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Austin Pendleton
AUSTIN PENDLETON backstage August 2006.jpg
Pendleton in 2006
Austin Campbell Pendleton

(1940-03-27) March 27, 1940 (age 83)
Alma mater Yale University, 1961
Years active 1958–present

Austin Campbell Pendleton (born March 27, 1940) is an American actor, playwright, theatre director, and instructor. He is known as a prolific character actor on the stage and screen who has appeared in various films including Catch 22 (1970), What's Up, Doc? (1972), The Front Page (1974), The Muppet Movie (1979), Short Circuit (1986), Mr. and Mrs. Bridge (1990), My Cousin Vinny (1992), Amistad (1997), A Beautiful Mind (2001), which earned him a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture nomination, and Finding Nemo (2003).

For his work in theatre he has received a Tony Award nomination for Best Direction of a Play for the Broadway revival of The Little Foxes in 1981. He has received two Drama Desk Award nominations and the recipient of a Special Drama Desk Award in 2007. He also received a Obie Award for Best Director for the Off-Broadway revival of Three Sisters in 2011. Recent Broadway credits include Choir Boy in 2016 and The Minutes in 2022.

Early life and education

Pendleton was born in Warren, Ohio, the son of Thorn Pendleton, who ran a tool company, and Frances (née Manchester) Pendleton, a professional actress. He attended University School, a private all-boys school in Shaker Heights, Ohio and graduated in the class of 1957. A childhood friend was Roger Ailes, later of Fox News; Pendleton talks about Ailes in the A&E documentary Divide and Conquer: The Story of Roger Ailes.

Pendleton is a 1961 graduate of Yale University, and as a member of the Yale Dramatic Association, collaborated in 1958 with lyricist Peter Bergman in writing two musical plays which starred Philip Proctor: Tom Jones, and Booth Is Back In Town. Proctor and Bergman later formed half of The Firesign Theatre comedy group.


Pendleton first received critical acclaim in 1964 for his performance as Motel in the original Broadway cast of Fiddler on the Roof. He appeared in The Last Sweet Days of Isaac (for which he won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Performance and an Obie Award), The Diary of Anne Frank, Goodtime Charley, and Up from Paradise as well as many other plays. In August 2006, Pendleton played the Chaplain in Bertolt Brecht's Mother Courage and Her Children with Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline in the New York Shakespeare Festival/Public Theater production directed by George C. Wolfe at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. In 2007, he appeared as Friar Lawrence in the Public Theater's production of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet at the Delacorte Theater.

Pendleton wrote the plays Uncle Bob, Booth, and Orson's Shadow, all of which were staged off-Broadway. Uncle Bob had its off-Broadway premiere in 2001 at The SoHo Playhouse, starring George Morfogen—for whom the role of Bob was written—and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who made his New York theatre debut in the production. The critically acclaimed production was directed by Courtney Moorehead and produced by Steven Sendor.

As a director, Pendleton has worked extensively on and off Broadway. His direction of Elizabeth Taylor and Maureen Stapleton in Lillian Hellman's The Little Foxes garnered him a Tony Award nomination in 1981. Additional directing credits include The Runner Stumbles by Milan Stitt (1977), Spoils of War by Michael Weller (1988), and The Size of the World by Charles Evered (1996).

Pendleton is also a member of The Mirror Theater Ltd's Mirror Repertory Company, directing the company's 1984 production of Henrik Ibsen's Ghosts, starring Geraldine Page, Sabra Jones, and Victor Slezak. His play H6R3, a compilation of Henry VI and Richard III in order to make the storyline clearer and strengthen the women's parts, became a benefit production of The Mirror Theater Ltd at the then Promenade Theater in New York. Pendleton played Richard in this performance, Sabra Jones performed Elizabeth, Lynn Redgrave played Mad Margaret, Charles McAteer was Lord Rutland, Geraint Wyn Davies played Henry VI, Daniel Gerroll played Buckingham, and Lisa Pelikan played Lady Anne.

In 2009, Pendleton directed Uncle Vanya, starring Maggie Gyllenhaal and Peter Sarsgaard, at the Classic Stage Company. The same year he directed Tennessee Williams' autobiographical play Vieux Carré at The Pearl Theatre Company. In January and February 2010, Pendleton directed two plays, Bus Stop at the Olney Theater and Golden Age at the Philadelphia Theatre Company. His 2011 directing of Three Sisters won him an Obie Award. In 2012, he directed a production of Detroit at the National Theatre in London.

Pendleton served as Artistic Director for Circle Repertory Company with associate artistic director Lynne Thigpen. The company closed in 1996.

He currently teaches acting at HB Studio and directing at The New School, both in Greenwich Village. Pendleton has been involved with the Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago since directing Ralph Pape's Say Goodnight, Gracie for the 1979-80 season, and is currently an ensemble member there. His acting credits at Steppenwolf include Uncle Vanya, Valparaiso, and Educating Rita.

Pendleton is the subject of Starring Austin Pendleton, a documentary in which colleagues including Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Olympia Dukakis, Ethan Hawke, and more discuss his life and legacy.

As a member of the Steppenwolf Theatre Company he starred in Tracy Letts' new play The Minutes in Chicago, which has since transferred to Broadway.



Year Stage Role Notes
1962 Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mama's Hung You
in the Closet and I'm Feelin' So Sad
Jonathan Off-Broadway
1964 Fiddler on the Roof Motel Broadway
1966 Hail Scrawdyke! Irwin Ingham Broadway
1967 The Little Foxes Leo Hubbard Broadway
1970 The Last Sweet Days of Isaac Isaac Off-Broadway
1973 Shelter Director; Broadway
1974 An American Millionaire Professor Bobby Rudetsky Broadway
1975 Goodtime Charley Charley (standby) Broadway
1976 The Sorrows of Frederick Frederick II of Prussia Off-Broadway
1976 The Old Glory Director; off-Broadway
1976 The Runner Stumbles Director; Broadway
1978 Say Goodnight Gracie Director; off-Broadway
1979 The Office Murders Jack Off-Broadway
1980 John Gabriel Borkman Director; Broadway
1981 The Little Foxes Director; Broadway
1983 Up from Paradise Adam Off-Broadway
1985 Doubles Arnie Broadway
1986 Master Class Shostakovich Off-Broadway
1987 Educating Rita Frank Off-Broadway
1987 Uncle Vanya Voitski Off-Broadway
1988 Spoils of War Director; Broadway
1989 Grand Hotel Otto Kringelein Replacement; Broadway
1991 The Sorrows of Frederick Frederick the Great Off-Broadway
1991 What About Luv? Harry Berlin Off-Broadway
1993 Sophistry Whitey McCoy Off-Broadway
1996 The Size of the World Director; off-Broadway
1996 900 Oneonta Director; off-Broadway
1997 The Diary of Anne Frank Mr. Dussel Broadway
1998 The Pussycat and the Expert Plumber Who Was a Man Mayor Off-Broadway
2002 The Exonerated Off-Broadway
2006 Mother Courage and Her Children Chaplain Off-Broadway
2006 an oak tree Father Off-Broadway
2007 Toys in the Attic Director; off-Broadway
2007 Romeo and Juliet Friar Laurence Off-Broadway
2008 Fifty Words Director; off-Broadway
2009 Uncle Vanya Director; off-Broadway
2009 Vieux Carre Director; off-Broadway
2009 Order Director; off-Broadway
2009 Love ... Wilbur Off-Broadway
2010 Rosmersholm Doctor Kroll Off-Broadway
2011 Three Sisters Director; off-Broadway
2012 In Masks Outrageous and Austere Dr. Lester G. Syme Off-Broadway
2012 Detroit Director; off-Broadway
2012 Ivanov Lebedev Also director; off-Broadway
2013 Choir Boy Mr. Pendleton Off-Broadway
2014 Between Riverside and Crazy Director; off-Broadway
2014 Straight White Men Ed Off-Broadway
2017 Workshop Ward Stein Off-Broadway
2018 Wars of the Roses: Henry VI & Richard III Henry VI Also director; off-Broadway
2018 Choir Boy Mr. Pendleton Broadway
2019 Life Sucks. The Professor Off-Broadway
2020 The Minutes Mr. Oldfield Broadway
2022 The Minutes Mr. Oldfield Broadway


Year Title Role Notes
1968 Petulia Intern
Skidoo Fred
1970 Catch-22 Lieutenant Colonel Moodus
1972 What's Up, Doc? Frederick Larrabee
Every Little Crook and Nanny Luther
1973 The Thief Who Came to Dinner Zukovsky
1974 The Front Page Earl Williams
1976 Diary of the Dead Dr. Klein
1977 The Great Smokey Roadblock Guido
1979 The Muppet Movie Max
Starting Over Paul
1980 Simon Dr. Carl Becker
First Family Dr. Alexander Grade
1984 Talk to Me Richard Patterson
1985 My Man Adam Mr. Greenhut
1986 Off Beat Gun Shop Salesman
Short Circuit Howard Marner
1987 Hello Again Junior Lacey
1990 Mr. and Mrs. Bridge Mr. Gadbury
1991 The Ballad of the Sad Café Lawyer Taylor
True Identity Othello's Director
1992 My Cousin Vinny John Gibbons
Rain Without Thunder Catholic Priest
Charlie's Ear Harold Blodgett
Do You Like Women? Unknown
1993 Mr. Nanny Alex Mason Sr.
My Boyfriend's Back Dr. Bronson
Searching for Bobby Fischer Asa Hoffmann
1994 Greedy Hotel Clerk
Guarding Tess Earl Fowler
1995 Home for the Holidays Peter Arnold
Two Much Dr. Huffeyer
The Fifteen Minute Hamlet Hamlet Short
1996 Sgt. Bilko Major Ebersole
2 Days in the Valley Ralph Crupi
The Proprietor Willy Kunst
The Associate Aesop Franklin
The Mirror Has Two Faces Barry
1997 Trial and Error Judge Paul Z. Graff
Sue Lost in Manhattan Bob
Amistad Professor Gibbs
The Fanatics Eugene Cleft
A River Made to Drown In Billy
1998 Charlie Hoboken Harry Cedars
1999 Skirty Winner François Truffaut
Joe the King Winston
Men of Means Jerry Trask
The 4th Floor Mr. Collins
Brokendown Love Story 'Lucky' Short
2000 The Acting Class Bobby Austin
Broke Even Archie
Fast Food Fast Women George
Clowns Dean
2001 Queenie in Love Alvin
A Beautiful Mind Thomas King
Wishcraft Mr. Turner
2002 Manna from Heaven Two-Digit Doyle
2003 Finding Nemo Gurgle Voice
Uptown Girls Mr. McConkey
2004 Christmas with the Kranks Marty
Piccadilly Jim Peter Pett
2005 The Civilization of Maxwell Bright Jaurice
The Notorious Bettie Page Teacher
2006 Raising Flagg Gus Falk
2007 Lovely by Surprise Jackson
2010 Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps Dr. Masters
2013 He's Way More Famous Than You Dad
Hair Brained Dapper Man
Black Box William Peters
2014 She's Funny That Way Judge Pendergast
The Mend Earl
2016 Starring Austin Pendleton Himself Documentary
Finding Dory Gurgle Voice
2018 7 Splinters in Time Fyodor Wax
2019 The Sound of Silence Robert Feinway
2020 The Mimic The Driver
2022 5-25-77 Herb Lightman


Year Title Role Notes
1989 One Life to Live Mr. Dubuis TV series
1972 Love, American Style Barney Dereemus 1 episode
1973 Love, American Style Leo 1 episode
1974 Good Times Donald Hargrove 1 episode
Great Performances Bennie 1 episode
1977 You're Gonna Love It Here Harry Rogers TV movie
1978 Big City Boys Harry Buckman TV movie
1983 Great Performances White Rabbit 1 episode
St. Elsewhere Mr. Entertainment 1 episode
1984 St. Elsewhere Mr. Entertainment 1 episode
1985 Love, Long Distance Dr. Arthur Ruskin TV movie
1986 Miami Vice Max Rogo 1 episode
1986–1989 The Equalizer Jonah 3 episodes
1987 Leg Work Harold Rodman 1 episode
1988 Spenser: For Hire The Professor 1 episode
1989 The Cosby Show Mr. Kensington 1 episode
B.L. Stryker Danny Lennox 1 episode
Anything But Love Max Templeton 1 episode
1990 American Dreamer Unknown 1 episode
21 Jump Street Mr. Trysla 1 episode
1991 Lethal Innocence Paul Kent TV movie
1992 Murder, She Wrote Barney Gunderson Episode: "Angel of Death"
Four Eyes and Six Guns Mustached Passenger TV movie
1994 The Cosby Mysteries Maynard Caldwell Episode: "One Day at a Time"
Don't Drink the Water Chef Oscar TV movie
1995 Tales from the Crypt Orloff Episode: "Doctor of Horror"
New York News Unknown Episode: "Cost of Living"
Long Island Fever Dr. Motts TV movie
1997 Frasier Dr. William M. Dorfman Episode: "Three Days of the Condo"
The Practice Sam Feldberg Episode: "Part VI"
Fired Up Bobby H. 1 episode
Liberty! Benjamin Rush 2 episodes
1998 Tracey Takes On... Professor Kenneth Hawkins Episode: "Age"
1998–1999 Homicide: Life on the Street Dr. George Griscom 11 episodes
1998–2002 Oz William Giles 11 episodes
2000 The West Wing Barry Haskell Episode: "Lies, ... Lies, and Statistics"
Homicide: The Movie Dr. George Griscom TV movie
2001 The Education of Max Bickford Harry 1 episode
2001–2002 100 Centre Street Al Cox 2 episodes
2002 Touched by an Angel Mr. Piltdown Episode: "The Christmas Watch"
2003 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Horace Gorman Episode: "Control"
2004 Strip Search James Perley TV movie
Law & Order: Criminal Intent Dr. John Manotti Episode: "Inert Dwarf"
2005 Joan of Arcadia Dietrich Steinholz Episode: "Secret Service"
2009 Life on Mars Dr. Goldman Episode: "Revenge of Broken Jaw"
Cupid Dr. Boyd Episode: "Pilot"
2011 Person of Interest Pilcher Episode: "Foe"
2012 Game Change Senator Joe Lieberman HBO TV movie
2016 Billions Goose Quill 2 episodes
Difficult People Director Episode: "Cedar Grove"
2018 Alex, Inc. Wesley Harman Episode: "The Unfair Advantage"
2019 A President Show Documentary: The Fall Of Donald Trump Historian TV special
2020 New Amsterdam Eli Pembroke Episode: "Hiding Behind My Smile"
2021 The Good Fight Dr. Goat Episode: "And the Violence Spread."

See also

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