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Nathan Lane

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Also Known As: Joseph Lane, Joe Lane Died:
Born: February 3, 1956 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Jersey City, New Jersey, USA Profession: actor, singer, delivered singing telegrams, pollster, bail interviewer

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A renowned veteran of both stage and screen, actor Nathan Lane established himself both off-Broadway and on the Great White Way as a multi-talented performer capable of essaying roles in comedies, dramas and musicals. Following a breakthrough performance opposite the great George C. Scott in "Present Laughter" (1982), Lane became known after touring in Neil Simon's "Broadway Bound" (1987). As a result, he began making strides in television and film, appearing in "Ironweed" (1987) and "Joe Versus the Volcano" (1990) while continuing to excel on the stage; particularly in roles crafted by playwright and friend Terrence McNally. Despite parts in several high-profile features, including "He Said, She Said" (1991) and "Addams Family Values" (1993), Lane made his film breakthrough voicing an animated, scene-stealing meerkat in "The Lion King" (1994). His Tony Award win for "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" was followed by perhaps his most recognizable role, playing a flamboyant drag queen stepfather opposite Robin Williams in "The Birdcage" (1996). After affirming suspicions that he was gay following the murder of Matthew Shepard in 1998, Lane went on to enjoy enormous Broadway success...

A renowned veteran of both stage and screen, actor Nathan Lane established himself both off-Broadway and on the Great White Way as a multi-talented performer capable of essaying roles in comedies, dramas and musicals. Following a breakthrough performance opposite the great George C. Scott in "Present Laughter" (1982), Lane became known after touring in Neil Simon's "Broadway Bound" (1987). As a result, he began making strides in television and film, appearing in "Ironweed" (1987) and "Joe Versus the Volcano" (1990) while continuing to excel on the stage; particularly in roles crafted by playwright and friend Terrence McNally. Despite parts in several high-profile features, including "He Said, She Said" (1991) and "Addams Family Values" (1993), Lane made his film breakthrough voicing an animated, scene-stealing meerkat in "The Lion King" (1994). His Tony Award win for "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" was followed by perhaps his most recognizable role, playing a flamboyant drag queen stepfather opposite Robin Williams in "The Birdcage" (1996). After affirming suspicions that he was gay following the murder of Matthew Shepard in 1998, Lane went on to enjoy enormous Broadway success playing the conniving theater producer Max Biayalstock in a musical adaptation of Mel Brooks' 1968 film "The Producers" (2001), which earned the actor his second career Tony Award. Though the 2005 film re-adaptation failed to excite audiences like the long-running Broadway show, Lane nonetheless remained a versatile performer able to transition from stage to screen and back again with considerable ease and the full support from his fans.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
2.
 Astro Boy (2009)
3.
 Swing Vote (2008)
4.
 Trumbo (2007)
5.
 Producers, The (2005) Max Bialystock
6.
 Lion King 1 1/2, The (2004) Voice Timon
7.
 Disney's Teacher's Pet (2004) Voice Of Spot Helperman/Scott Leadready Ii
8.
 Win a Date with Tad Hamilton! (2004) Richard Levy The Driven
9.
10.
 Stuart Little 2 (2002) Voice Of Snowbell
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Skipped college to pursue an acting career in NYC
1976:
Professional acting debut in the play "Jerz"
:
Changed first name from Joe to Nathan after portraying Nathan Detroit in a NYC production of "Guys and Dolls"
1980:
Moved to Los Angeles with friend Patrick Stack; formed the comedy team Stack and Lane
1981:
Made TV acting debut in Jacqueline Susann's "Valley of the Dolls" (CBS)
1982:
Moved back to NYC
1982:
Broadway debut in a revival of Noel Coward's "Present Laughter"
1982:
TV series debut as a regular on NBC's "One of the Boys," starring Mickey Rooney and Dana Carvey
1983:
Made second Broadway appearance as the dimwitted Prince Fergus in the musical "Merlin"
1987:
Feature acting debut, "Ironweed" starring Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep
1987:
Played Stanley in the national tour of Neil Simon's "Broadway Bound"
1988:
Starred in Jon Robin Baitz's play "The Film Society" as a mild-mannered yet ruthless South African schoolteacher
1989:
First big stage hit, playing a gay Maria Callas obsessive in Terrence McNally's "The Lisbon Traviata"
1990:
Acted in revival of Terrence McNally's "Bad Habits"
1991:
Re-teamed with McNally for the off-Broadway hit "Lips Together, Teeth Apart"
1991:
Acted in the film adaptation of McNally's play "Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune"; McNally wrote the part of Michelle Pfeiffer's gay neighbor specifically for him
1991:
Portrayed Death in the Broadway revival of "On Borrowed Time"
1992:
Starred as Nathan Detroit in the Broadway revival of "Guys and Dolls"; earned a Tony nomination for Lead Actor; first stage teaming with Ernie Sabella (who played Harry the Horse)
1993:
Had a cameo role in "Addams Family Values"
1993:
Portrayed Sid Caesar-like Max Prince on Broadway in Neil Simon's "Laughter on the 23rd Floor"
1994:
Offered an excellent turn as a caustic witted gay man coping with HIV and looking for love in McNally's Tony-winning "Love! Valour! Compassion!"; became estranged from McNally when he dropped out of the film version citing "scheduling conflicts"
1994:
Provided character voice for Timon the meerkat in Disney's "The Lion King"
1995:
Had hilarious cameo as a musical comedy loving priest in "Jeffrey"
1995:
Reprised vocals for Timon on the CBS animated series "The Lion King's Timon and Pumbaa"; also voiced Timon for the straight-to-video "The Lion King II: Simba's Pride" (1998)
1995:
Played the Cowardly Lion in the TNT production of "The Wizard of Oz in Concert: Dreams Comes True"
1996:
First starring role, "The Birdcage"; cast as Albert in Mike Nichols' U.S. adaptation of "La cage aux folles" (1978)
1996:
Returned to Broadway as lead in revival of "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum"
1997:
Starred as one of a pair of brothers who become the hapless victims of a rodent in "Mouse Hunt"
1998:
Featured in Jon Robin Baitz's off-Broadway play "Mizlansky/Zilinsky, or the Schmucks"
1998:
Cast as an opera singer who returns to his family's California winery on the NBC sitcom "Encore! Encore!"
1999:
Officially "came out" as a homosexual in interview with Bruce Villanch in <i>The Advocate</i>
1999:
Voiced Snowbell, the fluffy white Persian cat in the commercial blockbuster "Stuart Little"
2000:
Co-starred with Bette Midler in "Isn't She Great," a biopic of author Jacqueline Susann scripted by Paul Rudnick
2000:
Portrayed the clown Costard in Kenneth Brannagh's film version of "Love's Labour's Lost"
2000:
Provided the voice of Spot, a talking canine on the animated Disney series "Teacher's Pet" (ABC)
2000:
Starred in the Roundabout revival of "The Man Who Came to Dinner"
2001:
Reprised role of Max Prince in the Showtime airing of Neil Simon's "Laughter on the 23rd Floor"
2001:
Starred alongside Matthew Broderick in the stage musical adaptation of "The Producers"; played the role of Max Bialystock (originated in the film by Zero Mostel); picked up second Tony Award
2002:
Reprised the voice of the cat Snowbell in the sequel "Stuart Little 2"
2003:
Revisied his role as Max Bialystock on Broadway in "The Producers"
2004:
Again voiced Spot in "Disney's Teacher's Pet: The Movie"
2004:
Portrayed the title character's (Josh Duhamel) agent Richard Levy in "Win A Date With Tad Hamilton"
2005:
Re-teamed with Broderick to play Oscar and Felix in the Broadway revival of "The Odd Couple"; directed by Joe Mantello
2005:
Reprised the role of Max Bialystock in the film version of "The Producers"; earned a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor
2006:
Received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (January)
2006:
Starred on Broadway in the title role of Simon Gray's "Butley"
2007:
Cast as an incumbent U.S. President in the Broadway production of David Mamet's "November"
2008:
Played a Democratic campaign manager in the comedy "Swing Vote"
2009:
Co-starred in Roundabout Theatre Company's Broadway revival of Samuel Beckett's "Waiting for Godot"
2009:
Voiced the greedy ring master Ham Egg in the animated feature "Astro Boy"
2010:
Co-starred with Bebe Neuwirth in "The Addams Family" at Broadway's Lunt-Fontanne Theatre
2010:
Guest starred on ABC's "Modern Family" as the flamboyant friend "Pepper Saltzman"
2012:
Appeared in the fantasy comedy "Mirror Mirror," starring Julia Roberts as the Evil Queen and Lily Collins as Snow White
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

St. Peter's Preparatory High School: Jersey City , New Jersey - 1974
Center For Advanced Film Studies, American Film Institute: - 2010 - 2010

Notes

Question: During "The Birdcage" to-do you were adamantly closemouthed about your personal life. So when Jason Alexander--who played your stage role in the film version of "Love! Valour! Compassion!"--stated in an interview that he was "the first straight man to have played Buzz," were you pissed?

Lane: I was just surprised that that was his way of saying he was straight. . . . as we all know Jason is straight because he just announced it, but I would like to take this opportunity to thank him for clearing up that conundrum, that unsolved mystery wrapped in an enigma that is my sexuality. A nation can now sleep easily. I also said, Look, I'm 40, I'm single and I work in the musical theater--you do the math. What do you need, flashcards?"

--From US, February 1998.

"It's a farce and I play a stereotypical flamboyant--that's a camouflage word for 'effeminate'--kind of character. On the other hand, my character is wonderful and caring and I'm proud to play him. He's like a wounded bird. And I think the fact that there are more movies made about homosexuality, slowly but surely people will say, or at least producers will say, 'It's a part of our lives.' I hope one day that it's not just categorised as a gay film with gay characters but rather a film with human beings with a story to tell." --Lane on "The Birdcage" in Empire, June 1996.

"I had to grow up very fast. My father was an alcoholic, and my mother had to raise three children essentially on her own. So I sort of became the adult and had to deal with the death of my father and help my mother cope. I'm sure that having a sense of humor helped. So did getting involved in theater at school--I'm sure that was my escape. In many ways, if you want to get analytical about it, I'm still living out my childhood. But I don't know where my desire to perform comes from. It's actually a frightening thing, and yet I am driven to do it." --Lane to Brendan Lemon in Interview, March 1996.

"People think they know me because of the plays. There's an expectation that I'm funny, that I'm on. That's one of the reasons I used to drink . . . because of my shyness. I have a very dark, self-destructive side. And that I keep under control." --Lane in USA Today, March 8, 1996.

"I can remember somebody interviewing me when 'Frankie and Johnny' came out, and this persistent interviewer asked me to elaborate on my 'dating' life, and I said, 'Well, I've seen fire and I've seen rain,' and I think that annoyed him. He said, 'Everyone knows you're gay,' and I said, 'So why do I need to talk about it then?' I didn't seem to be keeping it a secret, and I made jokes, and I went out to bars. There were no secrets in that sense. I didn't know I was supposed to make a public declaration. I didn't think anybody cared." --Lane to Bruce Vilanch in The Advocate, February 2, 1999.

"I remember telling my mother [about being gay]. I came out in a relationship. I was living with my mother in Rutherford, NJ, but I was moving in with him. I'd let my mother know I was seeing someone, but she assumed it was a girl. I never lied to her, we were always very honest with each other. I had dealt with her manic-depressive illness and my father's alcoholism, so there weren't any secrets.

"I was feeling good about what was happening, so I felt I could share it with her. 'I know you think it's a girl,' I told her, 'but it's a guy.' The blood drained from her face, and she said [very deeply], 'You mean you're a homosexual?'--why does she suddenly sound like Harvey Fierstein? She's an Irish Catholic woman. 'Well, yes, I guess so.' And she said, 'I would rather you were dead.' I said, 'Well, I knew you'd understand.' And once I got her head out of the oven, everything went fine." --Lane in The Advocate, February 2, 1999.

On the success of "Stuart Little": "When it came out, I thought it was a perfect family film, it's fun and it's smart. So I'm thrilled it's number one. It's better than not number one. It means they made a lot of money and now 'Stuart and Snowbell Go to Vegas', there'll be a lot of that.

"But as an actor, it's not like 'The Talented Mr. Ripley'. I'm the voice of a [expletive] cat. It's disconcerting, after 25 years being an actor, some of the best reviews I've ever gotten--and I'm the voice of a [expletive] cat. Ain't that show business? I just think it's hilarious." --Lane to Stephen Schaefer in Boston Herald, January 25, 2000.

Family close complete family listing

brother:
Dan Lane. Older.

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