Paul Le Mat (born September 22, 1945) is an American actor who first came to prominence in the 1973 film American Graffiti, which won him the Golden Globe Award for New Star Of The Year - Actor.Le Mat was born to Matthew (1914–1963) and Paula Le Mat (1912–1990). He is of French, Scottish, English, Cuban, and Irish descent. He graduated from Newport Harbor High School in 1963, and, although he never received a degree, he attended various colleges in California.
A Vietnam veteran, Le Mat was awarded the National Defense Medal and Vietnam Service Medal.
He is married to Suzanne de Passe and they have three girls.Le Mat starred in the pilot episode of Firehouse in 1973. The same year, he appeared in American Graffiti, a coming of age film about a group of friends in Modesto, California in the early 1960s. He played John Milner - a role that would earn him his first Golden Globe Award. The film went on to receive universal acclaim, and was a box office hit. Le Mat also starred in Floyd Mutrux's 1975 crime spree film Aloha, Bobby and Rose. In 1977, he starred in Jonathan Demme's acclaimed comedy, Handle with Care, which was later re-titled Citizens Band, which saw him reunite with his American Graffiti co-star Candy Clark. Le Mat would reunite with Demme for 1980's Melvin and Howard, in which he played the titular role of Melvin Dummar. The film was based upon the true story of a gas station attendant who claimed to be an heir of eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes, and won two Academy Awards. It was met with rave reviews from Pauline Kael and other top film critics, and Le Mat was nominated for a Golden Globe Award. In 1979, Le Mat reprised his role of John Milner in More American Graffiti.
In 1982, Le Mat played the Donald E. Westlake character John Dortmunder in Jimmy the Kid, opposite Gary Coleman in the role of Jimmy. He also provided the voice of Omar in the American release of the animated film Rock & Rule. Le Mat starred in the made-for-TV movie The Burning Bed opposite Farrah Fawcett. The film was based on the true story of an abusive husband who drives his wife to drastic measures with his aggressive ways. Le Mat was awarded the second Golden Globe Award of his career for his role in the film. He would go on to star in other television films such as The Night They Saved Christmas, Into the Homeland and Secret Witness. He appeared in the TV miniseries On Wings of Eagles, and in the film Puppet Master. In the 1990s, Le Mat would continue to work on independent films and TV movies. He played Josiah Peale in Lonesome Dove: The Series, and in the follow-up Lonesome Dove: The Outlaw Years. He had a small role in the 1998 film American History X. More recently, Le Mat starred in the film Stateside.