Austin Pendleton

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Austin Pendleton
AUSTIN PENDLETON backstage August 2006.jpg
Pendleton in 2006
Austin Campbell Pendleton[1][2]

(1940-03-27) March 27, 1940 (age 81)
Alma materYale University, 1961
Years active1958–present

Austin Campbell Pendleton (born March 27, 1940) is an American actor, playwright, theatre director and instructor. He is a Tony Award nominee and the recipient of Drama Desk and Obie Awards.

Early life, family and education[edit]

Pendleton was born in Warren, Ohio, the son of Thorn Pendleton, who ran a tool company, and Frances (née Manchester) Pendleton, a professional actress. He attended University School, a private all-boys school in Shaker Heights, Ohio and graduated in the class of 1957. A childhood friend was Roger Ailes, later of Fox News; Pendleton talks about Ailes in the A&E documentary Divide and Conquer: The Story of Roger Ailes. Pendleton is a 1961 graduate of Yale University,[3] and as a member of the Yale Dramatic Association, collaborated in 1958 with lyricist Peter Bergman in writing two musical plays which starred Philip Proctor: Tom Jones, and Booth Is Back In Town.[4][5] Proctor and Bergman later formed half of The Firesign Theatre comedy group.



Pendleton first received critical acclaim in 1964 for his performance as Motel in the original Broadway cast of Fiddler on the Roof. He 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, Goodtime Charley, and Up from Paradise as well as many other plays. In August 2006, Pendleton played 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. In 2007, he appeared as Friar Lawrence in the Public Theater's production of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet at the Delacorte Theater.

Pendleton wrote the plays Uncle Bob, Booth, and Orson's Shadow, all of which were staged off-Broadway. Uncle Bob had its off-Broadway premiere in 2001 at The SoHo Playhouse, starring George Morfogen—for whom the role of Bob was written—and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who made his New York theatre debut in the production. The critically acclaimed production was directed by Courtney Moorehead and produced by Steven Sendor.

As a director, Pendleton has worked extensively on and off Broadway.[6][7] His direction of Elizabeth Taylor and Maureen Stapleton in Lillian Hellman's The Little Foxes garnered him a Tony Award nomination in 1981. Additional directing credits include The Runner Stumbles by Milan Stitt (1977),[8] Spoils of War by Michael Weller (1988),[8] and The Size of the World by Charles Evered (1996).[9]

Pendleton is also a member of The Mirror Theater Ltd's Mirror Repertory Company, directing the company's 1984 production of Henrik Ibsen's Ghosts, starring Geraldine Page, Sabra Jones, and Victor Slezak.[10] His play H6R3, a compilation of Henry VI and Richard III in order to make the storyline clearer and strengthen the women's parts, became a benefit production of The Mirror Theater Ltd at the then Promenade Theater in New York. Pendleton played Richard in this performance, Sabra Jones performed Elizabeth, Lynn Redgrave played Mad Margaret, Charles McAteer was Lord Rutland, Geraint Wyn Davies played Henry VI, Daniel Gerroll played Buckingham, and Lisa Pelikan played Lady Anne.[11]

In 2009, Pendleton directed Uncle Vanya, starring Maggie Gyllenhaal and Peter Sarsgaard, at the Classic Stage Company. The same year he directed Tennessee Williams' autobiographical play Vieux Carré at The Pearl Theatre Company.[12] In January and February 2010, Pendleton directed two plays, Bus Stop at the Olney Theater and Golden Age at the Philadelphia Theatre Company. His 2011 directing of Three Sisters won him an Obie Award.[13] In 2012, he directed a production of Detroit at the National Theatre in London.[14]

Pendleton served as Artistic Director for Circle Repertory Company with associate artistic director Lynne Thigpen. The company closed in 1996.[15]

He currently teaches acting at HB Studio and directing at The New School, both in Greenwich Village.[16] Pendleton has been involved with the Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago since directing Ralph Pape's Say Goodnight, Gracie for the 1979-80 season, and is currently an ensemble member there.[17] His acting credits at Steppenwolf include Uncle Vanya, Valparaiso, and Educating Rita.

Pendleton is the subject of Starring Austin Pendleton, a documentary in which colleagues including Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Olympia Dukakis, Ethan Hawke, and more discuss his life and legacy.[18]



Year Stage Role Notes
1962 Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mama's Hung You in the Closet and I'm Feelin' So Sad Jonathan Off-Broadway
1964 Fiddler on the Roof Motel Broadway
1966 Hail Scrawdyke! Irwin Ingham Broadway
1967 The Little Foxes Leo Hubbard Broadway
1973 Shelter Director; Broadway
1974 An American Millionaire Professor Bobby Rudetsky Broadway
1975 Goodtime Charley Charley (standby) Broadway
1976 The Old Glory Director; off-Broadway
1976 The Runner Stumbles Director; Broadway
1978 Say Goodnight Gracie Director; off-Broadway
1980 John Gabriel Borkman Director; Broadway
1981 The Little Foxes Director (nominated for Tony Award for Best Direction of a Play); Broadway
1985 Doubles Arnie Broadway
1988 Spoils of War Director; Broadway
1989 Grand Hotel Otto Kringelein (replacement) Broadway
1996 The Size of the World Director; off-Broadway
1996 900 Oneonta Director; off-Broadway
1997 The Diary of Anne Frank Mr. Dussel Broadway
2007 Toys in the Attic Director; off-Broadway
2008 Fifty Words Director; off-Broadway
2009 Uncle Vanya Director; off-Broadway
2009 Vieux Carre Director; off-Broadway
2009 Order Director;[19] off-Broadway
2009 Love Drunk Wilbur Off-Broadway
2011 Three Sisters Director (won Obie Award for Directing); off-Broadway
2012 Detroit Director; off-Broadway
2012 Ivanov Director; off-Broadway
2012 Between Riverside and Crazy Director; off-Broadway
2017 Workshop Ward Stein Off-Broadway
2018 Wars of the Roses: Henry VI & Richard III Henry VI Director; off-Broadway
2018 Choir Boy Mr. Pendleton Broadway
2020 The Minutes Mr. Oldfield Broadway
2020 Propaganda! The Podcast Musical Grandpa Podcast


Year Title Role Notes
1968 Petulia Intern
One Life to Live Unknown TV Series
Skidoo Fred
1970 Catch-22 Lieutenant Colonel Moodus
1972 What's Up, Doc? Frederick Larrabee
Every Little Crook and Nanny Luther
Love, American Style Barney Dereemus TV Series (1 Episode)
1973 The Thief Who Came to Dinner Zukovsky
Love, American Style Leo TV Series (1 Episode)
1974 Good Times Donald Hargrove TV Series (1 Episode)
The Front Page Earl Williams
Great Performances Bennie TV Series (1 Episode)
1976 Diary of the Dead Dr. Klein
1977 You're Gonna Love It Here Harry Rogers TV Movie
The Great Smokey Roadblock Guido
1978 Big City Boys Harry Buckman TV Movie
1979 The Muppet Movie Max
Starting Over Paul
1980 Simon Dr. Carl Becker
First Family Dr. Alexander Grade
1983 Great Performances White Rabbit TV Series (1 Episode)
St. Elsewhere Mr. Entertainment TV Series (1 Episode)
1984 Talk to Me Richard Patterson
St. Elsewhere Mr. Entertainment TV Series (1 Episode)
1985 Love, Long Distance Dr. Arthur Ruskin TV Movie
My Man Adam Mr. Greenhut
1986 Miami Vice Max Rogo TV Series (1 Episode)
Off Beat Gun Shop Salesman
Short Circuit Howard Marner
1987 Leg Work Harold Rodman TV Series (1 Episode)
Hello Again Junior Lacey
1988 Spenser: For Hire The Professor TV Series (1 Episode)
1986-1989 The Equalizer Jonah TV Series (3 Episodes)
1989 The Cosby Show Mr. Kensington TV Series (1 Episode)
B.L. Stryker Danny Lennox TV Series (1 Episode)
Anything But Love Max Templeton TV Series (1 Episode)
1990 American Dreamer Unknown TV Series (1 Episode)
21 Jump Street Mr. Trysla TV Series (1 Episode)
Mr. and Mrs. Bridge Mr. Gadbury
1991 The Ballad of the Sad Café Lawyer Taylor
True Identity Othello's Director
Lethal Innocence Paul Kent TV Movie
1992 My Cousin Vinny John Gibbons
Murder, She Wrote Barney Gunderson TV Series (1 Episode)
Rain Without Thunder Catholic Priest
Charlie's Ear Harold Blodgett
Four Eyes and Six Guns Mustached Passenger TV Movie
Do You Like Women? Unknown
1993 Mr. Nanny Alex Mason Sr.
My Boyfriend's Back Dr. Bronson
Searching for Bobby Fischer Asa Hoffmann
1994 Greedy Hotel Clerk
Guarding Tess Earl Fowler
The Cosby Mysteries Maynard Caldwell TV Series (1 Episode)
Don't Drink the Water Chef Oscar TV Movie
1995 Tales from the Crypt Orloff TV Series (1 Episode)
New York News Unknown TV Series (1 Episode)
Home for the Holidays Peter Arnold
Two Much Dr. Huffeyer
The Fifteen Minute Hamlet Hamlet Short
Long Island Fever Dr. Motts TV Movie
1996 Sgt. Bilko Major Ebersole
2 Days in the Valley Ralph Crupi
The Proprietor Willy Kunst
The Associate Aesop Franklin
The Mirror Has Two Faces Barry
1997 Frasier Dr. Dorfman TV Series (1 Episode)
The Practice Sam Feldberg TV Series (1 Episode)
Fired Up Bobby H. TV Series (1 Episode)
Trial and Error Judge Paul Z. Graff
Sue Lost in Manhattan Bob
Liberty! Benjamin Rush TV Mini-Series (2 Episodes)
Amistad Professor Gibbs
The Fanatics Eugene Cleft
A River Made to Drown In Billy
1998 Tracey Takes On... Professor Kenneth Hawkins TV Series (1 Episode)
Charlie Hoboken Harry Cedars
1998-1999 Homicide: Life on the Street Dr. George Griscom TV Series (11 Episodes)
1999 Skirty Winner François Truffaut
Joe the King Winston
Men of Means Jerry Trask
The 4th Floor Mr. Collins
Brokendown Love Story 'Lucky' Short
2000 Homicide: The Movie Dr. George Griscom TV Movie
The Acting Class Bobby Austin
Broke Even Archie
The West Wing Barry Haskell TV Series (1 Episode)
Fast Food Fast Women George
The Summer of My Deflowering Unknown Short
Clowns Dean
2001 Queenie in Love Alvin
The Education of Max Bickford Harry TV Series (1 Episode)
A Beautiful Mind Thomas King Nominated - Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Nominated - Awards Circuit Community Awards - Best Cast Ensemble
1998-2002 Oz William Giles TV Series (11 episodes)
2003 Finding Nemo Gurgle Voice
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Horace Gorman Season 5, Episode 9: "Control"
Uptown Girls Mr. McConkey
2004 Christmas with the Kranks Marty
Law & Order: Criminal Intent Dr. John Manotti Season 4, Episode 9: "Inert Dwarf"
2006 Raising Flagg Gus Falk
2010 Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps Dr. Masters
2011 Person of Interest Pilcher Episode: "Foe"
2012 Game Change Senator Joe Lieberman TV film
2013 Black Box William Peters
2014 She's Funny That Way Judge Pendergast
The Mend Earl
2015 Difficult People Austin Pendleton
2016 Starring Austin Pendleton[20] Himself Documentary
Finding Dory Gurgle Voice
2017 5-25-77 Herb Lightman
2018 Omphalos Fyodor Wax
2019 The Sound of Silence Robert Feinway
2020 The Mimic The Driver


  1. ^ Catalog of Copyright Entries: Musical compositions. Government Printing Office. 1963. p. 29.
  2. ^ "Birth Record of Austin Campbell Pendleton". MooseRoots. Retrieved November 7, 2017.
  3. ^ Austin Pendelton to Teach "Directing for the Stage" This Spring
  4. ^ "Who Am Us, Anyway? Peter Bergman". Firesign Media. Archived from the original on December 9, 2017. Retrieved December 1, 2017.
  5. ^ Proctor, Philip. Bride of Firesign. Firesign Media (liner notes). Archived from the original on March 11, 2016. Retrieved December 1, 2017.
  6. ^ "Austin Pendleton Theatre Credits". Broadway World. Retrieved January 13, 2017.
  7. ^ Rothstein, Mervyn (July 3, 2011). "A LIFE IN THE THEATRE: Actor-Writer-Director Austin Pendleton". Playbill.
  8. ^ a b "Austin Pendleton: Director Performer". Internet Broadway Database. Retrieved November 7, 2017.
  9. ^ Brantley, Ben (March 21, 1996). "Theater Review. So Chipper, So Smiley, So Upbeat, but Why?". The New York Times. Retrieved August 1, 2018.
  10. ^ Bennetts, Leslie (June 26, 1984). "Repertory Company Blossoms". The New York Times. Retrieved November 7, 2017.
  11. ^ Simonson, Robert (January 21, 2016). "Mirror Rep Presents HGRS, Pendleton's Bard With a Bonus Conflation". Playbill. Retrieved November 7, 2017.
  12. ^ Hetrick, Adam."Pearl's Vieux Carré Begins Previews Off-Broadway May 12" Playbill, May 12, 2009
  13. ^ Furlan, Julia (March 17, 2011). "And the Obie Award Goes To..." WNYC. Retrieved January 13, 2017.
  14. ^ "Detroit". Time Out London. May 16, 2012. Retrieved November 7, 2017.
  15. ^ Lefkowitz, David (October 8, 1996). "NY's Circle Rep, Home of Lanford Wilson, Closes After 27 Years". Playbill.
  16. ^ "Austin Pendleton". HB Studios. Retrieved January 13, 2017.
  17. ^ "Austin Pendleton". Steppenwolf Theatre Company. Retrieved January 13, 2017.
  18. ^ Gallerano, Gene; Holmes, David H. (June 19, 2016), Starring Austin Pendleton (Documentary, Short, Biography, Comedy, Drama), Emily Althaus, Kevin Anderson, Lyndsey Anderson, Kate Arrington, 4 Hawk, Defendshee Productions, Neboya Collective, retrieved September 26, 2020
  19. ^ Rooney, David (June 24, 2010). "Sometimes That Inner Demon Just Needs to Win". The New York Times. Retrieved January 13, 2017.
  20. ^ "Starring Austin Pendleton". Tribeca Film Festival. Retrieved January 6, 2017.

External links[edit]