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Peter Gallagher Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (1) | Trade Mark (3) | Trivia (12) | Personal Quotes (8)

Overview (3)

Date of Birth 19 August 1955New York City, New York, USA
Birth NamePeter Killian Gallagher
Height 5' 10" (1.78 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Peter Gallagher was born on August 19, 1955 in New York City, New York, USA as Peter Killian Gallagher. He is an actor, known for American Beauty (1999), The O.C. (2003) and While You Were Sleeping (1995). He has been married to Paula Harwood since May 7, 1983. They have two children.

Spouse (1)

Paula Harwood (7 May 1983 - present) (2 children)

Trade Mark (3)

His thick eyebrows
Later in career, has regularly played reassuring father figures
Often played smooth but self-asorbed and perverse characters in his early career

Trivia (12)

1973-77: Attended Tufts University. He sang in a group called the Beelzebubs, which is a "mini rock choir" (a capella group) at Tufts.
Was a considered for the role of Ethan in Supergirl (1984).
Attended Byram Hills High School in Armonk, New York
Sandy Cohen, Gallagher's character on The O.C. (2003), was ranked #25 in TV Guide's list of the "50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time" [20 June 2004 issue].
Is an avid golfer.
2004: Attended the Best In Drag Show in Los Angeles which raised $150,000 for AIDS afflicted. The show's producer/director was Tom Perdoe.
Despite having the same last name, all being musically talented, and all having the trademark "Gallagher eyebrows," he is not related to Liam Gallagher or Noel Gallagher from British rock-group Oasis.
Son James Gallagher (born in 1990) and daughter Kathryn Gallagher (born in 1993).
Was nominated for the 1986 Tony Award (New York City) for Supporting or Features Actor in a Drama for Long Day's Journey Into Night (1987).
His maternal grandparents were both Irish immigrants (with his grandmother from County Roscommon). His father was also of Irish descent.
Maintains a Connecticut home in the rural Litchfield County town of New Milford. Famous neighbors in the Merryall neighborhood include 'Diane von Furstenburg' and her entertainment industry mogul husband, Barry Diller. [March 2007]
Starring in "The Country Girl" on Broadway. [April 2008]

Personal Quotes (8)

If I have a choice between a nice, bland hero or a really interesting, detestable character, I'd rather do the detestable one. Good guys can be pretty boring. I love playing characters who celebrate the power and joy and beauty of greed. As the bad guy, you have less moral and behavioral restrictions. There's no burden of being liked. It's real freedom for the actor.
For me, pop culture seems to be all guilt, no pleasure, all pop no culture at the moment.
"The OC" was great fun, especially the first season.
(2011, on making Skag) There's actually two things I remember. I remember Karl Malden talking about working with Marlon Brando, and I experienced my first earthquake. It was at the old MGM studios, which is now the Sony lot. I was playing a bastard son in medical school who wasn't going to come home to see his dad because he had a test or something like that. So I was on the phone, this very emotional scene where I'm telling my father that I'm not coming home. Karl is on the other end of the phone, and he's actually on the set talking to me on the other end of the phone, which is unusual. A lot of times you record your side of the conversation. But the camera's on me, it's a little makeshift set inside a huge former Busby Berkeley soundstage, and the camera's got the lights, everything going on, and I'm just acting up a storm. In fact, I had actually studied with one of the guys that Karl had studied with at the studio, and Brando had studied with. So I'm acting up a storm, and all of a sudden I hear this "ratatatat." This must be a like two-page monologue. I'm thinking, "I can't believe they're fixing the roof in the middle of my monologue!" But I keep going, you know, because I'm feeling the fear, so I just barrel on anyway. And all of a sudden the set starts to shake a little, and I think, "I can't believe the fucking subway. I'm right in the middle of my monologue, and the subway..." Of course there's no subway in Los Angeles, but I'm still busy doing my thing. And I'm looking, and the lights are in my eyes, and I'm going on, and I'm thinking, "The guy's fixing the roof, the subway underneath... boy, this isn't going very well." And I look just a little bit past the bright light, pretending to be looking out the mirror of my room or whatever, and... I see that Malden is gone. He's no longer on the phone. Then I realize the camera operator is gone. And I look around, and there's no one on the set except me... and I'm still just acting up a storm! I mean, I'm thinking, "Holy fuck," but I'm still going on with the scene, like, "Dad, don't you understand? This is important to me, it's my future," while thinking, "Holy fuck, what's going on? Is this how they do things out here?" 'Cause, you know, this was one of the first things I'd ever done. And then I realized, "Oh my God, it's an earthquake! This is an earthquake!" And it's started to rumble now. So immediately I leap up, and I go into the door frame behind my desk where I was on the phone all this time, and I'm pressing so hard against the door frame that the thing is bowing out a little bit. And that's when I realize, "Oh, my God, this is a set! This is not going to protect me from anything!" There's, like, eight miles of ceiling above me, and I'm under this balsawood door frame. So I'm running around trying to find the exit, and I finally get out, and of course, everyone smoked back then, so they're all sitting in cars smoking. And someone goes, "Hey, first earthquake, huh?" I'm just, like, "There's nobody here. That can't be good. But I'm almost done with the monologue, so I'll finish just in case." The show must go on, right?
(2011, on filming House On Haunted Hill) We had a great time. Geoffrey Rush is the funniest man in the world. We laughed a lot with Chris Kattan. Chris Kattan would call me in the middle of the night when we were shooting that and play a Cher song. I can't remember what it was. I wish I could. Even now, when it's 3 o'clock in the morning, I always think, "Oh, my God, why am I thinking about Cher?" So we were shooting that out in Valencia on a sound stage, and Jack Lemmon and George Scott, who I'd also done a couple movies with, were doing Inherit The Wind in the same studio a couple of sound stages over. So I said, "Geoffrey, come on." I knew that Jack and George were big fans of Geoffrey's, so I said, "How'd you like to meet Jack Lemmon and George Scott?" He said, "Oh, my God, Peter, I would love to." I said, "Well, it's easier than you can imagine. Come on, let's go." So we hung out with George and Jack in their separate trailers and then watched them shoot the ultimate scene in the trial on the set. I just felt so happy that I could introduce such enormous talents.
(2011, on Rescue Me) Oh, now that was awesome. Denis Leary is one of my best friends, and only a best friend from the same tribe would understand that I was built for a role like Father Phil. And I just love the fact that those guys were just allowed to run around New York City and act like firemen and make that show up. Man, I was just so proud of Denis for doing something so successfully and so much fun. It was a lot of fun filming those scenes with those knuckleheads. And it was also just fun playing a priest, 'cause I've always liked playing a priest.
(2011, on American Beauty) Well, the big heartbreak was, my agent first sent me the script and told me it was for the role of Lester. And so my heart just soared. I said, "Oh, my God, the moment I've been waiting for my whole life. A great role." "Oh, by the way, no, it's for Buddy Kane." But I thought, "Well, okay. All right. This is a good one. This is a great script." That was one of the best scripts I've ever read. Looking at that part, I was talking to Sam Mendes. We wanted to do a sort of Donald Trump lite-which is redundant, right?-and give myself a little gravitas. And my hair was so black then, in order to make it grayer, it would go sort of orange-y if we stripped it and messed it. So we used a wig and age makeup. Carol O'Connell, our hair stylist, had a relationship with this older woman who bought up all the wigs from the studios, and she knew them like people. Carol brought in, like, five wigs. And a Cary Grant wig fit perfectly. It was like made for my head. And the crazy thing is that 20 years earlier, when I was doing my first movie, The Idolmaker, we had to take dance class for the spins and the splits and stuff. And the dance teacher, invited me to a party one afternoon. It was to Edith Head's house, the legendary costume designer. I wasn't a big student of Hollywood, but I knew a little bit. And Cary Grant was there. She knew him and she introduced us. And we hung out. And we were talking about teen idols and about longevity and about acting. I wish I could remember what exactly he said to me, but the whole time I was like, 'Holy shit, I'm talking to Cary Grant and he's talking to me.' And so I smiled every time that wig was put on my head 20 years later for American Beauty.
(2011, on sex, lies, and videotape) Tim Daly was supposed to do the part, but I guess my manager was managing Andie [MacDowell], and I guess Jimmy (Spader) said something nice about me from that, but they asked me to do this movie. And I read it in the motel room, and I got up in the middle of the night and sat in the bathroom and read it again, 'cause I couldn't believe how good it was. There is nothing more exciting than reading a great script. And this was a great script...I met Soderbergh the next day-he was 26-and I said, "So how do you see this?" And he said, "Well, I see this as kind of a black comedy." And I said, "Oh. I'm in." And he said, "You know, your role isn't as well developed as the others." I said, "That's all right." "Are you open-minded?" "Totally." It was one of the most beautiful, constructive, productive rehearsal periods, and because the budget was so low, there was nobody looking over our shoulders. And because Soderbergh is such an extraordinary artist, he was not blinded or crippled by the kind of insecurities or need for control or something that some people might have. He was very open. Before I punch Jimmy, looking at those videotapes, there was a four-page scene that Steven had written. And Jimmy and I said, "Uh, why don't I just punch him?" He said, "Oh, okay." And we did. Boom. "You're right, that's better. We're done. Should we shoot some pool?" So we would really work hard and really be organized, and just the delight... I thought, "Okay, I want to make movies for the rest of my life." Because it's just after having just worked with (Robert) Altman for the first time, and now working with Soderbergh... They're so similar. The great directors-Altman and Soderbergh and (Mike) Nichols-it's so different from what people imagine. It's not about control. It's about creating an environment where something marvelous can happen and capturing it. And Altman would tell me, "Gallagher, I want you to go in there and do something." I said, "What?" "I don't know." "When?" "Next take."

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