumphed on Broadway. The recently deceased filmmaker Milos Forman fell in love with this story that explained how the Italian, an admirer of the music of the young prodigy from Salzburg, took it upon himself to destroy him when he was relegated to the background in the court of Emperor Joseph II of Austria.

Frame from the film ‘Amadeus’

Orion pictures

For the casting of the film they auditioned from the Luke Skywalker Mark Hamill, who had been Mozart in Broadway performances in 1983, to Kenneth Branagh, Mikhail Baryshnikov, David Bowie, Mel Gibson, Tim Curry or Mick Jagger himself. None of them convinced the Czech director until it was Hulce’s turn. At 30 he was facing the great challenge of his life.

Forman told him in the audition that he should take his role to the extreme and that is how the exaggerated and unpleasant laugh he gave the character was born, a laugh that Hulce was inspired by remembering that of a famous director with whom he had previously worked and the one who has always refused to reveal his name. The interpreter got the role and gave himself completely to compose a different Mozart on the big screen, showing his most vulnerable, frenetic, eccentric, passionate, vulgar and funny side.

However, when filming arrived, he had trouble making his laughter sound just as exaggerated as in the casting and he confessed that he had to dip into the whiskey on some occasions to feel more uninhibited. The actor, who only knew how to play the guitar, learned to play the piano in record time with a private teacher to give absolute credibility to his illustrious character. He never got the wrong key, even when playing on his back, according to several music teachers after viewing the film. In addition, to recreate his Mozart’s unstable demeanor, Tom took a look at the popular tennis player John McEnroe and studied some of his characteristic tantrums.


Amadeus it was released to overwhelming success in September 1984, to both public and critical applause. He received eight Oscars. Both Hulce and F. Murray Abraham, who played an immense Salieri, were nominated for the golden statuette, although it was ultimately the latter who was the winner. Hulce had to settle for winning the David di Donatello for best foreign actor.

Later, his career as an actor developed more discreetly. We got to see him in the comedy Apartment for three (1986), with Susan Dey and her admired Christopher Walken; the erotic thriller Slam Dance (No escape route) alongside Virginia Madsen and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio; or the family comedy Sweet home … sometimes! (1989), de Ron Howard.

He earned a Golden Globe nomination for playing a man with a slight mental retardation who works as a garbage man to pay for his twin brother’s medical studies in The strength of a lesser being (1988). During the 90s he participated in The circle of power, Without fear of life and the Frankenstein de Mary Shelley Directed by Kenneth Branagh, in the role of Henry.


For his work on the TV movie Murder in Mississippi (1990) was nominated for a Golden Globe and an Emmy and achieved the prestigious television award in the category of supporting actor for the TV movie enter the loves in 1996. He voiced Quasimodo in Disney’s version of the Victor Hugo classic. The Hunchback of Notre Dame. His last film work has been in minor roles in the tragicomedy Stranger than fiction (2006) and the science fiction story Jumper (2008).

On a personal level, Tom Hulce he has openly declared himself homosexual. She defends her privacy tooth and nail and that is one of the reasons she moved to Seattle. No sentimental partner is known, but on one occasion Wikipedia dared to marry him to a woman named Cecilia Ermini and even claimed that they were the parents of a daughter. “Many false things are written on the Internet,” he told the magazine. Seattle Gay News.


Hulce has decided to enhance his career mainly on stage, his true passion. After being nominated for a Tony in 1990 for best actor with the play Some good men, won the prestigious award for producing the successful and controversial musical Spring Awakening in 2007 and got another mention for the musical American Idiot (2010), based on the popular album by the band Green Day.

He has also been recognized for his work as theater director for the adaptation of The rules of the Cider Houseby John Irving. His last job to date has been like film producer on Seagull (2018), adaptation of Chekhov’s play with a luxury cast consisting of Saoirse Ronan, Annette Bening and Elizabeth Moss. At 64 years of age, our beloved ‘Mozart’ has no intention of ever putting himself in front of the cameras again and the truth is that he is missed.

Hulce has left his acting career to focus on as a theatrical and film producer