Jeff Garlin

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Jeffrey Garlin
Garlin in 2008
Born (1962-06-05) June 5, 1962 (age 59)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
MediumFilm, television, stand-up
EducationUniversity of Miami
Years active1983–present
GenresObservational comedy, black comedy, surreal humor, satire
Marla Beth Cahan
(m. 1994; div. 2020)

Jeffrey Garlin (born June 5, 1962)[citation needed] is an American stand-up comedian and actor. He is best known for playing Murray Goldberg, the patriarch of the eponymous family in the ABC sitcom The Goldbergs. He also played Marvin on Mad About You (1997-1999), Jeff Greene on the HBO show Curb Your Enthusiasm (2000–present) and Mort Meyers on Arrested Development for Fox and Netflix.

He has also appeared in ParaNorman, WALL-E, Toy Story 3 and Safety Not Guaranteed, among other films.

Early life[edit]

Garlin was born in Chicago, Illinois, to Gene[3] and Carole (née Crafton) Garlin. He grew up in Morton Grove, Illinois,[4] where his father had a family plumbing supply business called Bilko and his mother was active in community theater. He has a younger brother, Michael.[5] Garlin is Jewish[6] and attended Hebrew school.[7][8]

Garlin says he has wanted to be a comedian since the age of eight, when he saw Jimmy Durante perform in Chicago.[6] Garlin attended Melzer Elementary School in Morton Grove, Illinois.[citation needed] He enjoyed playing sports at school, but had to stop after being diagnosed with Wolff–Parkinson–White syndrome, a heart ailment.[5]

When Garlin was in sixth grade, his father sold his supply business and the family relocated to South Florida.[9] He graduated from Nova High School, Davie, Florida in 1980. He attended Broward Community College, followed by a stint at the University of Miami studying film, but eventually dropped out. He began performing stand up comedy there.[10]



In 1984, aged 22, Garlin moved back to Chicago to pursue a stand up comedy career. He performed with the comedy troupe The Second City.[11][12] He worked in the box office with Stephen Colbert.[13]

While living in Wrigleyville, Chicago during the 1980s, Garlin was briefly roommates with Conan O'Brien who was then a comedy writer.[14][15][16][17][5] He remains close to O'Brien, and after O'Brien was removed as host of The Tonight Show in 2010 so that Jay Leno could return, Garlin stated that he would not be a guest on the show again.[11][13]

Garlin was hired by comedians Denis Leary and Jon Stewart to help develop their specials. He worked as a stage director for their shows and edited the scripts. He worked with Larry David in this same way. He continues to do standup, where he says he improvises a lot on stage, and feels very relaxed, "maybe too relaxed."[5]

Film and television[edit]

Garlin has a variety of television and film appearances to his credit, as an actor and a stand up, including Dr. Katz, Arrested Development, Everybody Loves Raymond, Late Show with David Letterman, Tom Goes to the Mayor, The Life and Times of Tim, The Daily Show, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, and Entourage.[18]

Garlin with his castmates from The Goldbergs

From 1997–99, Garlin spent three seasons on NBC's Mad About You in the role of Marvin.[19] He co stars and executive produces the HBO series Curb Your Enthusiasm. In 2013, Garlin signed onto the ABC sitcom The Goldbergs.[20] He had a recurring role on the series Wizards of Waverly Place as Uncle Kelbo, appearing in three episodes over the first three seasons.

Nine years after making an uncredited début as Gut Gut in Spring Break (1983), Garlin earned his first film credit in 1992, in Dolly Parton's comedy Straight Talk.[21] He had a small role in RoboCop 3 as "Donut Jerk" after a member of the casting crew witnessed Garlin eating a doughnut while leaving Krispy Kreme with an additional two dozen doughnuts. He also had cameo appearances in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me in 1999.

Other cameo appearances include Run Ronnie Run!, After the Sunset, Fat Albert, and Sleepover. He appeared in Steven Soderbergh's Full Frontal (2002) and with Eddie Murphy in Daddy Day Care (2003). In 2005, he had a small role in Fun with Dick and Jane.

In 2008, Garlin appeared in The Rocker as Stan, and also played Ed Lawson in Strange Wilderness. He lent his voice to the Disney/Pixar films Toy Story 3 and Toy Story 4, as Buttercup. He appeared as Sid, alongside Jennifer Aniston and Gerard Butler, in the 2010 comedy action film The Bounty Hunter. He played Ed Burch in Laggies, released in 2014.

His feature directorial debut, I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With (which he also wrote), premiered to favorable reviews at the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival. It opened in September 2007. The film co-starred Sarah Silverman and Bonnie Hunt.[22]

In 2006, Garlin directed This Filthy World, a one-man show performed by director John Waters. He was a voice actor in WALL-E, an animated film by Pixar that was released June 27, 2008, as the Captain of the Axiom spaceship.[23] Garlin executive produced the documentary Finding Vivian Maier (2013).[24]

In July 2013, Garlin directed his second film, Dealin' with Idiots,[25] which was inspired by his experiences with his two sons in Little League.[20][26] The entire movie was improvised.[24]

In October 2019, Garlin revealed he would have a role in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the final installment of the Star Wars saga, which was released on December 20, 2019;[27] he has a cameo appearance in the film as Junn Gobint.


On February 23, 2010, Garlin released a book, My Footprint: Carrying the Weight of the World, a memoir which documents his journey to lessen both his physical and carbon footprint.[28][29][30]


On the comedy podcast network Earwolf[31] Garlin hosted a show, called By The Way, In Conversation with Jeff Garlin,[32] which consisted of unscripted talks rather than formal interviews. The debut episode featured Garlin's Curb Your Enthusiasm co-star Larry David. The twice monthly installments were recorded in front of a live audience at Largo at the Coronet in Los Angeles.[31] The last episode of the podcast was released in February 2015.[33]

Other works[edit]

In March 2018, Garlin was one of the actors who voiced the audiobook A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo.[34]

In August 2020, Garlin was a guest DJ on SiriusXM's Tom Petty Radio.[35]


Katie Puckrik in The Guardian writes, “British comedy is a touchstone for Garlin”, with Garlin stating, “Monty Python changed my life. I watched the original Office. I love The Mighty Boosh and The Goon Show. I'm a fanatic about Ealing comedies. And Fawlty Towers is probably my favorite thing that I've ever seen come out of England.”[36]

Personal life[edit]

Garlin is an avid fan of the Chicago Cubs. In this image, he is seen in Wrigleyville before Game Four of the 2016 World Series.

Garlin married Marla Beth Cahan on July 24, 1994. The couple have two sons, James (b. 1996) and Duke (b. 2000).[1] In September 2018, the couple announced their intention to divorce after 24 years of marriage.[37] In March 2020, Garlin stated that he and Cahan were at the end of their divorce proceedings.[2]

Garlin is a fan of the Chicago Cubs. Every year on his birthday he attends a game with his friend Kevin Cronin, lead singer of REO Speedwagon.[38]

According to his book, Garlin voted for Barack Obama in the 2008 election.

Garlin practices transcendental meditation, which he does twice a day.[39] He says it has helped him with symptoms of ADHD.

For a few years, Garlin lived with talk-show host Conan O'Brien. O'Brien has said that sometimes Garlin woke him up in the middle of the night and made him perform skits.[40]

Garlin's dog on the television show The Goldbergs lives with him in real life.


When he was in his late 20s, Garlin had surgery in Oklahoma City to correct a heart condition called Wolff–Parkinson–White syndrome, which is a defect in an accessory electrical conduction pathway in the heart that results in tachycardia.[5] Garlin said he was an early recipient (#72) of the surgery, which millions of people have since undergone.

In February 2000, before filming began on Curb Your Enthusiasm, he had a stroke at the age of 37. During the early episodes of Season One, he had noticeably slurred speech that later improved. He also has type II diabetes, which he controls with diet and exercise.[5]

Garlin has written about his problems with food and has discussed his weight problems publicly.[39] In an October 2011 interview, Garlin said: "I think people look at fat people as having a lack of willpower when willpower has nothing to do with it. I didn’t change my life until I approached everything like an addict. I haven’t had sweets in almost three years because I know if I have one cookie, just like if an alcoholic has his first drink, I’m off to the races and I’m back eating sugar again."[40]



Year Title Role Notes
1983 Spring Break Gut Gut Uncredited
1992 Straight Talk Bob
Hero News Vendor
1993 RoboCop 3 Donut Jerk
1994 Little Big League Opposing Little League Manager
1995 The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes Agent Reese
1997 The Love Bug Highway Patrolman
1998 Senseless Arlo Vickers
1999 Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me Cyclops
2000 Bounce Emcee
2002 Run Ronnie Run! Birthday Woman's Friend
Naked Movie Writer No. 1
The Third Wheel Office Worker Uncredited
Full Frontal Harvey
2003 Daddy Day Care Phil
2004 Sleepover Mr. Corky
Outing Riley Partner in Architects' Firm Uncredited
After the Sunset Ron
Fat Albert Jerry Uncredited
2005 Fun with Dick and Jane Boss
2006 The Jeff Garlin Program Jeff
I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With James Aaron Also writer/director
The Jimmy Timmy Power Hour 3: The Jerkinators! Shirley Voice only
2007 Trainwreck: My Life as an Idiot Lenny
2008 Strange Wilderness Ed Lawson
The Rocker Stan
WALL-E Captain B. McCrea Voice only
2010 The Bounty Hunter Sid
Toy Story 3 Buttercup Voice only
2011 Hawaiian Vacation Buttercup Voice only
Cars 2 Otis[41] Voice only
Sin Bin Dean Theatard
2012 ParaNorman Perry Babcock Voice only
Safety Not Guaranteed Mr. Britt
2013 Dealin' with Idiots Max Morris Also writer and director
2014 Laggies Ed Burch
2017 Lemon Guy Roach
Handsome Gene Handsome Also writer and director
Becoming Bond Harry Saltzman Documentary
2019 Toy Story 4 Buttercup Voice only
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Junn Gobint Cameo[27]
2020 This Is the Year Mr. Elmer
2022 Babylon Post-production


Year Title Role Notes
1989 Roseanne Fred Episode: "Lobocop"
1989 Dear John Deliveryman Episode: "Kate, a Date, & Fate"
1990 Open House Brian Episode: "An Unmarried Woman"
1994 Baywatch Larry 'Loomin' Large Episodes: "H-Gas", "The Groove Yard of Solid Gold"
1996 Gross Ratings Jack Bekins Short Film
1997 Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist Jeff Episode: "Alibi"
1997 The Wonderful World of Disney Highway Patrolman Episode: "The Love Bug"
1997–99 Mad About You Marvin 14 episodes
1999 Larry David: Curb Your Enthusiasm Jeff Greene Television Movie
2000 Self Storage Duncan Baumgartner Short Film
2000 The Michael Richards Show Jeff Schaffer Episode: "The Consultant"
2000–present Curb Your Enthusiasm Jeff Greene 10 Seasons; Series Regular
2001 Late Friday Himself/Host Unspecified
2001 Three Sisters Joel Episode: "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother"
2001 Dead Last Ron Belson Episode: "The Problem with Corruption"
2001–02 What About Joan? Steinie 8 episodes
2002 King of the Hill Dan Episode: "The Fat and the Furious"
2001–03 Everybody Loves Raymond Produce Manager Jimmy 2 episodes
2003 Greetings from Tucson Executive (2003) Episode: "My Friend Mom"
2003 Crank Yankers Jeff 3 episodes
2004 Tom Goes to the Mayor Pat Croce Episode: "Rat's Off to Ya"
2005 Duck Dodgers Camoman Episode: "Bonafide Heroes"
2005 Yes, Dear Howie Episode: "Marital Aid"
2005 MADtv Hank Whitley Episode: #11.08
2005–06, 2013 Arrested Development Mort Meyers 11 episodes
2006 Hooked Mr. Waterhouse Short Film
2006 Campus Ladies Mr. Hubney Episode: "A Very Special Episode"
2008 Shorty McShorts' Shorts Duke Episode: "Flip-Flopped"
2007 Law & Order: Criminal Intent Barry Freeburg Episode: "Contract"
2008 The Life & Times of Tim voice 2 episodes
2008 BURN-E Captain (uncredited) voice; Short film
2008–10 Wizards of Waverly Place Uncle Kelbo 3 episodes
2010 Entourage Roger Jay Episode: "Dramedy"
2011 Community Himself Episode: "Documentary Filmmaking - Redux"
2013 Maron Jeff Garlin Episode: "Mac's Dad"
2013–present The Goldbergs Murray Goldberg Main role
2014 2 Broke Girls David Episode: "And the Not Broke Parents"
2014 Family Guy Jeff Garlin Episode: "The 2,000 Year Old Virgin"
2017 SpongeBob SquarePants Cuddle E. Hugs Episode: "Cuddle E. Hugs"
2019 Celebrity Family Feud Himself Episode: "Black-ish vs.The Goldbergs"
2020 Forky Asks A Question Buttercup Episode: "What Is Cheese?"
2021 Celebrity Wheel of Fortune Himself Episode: "Donny Osmond, Jeff Garlin and Amber Riley"


Ep. #[42] Guest Date Duration
01 Larry David 01/10/13 1:22:02
02 Lena Dunham 01/24/13 1:29:44
03 Jeff Tweedy 02/07/13 1:42:34
04 J.J. Abrams 02/21/13 1:50:58
05 Mitch Hurwitz 03/07/13 1:19:27
06 Will Ferrell 03/21/13 1:32:17
07 Zach Galifianakis 04/04/13 1:23:55
08 Conan O'Brien 04/18/13 1:17:53
09 Michael Moore 05/02/13 2:03:23
10 Matthew Weiner 05/16/13 1:50:24
11 Tig Notaro 05/30/13 1:27:22
12 Judd Apatow 06/13/13 1:39:15
13 Aziz Ansari 06/27/13 1:08:58
14 Henry Rollins 07/11/13 2:04:56
15 Amy Poehler 07/25/13 1:18:44
16 Vince Gilligan 08/08/13 1:37:05
17 Marc Maron 08/22/13 1:38:01
18 Colin Hay 09/05/13 1:15:27
19 Rosemarie DeWitt & Lunn Shelton 09/20/13 0:57:23
20 Bob Odenkirk 10/03/13 1:00:49
21 Sarah Silverman 10/17/13 0:57:30
22 Jay Roach and Sussanna Hoffs 10/31/13 1:27:00
23 George Segal and Wendi McLendon-Covey 11/14/13 1:13:00
24 Maya Rudolph 11/28/13 0:31:00
25 Mike Birbiglia 12/12/13 1:04:00
26 Jeff Garlin 12/26/13 0:54:00
27 Jenji Kohan 10/23/14 1:06:33
28 Michael Sheen 11/06/14 1:23:41
29 Andrew Bird 11/20/14 1:46:12
30 Stephen Merchant 12/04/14 1:03:58
31 Jon Favreau 12/22/14 1:14:45
32 Adam Resnick and Bob Odenkirk 12/31/14 1:01:53
33 Bill Burr 01/16/15 1:13:10
34 Benmont Tench 02/12/15 1:12:14

Video games[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1997 Blade Runner Lieutenant Edison Guzza
2008 WALL-E Captain
2010 Toy Story 3: The Video Game Buttercup

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Title Result Ref.
2001 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Comedy Series Curb Your Enthusiasm Nominated [43]
2002 Nominated
2003 Nominated
2005 Nominated
2007 Nominated
2009 Nominated
2011 Nominated
2017 Nominated
2020 Nominated
2006 Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Ensemble in a Comedy Series Nominated
2009 Nominated
2017 Nominated
2002 Producers Guild Awards Best Episodic Comedy Won
2004 Won
2006 Nominated
2008 Nominated
2010 Nominated
2012 Nominated
2017 Nominated
2007 Berlin International Film Festival Best Documentary This Filthy World Nominated
2012 Gotham Awards Best Ensemble Cast Safety Not Guaranteed Nominated

Works and publications[edit]

  • Garlin, Jeff, and John Ficarra. The MAD Bathroom Companion: The Gushing Fourth Edition. New York: MAD Books, 2004.
  • Garlin, Jeff. My Footprint: Carrying the Weight of the World. New York: Gallery Books, 2010; ISBN 978-1-439-15010-8


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  7. ^ Westbrook, Caroline (October 19, 2004). "Jeff Garlin interview". Retrieved June 23, 2010. ...very proud and happy to be Italian, and I think everything that I do is naturally Jewish.
  8. ^ Smiley, Tavis (September 12, 2005). "Jeff Garlin profile". The Tavis Smiley Show. Retrieved June 23, 2010. I guess you could say – I mean, I'm Jewish, Larry's Jewish.
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  33. ^ "Benmont Tench". Retrieved August 13, 2017.
  34. ^ Perkins, Dennis (March 19, 2018). "John Oliver hijacks homophobe Mike Pence's bunny book with a better one in A Day In The Life Of Marlon Bundo". AV Club. Retrieved March 19, 2018.
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  36. ^ "Jeff Garlin: 'Monty Python changed my life'". The Guardian. Retrieved August 29, 2019.
  37. ^ "'The Goldbergs' Star Jeff Garlin Files for Divorce After 24 Years of Marriage". September 4, 2018. Retrieved September 14, 2018.
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  40. ^ a b Pixie (October 27, 2011). "Can I Please Say This? Jeff Garlin talks to us about ADD, eating disorders, and why adversity is the best thing that can happen to you". Rookie. Retrieved January 23, 2015.
  41. ^ "Cars 2 Interview - Jeff Garlin". Trailer Addict. June 24, 2011. Retrieved July 19, 2013.
  42. ^ Garlin, Jeff. "By The Way, In Conversation with Jeff Garlin podcast on Earwolf". By The Way, In Conversation with Jeff Garlin. Earwolf. Retrieved October 30, 2014.
  43. ^ "Internet Movie Database". IMDb. March 7, 2020. Retrieved March 7, 2020.

External links[edit]