Bronson Pinchot

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Bronson Pinchot
Bronson Pinchot at the 39th Emmy Awards cropped.jpg
Pinchot at the 39th Primetime Emmy Awards (20 September 1987)
Born Bronson Alcott Pinchot
(1959-05-20) May 20, 1959 (age 54)
New York, New York, U.S.
Occupation Actor
Years active 1983–present

Bronson Alcott Pinchot (born May 20, 1959) is a US American actor. He is best known for his role as Balki Bartokomous on the ABC sitcom Perfect Strangers, on which he starred from 1986 to 1993. Since 2012, he has been the host and star of his own reality series, The Bronson Pinchot Project on the DIY Network.

Pinchot has appeared in such feature films as Risky Business (1983), Beverly Hills Cop (1984), True Romance (1993), Beverly Hills Cop III (1994), It's My Party (1996), Courage Under Fire (1996), and The First Wives Club (1996), as well as on television in roles such as classic comic book villain The Prankster on Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.

In 2010 and 2011, AudioFile magazine recognized him as Best Voice in Fiction & Classics for his renderings of Flannery O'Connor's Everything That Rises Must Converge (1965), Karl Marlantes's Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War (2009), and David Vann's Caribou Island (2011), respectively.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Pinchot was born in Manhattan, the son of Rosina (née Asta), a typist, and Henry Pinchot (originally Poncharavsky), a bookbinder.[2][3] His mother was Italian-American, and his father, who was of Russian descent, was born in New York and raised in Paris.[4][5][6] Pinchot was raised in Southern California. He graduated from South Pasadena High School at the top of his class, and was appointed valedictorian. He earned a full scholarship to Yale University, where he was placed in Morse College. He graduated magna cum laude. Pinchot began his Yale career in fine art. However, after he was cast in a college play, a casting director discovered him, which resulted in a role in the 1983 feature film Risky Business.

In an episode of the $25,000 Pyramid, TV host Dick Clark asked Pinchot what type of work he had done prior to acting. Pinchot answered that he had worked for a company making souvenir leather key chains "12 hours a day for a couple of years".[this quote needs a citation]

He retains an active interest in ancient Greek sculpture (460–31 BC). In December 2002, Pinchot became a Freemason.[7]

Since approximately 1999, Pinchot has spent a great deal of time in Harford, Pennsylvania, restoring the circa 1839 mansion of former Pennsylvania state Senator Edward Jones.[8] He has since purchased six properties in the small, rural town of 1,300[9] "in an effort to revive the town's 19th-century aesthetic."[8]

Pinchot has a sister and two brothers; his younger brother Justin Pinchot made a guest appearance in the 1992 Perfect Strangers episode "It Had to Be You" (season 7, episode 23). Justin also stood-in for Bronson when performing a dual role on Perfect Strangers and in TV commercials.

In the 1970s, Pinchot was an active member of The International Wizard of Oz Club, for which he organized the 1977 Winkie Convention and provided several illustrations for The Oz Calendar.


Pinchot has appeared in several feature films, including Risky Business, Beverly Hills Cop (and reprising his popular supporting role in Beverly Hills Cop III), The First Wives Club, True Romance, Courage Under Fire and It's My Party. According to Fisher Stevens, Pinchot was hired to play Stevens' character Ben Jabituya in the 1986 film Short Circuit at one point, but was fired.[10] His first appearance as an ongoing character on a network television series was on the short-lived 1985 NBC sitcom Sara, starring Geena Davis, in which he played the openly-gay Dennis Kemper.[11] Pinchot is probably best known for his role in the ABC family sitcom Perfect Strangers (1986–1993) as Balki Bartokomous from the (fictional) Greek-like island of Mypos. Like his character in Beverly Hills Cop, Balki had a humorous foreign accent. He was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series in 1987 for this role.

In August 1993, just weeks after the last new episodes of Perfect Strangers aired on ABC, Pinchot returned to prime-time network television as the star of the CBS sitcom The Trouble with Larry. Co-starring Perry King, Shanna Reed, and Courteney Cox (Friends), the show was generally panned by critics and canceled after just three weeks. One episode was directed by former Perfect Strangers co-star Mark Linn-Baker; however it never aired.

In 1994–1995, he guest-starred in two episodes of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman as The Prankster.

Pinchot was added to the ABC sitcom Step by Step in 1996, in part as a replacement for Sasha Mitchell, and remained on the show for the whole season. He played a character reminiscent of the character he played in the film Beverly Hills Cop. Pinchot then starred in the short-lived 1997 science fiction comedy Meego, which aired on CBS. He guest-starred in a first-season (1996) episode of the NBC sitcom 3rd Rock from the Sun, playing the younger brother of Dr. Mary Albright (Jane Curtin).

In 1998, he starred in the children's comedy film Slappy and the Stinkers, with B.D. Wong.

In 1999, Pinchot and Gailard Sartain played the nephews of the legendary Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, respectively, in the movie The All-New Adventures of Laurel and Hardy: For Love or Mummy (1999). Although the film, which co-starred Academy Award winner F. Murray Abraham, was denied a theatrical release and premiered on video, Pinchot was praised[by whom?] for his deft impersonation of Stan Laurel.

Also in 1999, he displayed his versatility in the Stephen Sondheim revue Putting It Together, which he performed with Carol Burnett, George Hearn and John Barrowman.

In 2003, Pinchot voiced the eccentric school chef, Pepe, for the Nickelodeon series All Grown Up!.

From March 12 to August 15, 2004, Pinchot performed in the revival of Sly Fox on Broadway, opposite Richard Dreyfuss, Eric Stoltz, Rene Auberjonois, Peter Scolari, and others.

Pinchot guest starred on Law & Order: Criminal Intent season four, episode "Beast" in 2005.

Pinchot was a cast member on the fifth season of the VH1 series The Surreal Life, which premiered July 2005.

He guest-starred in the Law & Order: Special Victims Unit episode "Alternate" in 2007.

In March 2008, Pinchot appeared in six episodes of the CBS soap The Young And The Restless as Patrick Dalton.

2008 saw the release of Pinchot reading the novel The Learners in audio editions, author Chip Kidd's followup to The Cheese Monkeys. Pinchot was also the voice of Max, the fully restored Black 1964 VW Beetle in the 2009 Volkswagen "Das Auto" campaign.[12]

Bronson also guest starred November 8, 2010, on TV show remake Hawaii Five-0, as an art dealer operating a business for a drug dealer.

In 2010, Bronson read the audio version of the novels Matterhorn and Blood Oath. For the Blackstone Audio collection Patricia Highsmith: Selected Novels and Short Stories, Pinchot also provided a reading of several stories as well as Highsmith's memorably creepy novel Strangers on a Train.[13] He was chosen by as their 2010 Narrator of the Year.[14]

In 2011 he appeared in the Shake It Up episode "Vatalihootsit It Up" as Gunther and Tinka's father; he appeared in The Problem Solverz voicing the character, Master Artificial Intelligence, and he read the audio version of the Novel The Alchemaster's Apprentice.

Since February 12, 2012 Bronson has starred in a home restoration show on DIY Network based on his own hobby of restoring old homes using salvaged materials, The Bronson Pinchot Project.[15]



  1. ^ "Narrator Profile: Bronson Pinchot". Retrieved 2013-11-19. 
  2. ^ "Bronson Pinchot Biography". Retrieved 2010-05-10. 
  3. ^ "Bronson Pinchot Biography". Yahoo! Movies. 
  4. ^ Brewster, Ted. "Harford's Bronson Pinchot". Susquehanna County Transcript (Susquehanna, PA). Retrieved March 30, 2009. 
  5. ^ "Perfect Strangers". 
  6. ^ Entertainment Weekly,,287199,00.html |url= missing title (help). 
  7. ^ "Pa Freemason May 3 - Bronson Pinchot". 
  8. ^ a b Brewster, Ted. "A Harford Work in Progress". Susquehanna County Transcript (Susquehanna, Pennsylvania). Retrieved March 30, 2009. 
  9. ^ "Harford, Pennsylvania PA, township profile (Susquehanna County)". ePodunk. Retrieved 2010-05-10. 
  10. ^ Rabin, Nathan (2009-08-19). "Fisher Stevens". A.V. Club. Retrieved 2014-03-02. 
  11. ^ The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows, 1946–Present, Eighth Edition, Ballantine Books, ISBN 0-345-45542-8
  12. ^ Howard, Theresa (April 18, 2008). "Ad Track: Introducing Max the Love Bug". USA Today (New York, NY). Retrieved March 30, 2009. 
  13. ^ "Patricia Highsmith: Selected Novels and Short Stories". Blackstone Audio, Inc. Retrieved August 15, 2012. 
  14. ^ "Audible's Narrator of the Year". Bronson Pinchot. Retrieved November 19, 2013. 
  15. ^ ""The Bronson Pinchot Project" shows actor’s renovation talents to DIY Network audience". 

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