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Robert Sean Leonard

Robert Sean Leonard

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Also Known As: Bob Leonard, Robert Lawrence Leonard, Robert Leonard Died:
Born: February 28, 1969 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Westwood, New Jersey, USA Profession: actor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A Tony Award-winning stage and film actor with a boyish charm, Robert Sean Leonard first caught the attention of Hollywood with his touching portrayal of a prep school student with theatrical aspirations in Peter Weir's modern film classic, "Dead Poet's Society" (1989). A stage-trained actor from the age of 12, Leonard became known for his earnest and touching dramatic performances throughout his career. Dividing his time equally between stage and screen, Leonard managed to maintain success in both mediums, starring opposite some of the business' most acclaimed actors, including Paul Newman, Glenn Close and Kenneth Branagh. Making the shift to series television in 2004, Leonard joined the cast of the hit medical drama, "House" (Fox, 2004- ), and as Dr. James Wilson, enjoyed the most high profile success in his career to date.Born Feb. 28, 1969 in Westwood, NJ to Robert and Joy Leonard, the talented youngster showed an interest in theater from an early age, making his stage debut at age 12 in a New Jersey production of "Oliver!" He began to pursue an acting career at the age of 14, performing at the Ridgewood Theater in New York, as well as acting off-Broadway in "Sally's Gone, She Left Her Name" and...

A Tony Award-winning stage and film actor with a boyish charm, Robert Sean Leonard first caught the attention of Hollywood with his touching portrayal of a prep school student with theatrical aspirations in Peter Weir's modern film classic, "Dead Poet's Society" (1989). A stage-trained actor from the age of 12, Leonard became known for his earnest and touching dramatic performances throughout his career. Dividing his time equally between stage and screen, Leonard managed to maintain success in both mediums, starring opposite some of the business' most acclaimed actors, including Paul Newman, Glenn Close and Kenneth Branagh. Making the shift to series television in 2004, Leonard joined the cast of the hit medical drama, "House" (Fox, 2004- ), and as Dr. James Wilson, enjoyed the most high profile success in his career to date.

Born Feb. 28, 1969 in Westwood, NJ to Robert and Joy Leonard, the talented youngster showed an interest in theater from an early age, making his stage debut at age 12 in a New Jersey production of "Oliver!" He began to pursue an acting career at the age of 14, performing at the Ridgewood Theater in New York, as well as acting off-Broadway in "Sally's Gone, She Left Her Name" and in his Broadway debut, starring as Eugene in Neil Simon's "Brighton Beach Memoirs" in 1986. Only 17 years-old, Leonard's stage experience and boyish charm helped him make a smooth transition to film, with his feature film debut in "The Manhattan Project" (1986) as well as a starring role in the teen comedy, "My Best Friend is a Vampire" (1988). Landing a prominent dramatic role, Leonard was cast as Neil Perry in Peter Weir's "Dead Poet's Society" (1989). Starring opposite Robin Williams and Ethan Hawke, Leonard's touching performance as a suicidal prep school student earned him rave reviews and opened the door for other film roles.

Managing to balance both acting and an education, Leonard went on to study history at New York's Fordham University and later attended Columbia University's School of General Studies and Continuing Education. Forging ahead with acting, however, he appeared on film as the teenage son of Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward in the Merchant-Ivory production "Mr. and Mrs. Bridge" (1990). On stage, he performed in the Riverside Shakespeare Company's production of "Romeo and Juliet" and in the Broadway production of "The Speed of Darkness." Back on film, Leonard went on to star as a jazz-crazy youth in the World War II drama, "Swing Kids" (1993), portray the love-struck Claudio in Shakespeare's "Much Ado About Nothing" (1993) and appear in Martin Scorsese's "The Age of Innocence" (1993) - all certifiable critical hits. That same year, Leonard earned a Tony nomination for his performance in the Broadway revival of "Candida." A devoted theater actor, Leonard went on to perform in a production of "King Lear" at San Diego's Old Globe Theater and appeared on Broadway in productions of "Philadelphia, Here I Come" and Tom Stoppard's "Arcadia."

Hollywood came calling again, with Leonard starring opposite Glenn Close and Whoopi Goldberg in Christopher Reeve's acclaimed directorial debut, "In the Gloaming" (1997), in which Leonard turned in a touching performance as a young AIDS patient who returns home for his final months. Next, Leonard appeared in Whit Stillman's ensemble comedy, "The Last Days of Disco" (1998) and returned to the stage in 1999 to appear in the Broadway revival of Eugene O'Neill's "The Iceman Cometh" - in which he shared the stage with none other than Oscar-winner, Kevin Spacey. Teaming up with "Dead Poet" alum Hawke for two films in 2001, Leonard appeared as part of an ensemble cast in Hawke's directorial debut, "Chelsea Walls" (2001) and starred opposite Hawke and Uma Thurman in Richard Linklater's indie drama "Tape." Bouncing back to the stage in that same year, Leonard appeared as A.E. Housman in Tom Stoppard's "The Invention of Love" - a performance that won him the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play. He continued his hot streak by starring in the Broadway musical "The Music Man," "The Violet Hour," and "Long Day's Journey Into Night," for which he was nominated for another Tony Award in 2003.

Taking on his first major television role in 2004, Leonard joined the cast of the Fox medical drama, "House" (2004- ), portraying oncologist Dr. James Wilson. The hit drama, which often veered toward the humorous, was Leonard's most buzzed about role to date. Most of the accolades fell on the show's lead, maverick doctor, Gregory House - expertly played by British actor, Hugh Laurie. Dr. House's unorthodox treatment of patients - including an eccentric bedside manner which involved offering rapid and accurate diagnoses after seemingly not paying attention - got most of the critical buzz, but the ensemble cast, including Leonard, each got their chance to shine in the quirky drama that became an instant hit with viewers.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

2.
 John Grisham's A Painted House (2003) Jesse Chandler
3.
 Driven (2001) Demille Bly
4.
 Tape (2001) Johnny
5.
 Chelsea Walls (2001) Terry
6.
 StandOff (1998)
7.
 Ground Control (1998) Cruise
8.
9.
 I Love You, I Love You Not (1997) Young Nazi Officer
10.
 In the Gloaming (1997) Danny
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1981:
Made stage debut at age 12 as Artful Dodger in "Oliver!" at New Players Summerstock Theatre, New Jersey
:
Understudied three roles in Alberto Innaurato's "Coming of Age in Soho" at the New York Shakespeare Festival's Public Theatre
1985:
Appeared Off-Broadway in "Sally's Gone, She Left Her Name"; credited as Robert Leonard
1986:
Starred in "Brighton Beach Memoirs" in Ogunquit, Maine at age 17; made Broadway acting debut, reprising role as Eugene in "Brighton Beach Memoirs"
1986:
Feature acting debut, "The Manhattan Project"
1986:
Made stage musical debut in Playwrights Horizons workshop production of Stephen Sondheim's "Into the Woods" (date approximate)
1987:
Portrayed Christopher Morcum in Broadway production of "Breaking the Code"
1988:
First lead role in a feature, "My Best Friend Is a Vampire"
1989:
Delivered sensitive performance as the would-be actor driven to suicide by his father in Peter Weir's "Dead Poets Society"
:
Formed Malaparte. Theater Company (NYC) with, among others, "Dead Poets" pal Ethan Hawke
1990:
Appeared as Douglas Bridge, son of Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, in Merchant-Ivory's "Mr & Mrs Bridge"
1993:
Earned Tony nomination for his performance in the Roundabout Theatre revival of "Candida"
1993:
Starred as jazz-obsessed German youth who must come to terms with rise of fascism in Nazi-era "Swing Kids" (met Kenneth Branagh)
1993:
Played Claudio (of Florence) in Branagh's "Much Ado About Nothing"
1994:
Acted in Martin Scorsese's "The Age of Innocence"
1995:
Had featured role in the Broadway production of Tom Stoppard's "Arcadia"
1996:
Portrayed sympathetic prison guard Henry Lesser who encourages 1920s serial killer Carl Panzram to write about his life in "Killer: A Journal of Murder"
1996:
Appeared in CBS "Hallmark Hall of Fame" adaptation of Off-Broadway play "The Boys Next Door"
1997:
Revisited Nazi era, this time as a young Nazi officer, in Billy Hopkins' "I Love You, I Love You Not"
1997:
Played a young man dying of AIDS who returns home in Christopher Reeve's directorial debut, "In the Gloaming" (HBO)
1997:
Appeared as Tom Wingfield in Baltimore production of "The Glass Menagerie"
1998:
Had featured role in Whit Stillman's "The Last Days of Disco"
1999:
Played pivotal role of Don Parritt in acclaimed Broadway revival of Eugene O'Neill's "The Iceman Cometh"
2001:
Cast as a naval investigator in the fact-based drama "A Glimpse of Hell" (FX Channel)
2001:
Had villainous role in "Driven"
2001:
Portrayed the young incarnation of A E Housman in Tom Stoppard's play "The Invention of Love"; earned Tony Award
2001:
Stepped into the title role of the hit revival of the Broadway musical "The Music Man" (August)
2003:
Appeared in the Broadway production of "The Violet Hour"
2004:
Cast as Dr. James Wilson on Fox's medical drama "House"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Ridgewood High School: Ridgewood , New Jersey -
Fordham University: New York , New York -
Columbia University: New York , New York -
HB Studio: New York , New York -

Notes

About working with Kenneth Branagh (who was casting "Much Ado About Nothing") on "Swing Kids": "I'd had all these ideas about playing Claudio, so I made it clear I was interested. He leaned over at one point, and said, 'You're shameless, shameless.' The day he left, there was a script in my hotel mailbox, with a note saying, 'See you on the set.'" --Robert Sean Leonard, TIME OUT NEW YORK, April 17-24, 1997

"I'm attracted to work that doesn't get a lot of attention or sell a lot of tickets." --Leonard quoted in NEW YORK POST, June 17, 1998

Companions close complete companion listing

companion:
Gwyneth Paltrow. Actor. No longer together.
companion:
Gabriella. Met while attending Columbia University; dating as of 1998.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Robert Howard Leonard. Spanish teacher.
mother:
Joy P Leonard. Nurse.
brother:
Sean Robert Leonard.

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