Peter Riegert

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Peter Riegert
Peter Riegert 1979.jpg
Peter Riegert in 1979 at the première of The Rose
Born (1947-04-11) April 11, 1947 (age 74)
Alma materThe State University of New York (The University at Buffalo)
OccupationActor, screenwriter, director
Years active1975–present

Peter Riegert (born April 11, 1947) is an American actor, screenwriter and film director, best known for his roles as Donald "Boone" Schoenstein in Animal House (1978), oil company executive "Mac" MacIntyre in Local Hero (1983), pickle store owner Sam Posner in Crossing Delancey (1988), Lt. Mitch Kellaway in The Mask (1994), and glove manufacturer Lou Levov in American Pastoral (2016). He directed the short film By Courier (2000), for which he was nominated along with producer Ericka Frederick for the Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film.

On television, Riegert had a recurring role as crooked Newark Assemblyman and later State Senator Ronald Zellman in seasons three and four of the HBO series The Sopranos (2001–2002), appeared as George Moore in the first season of the FX series Damages (2007), and portrayed Seth Green's father in the comedy series Dads (2013–2014). He was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for his performance in the HBO film Barbarians at the Gate in 1993.

Peter and the writer Cornelia Read Riegert married in 2019 in Central Park’s Shakespeare Garden.


Riegert was born in the Bronx, the son of Lucille, a piano teacher, and Milton Riegert, a food wholesaler.[1] Riegert grew up in Hartsdale, New York, and was raised in a non-observant Jewish household.[2] He graduated from Ardsley High School in 1964 and later from the University at Buffalo. He worked at a number of jobs, including teaching, waiting tables, and as a social worker before settling on acting as a career.

He is married to crime novelist Cornelia Read.



Riegert made his Broadway debut in the musical Dance with Me. Other Broadway credits include The Old Neighborhood, An American Daughter, The Nerd, and Censored Scenes From King Kong. Off-Broadway he has appeared in Road to Nirvana, The Birthday Party, Isn't It Romantic, Sexual Perversity in Chicago, and A Rosen by Any Other Name.


Year Movies As
1978 National Lampoon's Animal House Donald "Boone" Schoenstein
1979 Americathon McMerkin
1979 Chilly Scenes of Winter Sam Magurie
1981 National Lampoon's Movie Madness Jason Cooper
1983 Local Hero MacIntyre
1986 News at Eleven Eric Ross
1987 The Stranger Dr. Harris Kite
1988 Crossing Delancey Sam Posner
1989 W. Eugene Smith: Photography Made Difficult W Eugene Smith
1990 A Shock to the System Robert (Bob) Benham
1991 Oscar Aldo
1991 The Runestone (Fanducci)
1991 The Object of Beauty Lawrence ″Larry″ Oates
1993 Gypsy Herbie
1993 Barbarians at the Gate Peter Cohen
1994 The Mask Lt. Mitch Kellaway
1995 The Infiltrator Rabbi Cooper
1995 An Element of Truth Sidney
1997 Face Down Lieutenant Cooper (Coop)
1997 North Shore Fish Porker
1998 The Baby Dance Richard Luckman
1998 The Scandalous Me: Jacqueline Susann Story Irving Mansfield
2000 Traffic Attorney Michael Adler
2001 Bojangles Marty Forkins
2004 King of the Corner Leo Spivak
2004 Mystery Dance Alan Baker
2009 Love Conquers Paul Mr. Feigenbaum
2010 The Stranger Dr Harris Kildee
2011 The Hit List Bill Grieber
2011 Sholem Aleichem: Laughing in the Darkness (himself)
2011 We Bought a Zoo Delbert McGinty
2013 At Middleton Boneyard Sims
2014 The Walk Alfred Foxman
2016 American Pastoral Lou Levov


Riegert made his television debut in two episodes of M*A*S*H. He has also portrayed Newark Assemblyman and later New Jersey State Senator Ronald Zellman in The Sopranos and defense attorney Chauncey Zeirko in multiple episodes of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. He starred opposite former girlfriend Bette Midler in the television adaptation of Gypsy and was featured in the HBO drama Barbarians at the Gate (which earned him an Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Special), then he starred as composer Jake Rubin (based on real-life composer Irving Berlin) in the 1984 miniseries Ellis Island, the final episode of Seinfeld as the president of NBC and the television movie Back When We Were Grownups, and he voiced the character of Max Weinstein in the controversial episode "When You Wish Upon a Weinstein" of Family Guy. Riegert guest-starred in a Season 2 episode of Leverage as corrupt lawyer Peter Blanchard. In 2011, Riegert began a multi-episode arc on One Tree Hill as August Kellerman, Nathan's unforgiving college professor. Riegert appeared as the character George Moore in Season 1 of Damages. He also appears in a recurring role as Judge Harvey Winter in CBS' The Good Wife. He appeared in Dads as David Sachs, the father of Eli Sachs, played by Seth Green. Riegert also appeared in Seasons 3 and 4 of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. He made a multi-episode guest appearance in the second half of the Netflix original comedy series Disjointed.

Director and writer[edit]

Riegert made his screenwriting and directorial debuts with By Courier, based on a short story by O. Henry. It received an Academy Award nomination for Best Live Action Short Film and won him the Festival Award for Best First Feature at the Marco Island Film Festival.

Riegert also directed and co-wrote King of the Corner, a 2004 film featured at the Newport Film Festival, in which he also starred alongside Isabella Rossellini. It also featured Eric Bogosian, Dominic Chianese, Beverly D'Angelo and Rita Moreno.

Voice work[edit]

Riegert narrated the audiobook of Michael Chabon's The Yiddish Policemen's Union, which was nominated for a 2008 Audie Award in literary fiction. He also narrated the audiobook of The Voyage of the Narwhal, a mid-19th century romance with the Arctic,[3] and also read the stories of Raymond Carver.

He was also the narrator for The First Basket, a documentary film on professional basketball's influence on Jewish culture.[4]


  1. ^ "Peter Riegert Biography (1947-)". Film Reference. Retrieved 15 January 2017.
  2. ^ Fox, Michael (June 3, 2005). "Peter Reigert gives voice to 'bad Jews' in directorial debut". J. The Jewish News of Northern California. Retrieved 17 November 2019. I was aware of being Jewish and I don't mean that in a small way.
  3. ^ "The Voyage of the Narwhal by Andrea Barrett on Audio Download". LearnOutLoud. Retrieved 15 January 2017.
  4. ^ "The Production Team". The First Basket. Retrieved 15 January 2017.

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