Oliver Platt, 2010
|Born||Oliver James Platt
January 12, 1960
Windsor, Ontario, Canada
|Alma mater||Tufts University (B.A., 1983)|
|Spouse(s)||Camilla Campbell (1992–present)|
Family, early life and education
Platt was born in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, to American parents Sheila Maynard, a clinical social worker who worked in Islamabad, and Nicholas Platt, a career diplomat who served as U.S. ambassador to Pakistan, Zambia, and the Philippines. He has an older brother, Adam Platt, a New York Magazine restaurant critic, and a younger brother, Nicholas Platt, Jr. His family moved back to the United States when Platt was three months old.
Platt's paternal great-great-grandfather was diplomat and lawyer Joseph Hodges Choate. Platt's maternal great-grandparents were equestrian Arthur Scott Burden and socialite Cynthia Roche; he is a second cousin once removed of Diana, Princess of Wales and of her brother Charles Spencer, 9th Earl Spencer, through his great-great-grandparents, MP James Roche and heiress Frances Work. When asked about Diana, Platt said, "I never met her. It's a non-story. I'd love to tell you we were confidantes. The truth is I don't know much more about it than you do."
Because of his father's career as an ambassador, much of Platt's childhood was spent in Asia, the Middle East, and Washington, D.C. Platt attended twelve different schools, including the American School in Japan, and has said "Even now I find myself envying people who have neighborhoods and roots." Platt's family made frequent trips back to Washington, where they held Redskins season tickets. Platt is also a fan of the Boston Red Sox.
When he was nine years old, Platt and his family visited the Kennedy Center in Washington, where he watched a performance that helped inspire his acting career. "One of the performances that really made me want to be an actor started out with this probably 20-minute rambling, drunken monologue by this bum. And it was a young Morgan Freeman. I'll never forget it. This guy was just so riveting. He stood there on stage alone before the curtain went up, and he held this audience utterly rapt. Including myself, obviously." According to Platt, drama departments gave his childhood some stability, "It was something of a survival mechanism, in that it gave me a little subculture to plug into wherever I ended up. Kids need that. I certainly did."
Platt majored in drama at Tufts University, where he met and became close friends with Hank Azaria. He spent three years working in theatre in Boston, Massachusetts, which he said had a "wealth of serious amateur theatre at that time…I played many roles, and it was the best training I could have had." Platt travelled with Shakespeare and Company, based in Lenox, Massachusetts, touring schools to earn his Equity card, before moving to New York. Platt's early career involved Off-Broadway and regional theatre, and he appeared onstage with the New York Shakespeare Festival, Lincoln Center Theater, Manhattan Theatre Club and other companies across many genres. He obtained an agent while working at Manhattan Punch Line Theatre, and met actor Bill Murray at his cousin's Christmas party. Murray attended Platt's show and recommended Platt to director Jonathan Demme, who cast him in Married to the Mob in 1988. Platt attributes his breakthrough to appearing at the Punch Line Theater.
Platt makes his decisions about accepting acting roles based on the role being "different from what I just did...I do have to be interested in the role". After Married to the Mob, he appeared in Working Girl (1988), Flatliners (1990), Beethoven (1992), The Three Musketeers (1993), A Time to Kill (1996) and Bulworth (1998). In 1998, Platt and Stanley Tucci played two deadbeat actors who improvise with unsuspecting strangers in The Impostors. Tucci and Platt developed the characters while working on a play at Yale University in 1988, Tucci later completing the screenplay and directing the film.
In 1999, Platt played the wealthy and eccentric crocodile enthusiast Hector in David E. Kelley's Lake Placid, alongside Bill Pullman and Bridget Fonda. Platt described Hector as "pretty abrasive and obnoxious at times, but, I hope, he has a way of growing on you. I think David originally thought of him as a great white hunter sort of guy, but when I signed on for the role he sort of wrote him in a different direction."
The short-lived drama Deadline provided Platt's first lead role on television. Created by Dick Wolf, who also created Law & Order, Deadline focused on the lives of newspaper journalists in New York City. Platt starred as Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Wallace Benton, an "unlikely hero". The strong cast, which also included Bebe Neuwirth and Hope Davis, could not compensate for sub-standard writing and the series was soon canceled. After Deadline's failure, Platt avoided work on television until he read a script for The West Wing and signed on for a guest role. He received an Emmy nomination for his portrayal of no-nonsense White House Counsel Oliver Babish, brought in during season two to compile a defense for President Bartlet and others who covered up his non-disclosure of multiple sclerosis.
His role in the television series Huff as Russell Tupper from 2004 to 2006 was well-received, especially by creator Robert Lowry, who said, "Oliver plays an alcoholic, drug-addicted, sexaholic, workaholic, womanizing misogynist who is adorable. I don't know any actor who could do that. I originally saw Russell as a blond stud, but when I saw what Oliver could do, I realized how much better, richer, and less predictable he was than my idea of the character ... Oliver is very committed to the idea that story and dialogue be character-driven and unique". Platt's work was nominated for two Emmy awards and a Golden Globe.
In 2005, Platt acted in Harold Ramis's film The Ice Harvest as an unhappy businessman with a trophy wife and two stepchildren who becomes involved with a friend who has stolen $2 million from a Mafia boss. He also played a lard merchant named Papprizzio in Lasse Hallström's Casanova, who competes with Casanova (Heath Ledger) for marriage to Francesca (Sienna Miller). Platt won the New York Film Critics Online Award for best supporting actor for his role in Casanova.
A Broadway production named Shining City was Platt's Broadway debut in 2006. The play was set in Dublin, and Platt's role was the tortured protagonist, John. Shining City's director said, "There is one word to describe Oliver. It's 'humanity.' He's got that everyman quality. He's a contradictory human being with flaws and strengths. And he's loveable. He can simultaneously make you laugh and break your heart. Oliver has brought to the role of John what I expected and more: tremendous inventiveness and sensitivity." Platt visited Dublin to prepare for the role and ensure his performance was authentic. He was nominated for a Tony award for "Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play".
In 2007, Platt played the part of Yankees owner George Steinbrenner in the ESPN mini-series The Bronx Is Burning. Platt signed onto the project after John Turturro was confirmed as Billy Martin, because, "This thing lives or dies by that portrayal ... I think it's great casting. God knows he has the intensity." Platt starred in the pilot episode of The Thick of It, a remake of the British show of the same name in 2007. The series was not picked up by ABC.
Platt starred as Nathan Detroit, alongside Lauren Graham as Miss Adelaide, in the Broadway revival of Guys and Dolls which began performances at the Nederlander Theatre on February 3, 2009 and officially opened on March 1, 2009. The production closed on June 14, 2009 after 113 performances.
In August 2010, he was cast in the role of "The Man in Black" in 2011's X-Men spin-off, X-Men: First Class, directed by Matthew Vaughn. In October 2012, he starred in the romantic comedy The Oranges alongside Hugh Laurie and Leighton Meester and will next appear in the action film Chinese Zodiac and as the voice of Wiser the Owl in the animated film Dorothy of Oz.
Platt married Mary Camilla Bonsal Campbell (known as Camilla) on 12 September 1992 at the First Congregational Church in Kittery Point, Maine. He now focuses on film and television more than theater because, "I've got a wife and three kids, so film is just the most viable thing for me right now. I still love the theater, but the commitment in time and energy to do live theater is so great, and, frankly, the financial rewards are just not as attractive. When you have a family, you have to think about those things." Platt's older daughter, named Lily, was born in 1995. His son George was born in 1997, and his younger daughter, Claire, was born in 1999. Platt has an open airline ticket when filming so he can return home frequently because his family does not accompany him to filming locations.
Tufts University considered offering its Light on the Hill award to Platt in 2008, which is given to distinguished alumni. Tufts Community Union President Neil DiBiase said Platt was unable to make it to Tufts that semester, and he "would rather wait to find a better opportunity for him to come to campus when his schedule is more available. The point of the award is to get alumni back to campus." The 2008 award was instead given to Jeff Kindler, chief executive of pharmaceutical company Pfizer.
|1987||The Equalizer||Norm Jameson||Episode: "In the Money"|
|1988||Miami Vice||Speed Stiles||Episode: "Baseballs of Death"|
|1990||Wiseguy||Unknown||Episode: "Changes Houses"|
|2000–2001||Deadline||Wallace Benton||13 episodes|
|2001–2005||West Wing, TheThe West Wing||White House Counsel Oliver Babish||8 episodes
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series
|2003–2007||Queens Supreme||Judge Jack Moran||13 episodes|
|2004–2006||Huff||Russell Tupper||25 episodes
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (2005–06)
|2007||Thick of It, TheThe Thick of It||Malcolm Tucker||Unsold TV pilot|
|2007||Bronx Is Burning, TheThe Bronx Is Burning||George Steinbrenner||8 episodes
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie
|2007–2008||Nip/Tuck||Freddy Prune||4 episodes
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series
|2009–2011||Bored to Death||Richard Antrem||6 episodes|
|2010–2013||Big C, TheThe Big C||Paul Jamison||40 episodes|
- "All Rise! Veteran actor – and Tufts graduate – Oliver Platt stars as a judge in the new CBS show “Queens Supreme.”, Tufts e-News, Medford/Somerville, Mass., January 10, 2003
- Shister, Gail, "It's Showtime! Former classmates and friends find themselves starring together in a new television series", Tufts Magazine, Fall 2004
- "Weddings; Camilla Campbell, Oliver Platt". New York Times. September 13, 1992. Retrieved March 10, 2008.
- Kipen, David (April 3, 1995). "Oliver Platt: from second banana to pick of the bunch". L.A. Life (Los Angeles Daily News). p. L1.
- McDonald, Gayle (April 28, 2006). "Oliver Platt: 7 questions". The Globe and Mail. p. R34.
- Roberts, Gary Boyd. "#43 Royal Descents, Notable Kin, and Printed Sources: New – and Deleted – Immigrants of Royal Descent". NewEnglandAncestors.org. Retrieved December 29, 2009.
- Snead, Elizabeth (October 6, 1998). "Oliver Platt well-rounded as an 'Impostor'". USA Today. p. 5D.
- Deitsch, Richard (October 30, 2006). "Q&A Oliver Platt". Sports Illustrated, Volume 105; Issue 17. p. 24.
- Lee, Linda (July 18, 1999). "A night out with Oliver Platt; a wash and a shampoo". New York Times. Retrieved March 10, 2008.
- Brian Scott Lipton (March 31, 2006). "Playing Huff". Theater Mania. Retrieved November 7, 2009.
- Horwitz, Simi (May 10, 2006). "Back stage; Oliver Platt plots his career without a map". VNU Entertainment Newswire.
- "Face of the day: Oliver Platt". Wales on Sunday. August 11, 2002. p. 48.
- Rowe, Douglas (October 27, 1998). "The ubiquitous Oliver Platt". Associated Press Newswires.
- King, Dennis (July 19, 1999). "Swimming with the crocs Oliver Platt knows a thing or two about oddball characters". Tulsa World. p. 15.
- Gilbert, Matthew (October 2, 2000). "'Deadline' misses, and that's a crime". Living (The Boston Globe).
- Challen, Paul (2001). Inside the West Wing. Toronto: ECW Press. ISBN 1-55022-468-9.
- "Oliver Platt joins ABC political comedy". Reuters News. March 9, 2007.
- King, Susan (November 28, 2005). "Oliver Platt a scene-stealer in the old tradition: The actor tells all about the art of playing drunk, and the trouble with being the only American in a movie full of British actors playing Italians". Vancouver Sun. p. C3.
- Hartl, John (December 25, 2005). "Casanova: supporting actor Oliver Platt saves comedy's flow". The Seattle Times. Retrieved March 10, 2008.
- "Oliver Platt, Donald Byrd receive Tony award nominations". US Fed News. June 5, 2006.
- "Pinstripe epic". New York Post. September 20, 2006.
- Guys and Dolls Picks Its Nathan
- Adelaide's New Lament: Broadway's Guys and Dolls to Close June 14
- Fleming, Mike (August 16, 2010). "Oliver Platt Joins X-Men: First Class". Deadline.com. Retrieved August 16, 2010.
- "The Oranges official website". Retrieved September 4, 2012.
- "Dorothy of Oz official website". Retrieved September 4, 2012.
- Gittleson, Ben (February 28, 2008). "Light on the Hill Award offered to Pfizer CEO". Tufts Daily. Retrieved March 10, 2008.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Oliver Platt.|
- Oliver Platt at the Internet Movie Database
- Oliver Platt at the Internet Broadway Database
- Oliver Platt at the Internet Off-Broadway Database
- Random Roles: Oliver Platt