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Paul Hipp (born July 16, 1963) is an American actor, singer, songwriter and filmmaker.
Paul Hipp was born in Philadelphia but grew up in Warminster. Hipp left Pennsylvania for New York City immediately after high school, starting his career playing guitar and singing for tips on the streets of Greenwich Village while studying acting with legendary acting coach Mira Rostova and at HB Studio with William Hickey.
Paul soon found employment as a musician at various clubs in the Village. At the same time he started landing roles on TV shows and commercials. He made his New York stage debut in the off-broadway show “Rockabilly Road” at The West Bank Theater.
New York filmmaker Abel Ferrara spotted Hipp during one of his shows on Bleeker Street and asked Paul to audition for the Role of Nino Valacci in his upcoming film China Girl, Hipp landed the role and a decades long collaboration was born as he became a mainstay in Ferrara’s core group of actors that includes Christopher Walken, Harvey Keitel and Willem Dafoe. It was during filming of “China Girl” in Little Italy that Hipp wrote the song “Midnight For You” that would be used as the films end credit theme song and mark his first published track.
Hipp then co-starred in the off-Broadway show A Minor Incident with legendary songwriter Carole King, who was making her stage acting debut in the play. During a break in rehearsal Paul played “Midnight For You”. King later credited this song for inspiring her to come out of musical retirement. The two started writing songs together and King could often be found sitting in with Hipp at his gigs on Bleeker Street. The two collaborated on songs for her Capitol Records release City Streets, including the song "I Can't Stop Thinking About You", which Hipp co-wrote and plays guitar and performs backing vocals on. A tour followed the LP release which featured Hipp joining King onstage for a duet on "I Can't Stop Thinking About You”. It was on stage with Carole King at London's Royal Albert Hall that Hipp was spotted by the producers of a new West End musical Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story.
Hipp was invited to stay in London to audition for the role of rock legend Buddy Holly. He beat out hundreds of other hopefuls to land the role. Buddy opened to rave reviews on 12 October 1989, at The Victoria Palace Theater. Hipp's turn in the title role of Buddy Holly earned him a nomination for the Laurence Olivier Award for Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Musical. The following year, Hipp opened as Buddy at Broadway's Shubert Theater in New York. He was nominated for a Tony Award for his performance, as well as winning the Theater World Award for Best Broadway Debut. “Buddy” went on to become one of the most successful and longest running musicals in West End history with each successive ‘Buddy’ staying true to Hipp’s original choreography. Hipp appeared in the films Fathers & Sons, with Jeff Goldblum, and as Jesus Christ opposite Harvey Keitel in Abel Ferrara's Bad Lieutenant, for which he also performed the title song, "Bad Lieutenant" with Ferrara. Hipp also appeared as Gene Vincent opposite Donal Logue (as Eddie Cochran) in the play Be-Bop-A-Lula at Hollywood's famed Theater/Theater before returning to the London stage for the 25th anniversary revival of Hair at the Old Vic, in the role of Berger opposite John Barrowman as Claude. After the show closed Hipp stayed in London, living in Notting Hill, studying painting, writing songs and performing at various venues in and around London.
Subsequent feature film roles include John Woo's Face Off, Waking The Dead with Billy Crudup and Jennifer Connelly, More Dogs Than Bones (in which Hipp and Joe Mantegna play a pair of bungling hit men), and Joe Odom in Clint Eastwood's Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, opposite Kevin Spacey, Jude Law, and John Cusack. TV roles included appearances on many shows and TV pilots. He was a series regular on NBC's Three Sisters, the short-lived ABC remake of Fantasy Island, starring Malcolm McDowell as Mr. Rourke, and an appearance in the 2002/2003 season finale/premiere of ER. In 2000, Hipp made his feature film directorial debut with Death of a Dog, which stars Julie Kessler and Edie Falco and executive produced by Abel Ferrara. Hipp wrote both the script for the film, as well as the soundtrack and score.
In 2005 Paul played the half man-half woman circus performer Bert/Bertha Hagenbach on the second season of the HBO series Carnivàle. In 2006, Hipp was invited by Arianna Huffington to blog for her new venture called The Huffington Post, for which Hipp created satirical musical parodies like his take on Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues" (with Dick Cheney singing about his hunting mishap) and the Beatles' "I Am the Walrus" (a take-off of George W. Bush's "I’m the Decider" quote). Many of the videos created for The Huffington Post became viral sensations and were picked up by major news outlets all over the country. While continuing with occasional parody, Hipp started writing and performing original "blogs"— topical songs sung live in the kitchen to a laptop computer in simple fashion with acoustic guitar a la Woody Guthrie.
Hipp wrote and produced several songs sung by Hilary Duff for the John Cusack and Ben Kingsley vehicle War, Inc.. He co-starred in Two Tickets to Paradise (2006), along with writer/director D. B. Sweeney and John C. McGinley, and Ed Harris and appeared in director Ernst Gossner's South of Pico (2007). He also co-starred in the Showtime pilot Manchild alongside Kevin Smith, John Corbett and James Purefoy. He was guest star on the TV shows Scrubs, CSI: NY, CSI: Miami, The Closer, Without a Trace and Ugly Betty.
Hipp wrote and recorded an album of songs culled from his work for The Huffington Post, called Blog of War. During the U.S. health care debate, a video clip of Hipp's song, We're Number 37 circulated widely via email, YouTube, and other social networking sites and became a viral sensation leading to 'talking head' appearances on several topical shows including MSNBC's "The Dylan Ratigan Show". Paul had a recurring role in the F/X series Terriers. He was reunited with Bad Lieutenant co-star Harvey Keitel for the gangster comedy The Last Godfather.
Hipp continued his long collaboration with director Abel Ferrara, who directed him and Willem Dafoe in 4:44 Last Day on Earth as well as 2015's Welcome to New York starring Gérard Depardieu. Hipp also contributed the opening and closing credit themes to "Welcome To New York".
Hipp guest-starred as guitar-slinging minister Reverend TimTom in the ABC's comedy The Middle from 2009 until 2018. He is currently in post production on the Argentine-American film No Somos Animales (originally titled Dictablanda), in which he costars with John Cusack and Al Pacino. Hipp and Cusack also co-wrote the film with Kevin Morris and director Alejandro Agresti. Other film projects include his ongoing feature documentary Burn Out, which features appearances by John Cusack, Nick Nolte, Larry Clark, Laird Hamilton, and Malcolm McLaren. On the musical front Hipp released a CD of original music called "The Remote Distance" as well as a CD of songs from and inspired by the film "No Somos Animales" called "Buenos Aires" in the fall of 2015.
- China Girl (1987) as Nino
- Liberace: Behind the Music (1988) as Elvis Presley
- Sticky Fingers (1988) as Michael
- Lethal Weapon 3 (1992) as Doctor
- Bad Channels (1992) as Dan O'Dare
- Bad Lieutenant (1992) as Jesus
- Fathers & Sons (1992) as Doogy
- The Last Shot (1993) as Peter Tullis
- The Funeral (1996) as Ghouly
- Another Day in Paradise (1997) as Richard Johnson
- Face/Off (1997) as Fitch
- Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997) as Joe Odom
- Waking the Dead (2000) as Danny Pierce
- Carnivàle (2005) as Bert/Bertha
- Three Sisters (2001–2002) as Elliot
- Teenage Caveman (2002) (TV) as Shaman
- ER (2002) as Craig Turner
- Two Tickets to Paradise (2006) as Jason Klein
- South of Pico (2007) as Comma
- Ugly Betty (2008) as Phil Roth
- Numb3rs (2009) as Gray McClaughlin
- Terriers (2010) as Barry
- The Last Godfather (2010) as Rocco
- The Middle (2010–18) as Reverend Tim-Tom
- 4:44 Last Day on Earth (2011) as Noah
- No Somos Animales (formerly titled Dictablanda, 2013)
- Paul Hipp at Hollywood.com
- Hipp, Paul. "Paul Hipp". Huffington Post. Retrieved 14 December 2011.
- Hipp, Paul (10 September 2009). "We're Number 37!". Huffington Post. Retrieved 14 December 2011.
- Sneider, Jeff (7 March 2011). "John Cusack to star in 'Dictablanda' Thesp also producing film thru his New Crime company". Variety. Retrieved 14 December 2011.
Alejandro Agresti ("The Lake House") directs from a script he co-wrote with Cusack, Morris and Paul Hipp, who co-stars.