Balaban at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival
|Born||Robert Elmer Balaban
August 16, 1945
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
|Occupation||Actor, author, producer, director|
|Spouse(s)||Lynn Grossman (1977–present; 2 children)|
|Children||Mariah Balaban (b. 1977)
Hazel Balaban (b. 1987)
Balaban was born in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Eleanor (née Pottasch) and Elmer Balaban, who owned several movie theatres and later was a pioneer in cable television. His mother acted under the name Eleanor Barry. His uncles were dominant forces in the theatre business; they founded the Balaban and Katz Theatre circuit in Chicago, a chain which included the Chicago and Uptown Theatres. Balaban's father and uncle Harry founded the H & E Balaban Corporation in Chicago, which operated its own movie palaces including the Esquire Theatre in Chicago. They later owned a powerful group of television stations and cable television franchises. His uncle Barney Balaban was president of Paramount Pictures for nearly 30 years from 1936 to 1964. His maternal grandmother's second husband, Sam Katz, was a vice president at MGM beginning in 1936. Sam had been early partners with Bob's uncles Abe, Barney, John, and Max in forming Balaban and Katz. Sam also served as President of the Publix theatre division of Paramount Pictures.
Balaban began his college career at Colgate University where he joined Phi Kappa Tau Fraternity and then transferred to New York University. He lives on the Upper West Side of Manhattan with his family. He is Jewish. His paternal grandparents immigrated from Russia to Chicago, while his mother's family was from Germany, Russia, and Romania.
One of his earliest appearances in film was in 1969's Midnight Cowboy. Prior to that, he filled the role of "Linus" in the original off-Broadway production of You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown in 1967. Among his early roles in the 1970s were those of Orr in Catch-22 and the interpreter David Laughlin in the 1977 Steven Spielberg science fiction film Close Encounters of the Third Kind. In 1979 he received a Tony Award nomination for his role in The Inspector General. During the 1980s he appeared in films such as Altered States and 2010. He directed the Randy Quaid picture Parents, and the Armin Mueller-Stahl picture The Last Good Time.
Balaban has had supporting roles in films such as Absence of Malice, Bob Roberts, Deconstructing Harry, Ghost World, The Majestic, Lady in the Water and Christopher Guest's Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show, A Mighty Wind and For Your Consideration.
Balaban appeared in Miami Vice as reporter Ira Stone, a nemesis of G. Gordon Liddy's character. In the 1990s, Balaban had a recurring role on the fourth season of Seinfeld as Russell Dalrymple, the fictional president of NBC. He also played Warren Littlefield, a real-world NBC executive, in The Late Shift, about the battle between Jay Leno and David Letterman for NBC's The Tonight Show. Balaban continued his ties to Littlefield in 2012 with his performance of Littlefield's autobiography, Top of the Rock: Inside the Rise and Fall of Must See TV. In 1999, Balaban made a guest appearance in the sitcom Friends as Phoebe Buffay's father Frank in "The One With Joey's Bag". In 2010, Balaban appeared as Judge Clayton Horn, the real-life judge who presided over the obscenity trial of Lawrence Ferlinghetti and City Lights Bookstore in the movie Howl.
In 2001, Balaban produced the Robert Altman picture Gosford Park, for which he received an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture. He also appeared in the movie as Morris Weissman, a Hollywood producer. He appeared in an episode of Entourage as a doctor known for writing prescriptions for medical marijuana.
He directed the film Bernard and Doris, starring Susan Sarandon; and also the biopic Georgia O'Keeffe (2009) starring Joan Allen and Jeremy Irons. He has also directed several episodes of the Showtime series Nurse Jackie.
In September 2011, Balaban was featured with Morgan Freeman and John Lithgow in the Broadway debut of the play, '8' — a staged reenactment of the federal trial that overturned California's Prop 8 ban on same-sex marriage — as Judge Vaughn Walker. The production was held at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre to raise money for the American Foundation for Equal Rights.
|1969||Midnight Cowboy||The Young Student - New York|
|1970||The Strawberry Statement||Elliot|
|1974||Bank Shot||Victor Karp||credited as Robert Balaban|
|1977||Close Encounters of the Third Kind||David Laughlin|
|1980||Altered States||Arthur Rosenberg|
|1981||Absence of Malice||Rosen|
|1981||Prince of the City||Santimassino|
|1981||Whose Life Is It Anyway?||Carter Hill|
|1984||2010: The Year We Make Contact||Dr. Chandra|
|1987||End of the Line||Warren Gerber|
|1987||Invisible Thread||Director, television movie|
|1989||Dead Bang||Elliot Webly|
|1991||Little Man Tate||Quizmaster||Uncredited|
|1992||Bob Roberts||Michael Janes|
|1993||For Love or Money||Ed Drinkwater|
|1993||Amos & Andrew||Dr. R.A. 'Roy' Fink|
|1994||City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly's Gold||Dr. Jeffrey Sanborn||Uncredited|
|1996||The Late Shift||Warren Littlefield||Television movie|
|1996||Waiting for Guffman||Lloyd Miller|
|1996||Pie in the Sky||Paul Entamen|
|1996||Conversation with the Beast||Philip Koontz|
|1999||Three To Tango||Decker|
|1999||Cradle Will Rock||Harry Hopkins|
|1999||Jacob the Liar||Kowalsky|
|1999||Swing Vote||Justice Eli MacCorckle||Television movie|
|2000||Best in Show||Dr. Theodore W. Millbank, III|
|2001||Ghost World||Enid's Father|
|2001||Gosford Park||Morris Weissman||Also Writer/Producer|
|2001||The Majestic||Elvin Clyde|
|2001||The Mexican||Bernie Nayman|
|2002||The Tuxedo||Winton Chalmers||Uncredited|
|2003||A Mighty Wind||Jonathan Steinbloom|
|2004||Marie and Bruce||Roger|
|2005||Trust the Man||Tobey's Therapist||Uncredited|
|2006||Lady in the Water||Harry Farber|
|2006||For Your Consideration||Philip Koontz|
|2007||License to Wed||Jewelry Store Clerk||Uncredited|
|2008||Recount||Ben Ginsberg||Television movie|
|2010||Howl||Judge Clayton Horn|
|2011||A Monster in Paris||Inspector Pâté|
|2011||Thin Ice||Leonard Dahl|
|2013||Girl Most Likely||Imogene's Father|
|2014||The Monuments Men||Pvt. Preston Savitz|
|2014||The Grand Budapest Hotel||M. Martin|
|1965||Hank||Harvey||Episode: "Will The Real Harvey Wheatley Please Stand Up?"|
|1969||Room 222||Grady Garrett||Episode: "Father & Sons"|
|1971||The Mod Squad||Walter||Episode: "A Short Course in War"|
|1971||Love, American Style||Unknown||Episode: "Love and the Fuzz"|
|1985–1986||Miami Vice||Ira Stone||2 episodes|
|1992–1993||Seinfeld||Russell Dalrymple||5 episodes|
|1995||Legend||Harry Parver||2 episodes|
|1998||Friends||Frank Buffay Sr.||Episode: "The One With Joey's Bag"|
|2000||The West Wing||Ted Marcus||Episode: "20 Hours in L.A."|
|2006||Tom Goes to the Mayor||Walt Pickle||Episode: "The Layover"|
|2011–2012||The Good Wife||Gordon Higgs||2 episodes|
|2013–2014||Girls||Mr. Rice||2 episodes|
|2015||Broad City||Arthur Wexler||Episode: "Knockoffs"|
|2015||Last Week Tonight with John Oliver||Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Official Mascot||Episode 37|
- Balaban, David. The Chicago Movie Palaces of Balaban and Katz, Arcadia Publishing, 2006
- Balaban, Bob. Spielberg, Truffaut & Me: An Actor's Diary, Titan Books, 1978 (revised 2002)
- "Bob Balaban - Profile". The New York Times (NYTimes.com). Retrieved 2013-08-15.
- "Bob Balaban (1945-)". filmreference.com. Retrieved 2013-08-15.
- P., Ken (3 March 2003). "An Interview with Bob Balaban". IGN. Retrieved 2013-08-15.
- Bob Balaban. Films in Review 40 (National Board of Review of Motion Pictures). 1989. p. 92. Retrieved 2013-08-15.
- Uptown: Portrait of a Palace, 2006 documentary film
- "Bob Balaban Gets "Exonerated"". Fred Entertainment. 3 December 2003. Retrieved 2013-08-15.
- Pine, Dan (24 September 2004). "Hooked on ‘Addicted’". j.Weekly. Retrieved 2006-12-13.
- "Original Cast: "You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown"". Bestcareanywhere.net. Retrieved 2013-08-15.
- Littlefield, Warren. Top of the Rock: Inside the Rise and Fall of Must See TV. New York: Anchor Books. pp. 220–221. ISBN 978-0-307-73976-6.
- "Bob Balaban Credits". TV Guide. Retrieved 2013-08-15.
- Bob Balaban (1 August 2002). Beware of Dog (McGrowl #1). Scholastic, Inc. ISBN 0439401372.
- "AFER Announces New Additions to All-Star Cast of "8"" (Press release). American Foundation for Equal Rights. 8 September 2011. Retrieved 2013-08-15.
- "8: A Play about the Fight for Marriage Equality". YouTube. Retrieved March 18, 2012.
- Gray, Stephen (1 March 2012). "YouTube to broadcast Proposition 8 play live". pinknews.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-08-15.
- Bob Balaban at the Internet Movie Database
- Bob Balaban at AllMovie
- Bob Balaban at the Internet Broadway Database
- Bob Balaban at the Internet Off-Broadway Database
- Bob Balaban interview on AMC-TV's Sci-Fi Department web show