Nathan Lane

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Nathan Lane
Nathan Lane - Butley.jpg
Lane in Huntington Theatre Company's production of Simon Gray's Butley
Born Joseph Lane
(1956-02-03) February 3, 1956 (age 60)
Jersey City, New Jersey, U.S.
Residence New York City, New York
Occupation Actor, writer
Years active 1975–present
Spouse(s) Devlin Elliott (m. 2015)
Awards Tony Awards, Daytime Emmy Awards, SAG Award, Drama Desk Awards, Outer Critics Circle Awards, Obie Awards, Olivier Award, People's Choice Award

Nathan Lane (born Joseph Lane; February 3, 1956) is an American stage, film and television actor and writer. He is known for his roles as Albert in The Birdcage, Max Bialystock in the musical The Producers, Ernie Smuntz in MouseHunt, Nathan Detroit in Guys and Dolls, Pseudolus in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, his voice work in Stuart Little as Snowbell the cat and The Lion King as Timon the meerkat, and his recurring roles on Modern Family, The Good Wife, and American Crime Story: The People v. O. J. Simpson as F. Lee Bailey. In 2006, Lane received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and in 2008, he was inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame.[1][2]

Early life[edit]

Lane was born Joseph Lane in Jersey City, New Jersey on February 3, 1956.[3] His father, Daniel, was a truck driver and an aspiring tenor who died in 1967 from alcoholism when Lane was eleven. His mother, Nora, was a housewife and secretary who suffered from manic depression and died in 2000.[4][5][6] He has two older brothers, Daniel Jr. and Robert.[7] Lane's parents were Catholics of Irish descent.[8] He was named after his uncle, a Jesuit priest.[9] Lane attended Catholic schools in Jersey City, including Jesuit-run St. Peter's Preparatory High School, where he was voted Best Actor in 1974, and years later received the 2011 Prep Hall of Fame Professional Achievement Award.[10]

Career[edit]

1970s–1980s[edit]

Accepted to Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia on a drama scholarship, he was accompanied on what was supposed to be his first day there by his older brother Dan. Discovering that the scholarship would not cover enough of his expenses, he decided to leave, and work for a year to earn some money. "I remember him saying to me, 'College is for people who don't know what they want to do,'" his brother said.[7] Because there already was a Joseph Lane registered with Actors Equity, he changed his name to Nathan after the character Nathan Detroit from the musical Guys and Dolls.[11] He moved to New York City where, after a long struggle, his career began to take off, first with some brief success in the world of stand-up comedy with partner, Patrick Stack,[12][13] and later with Off-Broadway productions at Second Stage Theatre, the Roundabout Theatre, and the Manhattan Theatre Club.[citation needed] He made his Broadway debut in a 1982 revival of Noël Coward's Present Laughter as Roland Maule (Drama Desk nomination) with George C. Scott, Kate Burton, Dana Ivey, and Christine Lahti.[14]

His second Broadway appearance was in the 1983 musical Merlin, starring Chita Rivera and magician Doug Henning. This was followed by Wind in the Willows as Mr. Toad, Some Americans Abroad at Lincoln Center, and the national tour of Neil Simon's Broadway Bound.[15]

Off-Broadway productions included Love (the musical version of Murray Schisgal's Luv),[16] Measure for Measure directed by Joseph Papp in Central Park, for which he received the St. Clair Bayfield Award,[17] The Common Pursuit, The Film Society, In a Pig's Valise, She Stoops to Conquer,[18] The Merry Wives of Windsor and A Midsummer Night's Dream. He also appeared at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in The School for Scandal and John Guare's Moon Over Miami.[19]

1990s[edit]

In 1991, Lane appeared with George C. Scott again in a revival of Paul Osborne's On Borrowed Time at the Circle in the Square Theatre on Broadway.[20] In 1992, he starred in the hit revival of Guys and Dolls, playing the character who lent him his name, opposite Peter Gallagher and Faith Prince.[21] For this performance, he received his first Tony nomination,[22] as well as Drama Desk[23] and Outer Critics Circle Awards.[24] In 1992, he won an Obie Award for Sustained Excellence of Performance.[25]

His professional association with his close friend the playwright Terrence McNally, whom he met in 1987,[26] includes roles in The Lisbon Traviata (Drama Desk and Lucille Lortel Awards),[27][28] Bad Habits, Lips Together, Teeth Apart, Love! Valour! Compassion! (Obie, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Awards),[27][29][30] Dedication or the Stuff of Dreams, which opened in 2005 (Drama Desk nomination),[31][32] The Last Mile on PBS Great Performances, and the film version of Frankie and Johnny.

The early 1990s began a stretch of successful Broadway shows for Lane. In 1993, he portrayed Sid Caesar-like Max Prince in Neil Simon's Laughter on the 23rd Floor, inspired by Simon's early career writing sketches for Your Show of Shows.[33] In 1996, he starred in the hit revival of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, for which he won the Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards.[15] In 1998, he appeared Off-Broadway in Jon Robin Baitz's revised 1984 comedy, Mizlansky/Zilinsky or 'Schmucks'.[34][35]

His association with Sondheim began with the workshop of Assassins.[citation needed] In 1999, he appeared with Victor Garber in the workshop of Wise Guys (later retitled Road Show).[36] His collaboration with Sondheim continued when Lane revised the original book for and starred in the Broadway debut of the composer's The Frogs at Lincoln Center in 2004.[37] The Sondheim song, "Little Dream,"[38] in the film The Birdcage, a role for which Lane received his first Golden Globe nomination,[39] was supposedly written especially for him.[citation needed].

In 1994, Lane voiced Timon, the meerkat, in Disney's blockbuster animated film The Lion King and reprised the role in its sequels.[40] In 1995, he played the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz in Concert at Lincoln Center to benefit the Children's Defense Fund.[41] The performance was originally broadcast on Turner Network Television (TNT).[42] In 1999, he appeared in the Encores! concert revival of Do Re Mi at City Center.[43][44]

2000s[edit]

Lane starred in the Roundabout revival of The Man Who Came to Dinner as Sheridan Whiteside, with Jean Smart and Harriet Harris in 2000.[45]

In 2001, he starred as Max Bialystock in the blockbuster musical version of Mel Brooks's The Producers, a role that earned him his second Tony as well as Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards.[46] In 2004, he replaced Richard Dreyfuss, who was let go just a week before the show's first preview at London's Theatre Royal Drury Lane,[47] and went on to win the Olivier Award as Best Actor in a Musical.[48] His performance in the film version, opposite Broadway co-star, Matthew Broderick as Leo Bloom, earned him his second Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy.[49] In 2003 he starred Off-Broadway in Trumbo: Red, White, and Blacklisted.[50]

In 2005, Lane rejoined Broderick for a successful limited run of The Odd Couple.[51] In 2006, he took on a primarily dramatic role in a revival of Simon Gray's Butley, having played the role to great success at The Huntington Theater in Boston in 2003.[52][53] He and Broderick received adjacent stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in a joint ceremony on January 9, 2006[54] and were immortalized in wax as Max and Leo at Madame Tussauds Museum in New York City on January 16, 2009.[55] In 2008, he played the President of the United States in the David Mamet political satire, November, directed by Joe Mantello.[56] This was followed by the critically acclaimed 2009 revival of Waiting for Godot (Outer Critics Circle nomination)[57] in which he played Estragon opposite Bill Irwin's Vladimir.[58] He was a 2008 American Theatre Hall of Fame inductee.[59]

2010s[edit]

In 2010, Lane starred in the musical version of The Addams Family as Gomez (Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle nominations).[60] Committed to starring in a revival of the Eugene O'Neill play The Iceman Cometh at Chicago's Goodman Theatre in 2012, Lane assumed the role of Hickey, with Brian Dennehy playing the role of Larry Slade in a production directed by the Goodman's Artistic Director, Robert Falls.[12] Receiving rave reviews,[61][62] it won six Jeff Awards, including Best Ensemble, Director, and Production,[63] and is the most successful show to date in the theater's history.[64] In the spring of 2013, Lane returned to Broadway in The Nance, a Lincoln Center production of new play by Douglas Carter Beane that was directed by Jack O'Brien. For this performance, he received Tony and Drama Desk Award nominations, and won the Outer Critics Circle Award and the 2013 Drama League Award for Distinguished Performance.[65][66] The play aired on PBS Live From Lincoln Center in 2014.[67]

In autumn 2014, he appeared in an all-star ensemble of Terrence McNally's revised and updated It's Only a Play, with F. Murray Abraham, Matthew Broderick, Stockard Channing, Rupert Grint, Megan Mullally, and Micah Stock.[68] The show became one of the biggest hits of the season.[69] In February 2015 he reprised the role of Hickey in the Robert Falls production of The Iceman Cometh to great acclaim at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.[70][71] He later returned to the Broadway run of It's Only a Play.[72] In fall of 2016 he returned to Broadway in an all-star revival of Hecht and MacArthur's The Front Page, directed by Jack O'Brien and produced by Scott Rudin. He played the ruthless editor Walter Burns opposite John Slattery as Hildy Johnson and John Goodman as Sheriff Hartman.[73]

Personal life[edit]

When Lane told his mother at age 21 that he was gay, she replied, "I would rather you were dead,"[4][74] to which he replied, "I knew you'd understand." Lane, who came out officially after the death of Matthew Shepard,[4] has been a long-time board member of and fundraiser for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS,[75] and has been honored by the Human Rights Campaign,[76] Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation,[77] The Trevor Project,[78] and the Matthew Shepard Foundation for his work in the LGBT community. On November 17, 2015, Lane married his long-time partner, theater producer and writer Devlin Elliott.[79][80]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Television[edit]

He has received three Daytime Emmy nominations for George and Martha, Timon and Pumbaa and Teacher's Pet, and won two Daytime Emmy Awards, in 1995 for Disney's Timon and Pumbaa and in 2000 for Disney's Teacher's Pet. He has also received six Primetime Emmy Award nominations for guest appearances on Frasier, Mad About You, Modern Family, and The Good Wife. In 1999 he won the People's Choice Award for Favorite Male Performer in a New TV Series.

Primetime Emmy Award[edit]

Year Nominated work Category Result
1995 Frasier Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series Nominated
1998 Mad About You Nominated
2011 Modern Family Nominated
2013 Nominated
The Good Wife Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series Nominated
2014 Modern Family Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series Nominated

Film[edit]

  • 1997 Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast – The Birdcage
  • 1996 American Comedy Award for Funniest Actor in a Motion Picture – The Birdcage
  • 2002 National Board of Review Award for Best Ensemble Performance – Nicholas Nickleby
Nominations
  • 1996 American Comedy Award for Funniest Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture – Jeffrey
  • 1997 MTV Movie Award for Best On-Screen Duo – The Birdcage
  • 1997 Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy – The Birdcage
  • 1997 Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role – The Birdcage
  • 2006 Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy – The Producers

Theatre[edit]

  • 1986 St. Clair Bayfield Award for Shakespearean Performance – Measure for Measure
  • 1990 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Play, Lucille Lortel Award, Los Angeles Critics Circle Award – The Lisbon Traviata
  • 1992 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical – Guys and Dolls
  • 1992 Obie Award for Sustained Excellence of Performance
  • 1995 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play – Love! Valour! Compassion!
  • 1995 Obie Award for Ensemble Acting – Love! Valour! Compassion!
  • 1996 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical – A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
  • 1996 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical – A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
  • 2001 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical – The Producers
  • 2001 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical – The Producers
  • 2005 Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical – The Producers
  • 2010 Drama League Award - Distinguished Achievement in Musical Theater
  • 2013 Drama League Award for Distinguished Performance - The Nance
  • 2013 The Joan and Joseph F. Cullman Award for Extraordinary Creativity - The Nance
Nominations

Also the winner of 5 Outer Critics Circle Awards for Guys and Dolls, Love! Valour! Compassion!, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, The Producers, and The Nance, and two GQ Man Of The Year Awards for Theater in 1997 and 2000

Other[edit]

  • 2002 GLAAD Media Awards Vito Russo Award * 2003 Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame
  • 2006 American Theatre Wing Honor for his commitment to and achievement in theatre
  • 2006 Hollywood Walk of Fame Star
  • 2007 The Trevor Project Hero Award[78]
  • 2007 Human Rights Campaign Equality Award[76]
  • 2009 The Barrow Group Sustained Excellence in Theater Award
  • 2010 National Corporate Theatre Fund – Theatre Artist Award
  • 2012 COAF Humanitarian Award * 2012 Tribute Award from League of Chicago Theaters
  • 2013 Guild Hall Lifetime Achievement Award For the Performing Arts
  • 2014 Sir Peter Ustinov Comedy Award - Banff Media Festival
  • 2015 Monte Cristo Award - Eugene O'Neill Theater Center
  • 2015 Making A Difference Award - Matthew Shepard Foundation

Television work[edit]

His television credits include One of the Boys with Mickey Rooney and Dana Carvey, The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd, the title role in The Man Who Came to Dinner, broadcast live on PBS, the voices of the title characters in two Disney animated series, Teacher's Pet and Timon & Pumbaa, as well as George and Martha on HBO. In addition to recurring roles on Modern Family and The Good Wife, he has made guest appearances on Miami Vice, Mad About You, Sex and the City, Frasier, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Absolutely Fabulous, 30 Rock., and Difficult People.[82] He played F. Lee Bailey in the first-season episodes of American Crime Story, titled The People vs. O.J. Simpson, premiering on the FX channel in February 2016. It received 22 Emmy nominations and went on to win the Emmy for Best Limited Series, Mini-Series or Television MovIe.[83]

He has hosted Saturday Night Live,[84] The Tony Awards (once as host for the 50th anniversary telecast, and three as co-host, with Glenn Close and Gregory Hines; Rosie O'Donnell; and Matthew Broderick respectively),[85][86][87][88] and appeared on Great Performances (Alice In Wonderland, The Last Mile, Guys and Dolls: Off The Record, My Favorite Broadway: The Love Songs, Recording The Producers: A Musical Romp With Mel Brooks, and as host of the 30th anniversary telecast, A Celebration in Song).[89][90][91][92][93][94] He has starred in two television films, The Boys Next Door and Laughter on the 23rd Floor.[82] With the Boston Pops, he performed a tribute concert of Danny Kaye material, as well as appeared in the Harry Connick Christmas Special; Merry Christmas, George Bailey; The Wizard of Oz in Concert; and A Muppet Christmas: Letters to Santa. His attempts at a regular series of his own, Encore! Encore! and Charlie Lawrence, were ratings disappointments.[95][96]

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Film Role Notes
1987 Ironweed Harold Allen
1990 The Lemon Sisters Charlie Sorrell
1990 Joe Versus the Volcano Baw, Waponi Advance Man
1991 He Said, She Said Wally Thurman
1991 Frankie and Johnny Tim
1993 Addams Family Values Desk Sergeant
1993 Life with Mikey Ed Chapman
1994 The Lion King Timon Voice
1995 Jeffrey Father Dan Nominated—American Comedy Award for Funniest Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture
1996 The Birdcage Albert Goldman American Comedy Award for Funniest Actor in a Motion Picture
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Nominated—Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Nominated—MTV Movie Award for Best On-Screen Duo (with Robin Williams)
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
1997 MouseHunt Ernest "Ernie" Smuntz
1998 The Lion King II: Simba's Pride Timon Voice
1999 Stuart Little Snowbell Voice
1999 At First Sight Phil
1999 Get Bruce! Himself Documentary
2000 Titan A.E. Preed Voice
2000 Love's Labours Lost Costard
2000 Isn't She Great Irving Mansfield
2000 Trixie Kirk Stans
2002 Stuart Little 2 Snowbell Voice
2002 Nicholas Nickleby Vincent Crummles National Board of Review Award for Best Ensemble
2002 Austin Powers in Goldmember Mysterious Disco Man
2004 The Lion King 1½ Timon Voice
2004 Teacher's Pet Spot AKA Scott Leadready Voice
2004 Win a Date with Tad Hamilton! Richard Levy the Driven
2005 The Producers Max Bialystock Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
2007 Trumbo Himself Documentary
2008 Swing Vote Art Crumb
2009 Astro Boy Hammegg Voice
2010 The Nutcracker Uncle Albert
2012 Mirror Mirror Brighton
2013 The English Teacher Mr. Kapinas
2015 No Pay, Nudity Herschel Thalkin
2016 Carrie Pilby Dr. Petrov
2017 Sidney Hall [97] Harold

Television[edit]

Year Film Role Notes
1981 Jacqueline Susann's Valley of the Dolls Stage Manager Television movie
1982 One of the Boys Johnathan Burns 13 episodes
1983 Great Performances Mouse Episode: "Alice in Wonderland"
1985 Miami Vice Morty Price Episode: "Buddies"
1989–1991 The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd Bing Shalimar 3 episodes
1995 Frasier Phil Episode: "Fool Me Once, Shame on You, Fool Me Twice..."
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series
1995 Timon & Pumbaa Timon Voice
10 episodes
Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program
1996 The Boys Next Door Norman Bulansky Television movie
1998 Mad About You Nathan Twilley Episode: "Good Old Reliable Nathan"
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series
1998–1999 Encore! Encore! Joseph Pinoni 13 episodes
1999–2000 George and Martha George Voice
26 episodes
Nominated—Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program
2000–2002 Teacher's Pet Spot Helperman Voice
39 episodes
Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program
2001 Laughter on the 23rd Floor Max Prince Television movie
2002 Sex and the City Bobby Fine Episode: "I Love a Charade"
2003 Charlie Lawrence Charlie Lawrence 7 episodes
2004 Curb Your Enthusiasm Nathan Lane Episode: "Opening Night"
2004 Absolutely Fabulous Kunz Episode: "White Box"
2007 30 Rock Eddie Donaghy Episode: "The Fighting Irish"
2010–2016 Modern Family Pepper Saltzman 8 episodes
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series (2011, 2013–14)
2012–2014 The Good Wife Clarke Hayden 15 episodes
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series
2016 The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story F. Lee Bailey 8 episodes
2016 Difficult People Himself Season two, episode two
2016 Maya and Marty Connor Grayfield Episode two - Kidnapped sketch

Theater[edit]

Other[edit]

  • Presented Mike Birbiglia's (2008) Off-Broadway show Sleepwalk With Me.
  • Lane provided the voice of Tom Morrow, the Audio-Animatronic host of Disneyland's Innoventions attraction.
  • Children's book Naughty Mabel, written with husband Devlin Elliott, published by Simon and Schuster, released in October 2015. A second book, Naughty Mabel Sees It All was released in October 2016.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Nathan Lane
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