Bob Balaban

Birth Place: Chicago, IL, USA

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Bob Balaban BIO

Balaban's first notable role was on stage; he created the role of Linus in the original off-Broadway production of You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown in 1967.

One of his earliest appearances in film was in Midnight Cowboy (1969). In the 1970s, he appeared as Grady Garrett on an episode of Room 222, Orr in Catch-22, Elliot the Organizer in The Strawberry Statement, and the interpreter David Laughlin in the 1977 Steven Spielberg science fiction film Close Encounters of the Third Kind. In 1979, he received a Tony Award nomination for his role in The Inspector General. During the 1980s he appeared in films including Ken Russell's Altered States (1980) and the 1984 2001: A Space Odyssey sequel 2010 (as Dr Chandra, the creator of HAL 9000). He also directed the Randy Quaid horror comedy film Parents, and the Armin Mueller-Stahl drama film The Last Good Time (1994).

Balaban had supporting roles in films such as Absence of Malice, Bob Roberts, Deconstructing Harry, Ghost World, The Majestic, Lady in the Water, and Christopher Guest's Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show, A Mighty Wind, and For Your Consideration.

Balaban appeared in Miami Vice as reporter Ira Stone. In the 1990s, Balaban had a recurring role on the fourth season of Seinfeld as Russell Dalrymple, the fictional president of NBC. He also played Warren Littlefield, a real-world NBC executive, in The Late Shift, about the battle between Jay Leno and David Letterman for NBC's The Tonight Show. His tie to Littlefield continued in 2012 when he read the audiobook of Littlefield's autobiography, Top of the Rock: Inside the Rise and Fall of Must See TV. In 1999, Balaban made a guest appearance in the sitcom Friends as Phoebe Buffay's father Frank in "The One With Joey's Bag". In 2010, Balaban appeared as Judge Clayton Horn, the real-life judge who presided over the obscenity trial of Lawrence Ferlinghetti and City Lights Bookstore in the movie Howl.

In 2001, Balaban produced Gosford Park, for which he received an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture. He also appeared in the movie as Morris Weissman, a Hollywood producer. He appeared in an episode of Entourage as a doctor known for writing prescriptions for medical marijuana. He directed the film Bernard and Doris (2006), starring Susan Sarandon; and also the biopic Georgia O'Keeffe (2009), starring Joan Allen and Jeremy Irons. He has directed several episodes of the Showtime series Nurse Jackie.

In September 2011, he was featured with Morgan Freeman and John Lithgow in the Broadway debut of the play, 8—a staged reenactment of the federal trial that overturned California's Prop 8 ban on same-sex marriage—as Judge Vaughn Walker. The production was held at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre to raise money for the American Foundation for Equal Rights.

In January 2016, Balaban appeared in the short play Milton Bradley by Peter Sagal, for Playing On Air, a non-profit organization that "records short plays [for public radio and podcast] written by top playwrights and performed by outstanding actors."

In early 2021, Balaban provided the voice of the narrator in The Simpsons episode “The Dad-Feelings Limited”.

Bob Balaban Photos


Broadway Revival, 2014

The Prosecutor

Performer [Replacement]


Henry McNeil

Charlie Fox [Replacement]

Nicolai Lvovich Tuzenbach



Lawrence Mumford



Original Off-Broadway Production, 1968
Oak Bainbridge


Borden Eisler

Original Off-Broadway Production, 1967


Bob Balaban Productions

[Off-Broadway, 2012]
[Off-Broadway, 2006]
[Off-Broadway, 2005]
[Off-Broadway, 2003]
[Off-Broadway, 2002]
[Off-Broadway, 1999]

Bob Balaban Movies

[1969]Me, Natalie Morris

[1969]Midnight Cowboy The Young Student - New York

[1970]Catch-22 Orr

[1970]The Strawberry Statement Elliot - Organizer

[1971]Making It Wilkie

[1974]The Bank Shot Victor Karp

[1977]Close Encounters of the Third Kind David Laughlin

[1978]Girlfriends Martin

[1980]Altered States Arthur Rosenberg

[1981]Whose Life Is It Anyway? Carter Hill

[1981]Absence of Malice Elliott Rosen

[1984]2010: The Year We Make Contact Dr. R. Chandra

[1987]End of the Line Warren Gerber

[1989]Dead Bang Elliot Webly

[1989]Parents director

[1990]Alice Sid Moscowitz

[1992]Bob Roberts Michael Janes

[1993]Amos & Andrew Dr. R.A.RoyFink

[1993]For Love or Money Ed Drinkwater

[1994]The Last Good Time producer

[1994]Greedy Ed

[1995]Pie in the Sky Paul Entamen

[1996]Waiting for Guffman Lloyd Miller

[1996]Conversation with the Beast Mr. Webster

[1997]The Definite Maybe Wolfe Rollins

[1997]Clockwatchers Milton Lky

[1997]Deconstructing Harry Richard

[1999]Three to Tango Decker

[1999]Jakob the Liar Kowalsky

[1999]Natural Selection Dr. William Powell

[1999]Cradle Will Rock Harry Hopkins

[2000]Best in Show Dr. Theodore W. Millbank, III

[2001]Ghost World Enid's Dad

[2001]Gosford Park Morris Weissman

[2001]The Majestic Elvin Clyde

[2001]Plan B James Foster

[2001]The Mexican Bernie Nayman

[2003]A Mighty Wind Jonathan Steinbloom

[2004]Scene Stealers Jonathan Crouch Esq.

[2004]Marie and Bruce Roger

[2005]Capote William Shawn

[2006]For Your Consideration Philip Koontz

[2006]Lady in the Water Harry Farber

[2007]Dedication Arthur Planck

[2007]No Reservations Therapist

[2009]Rage Mr. White

[2010]Howl Judge Clayton Horn

[2011]Thin Ice Leonard Dahl

[2011]A Monster in Paris Pâté

[2012]Moonrise Kingdom The Narrator

[2012]Girl Most Likely Maxwell P. Duncan

[2013]Fading Gigolo Sol

[2014]The Grand Budapest Hotel M. Martin

[2014]The Monuments Men Preston Savitz

[2016]Mascots Sol Lumpkin

[2016]I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House Mr. Waxcap

[2018]An L.A. Minute Shelly

[2018]Isle of Dogs King

[2021]The French Dispatch Uncle Nick

Bob Balaban TV Shows

Broad City Arthur Wexler

Condor Reuel Abbott

Girls Dr. Rice

Miami Vice Ira Stone

Mod Squad Tony, Walter

Seinfeld Russell Dalrymple

The Good Wife Gordon Higgs

Bob Balaban Awards and Nominations

Bob Balaban Videos

Bob Balaban News

BEDLAM Announces Cast of ARCADIA By Tom Stoppard

The critically acclaimed New York theatre company BEDLAM will present ARCADIA By Tom Stoppard this fall, off-Broadway at the West End Theater (263 W 86th Street).  Directed by Eric Tucker (BEDLAM Artistic Director), ARCADIA begins previews on October 27, 2023. The strictly limited 5-week engagement opens on November 12, 2023.

Cast Set for Tom Stoppard's ARCADIA at BEDLAM

Immerse yourself in BEDLAM's captivating production of ARCADIA by Tom Stoppard. Don't miss the chance to witness this theatrical masterpiece at the Boston Theatre from November 1st to November 30th.

Jordan E. Cooper, Michael R. Jackson, Christine Toy Johnson & More Named to 2023-2024 Tony Awards Nominating Committee

The Tony Awards Administration Committee has revealed the Nominating Committee for the 2023-2024 Broadway season.

Jeffrey Carlson, Star of TABOO and THE GOAT, Has Passed Away at 48

According to various reports, Jeffrey Carlson, best known for originating the role of Marilyn in TABOO and Billy in Edward Albee's THE GOAT on Broadway, has passed away. He was 48.

POPCORN FALLS Opens Penguin Rep Theatre's 45th Season

Popcorn Falls, a zany new comedy by James Hindman, kicks off Penguin Rep Theatre's 45th season starting Friday, May 5.

Penguin Rep Theatre Announces 2023 Season

Penguin Rep Theatre, under the leadership of Joe Brancato, founding Artistic Director, and Andrew M. Horn, Executive Director, has announced its 2023 season -- the professional company's 45th -- will kick off April 14.

Edie Falco Will Lead Workshop Readings of BRAT Directed by Bob Balaban

Penguin Rep Theatre and Veterans Repertory Theater have announced multiple workshop readings of Brat, a new play by Army veteran Jason Pizzarello. The readings take place at Penguin Rep Theatre in Stony Point, NY from April 14-16.

Photos: On the Red Carpet at Opening Night of LIFE OF PI

Lolita Chakrabarti's stage adaptation of Yann Martel's best-selling novel Life of Pi opened last night, Thursday, March 30, at Broadway's Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre. Check out photos from the opening night red carpet!

Tony Shalhoub & Johanna Day Will Lead Reading of Rob Sedgwick's PLEASE LEAVE

Rob Sedgwick and Tony Award-Winning Actor Anthony Crivello have announced that they will present a private industry reading of Mr. Sedgwick's new play Please Leave. Directed by Bob Balaban, the reading will feature Emmy and Tony Award-Winning actor Tony Shalhoub, David Rasche, Clark Johnson, and Tony Award-Nominee Johanna Day. 

Holiday Cabaret Fundraiser Will Raise Funds To Save Historic Theatre 80 In East Village

Actors, singers and dancers dedicated to saving the historic Theatre 80 in the East Village will perform in a Holiday Cabaret Fundraiser on Monday, December 19, 2022 at 9 p.m. at 80 St. Marks Place, NY, NY 10003. All proceeds go to the Save Theatre 80 Fund. Tickets are $20 at the door and $25 in advance via Venmo @SaveTheater80Showcase.

Photo: New 80 FOR BRADY Film Poster Released

The poster for 80 FOR BRADY has been released, featuring Rita Moreno and Billy Porter! 80 FOR BRADY is inspired by the true story of four best friends living life to the fullest when they take a wild trip to the 2017 Super Bowl LI. It also stars Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, Sally Field, Harry Hamlin, Guy Fieri, and more. Check out the photo of the poster now!

VIDEO: Watch Rita Moreno, Billy Porter & More in the 80 FOR BRADY Trailer

The trailer for 80 FOR BRADY has been released, featuring Rita Moreno and Billy Porter! 80 FOR BRADY is inspired by the true story of four best friends living life to the fullest when they take a wild trip to the 2017 Super Bowl LI. It also stars Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, Sally Field, Harry Hamlin, Guy Fieri, and more. Watch the video trailer now!

Audible and Broadway Video to Present New Slate of Star-Studded Scripted Comedy Podcasts

Audible Inc. has announced a new slate of original comedy podcasts with longtime collaborators, Broadway Video Enterprises. In addition to new originals, Audible greenlit the second season of the hit Audible Original, Hot White Heist.

Theatre 80 St. Marks Owners Fight to Keep Venue After Being Told to Vacate By August

Downtown theatre staple, Theatre 80 St. Marks, is facing an uncertain future as its owners face eviction this summer. 

Pasadena Playhouse to Present 'In Conversation: Cecile Richards & Holland Taylor'

Pasadena Playhouse begins performances of the West Coast premiere of Ann – written by and starring Holland Taylor and directed by Benjamin Endsley Klein March 22, with performances continuing through April 24. 

ANN Makes its West Coast Premiere at Pasadena Playhouse in March

Pasadena Playhouse presents the West Coast premiere of Ann – written by and starring Holland Taylor and directed by Benjamin Endsley Klein from March 22 through April 24; the press opening is Saturday, March 26. 

Bay Street Theater & Sag Harbor Center for the Arts Will Kick Off Holiday Silent Auction on November 21

Bay Street Theater & Sag Harbor Center for the Arts has announced its Holiday Silent Auction begins Sunday, November 21, and continues through Thursday, December 2. Items will be available for bidding 24 hours a day, each day, by visiting the auction link at Registration is required. For more information, contact Director of Development, Kim Fink, at  

Victor Garber to be Honored at SHOW UP FOR SCIENCE Event, Featuring Jane Krakowski, Tony Shalhoub, Jesse Williams & More

The 2021 New York Stem Cell Foundation Gala & Science Fair SHOW UP FOR SCIENCE will occur virtually on Tuesday, October 5 at 7pm EST. The Gala & Science Fair will feature the latest updates and breakthroughs in stem cell research, bringing the world of the NYSCF Research Institute laboratories to life via a multi-platform digital experience.

Photos: See Nathan Lane, Matthew Broderick, Sierra Boggess, Melissa Errico & More at STROMAN PRESENTS!

This past weekend Guild Hall turned the theater on its head with Stroman Presents! – a three-day Broadway lover’s delight. On Friday, Stro took the stage of the John Drew Theater with Nathan Lane, Matthew Broderick and Brad Oscar to talk about the production and perform a couple of the beloved musical numbers.

CONDOR Season Two Premieres Nov. 7 on EPIX

In addition to Irons,  Condor  season two also stars Constance Zimmer, Alexei Bondar, Isidora Goreshter, Eric Johnson, Toby Leonard Moore, Jonathan Kells Phillips and Rose Rollins, with Kristen Hager and Bob Balaban returning from season one.  


Bob Balaban has appeared on Broadway in 5 shows.

Bob Balaban has not appeared in the West End

Bob Balaban has been nominated for several awards throughout his career. He was nominated for a Unique Theatrical Experience award at The Lortels for his work in the play "The Exonerated." Additionally, he received a nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play at the Tony Awards for his performance in "The Inspector General."

Bob Balaban has won the Unique Theatrical Experience award at The Lortels for his work in The Exonerated.

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