Rainn Dietrich Wilson
January 20, 1966
|Education||University of Washington (BFA)|
New York University (MFA)
|Occupation||Actor, comedian, writer, producer|
Rainn Dietrich Wilson (born January 20, 1966) is an American actor, comedian, writer, and producer. He is best known for his role as Dwight Schrute on the NBC sitcom The Office, for which he earned three consecutive Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series.
A native of Seattle, Wilson began acting at the University of Washington, and later worked in theatre in New York City after graduating in 1986. Wilson made his film debut in Galaxy Quest (1999), followed by supporting parts in Almost Famous (2000), Steven Soderbergh's Full Frontal (2002), and House of 1000 Corpses (2003). He also had a recurring part as Arthur Martin in the HBO series Six Feet Under from 2003 to 2005. Since 2018, he has starred as Trevor on the CBS sitcom Mom.
Wilson was cast as Dwight Schrute in The Office in 2005, a role which he played until the show's conclusion in 2013. Other film credits include lead roles in the comedies The Rocker (2008) and Super (2010), as well as supporting roles in the horror films Cooties (2014) and The Boy (2015). In 2009, he provided his voice for the computer animated science fiction film Monsters vs. Aliens as the villain Gallaxhar and voiced Gargamel in Smurfs: The Lost Village. More recently, he has played a recurring role on Star Trek: Discovery (2017) as well as a supporting role in The Meg (2018). He is also the voice of Lex Luthor in the DC Animated Movie Universe. In addition to acting, Wilson published an autobiography, The Bassoon King, in November 2015, and also co-founded the digital media company SoulPancake in 2008.
Early life and education
Wilson was born at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle, Washington, the son of Shay Cooper, a yoga teacher and actress, and Robert G. Wilson (1941-2020), a novelist, artist, and business consultant who wrote the science fiction novel Tentacles of Dawn. Wilson is of part Norwegian ancestry. From the ages of three to five, Wilson lived with his father and stepmother, Kristin, in Nicaragua before they returned to Seattle after their divorce. He attended Kellogg Middle School and Shorecrest High School in Shoreline, Washington, where he played the clarinet and bassoon in the school band. He transferred to and graduated from New Trier High School after his family moved to Wilmette, Illinois, to serve at the Baháʼí National Center.
Wilson attended the University of Washington in Seattle, graduating with a bachelor's degree in drama in 1986. He then enrolled in New York University's Graduate Acting Program at the Tisch School of the Arts where he graduated with an MFA in acting and was a member of The Acting Company. While acting in theatrical productions in New York City, he drove a moving van to make ends meet.
Wilson worked extensively in the theater in his early career, performing with the Public Theater, Ensemble Studio Theater, Playwrights Horizons, The Roundabout, and The Guthrie Theater, among others. Wilson played one of the 8 chorus members in Richard Foreman's 1996 production of Suzan-Lori Parks' "Venus". He was nominated for three Helen Hayes Awards for Best Supporting Actor for his work at the Arena Stage.
1997–2004: Early roles
Wilson first appeared onscreen in 1997 in an episode of the soap opera One Life to Live, followed by a supporting role in the television film The Expendables (1999). Wilson made his feature film debut in Galaxy Quest (1999), followed by a minor supporting role in Cameron Crowe's Almost Famous (2000). In 2002, he was cast in a lead role in Rob Zombie's horror film House of 1000 Corpses (2003). Beginning in 2003, Wilson played Arthur Martin, an intern at Fisher & Diaz Funeral Home in HBO's Six Feet Under, earning a Screen Actors Guild award for best drama ensemble for the series. He also had minor roles in America's Sweethearts (2001), and the Melvin van Peebles biopic Baadasssss! (2003). Wilson guest-starred in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Entourage, Monk, Numbers, Charmed, Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job, and Reno 911!.
2005–2013: The Office and recognition
The same year, Wilson was cast as Dwight Schrute, a neurotic office worker in the network series The Office. He was nominated for an Emmy for Best Supporting Actor in 2007, 2008, and 2009. He won two SAG awards for best comedy ensemble on the series. In addition to acting on the series, Wilson also directed three episodes: season 6's "The Cover-Up", season 7's "Classy Christmas", and season 8's "Get the Girl".
On February 24, 2007, Wilson hosted Saturday Night Live, becoming the second cast member from The Office to host (after Steve Carell). During the 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup, Wilson appeared in ads for the 2007 United States women's national soccer team as public relations manager "Jim Mike". In August 2010, Wilson appeared in the music video for Ferraby Lionheart's "Harry and Bess" and Andy Grammer's "Keep Your Head Up" as the "creepy elevator guy".
Wilson starred in the Fox Atomic comedy The Rocker, released on August 20, 2008. In 2009 he lent his voice to DreamWorks Animation film Monsters vs. Aliens, as the villainous alien overlord Gallaxhar, and was featured in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, in which he played a university professor. In 2010, he played the lead role as the unhinged protagonist in Super. In his review of the film, critic Roger Ebert praised Wilson's performance, writing: "[Wilson] never seems to be trying to be funny, and that's a strength," though he faulted the script's material.
For his role of Paul, the bereft father, in Hesher (2011), Roger Ebert said of Rainn in his review: “He has that rare quality in an actor, an uncanny presence. There are a few like him (Jack Nicholson, Christopher Walken, Bill Murray) who need only to look at something to establish an attitude toward it. Yes, they can get worked up, they can operate on high, but their passive essence is the point: dubious, wise, sadly knowledgable[sic], at an angle to the throughline. Other actors could sit on a sofa and watch TV, but Rainn Wilson makes it a statement. A statement of … nothing, which is the point."
2014–present: Continued film and television
In 2014, Wilson had roles in the independent horror comedy Cooties and the thriller The Boy (2015). In the Fox crime-drama Backstrom, Wilson played Everett Backstrom, an offensive, self-destructive detective who is part of a team of eccentric criminologists. The series is based on Leif G. W. Persson's Swedish book series of the same name. Wilson also served as the show's producer. It was cancelled by Fox after 13 episodes. In 2016, he appeared in television as a guest star on Roadies.
In 2017, Wilson voiced the character of Gargamel in the 2017 animated reboot of The Smurfs: The Lost Village for Sony Pictures Animation. He also starred in the independent comedy film Permanent as loving and funny father Jim Dickson alongside Patricia Arquette and Kira McLean. The film was directed by Colette Burson and produced by 2929 Entertainment. Wilson starred in Shimmer Lake (2017) for Netflix and The Meg (2018) for Warner Brothers.
Wilson was cast to play Harry Mudd in Star Trek: Discovery and directed the Star Trek: Short Treks The Escape Artist. Wilson has voiced Lex Luthor in the most recent animated Superman movies from DC, including The Death of Superman, Reign of the Supermen, and Batman: Hush.
In 2019, Wilson appeared in the independent drama Blackbird, opposite Susan Sarandon and Kate Winslet, and in the independent thriller Don't Tell A Soul, opposite Jack Dylan Grazer and Fionn Whitehead. Wilson was cast as a series regular opposite John Cusack and Sasha Lane in the new Amazon Original Series Utopia, as virologist Dr. Michael Sterns.On October 10, 2019 he was featured in a 30 minute YouTube documentary created by SoulPancake in collaboration with Funny or Die wherein a variety of comedians discuss mental health called Laughing Matters. He was cast as the villain in the upcoming animated film Hitpig. In 2020, Wilson was an executive producer and narrated the Netflix documentary series We Are the Champions.
Wilson founded the website and YouTube channel SoulPancake. The website was originally coded by the company ThinkBrilliant, led by Aviv Hadar. Wilson and Hadar fell into a dispute which led to two years of litigation, which was resolved in December 2011 with a settlement and a statement by Wilson putting the matter to rest. As of February 20, 2019 the channel has over 3 million subscribers, and over 557 million video views. SoulPancake has been featured on Oprah Winfrey's Satellite Radio Show and Super Soul Sunday. The tagline of the brand is: "We make stuff that matters." They were named one of Fast Company's 10 Most Innovative Companies in Video for 2015. More recently, SoulPancake was ranked No. 114 on the 2015 Inc. 500 Fastest-Growing Private Companies in America List. In October 2016, it was purchased by Participant Media.
He co-wrote the New York Times bestseller SoulPancake: Chew on Life's Big Questions and wrote a humorous memoir about his personal life, career and faith called The Bassoon King that was published in November 2015.
Wilson is a climate change advocate and visited Greenland in 2019 with Arctic Basecamp whose Advisory Board he also serves on. During his Greenland trip Wilson made a documentary “The Idiot’s Guide to Climate Change” which is available to stream online.
In 2021 Wilson created the comedy audio series Dark Air with Terry Carnation, in which he also voices the title character.
Wilson is married to writer Holiday Reinhorn. The couple met in an acting class at the University of Washington; Reinhorn had relocated to Seattle to attend the university from her native Portland, Oregon. The couple married on the Kalama River in Washington in 1995, and have a son, named Walter, born in 2004. They have a home outside of Sisters, Oregon and a house in Los Angeles. They have two pit bulls, Pilot, and Diamond; two Vietnamese pot-bellied pigs, Snortington and Amy; a donkey named Chili Beans; as well as a zonkey named Derek. He enjoys playing chess, coming in second place during the online chess tournament PogChamps 3. He and his family are members of the Baháʼí Faith. He hosts a podcast for the Baháʼí blog called the Baháʼí Blogcast, where he interviews notable people about the intersection of their faith and their work. He is also the voice of Terry Carnation on Payne Lindsey's podcast Radio Rental. 
Wilson's charitable works include fundraising for the Mona Foundation, a charity operating in developing countries. In 2013, along with Dr Kathryn Adams, he co-founded Lidè Haiti, an educational initiative that uses the arts and literacy to empower adolescent girls in rural Haiti. They currently work in 13 locations with over 500 girls, providing scholarships to many of them. In 2018, Wilson stated he had adopted a vegan diet since adopting pigs.
|2000||Almost Famous||David Felton|
|2001||America's Sweethearts||Dave O'Hanlon|
|2003||House of 1000 Corpses||Bill Hudley|
|2005||The Life Coach||Dr. Watson Newmark|
|2006||My Super Ex-Girlfriend||Vaughn Haige|
|2007||The Last Mimzy||Larry White|
|2008||The Rocker||Robert 'Fish' Fishman|
|2009||Monsters vs. Aliens||Gallaxhar (voice)|
|2009||Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen||Professor Colan||Cameo|
|2010||The New Recruits||Narrator|
|2010||Super||Frank Darbo / The Crimson Bolt||Also executive producer|
|2010||Peep World||Joel Meyerwitz|
|2013||The Stream||Adult Ernest|
|2015||The Boy||William Colby||Nominated – Fangoria Chainsaw Award for Best Supporting Actor|
|2016||Army of One||Agent Simons|
|2017||Smurfs: The Lost Village||Gargamel (voice)|
|2017||Shimmer Lake||Andy Sikes|
|2018||The Death of Superman||Lex Luthor (voice)|
|2018||The Meg||Jack Morris|
|2018||Where in the Hell is the Lavender House?||Executive producer, documentary of prank caller Longmont Potion Castle|
|2019||Reign of the Supermen||Lex Luthor (voice)|
|2019||Brightburn||Frank Darbo / The Crimson Bolt||Cameo (photograph only)|
|2019||Batman: Hush||Lex Luthor (voice)|
|2020||Justice League Dark: Apokolips War||Lex Luthor (voice)|
|2020||Don't Tell a Soul||Hamby|
|2020||Don't Look Back||George Reed||Cameo|
Also known as Good Samaritan
|1997||One Life to Live||Casey Keegan|
|2000||Road Rules: Maximum Velocity Tour||Roadmaster||Uncredited|
|2001||Charmed||Kierkan||Episode: "Coyote Piper"|
|2001||When Billie Beat Bobby||Dennis Van De Meer||Movie|
|2001||Dark Angel||Phil||Episode: "I and I Am a Camera"|
|2001||CSI: Crime Scene Investigation||Guy in Supermarket||Episode: "The Strip Strangler"|
|2002||Law & Order: Special Victims Unit||Janitor||Episode: "Waste"|
|2003||Monk||Walker Browning||Episode: "Mr. Monk Goes to the Ballgame"|
|2003–2005||Six Feet Under||Arthur Martin||13 episodes|
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
|2005||Numb3rs||Martin Grolsch||Episode: "Vector"|
|2005||Entourage||R. J. Spencer||Episode: "I Love You Too"|
|2005–2013||The Office||Dwight Schrute||9 seasons (201 episodes)|
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series (2006–07)
Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series (2007–09)
Nominated – Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series (2008–12)
|2007||Saturday Night Live||Host||Episode: "Rainn Wilson/Arcade Fire"|
|2008||Tim and Eric Nite Live!||The Psychic||Episode: "1.8"|
|2008; 2010||Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!||Various||5 episodes|
|2009||Reno 911!||Calvin Robin Tomlinson||Episode: "Digging with the Murderer"|
|2010||Family Guy||Dwight Schrute (voice)||Episode: "Excellence in Broadcasting"|
|2012||Rove LA||Himself||Episode: "Rainn Wilson/Sarah Wayne/The Miz"|
|2013||The High Fructose Adventures of Annoying Orange||Dr. Po (voice)||Episode: "Orange James Orange"|
|2013||Comedy Bang! Bang!||Himself||Episode: "Rainn Wilson Wears a Short Sleeved Plaid Shirt & Colorful Sneakers"|
|2013||Arcade Fire in Here Comes The Night Time||Greeter; stage crew member||NBC special|
|2014–2018||Adventure Time||Rattleballs / Peacemaster (voices)||4 episodes|
|2015||Backstrom||Detective Everett Backstrom||13 episodes|
|2016||Roadies||Bryce Newman||Episode: "The Bryce Newman Letter"|
|2017||Star Trek: Discovery||Harry Mudd||Recurring role (2 episodes)|
|2018||Room 104||Jim Herbers||Episode: "Mr. Mulvahill"|
|2019||Star Trek: Short Treks||Harry Mudd / Harry Mudd (androids)||Also director; Episode: "The Escape Artist"|
|2019–21||Mom||Dr. Trevor Wells||9 episodes|
|2020||Solar Opposites||Mouse Milk Farmer||Episode: "Terry and Korvo Steal a Bear"|
|2020||Home Movie: The Princess Bride||Fezzik||Upcoming|
|2020||Utopia||Michael Stearns||8 episodes|
|2020||We Are The Champions||Narrator||Executive Producer|
|2021||The Rookie||Himself||Season 3, Episode 7: "True Crime"|
|2009||Monsters vs. Aliens||Gallaxhar|
- Rainn Wilson. Soul Pancake. 2010. Hatchette Books, ISBN 978-1401310332
- Rainn Wilson. The Bassoon King. 2016. Dutton, ISBN 978-0-525-95453-8
- Estudillo, Terry (May 22, 2006). "From Shorecrest "loser" to "The Office" poser". The Seattle Times. Archived from the original on March 22, 2016. Retrieved February 22, 2017.
- Rainn showed the book and read from it on Jimmy Kimmel Live! March 22, 2011.
- "Rainn Wilson on Jay Leno". OfficeTally.com. March 19, 2011. Retrieved December 16, 2014.
- Wilson, Rainn (November 7, 2011). "Episode #225". WTF Podcast (Interview). Interviewed by Marc Maron.
- "Rainn Wilson on Myspace". Myspace.com. Retrieved March 23, 2011.
- "NYU Graduate Acting Alumni". 2011. Retrieved December 8, 2011.
- Chung, Wing (March 1, 2006). "The B.J. Novak Interview". Television Without Pity. Archived from the original on May 18, 2011.
- "Rainn Wilson leaves cubicle for the big screen". NBC News. Retrieved November 2, 2010.
- Evans, Greg (May 3, 1996). "Venus Joseph Papp Public Theater's Martinson Hall, N.Y.; 195 Seats; $ 30". Variety. Retrieved March 23, 2021.
- "Rainn Storm". The Chicago Tribune. March 23, 2007. Retrieved February 22, 2017.
- Locker, Melissa (July 18, 2013). "Five Fun Facts About Rob Zombie's House of 1000 Corpses". IFC.com. Retrieved December 29, 2016.
- "Rainn Wilsons Talks About Entourage!". Entourage The Blog. July 17, 2008.
- "Story Notes for Sahara". AMC.com. Retrieved February 26, 2017.
- Berg, Katie Wilson (November 9, 2015). "Rainn Wilson on Art, Faith and Keeping Dwight Schrute Alive (Q&A)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 22, 2017.
- Adler, Shawn (May 28, 2008). "Rainn Wilson Says He'd Trade Acting For Drumming In 'A Heartbeat'". MTV. Retrieved December 22, 2016.
- "Monsters vs Aliens (2009)". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved November 2, 2010.
- Ebert, Roger (April 6, 2011). "Super Movie Review". The Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved February 22, 2017.
- Ebert, Roger. "Hesher Movie Review & Film Summary (2011) | Roger Ebert". www.rogerebert.com. Retrieved August 28, 2017.
- "The Boy". Dread Central. March 2013.
- "Rainn Wilson's Next Show is a CBS Crime-Drama Called Backstrom". Splitsider. March 2013.
- Petski, Denise (May 8, 2015). "'Backstrom' Cancelled By Fox". Deadline. Retrieved October 18, 2016.
- Gettell, Oliver (June 15, 2015). "Demi Lovato, Rainn Wilson to 'Get Smurfy' in Sony reboot". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 30, 2016.
- "Permanent". Magnolia Pictures International.
- Pedersen, Erik (August 18, 2016). "Rainn Wilson Joins Jason Statham In Prehistoric-Shark Tale 'Meg'". Deadline. Retrieved October 18, 2016.
- N'Duka, Amanda (January 11, 2019). "Rainn Wilson, Mena Suvari, Fionn Whitehead, Jack Dylan Grazer Topline 'Don't Tell A Soul' Thriller". Deadline. Retrieved September 4, 2019.
- Comedians Tackling Depression & Anxiety Makes Us Feel Seen | Laughing Matters | Documentary, retrieved October 30, 2019
- Fleischer, Matthew (June 1, 2010). "Next Tech: I'm With Aviv". Fast Company.
- Rogoway, Mike (December 16, 2011). "Rainn Wilson, star of 'The Office,' settles bitter legal dispute with Portland software company Think Brilliant". The Oregonian.
- Wilson, Rainn (December 23, 2011). "Statement by Rainn Wilson Pursuant to Litigation Resolution". ThinkBrilliant.
- "Rainn Wilson on Oprah's Radio Show". Oprah.com. March 9, 2009.
- "SoulPancake: Number 114 on the 2015 Inc. 5000". Inc.com. Retrieved October 18, 2016.
- Rainey, James (October 13, 2016). "Participant Media Acquires Rainn Wilson's SoulPancake". Variety. Retrieved October 19, 2016.
- Villarreal, Yvonne (November 12, 2015). "Rainn Wilson gets spiritual in his memoir 'The Bassoon King,' and Dwight Schrute has something to say about it". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 17, 2016.
- "Rainn Wilson on Instagram: "Meet Diamond. She's what we call a "foster fail". Me & @HolidayReinhorn were going to temporarily host her until we found a home for her…"". Instagram.
- "Rainn Wilson Imagines Dwight in a Pandemic". YouTube. The Late Late Show with James Corden. Retrieved September 18, 2020.
- "From A Weirdo Nerd To A Guy Who Plays One On TV". npr.com. November 27, 2015. Retrieved November 30, 2015.
- Winters Keegan, Rebecca (March 8, 2007). "Rainn Wilson". Time Magazine. Retrieved August 24, 2008.
Did being of the Baháʼí faith help you understand the spirituality? As a Baháʼí, I believe in all the spiritual beliefs: Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity.
- "Rainn Wilson Feeds The Internet Soul Pancakes: Online Video News «". Newteevee.com. March 11, 2009. Retrieved March 23, 2011.
- "Rainn Wilson talks about Hollywood, his family and the Bahaʼi Faith". Bahá’í World News Service. May 24, 2007.
- "Introducing Baha'i Blog's New Podcast: The Baha'i Blogcast with Rainn Wilson". Baha'i Blog. Half Light Media. June 26, 2016. Retrieved October 19, 2016.
- "Charity's work aligns with Rainn Wilson's faith". NBC News.
- Zumberge, Marianne (December 10, 2014). "Rainn Wilson Pays It Forward With Haitian Arts Program". Variety. Retrieved October 19, 2016.
- Murray-Ragg, Nadia (December 2, 2017). "Rainn Wilson Confirms He Went Vegan As He Loves Pigs More Than Bacon". Livekindly. Retrieved August 18, 2019.
- Vejvoda, Jim (March 27, 2019). "Batman: Hush Movie – Exclusive First Look Photo and Voice Cast News". IGN. Retrieved March 27, 2019.
- Starner, Nina (June 26, 2020). "Quibi just announced a Princess Bride remake you never expected to see". Looper.com. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
- Flook, Ray (February 28, 2021). "The Rookie S03 Goes 'True Crime': Rainn Wilson, Celebrity Cults & More/website=Bleedingcool.com". Retrieved March 2, 2021.