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Jeffrey Tambor Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trade Mark (3) | Trivia (16) | Personal Quotes (11)

Overview (3)

Born in San Francisco, California, USA
Birth NameJeffrey Michael Tambor
Height 6' 1" (1.85 m)

Mini Bio (1)

An incisive talent when it comes to playing bent, off-the-wall characters, Jeffrey Tambor has been captivating audiences for nearly four decades.

Tambor was born and raised in San Francisco, to Eileen (Salzberg) and Michael Bernard Tambor, a flooring contractor. His family is Jewish (from Hungary and Ukraine). He studied acting at San Francisco State University and earned his Bachelors of Arts degree there. Following his Masters at Wayne State University, he started building up his resume in repertory theater. He was first seen on episodic TV in the mid-'70s in both comedies (Taxi (1978), Barney Miller (1974)) and dramas (Kojak (1973), Starsky and Hutch (1975)). A large, somewhat looming fellow, his sly-eyed look and leering gaze, matched with a bright set of pearly teeth and stark pattern baldness, made him a natural for broad, warped comedy. The folks at Three's Company (1976) brought Jeffrey back time and time again, standing toe-to-toe with John Ritter and stealing many of their scenes with his noticeably bizarre gents. Before his "Three's Company" guest roles, he co-starred in the show's spin-off The Ropers (1979) with Norman Fell and Audra Lindley. He and Patty McCormack played the Ropers' chagrined neighbors. On the legitimate stage, he has been an earnest player over the years with performances in "Sly Fox" and "Glengarry Glen Ross" on Broadway in addition to roles in "Measure for Measure," "A Flea in Her Ear" and "The Seagull." On the side, Jeffrey has directed a number of stage productions and teaches acting in the Los Angeles area. Although not as well known for his film work, he made a strong dramatic impression in his film debut ...and justice for all. (1979), in which he played Al Pacino's half-crazed law partner. He went on to enhance a number of other movies including The Dream Chasers (1984), Mr. Mom (1983), Brenda Starr (1989), Radioland Murders (1994), Doctor Dolittle (1998), Pollock (2000). More recently he played the Mayor of Whoville in How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000). Emmy-nominated for his quirky work on The Larry Sanders Show (1992), Jeffrey's fondness and talent for the weird and wacky has recently found a nesting roost. Quite at home amid the insanity in the series Arrested Development (2003), he recently copped another Emmy nomination as the patriarch of the highly dysfunctional Bluth family.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Gary Brumburgh / gr-home@pacbell.net

Spouse (2)

Kasia Tambor (6 October 2001 - present) (4 children)
Katie Mitchell (9 March 1991 - 2000) (divorced)

Trade Mark (3)

Often plays a frustrated (or frustrating) authority figure
Permafrown, often while talking
Frequently acts in projects written by Mitchell Hurwitz

Trivia (16)

Was a teacher at Milton Katselas' Beverly Hills Playhouse.
In spite of his typically obnoxious or exasperating characters, Tambor is one of the most respected and well-liked character actors working today.
Has played multiple characters on the situation comedy Three's Company (1976).
Directed a production of "Burn This" at the Skylight Theatre in Los Angeles and is the co-owner of Skylight Books in the Los Feliz area.
He originally played Tom Abernathy in Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous (2005). However, when the scene needed to be reshot, he was shooting Arrested Development (2003), so the scene was reshot with Stephen Tobolowsky. The version of the scene with Jeffrey can be seen on the DVD.
Children: Molly Tambor (b. 1975); Gabriel Kasper (b. December 10, 2004), Eve Julia (December 10, 2006), Hugo Bernard and Eli Nicholas (twins b. October 4, 2009) with wife Kasia. Daughter Molly gave birth to his grandson (Mason Jay Moore) four days before his son Gabriel was born.
He was nominated for a 1974 Joseph Jefferson Award for Best Actor in a Principal Role for his performance in "The Play's the Thing", at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago, Illinois.
He was awarded the 1982 Drama Logue Award for Outstanding Performance in "A Flea in Her Ear", at the Mark Taper Forum Theatre in Los Angeles, California.
In 2007, he sold his five-bedroom, Cape Cod-style house in Los Angeles' Pacific Palisades neighborhood for $3.3 million. In early 2005, he had purchased the house for $2,749,000.
In 2008, he purchased a four-bed, five bath, 3,591 square foot home in Topanga, California for $1.675 million.
His paternal grandparents, Ignatz and Mollie, were Hungarian Jewish immigrants. His maternal grandparents, Joseph and Gertrude, were Ukrainian Jews (from Kiev).
Teaching fellow/graduate assistant at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan in the late 1960s.
He appeared in Phil Collins' music video of his song "I Wish It Would Rain Down" (1990).
Winner of the 2016 Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series (Transparent (2014)).
Received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6320 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California on August 8, 2017.
Reportedly, the first actor to use the C-word on TV which he did on The Larry Sanders Show: The Hankerciser 200 (1993) when referring to Larry's wife as "that c--t". Jeffrey was supposed to say "bitch", but in rehearsals he improvised and Garry Shandling opted for the C-word instead.

Personal Quotes (11)

[on attending San Francisco State University] I am positive I am an actor because of that place.
[on what has guided his career] Go where your heart is, not the dollar sign.
[2008, on Mr. Mom (1983)] Yes, and I loved that role. I remember driving that first day in the car, Michael Keaton and I, and Stan Dragoti was in the camera truck in front of us... No one had any idea it was gonna be a runaway hit. And that's an actor's life. I thought Meet Joe Black was gonna be one of the big changes for me, and it was gonna be a runaway hit-and it wasn't. And with Mr. Mom, I said, "There's just no way." And it turned out to be a huge hit. Huge!
[2008, on Meet Joe Black (1998)] That scene that I have with Brad [Pitt]-that one out by the sea where I confess to him that I really screwed up and I've sort of betrayed them-is one of my favorite scenes that I've ever done. He was just so wonderful. He's great. I mean, this was years ago, but he's very modest. He's a real hardworking actor. I think he was going through something difficult at that time, and he never brought his personal stuff-not once!-on the set. He was a real pro. I remember doing that scene, and as I was acting, I thought, "I understand why this guy's a movie star." Because there was just something that he did when the cameras rolled. There was some kind of energy that was really magnificent, a real aura about him. Those movie stars, they have that "thing."
[2008, on The Larry Sanders Show (1992)] Changed my life. I am so thankful that-I mean, go figure. Most people are lucky to get one good series, but I got two groundbreakers. I just knew when I read that "Hey Now" script that something was afoot. Those were seven of the greatest years of my life. I learned so much, and it affirmed everything I thought comedy was. It was really a tremendous experience. And I loved (my character) Hank Kingsley, he was very real to me. There was just something about that character. I really believed him. I didn't think he was a buffoon. I understood the inner workings of him, so I sort of felt sorry for him, the poor guy. He was very important to me.
[2008, on working on Hellboy (2004)] It's so funny, because you forget it's a comic book. The actor's job is to make it real. There's no wink in it. You approach it the same way you would "Death of a Salesman". And Ron Perlman is a fabulous actor. That's high standards there. He really does a great character. The fact that he's covered in a body suit and has horns has nothing to do with it; it's a real character turn. So it's tremendous. We worked six months on it in Budapest. It was really hard work, and wonderful work. I thought Pan's Labyrinth was one of the greatest films I've ever seen, just pure artistry. [Del Toro] is just really something, this guy. And he's a real mensch: down-to-earth, funny, huggy, and terrific.
[2008, on landing ...and justice for all. (1979)] I will never forget the moment at the audition meeting when Norman Jewison said, "Are you nervous?" and I said, "I sure am." And he said, "Would you like a cigarette?" And I said, "Sure." And I looked down, and he had a pack of Merits in front of him, and Patrick Palmer had a pack of Lucky Strikes-or Camels, whatever. It was a non-filter. And I said, "Give me the kind that killed Nat King Cole." And I think from that moment on, I was in active contention for that role. They looked at each other like, "What the hell just happened?" But they got it. And I don't know why I said that. I don't know what killed Nat King Cole! But it was something that the character Jay would definitely say, and they said, "Come back Monday and read with Al." And I went, "Al... Al?" And they said, "That would be Al Pacino." And I went, "Oh!" And I went home and I literally memorized that part, and I came in. I remember there's a scene in the bathroom where I laugh a certain way, this sort of hysterical way. For some reason, I just knew [Jay] was gonna laugh that way. And that Monday, when I did that scene with Al, Al laughed. And when he laughed, I knew I had the role. There was just something there. I just knew I had it.
[2014, on playing a transgender woman on Transparent (2014)] This is definitely the most transformative role of my career, and I don't just mean in the externals. This was not something I could pull out of my Jeffrey Tambor technique bag. I kind of like not knowing how to do something - it's more exciting.
[2015, on dressing as Maura, his Transparent (2014) character, for the first time] I was scared stiff, and we began the makeup and they did the hair, and I remember Maura just appearing on my face, and I went, "Well, that's exactly how she looks." And we dressed her up and we went out dancing at a place called The Oxwood, and I remember walking through the lobby of that hotel and my legs were just shaking, and I said to myself, "Never, never, never, never forget this moment, because this is exactly how it is to live as Maura."
[2015, on how he got cast in Arrested Development (2003)] I was a day-player, basically, for that. I was actually signed up on another series. I wasn't on for the run. So I remember having so much fun, and we did the boat scene first, and then we did the jail sequences, and I had so much fun, and I was praying for this other venture to fall through, and it did, and they called and said, "We would love you in the series; how many would you like to do of 13?" I said, "Oh, uh, 13." Because I loved it so much. It was wonderful, and I love the cast and I love Mitch [Mitchell Hurwitz]. They're like my kids anyway.
[2015, on how being sober has helped his acting] I can only speak for me, but in my life, I find that in sobriety I feel much more, and I have much more depth. I also feel, not to segue, but as being a parent of five kids, I can bring much more to my acting, and so I'm all about anything that gives you more feeling and more depth. In feeling more, the waters can get rough, but so what? Let the waters be rough. If I hadn't been sober I don't think I would've even been around for Transparent (2014). Your resources are feeling, your resources are depth, your resources are learning, your resources are touching and feeling, and to me sobriety helps and aids all of that.

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