David Schramm (actor)

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David Schramm
Born (1946-08-14) August 14, 1946 (age 68)[1][2][3]
Louisville, Kentucky, U.S.[2][4][5]
Occupation Actor

David Schramm (born August 14, 1946) is an American actor. He is best known for playing the critically acclaimed role of Roy Biggins, the portly, curmudgeonly rival airline owner in the TV series Wings.[4][6][7]

Early life and education[edit]

Schramm was born on August 14, 1946 in Louisville, Kentucky.[2][4][5] His father was a bookie.[5]

Schramm revealed in a 2008 interview that at the age of 17, "(my parents) always came to see me in school, where I won trophies for speaking, and then in those big outdoor dramas we have in Kentucky, and then as an apprentice actor at the playhouse that eventually became the Actors Theater of Louisville." Schramm also earned $25 a week for cleaning toilets and for being in a play.[5]

"I had been acting non-stop since I was a teenager," Schramm said in a 2012 interview. "But really I got started in acting because others helped me push into it. When I was a kid, it was other actors getting me to do it. Then I had a series of teachers who told me I was going to do it. John Houseman got me under his wing, and I went along with it happily."[4]

Schramm took acting classes at Western Kentucky University, where he got a full scholarship to the Juilliard School from Dr. Mildred Howard.[5] Schramm attended Juilliard from 1968 to 1972 and took classes that were taught by Michael Kahn.[4] Schramm graduated from Juilliard afterwards.[2][6][7] He then worked as a member of The Acting Company.[7]


Schramm gained national recognition for portraying the blustery, cantankerous airline owner Roy Biggins, in the sitcom Wings, which aired from 1990 to 1997.[4][5] He appeared in all 172 episodes throughout the show's entire run.[5]

When asked what he remembered most from Wings: "I knew when we started it was going to be a success. Not just because the writers had been involved with Cheers, Taxi and Mary Tyler Moore. But when we sat around the table reading the first script, and I saw this buffoon they created for me, this pompous guy who said garish things to women, and all the other rich characters, I turned to Rebecca (Schull, who played Fay) and said, 'I think we've landed in a tub of butter.' And we did. If only I put the money I made under my mattress instead of in the stock market."[5]

Theatre work[edit]

After Wings, Schramm has acted on stage both in theaters across the country and on Broadway.[8]

From November 18 to December 14 of 2008, Schramm portrayed the role of Richard Harkin in Conor McPherson's The Seafarer at George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick, New Jersey. The production was directed Anders Cato, whom Schramm previously collaborated with in Waiting for Godot.[5]

From October 29, 2009 to January 17, 2010, Schramm appeared in the revival of Finian's Rainbow at the St. James Theatre in New York City, portraying the role of Senator Rawkins.[8]

In June-July 2012, Schramm portrayed Falstaff in William Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor at The Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, D.C. "This is my first time doing Merry Wives. I'm having a great time. The director (Stephen Rayne) is absolutely stellar. He's intelligent and experienced and really knows the era. We've set the play at the end of the first World War, sort of in the Downton Abbey era. It works very well as a time period for the play. And it looks great. We're meticulously putting it together. This play really demands a lot from everybody. There's so much to try and do. But we're all pulling together," said Schramm in a 2012 interview. Schramm also revealed that it was his first time in the Shakespeare Theatre.[4]

Personal life[edit]

Schramm stated in a 2008 interview, "I'm not a drinker, though I come from an area where drinking is like breathing. My father was a bookie, so consequently we went to the track a lot, where there was plenty of booze. My entire family drank; on weekends, there were always plenty of cases of beer in the house. Don't ask me why, but I just didn't get that gene."[5]

Schramm has been credited for getting David Adkins, the ex-husband of Laura Linney, into a career in acting when he took him to see Juilliard.[6]

Schramm resides in New York and has homes in Chatham and Riverdale.[5]

Select filmography[edit]


  1. ^ "Today In History, August 14". WBNS-TV. 14 August 2014. Retrieved 27 February 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d David Schramm biography at The New York Times
  3. ^ "Today's Birthdays". Times Union. 14 August 2014. Retrieved 27 February 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Syles, Hunter (18 June 2012). "David Schramm on playing Falstaff in Merry Wives of Windsor". Retrieved 27 February 2015. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Filichia, Peter (13 November 2008). "David Schramm stars in 'The Seafarer' at the George Street Playhouse". NJ.com. Retrieved 27 February 2015. 
  6. ^ a b c Rousuck, J. Wynn (29 September 1999). "Adkins discovers his home onstage". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 27 February 2015. 
  7. ^ a b c See, Joan (2011). Acting in Commercials: A Guide to Auditioning and Performing on Camera. Potter/TenSpeed/Harmony. ISBN 9780307799517. 
  8. ^ a b Jordan, Chris (19 April 2010). "'Wings' Cast: Where Are They Now?". Retrieved 27 February 2015. 

External links[edit]