Dileep Rao

Dileep A. Rao is an American actor who has appeared in feature films and television series. He starred in Sam Raimi's horror film Drag Me to Hell, James Cameron's science fiction film Avatar, and Christopher Nolan's thriller Inception.

Life and career

Rao was born in Los Angeles to a physicist mother and an engineer father, both of Indian descent. He grew up in Yanbu, Saudi Arabia, Denver, Colorado, and Claremont, California. He has one sister who is a professor at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business. He graduated from Claremont High School and the University of California, San Diego, with a B.A., later receiving an M.F.A. from the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco where his class included Anna Belknap and Elizabeth Banks.
Rao's first role after graduating was in the American premiere of Indian Ink by Tom Stoppard. Rao moved to Los Angeles and began working in regional theater including at the Berkeley Rep, South Coast Repertory, and for the Manhattan Theater Club.
He competed on Jeopardy! on June 7, 2002, and won $34,400. On June 8, 2008, Rao was randomly selected from over 1600 entrants to play the NPR Weekend Edition Sunday puzzle on air with Will Shortz.
In 2009, he appeared in Avatar and Drag Me to Hell. He was nominated for several awards as part of the ensemble cast in Christopher Nolan's 2010 film Inception. He played a pharmacologist in the film.


2009Drag Me to HellRham Jas
2009AvatarDr. Max Patel
2014Murder of a CatDoctor Mundhra
2015Beeba BoysKash Sood
2022Avatar 2Dr. Max PatelFilming
2024Avatar 3Dr. Max PatelFilming

TV roles