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Ron Leibman Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (2)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (2)  | Trade Mark (1)  | Trivia (11)  | Personal Quotes (6)

Overview (2)

Born in New York City, New York, USA
Height 5' 10½" (1.79 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Ron Leibman was born on October 11, 1937 in New York City, New York, USA. He is an actor and writer, known for Zorro: The Gay Blade (1981), Garden State (2004) and Kaz (1978). He has been married to Jessica Walter since June 26, 1983. He was previously married to Linda Lavin.

Spouse (2)

Jessica Walter (26 June 1983 - present)
Linda Lavin (7 September 1969 - 4 August 1981) ( divorced)

Trade Mark (1)

Drawling nasal voice

Trivia (11)

He created and co-wrote his own short-lived TV series Kaz (1978) as a convict-turned-lawyer.
Won Broadway's 1993 Tony Award as Best Actor (Play) for Tony Kushner's "Angels In America: Millennium Approaches."
Faculty member in the Acting Department for The New School for Drama in NYC.
Stepfather of Brooke Bowman.
Second husband of Jessica Walter.
Brother-in-law of Richard Walter.
First husband of Linda Lavin.
He was awarded the 1993 Antoinette Perry (Tony) Award for Best Actor in a Play for "Angels in America Part One Millennium Approaches," on Broadway in New York City.
Kathleen Chalfant, K. Todd Freeman, Jeffrey King, Cynthia Mace, Joe Mantello, Ellen McLaughlin, Stephen Spinella and he were awarded the 1992 Drama Logue Award for Ensemble Performance for "Angels in America" Part One "Millennium Approaches" and Part Two: "Perestroika" in a Gordon Davidson/Mark Taper Forum production at the Mark Taper Forum Theatre in Los Angeles, California.
He was awarded the 1993 New York Drama Desk Award for Best Actor in a Play for "Angels in America Part One Millennium Approaches," on Broadway in New York City.
Appeared on the cover of TV Guide #1337, November 11, 1978. as the star CBS's "Kaz". This issue is also famous for an advertisement introducing The Star Wars Holiday Special (1978).

Personal Quotes (6)

[2011, on Slaughterhouse-Five (1972)] I was only around for our section of that movie, the prisoner-of-war section. The Dresden section, the bombing of Dresden. Like the novel, the movie's in different parts, and part of it's on the planet Tralfamadore, and part of it's back in Minneapolis. What I remember is that we were playing prisoners of war, we actors, and we were in Prague, which was then run by Russians. The Soviet Union was in control of Czechoslovakia then, so we were in an occupied country playing prisoners of war. For us actors, it added a reality that you never could make up, because there were Russian troops around, watching, and despised by the locals. That was the atmosphere of making the film, and it was very sad to be around the people of Prague. If you know the history of Czechoslovakia, it was probably one of the more liberal Eastern European countries, and still is. I don't know if you've ever been to Prague, but if you ever have the chance, go. It's an extraordinarily beautiful city. The reason why George Roy Hill, the director, used Prague, is because it was a sister city, architecturally, to Dresden. Because there was no Dresden anymore. It was wiped out. So we used Prague as Dresden. It was, for me, quite an education, I'll tell you.
[2011, on Zorro: The Gay Blade (1981)] Dear George Hamilton. We really did have an awfully good time making that. Dancing with George was one of the highlights of my life. We worked on the dueling stuff together for several weeks before we went down to Mexico. The whole thing was shot in Mexico, including a Mexican studio in Mexico City. We had a lovely time...I didn't know George Hamilton, but what I knew was that image we all have of him, the Hollywood suntan guy. He's a very sophisticated guy, which surprised me - and a big Lenny Bruce fan, as I am. So he was very different than what I thought he was going to be. We had a lot in common, including loving Lenny Bruce, but we became good friends, which was a surprise. I thought he was going to be a Hollywood guy, and he wasn't at all. He was too smart for that. Very smart guy.
[2011, on his reoccurring role as "Dr. Leonard Green" on Friends (1994)] They're still on, those things. It's quite amazing. It's like, "Ah, God, there I am again!" The thing I can say about that is I had never seen the show when they asked me to do it. I'm not a big television-watcher. It sounded stupid to me, so I turned it down. And my daughter, then, who was of that age, said, "No, you have to do it, you have to do it! I love that show, and I want to meet those kids". She had to meet those kids. I said, "All right. I'll do it. I'll do it once, but that's all I'm doing". So I did, and had a very nice time, and they asked me back, and my daughter did get to meet those kids, so I was a big hero in the house. It's amazing, the power of the tube. I've done all this body of work, and they say, "Oh yes, Rachel's father". I go, "Give me a break."...He was nasty, which made it more fun. Nice guys are boring. I don't mean in real life. As an actor, those characters are boring. I loved that he was difficult, particularly to the Ross character, David Schwimmer's character. Most of my stuff was with Jennifer Aniston and David, which was terrific, because I really like them both. I didn't have much to do with the other people. But when I first came on, I didn't know who was who, because I'd never seen the show. So I started talking to Lisa Kudrow, thinking she was Jennifer Aniston. I had no idea. This was the second year of Friends (1994), or maybe the end of the first year. They weren't the huge stars that they became later. I had no idea who was who. But they were kind enough to point me in the right direction. Pathetic, I know.
[2011, on Night Falls on Manhattan (1996)] Oh, to be able to work with Sidney Lumet! Dear departed Sidney, recently departed Sidney. I had always wanted to work with Sidney, because so many friends had, including my wife, Jessica Walter, who did two movies with Sidney: The Group (1966), and something called Bye Bye Braverman (1968). Early films of his. But everything I'd heard about Sidney was true. We did rehearse for two weeks, which is quite unusual in film, and he really gave you a chance to work on it like a play. And it's a great role. I love that role. He had seen me in "Angels In America" and said, "I got a part for you". And I said, "Yeah, sure". Directors always say that. Then a year later, sure enough, he did have a part for me. I love the role. Terrific character. I love working with Andy Garcia. You know, James Gandolfini was in that before he was a big star. But he was wonderful in the film. Ian Holm, Richard Dreyfuss - it was a really good cast.
[2011, on Rhinestone (1984)] To be rigorously honest with you, the script that I was sent was not the script that we wound up shooting, much to my chagrin. The script that I was sent was rather funny. The script when I got there, I think Sylvester Stallone had rewritten it, and it was no longer the script I had signed for. I did like Dolly Parton enormously, as probably anyone you ever speak to who knows her will say. She became a friend. I'm basically a theater person, and whenever I was in a play, there'd be Dolly. Whenever she was in New York, she'd come backstage. She was terrific, is a terrific lady.
[2011, on Kaz (1978)] Short-lived, well-remembered...I got an Emmy, and the show was canceled two weeks later. What a business, huh? I really don't understand this business. I've stopped trying to figure it out. It was a very urban show, and I think they wanted it to be more suburban for their viewership. My question was, "Why the hell did you pay for the thing in the first place? You knew what it was about. You saw the pilot. It was always a big-city show". I didn't know much about television then, because I was a theater actor who had been snatched up and taken out there. And, suddenly, I was on this television show, which I'd helped write. I was a co-writer. It was my idea, basically, a guy who had been in prison and then gets out and joins a law firm. A man haunted by his past. A sort of Les Misérables theme. I had no idea if it was going to be successful or not, but when it went on the air and I saw the commercials, they were for trucks. And I said, "Wait a minute, the audience watching this show ain't buying trucks". I thought we might've been in the wrong place-and sure enough, that was true. I learned a lot, very quickly. When I went out there, I didn't know anything.

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