skip navigation
Ron Leibman

Ron Leibman

| VIEW ALL

TCM Messageboards
Post your comments here
ADD YOUR COMMENT>

share:

TCM Archive Materials VIEW ALL ARCHIVES (1)

Recent DVDs

 
 

Slaughterhouse-Five DVD Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.'s classic novel begins with the sentence, "Billy Pilgrim has... more info $14.98was $14.98 Buy Now

The Hot Rock DVD This marvelous comedic heist film is a wildly entertaining jaunt. Based on a... more info $14.98was $14.98 Buy Now

A Little Help DVD Jenna Fischer gives "a game-changing performance" (The New York Post) in this... more info $14.98was $14.98 Buy Now

A Little Help Blu-ray MORE > $14.98 Regularly $14.98 Buy Now blu-ray

Also Known As: Died:
Born: October 11, 1937 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: New York City, New York, USA Profession: actor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

This charismatic character lead has excelled in quirky, explosive, often Jewish, types and has been prominent on stage and TV since the 1960s. Ron Leibman was particularly applauded as the union organizer Ruben Warshawsky in Martin Ritt's "Norma Rae" (1979), in his Emmy-winning role as "Kaz" (CBS, 1978-79) and as Roy Cohn in Tony Kushner's two-part Broadway epic "Angels in America" (1993-94).Raised in an upper middle class family on Manhattan's Central Park West, Leibman broke into theater in 1959. After enjoying some success in "Dear Me, the Sky Is Falling" (1963) and "We Bombed in New Haven" (1968), he began making occasional feature films. The actor debuted as the gorilla-dressing brother in Carl Reiner's "Where's Poppa?" (1970). His other best-remembered parts included David Greenberg, the real-life street cop who formed half of the team nicknamed "The Super Cops" (1973) and as the smarmy antagonist in "Rhinestone" (1984). Leibman's other films have proven generally disappointing. He starred in Arthur Hiller's mistitled "Romantic Comedy" (1983) and was the commandant of a military school in the lame teen farce "Up the Academy" (1980), from which he attempted to have his name removed from the...

This charismatic character lead has excelled in quirky, explosive, often Jewish, types and has been prominent on stage and TV since the 1960s. Ron Leibman was particularly applauded as the union organizer Ruben Warshawsky in Martin Ritt's "Norma Rae" (1979), in his Emmy-winning role as "Kaz" (CBS, 1978-79) and as Roy Cohn in Tony Kushner's two-part Broadway epic "Angels in America" (1993-94).

Raised in an upper middle class family on Manhattan's Central Park West, Leibman broke into theater in 1959. After enjoying some success in "Dear Me, the Sky Is Falling" (1963) and "We Bombed in New Haven" (1968), he began making occasional feature films. The actor debuted as the gorilla-dressing brother in Carl Reiner's "Where's Poppa?" (1970). His other best-remembered parts included David Greenberg, the real-life street cop who formed half of the team nicknamed "The Super Cops" (1973) and as the smarmy antagonist in "Rhinestone" (1984). Leibman's other films have proven generally disappointing. He starred in Arthur Hiller's mistitled "Romantic Comedy" (1983) and was the commandant of a military school in the lame teen farce "Up the Academy" (1980), from which he attempted to have his name removed from the credits. The exceptions were the fine Australian-made horse racing saga, "Phar Lap" (1984) and Sidney Lumet's "Night Falls on Manhattan" (1997), in which he played an ambitious district attorney.

In general, Leibman has found his talents unrewarded in Hollywood, but he has kept busy onstage in the modestly successful Neil Simon comedies, "I Ought to Be in Pictures" (1980) and "Rumors" (1989), in the latter alongside his second wife, Jessica Walter. He enjoyed a notable triumph onstage with his blistering, Tony-winning portrait of Joseph McCarthy's venomous right-hand man Roy Cohn in "Angels in America: Millennium Approaches" and "Angels in America: Perestroika". Leibman also garnered controversy for his portrayal of Shylock in a 1994 Off-Broadway production of Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice".

Leibman's larger-than-life approach to roles often seemed ill-suited to the small screen as well. Although he has begun working in TV in the early 60s, he has not been able to find a successful series berth. While he earned praise and an Emmy for "Kaz", a show which he also created, it did not pull in the ratings. Neither did "Pacific Station" (NBC, 1991), a short-lived detective series. While Leibman brought class and verve to the recurring role of ruthless magazine publisher Allen Rush on the CBS sudser "Central Park West/CPW" (1995-96) and despite a heavy promotional effort, that series was also quickly canceled. He has found some success in the occasional role as the uptight father of Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) on the hit NBC sitcom "Friends".

Formerly married to actress Linda Lavin, Leibman married Jessica Walter in 1983.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Little Help, A (2010)
2.
 Garden State (2004) Dr Cohen
3.
 Personal Velocity: Three Portraits (2002) Avram ("Greta")
4.
 Dummy (2002) Lou Schoichet
5.
 Auto Focus (2002) Lenny
6.
 Just the Ticket (1998) Barry The Book
7.
 Don King: Only in America (1997) Harry Shondor
8.
 Night Falls on Manhattan (1997) Morgenstern
10.
 Seven Hours To Judgement (1988) David Reardon
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1959:
Made acting debut in "A View from the Bridge" at the Barnard Summer Theatre
1959:
Off-Broadway debut, "Legend of Lovers"
1963:
Broadway debut, "Dear Me, the Sky Is Falling"
1963:
Made early TV appearance in episode of "The DuPont Show" (NBC)
1967:
Was a member of the Yale Repertory Company
1970:
Played first notable role in a feature film, the black comedy, "Where's Poppa?"
1973:
Co-starred with David Selby in "The Super Cops"
:
Played the title role of Martin 'Kaz' Kazinski on the TV drama series, "Kaz"; won Emmy
1979:
Had best feature film role in "Norma Rae"
1980:
Sued Warner Brothers to have his name removed from the credits and advertising of the unfunny "Animal House" rip-off, "Up the Academy"
1984:
Co-wrote the script for, and performed (with co-star Charles Durning) the theme song to, the ABC comedy pilot, "Side by Side"
1988:
Last film for nearly a decade, "Seven Hours to Judgment", directed by Beau Bridges
1989:
Starred opposite wife Jessica Walter on Broadway in playwright Neil Simon's "Rumors"
:
Appeared as Al Burkhardt on the short-lived NBC detective comedy, "Pacific Station"
:
Played Roy Cohn in Tony Kushner's epic "Angels in America" on Broadway; recieved Tony Award for his performance in part 1, "Millennium Approaches"
:
Played recurring role of magazine publisher Allen Rush on CBS sudser "Central Park West/CPW"
1996:
Began playing recurring role of Rachel's father on the hit NBC sitcom "Friends"
1997:
Returned to features in supporting role in Sidney Lumet's "Night Falls on Manhattan"
1998:
Co-starred in the short-lived Fox sitcom "Holding the Baby"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Ohio Wesleyan University: Delaware , Ohio -
Actors Studio: New York , New York -

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Linda Lavin. Actor. Married September 7, 1969; first wife; divorced 1980.
wife:
Jessica Walter. Actor. Married June 26, 1983; second wife; acted in such films as "The Group" (1966), "Play Misty for Me" (1971), "The Flamingo Kid" (1984); appeared with Leibman in the HBO comedy special, "Day-to-Day Affairs" (1985) and on Broadway in Neil Simon's "Rumors".

Family close complete family listing

father:
Murray Leibman. Worked in the garment business.
mother:
Grace Leibman.
step-daughter:
Brooke Bowman. Mother Jessica Walter; born c. 1971; attended Duke University as an English major.

Please support TCMDB by adding to this information.

Click here to contribute