Pendleton backstage at the Delacorte Theatre, Central Park, New York City, August, 2006.
March 27, 1940 |
Warren, Ohio, U.S.
Life and career
Pendleton was born in Warren, Ohio, the son of Frances Manchester Pendleton, a professional actress, and Thorn Pendleton, who ran a tool company. Pendleton is a graduate of Yale University, where he was a member of Scroll and Key Society.
Pendleton first received fame and critical acclaim for his performance as Motel in the original Broadway cast of Fiddler on the Roof. Additionally, he has 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, Grand Hotel, Goodtime Charley, The Little Foxes, The Sunset Limited, and Up from Paradise. In August 2006, Pendleton appeared as 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, New York City (photo, above, right). In 2007, he appeared as Friar Lawrence in the New York Shakespeare Festival/Public Theater's production of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. In 2009 Pendleton directed Uncle Vanya, starring Maggie Gyllenhaal and Peter Saarsgard, at the Classic Stage Company. Also that year, Pendleton starred in the off-Broadway production of Love Drunk, written by Romulus Linney and directed by Kelly Morgan. Later on, in the summer of 2009, he appeared in Wyoming Seminary's Performing Arts Institute production of Gypsy as Herbie, opposite Devon McFadden as Moma Rose and Allison Considine as Gypsy Rose Lee. Pendleton then went on to direct Tennessee Williams' autobiographical play Vieux Carré at The Pearl Theatre Company off-Broadway.
Pendleton wrote the plays Uncle Bob, Booth, and Orson's Shadow, all of which were staged off-Broadway. His direction of Elizabeth Taylor and Maureen Stapleton in Lillian Hellman's The Little Foxes garnered him a Tony Award nomination. Additional directing credits include Spoils of War by Michael Weller, The Runner Stumbles by Milan Stitt, and The Size of the World by Charles Evered.
In January & February 2010, Pendleton directed 2 plays, "Bus Stop" at The Olney Theatre and "Golden Age" at the Philadelphia Theatre Company. In April 2010, Pendleton acted with Eleanor Handley in the romantic comedy Limonade Tous Les Jours by Charles Mee, directed by Diana Basmajian. In 2012 he directed a production of 'Detroit' at the National Theatre in London, England.
Pendleton currently teaches acting at the HB Studio and directing at The New School, both in Greenwich Village. Pendleton is an ensemble member of the Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago. He began his artistic relationship there by directing Ralph Pape's Say Goodnight, Gracie for the 1979-80 season. In addition to directing at Steppenwolf, Mr. Pendleton has appeared as an actor in such Steppenwolf productions as Uncle Vanya, Valparaiso, and Educating Rita. Pendleton served as Artistic Director for Circle Repertory Company with associate artistic director Lynne Thigpen.
Films and television
Pendleton has acted in more than 120 films and television shows since the late 1960s. He played Doc Hopper's right-hand man Max in The Muppet Movie, alongside veteran actor Charles Durning, and also played the stuttering public defender John Gibbons in the legal comedy My Cousin Vinny. He had a voice role as Gurgle in Finding Nemo.
Beginning in the late 1970s, Pendleton began making guest appearances on a large number of television programs, such as Good Times, Oz, Homicide: Life on the Street, Tales from the Crypt, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, and Person of Interest. A documentary film on Austin's life and work, The Austin Pendleton Project: Where The Work Is, is in production.
- Petulia (1968) as Intern (uncredited)
- Skidoo (1968) as Fred (The Professor)
- Catch-22 (1970) as Lt. Col. Moodus
- What's Up, Doc? (1972) as Frederick Larrabee
- Every Little Crook and Nanny (1972) as Luther
- The Thief Who Came to Dinner (1973) as Zukovsky
- The Front Page (1974) as Earl Williams
- Diary of the Dead (1976) as Dr. Klein
- The Great Smokey Roadblock (1977) as Guido
- The Muppet Movie (1979) as Max
- Starting Over (1979) as Paul
- Simon (1980) as Dr. Carl Becker
- First Family (1980) as Dr. Alexander Grade
- Talk to Me (1984) as Richard Patterson
- My Man Adam (1985) as Dr. Greenhut
- Off Beat (1986) as Gun Shop Salesman
- Short Circuit (1986) as Dr. Howard Marner
- Hello Again (1987) as Junior Lacey
- Mr. and Mrs. Bridge (1990) as Mr. Gadbury
- The Ballad of the Sad Café (1991) as Lawyer Taylor
- True Identity (1991) as Director of Othello (uncredited)
- My Cousin Vinny (1992) as John Gibbons
- Rain Without Thunder (1992) as Catholic Priest
- Mr. Nanny (1993) as Alex Mason Sr.
- My Boyfriend's Back (1993) as Dr. Bronson
- Searching for Bobby Fischer (1993) as Asa Hoffman
- Greedy (1994) as Hotel Clerk
- Guarding Tess (1994) as Earl Fowler
- Home for the Holidays (1995) as Peter Arnold
- Two Much (1995) as Dr. Huffeyer
- Sgt. Bilko (1996) as Maj. Ebersole
- 2 Days in the Valley (1996) as Ralph Crupi
- The Proprietor (1996) as Willy Kunst
- The Associate (1996) as Aesop Franklin
- The Mirror Has Two Faces (1996) as Barry
- Trial and Error (1997) as Judge Paul Z. Graff
- Amistad (1997) as Professor Gibbs
- The Fanatics (1997) as Eugene Cleft
- Joe the King (1999) as Winston
- The 4th Floor (1999) as Mr. Collins
- Homicide: The Movie (2000) as Dr. George Griscom, C.M.E.
- The Acting Class (2000) as Bobby Austin
- Fast Food Fast Women (2000) as George
- A Beautiful Mind (2001) as Thomas King
- Wishcraft (2002) as Mr. Turner
- Manna from Heaven (2002) as Two-Digit Doyle
- Finding Nemo (2003) as the voice of Gurgle
- Uptown Girls (2003) as Mr. McConkey
- Christmas with the Kranks (2004) as Umbrella Santa (Marty)
- The Civilization of Maxwell Bright (2005) as Jaurice
- The Notorious Bettie Page (2005) as Teacher
- Raising Flagg (2006) as Gus Falk
- 5-25-77 (2007) as Herb Lightman
- Lovely by Surprise (2007) as Jackson
- Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010) as Dr. Masters
- He's Way More Famous Than You (2013) as Dad
- The Mend (2014) as Earl
- She's Funny That Way (2015) as Judge Pendergast
- Austin Pendleton at the Internet Broadway Database
- Austin Pendleton at the Internet Movie Database
- Austin Pendleton Talks about Stuttering and Acting
- St. Louis Actors' Studio to host class with Austin Pendleton. St. Louis Post Dispatch, August 30, 2013