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Mandy Patinkin

Mandy Patinkin

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Also Known As: Mandel Bruce Patinkin Died:
Born: November 30, 1952 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Chicago, Illinois, USA Profession: actor, singer

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A polarizing talent who inspired fervent fans as well as devoted detractors, Mandy Patinkin broke through with his Tony-winning turn as Che, the narrator of the 1979 Broadway smash "Evita." He earned a Golden Globe nomination opposite Barbra Streisand in "Yentl" (1983), a Tony nomination for starring in the 1984 musical "Sunday in the Park with George" and cinematic immortality with the line "Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die" in "The Princess Bride" (1987). After the latter film brought him mainstream fame, he appeared in major feature films including "Alien Nation" (1988) and "Dick Tracy" (1990) and earned an Emmy for his love-him-or-hate-him turn as the tormented, sharp-tongued Dr. Jeffrey Geiger on "Chicago Hope" (CBS, 1994-2000). Surprising many, he left the series after one season to focus on his recording and theatrical careers, returning to the series only near its end. Patinkin resurfaced on the hit crime drama "Criminal Minds" (CBS, 2005- ), but shocked viewers, critics and colleagues alike when he just stopped showing up to work after two seasons, adding to his career-long reputation as a difficult performer. Regardless of any baggage, he found a new...

A polarizing talent who inspired fervent fans as well as devoted detractors, Mandy Patinkin broke through with his Tony-winning turn as Che, the narrator of the 1979 Broadway smash "Evita." He earned a Golden Globe nomination opposite Barbra Streisand in "Yentl" (1983), a Tony nomination for starring in the 1984 musical "Sunday in the Park with George" and cinematic immortality with the line "Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die" in "The Princess Bride" (1987). After the latter film brought him mainstream fame, he appeared in major feature films including "Alien Nation" (1988) and "Dick Tracy" (1990) and earned an Emmy for his love-him-or-hate-him turn as the tormented, sharp-tongued Dr. Jeffrey Geiger on "Chicago Hope" (CBS, 1994-2000). Surprising many, he left the series after one season to focus on his recording and theatrical careers, returning to the series only near its end. Patinkin resurfaced on the hit crime drama "Criminal Minds" (CBS, 2005- ), but shocked viewers, critics and colleagues alike when he just stopped showing up to work after two seasons, adding to his career-long reputation as a difficult performer. Regardless of any baggage, he found a new home as Claire Danesâ¿¿ wise, protective CIA mentor on the critically acclaimed series "Homeland" (Showtime, 2011- ). Beloved as well as mocked for his intense, over-the-top performance style, Mandy Patinkin proved to be a passionate artist who followed his heart and instincts instead of playing the stardom game.

Born Nov. 30, 1952 in Chicago, IL, Mandel Bruce Patinkin came from a Russian and Polish Jewish family and was raised in conservative Judaism. Nicknamed "Mandy," he began singing as a child in synagogue and briefly attended the University of Kansas before transferring to Juilliard to study drama. Showing a temperamental side that would haunt him throughout his career, the high-strung, emotional Patinkin clashed with his teachers and dropped out to pursue the stage. Success came quickly, and he created the role of Mark, the gay lover of a cancer-stricken man in the Pulitzer Prize-winning "The Shadow Box." Singing remained his true passion, however, and he nabbed the role of the lifetime when he was cast in the new Andrew Lloyd Webber/Tim Rice Broadway musical, 1979â¿¿s "Evita" as the narrator, a one-man Greek chorus named Che in honor of the famous revolutionary. The demanding role required Patinkin to expend considerable energy, and although some critics mocked the high tenorâ¿¿s fervently over-the-top performance, the actorâ¿¿s hard work paid off when he won a Tony Award for his efforts.

Patinkin segued to the screen with performances in a pair of high-profile films that made much of his own heritage. He played Tateh, a Jewish immigrant who finds success in America as a filmmaker in Milos Formanâ¿¿s sprawling but uneven adaptation of E.L. Doctorowâ¿¿s novel "Ragtime" (1981), and an accused spy with shades of Julius Rosenberg in another adaptation of the authorâ¿¿s works, "Daniel" (1983). He notched a Golden Globe nomination and made his biggest impression that same year, however, opposite director-actress Barbra Streisand in "Yentl" (1983), playing Avigdor. Many fans were disappointed that Patinkin was not given the chance to sing in the film, but were pleased when he returned to Broadway the following year to star in the Stephen Sondheim/James Lapine musical "Sunday in the Park with George," loosely inspired by the life of pointillist painter Georges Seraut. He earned a Tony nomination and a CableACE Award for his role, but his professional reputation soon took a big hit. Signed to star opposite Meryl Streep in Nora Ephronâ¿¿s autobiographical dramedy "Heartburn" (1986), Patinkin was fired by director Mike Nichols and replaced by Jack Nicholson.

Dogged by a growing reputation for being mercurial and erratic both on set and off, Patinkin returned to the stage to star in the bizarre sex change musical, 1987â¿¿s "The Knife," which received poor reviews across the board. He chalked up a major triumph that same year, however, when he played a flamboyant, revenge-seeking swashbuckler in Rob Reinerâ¿¿s instant classic "The Princess Bride" (1987). His oft-stated delivery of the immortal line, "Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die" stuck with audiences, who would go on to quote it back to him decades after the fact. He scored a cult success with the multilayered "Alien Nation" (1988), in which he played an extraterrestrial rookie cop paired with a bitter, alcoholic veteran (James Caan), as well as took the small, semi-musical role of 88 Keys, the pianist for the nightclub singer Breathless Mahoney (Madonna), in Warren Beattyâ¿¿s candy-colored hit "Dick Tracy" (1990). Off-screen, he recorded his self-titled debut album and began to tour, working up a set of songs that would comprise his second album, 1990â¿¿s Dress Casual. He starred as the emotionally frozen uncle of a fierce-tempered orphan in the Broadway adaptation of "The Secret Garden" and continued to record and perform music, including a string of performances on "Late Show with David Letterman" (CBS, 1993- ).

Many were surprised when Patinkin next accepted a leading role on David E. Kelleyâ¿¿s hospital drama "Chicago Hope" (CBS, 1994-2000), but his portrayal of the brilliant but caustic heart surgeon Dr. Jeffrey Geiger definitely made waves. Although some fans and critics complained that Patinkin was too hammy and, in a nod to the actorâ¿¿s vanity, sang too frequently, others adored his intensity. For his efforts, Patinkin won an Emmy, a Golden Globe nomination and the lionâ¿¿s share of attention. Despite his success, he left the show after one season to return to the gypsy life of guest spots, including a memorable role as Lisa Simpsonâ¿¿s would-be husband on "The Simpsons" (Fox, 1989- ). He also focused on singing and touring, including his pet project, 1998â¿¿s Yiddish album Mamaloshen. He earned an Emmy nomination for his guest spot on "The Larry Sanders Show" (HBO, 1992-98) and made high-profile appearances as the titular tragic hero of "The Hunchback" (TNT, 1997) and a kid-friendly comic villain in "The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland" (1999). "Chicago Hope" fans had reason to rejoice when Patinkin began an Emmy-nominated recurring run near the showâ¿¿s end, helping inject some much-needed adrenaline to the sagging series.

The actor returned to Broadway as the lead in a new 2000 production of "The Wild Party," but his performance divided critics and reportedly alienated his fellow cast members, who allegedly found him unprofessional and difficult. Still, Patinkin took home another Tony nomination and went on to spearhead a series of concerts celebrating the music of famed theater composer Stephen Sondheim. He returned to series television as Rube Sofer, a supernatural mentor to a newly dead grim reaper on the black comedy "Dead Like Me" (Showtime, 2003-05), but found a sturdier, more popular vehicle with "Criminal Minds" (CBS, 2005- ), where he essayed the part of Jason Gideon, an experienced but troubled FBI profiler. Although the gritty crime series was an immediate hit, Patinkinâ¿¿s difficult professional nature reared its head again and he shocked the industry â¿¿ and infuriated many of his co-stars and colleagues â¿¿ when he abruptly stopped showing up for work after two seasons. In several interviews given before he dropped out, Patinkin spoke of his dislike of televised violence and his difficulty reconciling his participation in the series. Although his intentions might have been noble, Patinkin ended up leaving the series in the messiest possible manner and several of his castmates would later give interviews that cast the actor in a less than flattering light.

Off-screen, Patinkin overcame many health issues, including a degenerative eye disease called keratoconus that led to him receiving two corneal transplants, and a successful battle with prostate cancer. As always, singing remained his greatest and most unwavering of passions, and he returned to musical performance, landing a starring role in the London-based musical "Paradise Found" in 2010. The following year, he made a triumphant return to television with his subtle characterization of Saul Berenson, the CIA's Middle-East Division Chief and mentor to Claire Danesâ¿¿ passionate, emotionally disturbed agent Carrie Mathison on "Homeland" (Showtime, 2011- ). The critically acclaimed hit, based on the Israeli series "Hatufim" ("Kidnapped"), was the perfect showcase for Patinkinâ¿¿s larger-than-life gravitas, and he and Danes enjoyed an almost father-daughter-like onscreen chemistry that proved to be one of the showâ¿¿s many assets. Between seasons of the series, Patinkin provided a voice for the English-language version of Hayao Miyazaki's animated hit "The Wind Rises" (2014) and played a supporting role in Zach Braff's comedy-drama "Wish I Was Here" (2014).

By Jonathan Riggs

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

2.
 Humbling, The (2014)
3.
 Wish I Was Here (2014)
5.
 4.3.2.1 (2012)
6.
7.
 Choking Man (2006)
8.
 Everyone's Hero (2006)
9.
 N.T.S.B.: The Crash of Flight 323 (2004) Al Cummings
10.
 Run, Ronnie, Run (2002) (Cameo Appearance)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1962:
Began singing at age nine in the choir at his temple on the South Side of Chicago (date approximate)
:
Dropped out of Juilliard; worked briefly in children's theater in Baltimore; gained Equity card
1975:
Made Broadway debut in "Trelawny of the Wells" alongside Meryl Streep, Mary Beth Hurt, John Lithgow, and Michael Tucker
1976:
Originated the role of Mark, the lover of a man dying of cancer, in "The Shadow Box" at Long Wharf Theater; reprised role in 1977 Broadway production
1977:
During run of "The Shadow Box," co-star Geraldine Fitzgerald gifted him with singing lessons
1978:
Appeared opposite Dianne Wiest in the New York Shakespeare Festival production of "Leave It to Beaver Is Dead" production
1979:
TV-movie debut, "Charleston" (NBC)
1979:
Made guest appearance on the classic sitcom "Taxi" (ABC, NBC)
1979:
Delivered breakthrough stage role of Ché the narrator opposite Patti LuPone's Eva Peron in "Evita"; won 1980 Tony Award as Featured Actor in a Musical
1981:
Cast as Tateh the future filmmaker in "Ragtime"
1981:
Returned to the stage to play Hotspur in NYSF Central Park production of "Henry V"
1983:
Offered a fine turn as the romantic lead opposite Barbra Streisand in "Yentl"
1984:
First collaboration with Stephen Sondheim, "Sunday in the Park With George"; directed by James Lapine; earned Tony nomination as Lead Actor in a Musical; filmed for TV and aired on PBS in 1986
1985:
Co-starred with Glenn Close in the feature "Maxie"
1985:
Played role of Buddy in "Follies in Concert," a staging of the Stephen Sondheim-James Goldman musical; recorded and filmed for airing on PBS
1985:
Fired from "Heartburn" and replaced by Jack Nicholson (July)
1986:
Turned down the lead in the original London production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's "The Phantom of the Opera" (1986) because he did not want to move his family
1987:
Delivered memorable film role of Inigo Montoya in Rob Reiner's "The Princess Bride"
1987:
Undertook controversial role of a transsexual in the Nick Bicat-David Hare musical "The Knife", produced at the New York Shakespeare Festival
1988:
Co-starred as a being from another planet in "Alien Nation"
1989:
Began performing a weekly concert series off-Broadway at the Public Theater
1989:
Appeared as Leontes in a NYSF staging of "The Winter's Tale," directed by James Lapine
1989:
Broadway concert debut, "Mandy Patinkin in Concert ¿ Dress Casual"
1989:
Signed on to play Ché in film version of "Evita" with director Oliver Stone and star Meryl Streep; Streep withdrew from project in late 1989 and project was delayed
1990:
Feature singing debut, "Dick Tracy"; songs written by Stephen Sondheim; played small role of piano player for bombshell Breathless Mahoney (Madonna)
1991:
Returned to Broadway playing Archibald Craven in the musical version of "The Secret Garden"
1991:
Portrayed Alfred de Musset in Lapine's feature directorial debut "Impromptu"
1993:
Replaced Michael Rupert in the Broadway musical "Falsettos," directed by Lapine
1993:
Co-starred in Philip Haas' "The Music of Chance"
1993:
Made cameo appearance in Lapine's film comedy "Life with Mikey"
1994:
TV series debut, joined the ensemble for the ambitious CBS medical drama "Chicago Hope"
1995:
Asked to be released from "Chicago Hope" citing a desire to spend more time with family; agreed to make occasional guest appearances
:
Toured frequently performing one-person concerts
1995:
Made guest appearance as himself on the HBO comedy "The Larry Sanders Show"
1996:
Starred in the PBS production of Arthur Miller's "Broken Glass"
1997:
Played title role in the TNT production of "The Hunchback"
1998:
Cast as an obnoxious American tourist in John Sayles' Spanish-language "Men With Guns"
1998:
Returned to Broadway in "Mandy Patinkin in Concert: Mamaloshen," drawing material from his album of Yiddish songs
1998:
Landed supporting role in "Lulu on the Bridge"; screened at Cannes; released direct-to-video in 1999
1999:
Resumed role of Dr. Jeffrey Geiger on "Chicago Hope" on a recurring basis
1999:
Co-starred as the media savvy political advisor Kenneth Duberstein in the acclaimed Showtime drama "Strange Justice"
1999:
Played the comic villain in the children's film "The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland"; also sang and danced
2000:
Provided a character voice for the English-language version of Hiyao Miyazaki's anime "Laputa: Castle in the Sky"; screened at the New York International Children's Film Festival
2000:
Co-starred on Broadway alongside Toni Collette and Eartha Kitt in "The Wild Party"; earned Tony nomination as Lead Actor in a Musical
2001:
Cast as producer Joseph Papp in the film biography "Piñero "
2003:
Cast as Rube Sofer in the Showtime comedy-drama "Dead Like Me"
2005:
Played Special Agent Jason Gideon on the CBS crime drama "Criminal Minds"; left series due to creative differences
2008:
Played Prospero in off-Broadway production of "The Tempest"
2011:
Reunited with his "Evita" co-star in "An Evening with Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin" on Broadway
2011:
Returned to series television as CIA Division Chief Saul Berenson opposite Claire Danes on "Homeland" (Showtime)
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

University of Kansas: Lawrence , Kansas - 1970 - 1972
The Juilliard School: New York , New York - 1972 - 1974

Notes

Patinkin underwent corneal transplant surgery in May 1997.

New York Shakespeare Festival producer Joseph Papp in a 1987 interview said Patinkin was "worse than a perfectionist. A perfectionist reaches some degree of satisfaction. ..."

On his stint at Juilliard: "After six hours, I knew that I didn't want to be there; but I also knew that I wanted to get hold of some of the tools, in terms of being an actor--so I stuck it out for two-and-a-half years.

"There were some students who couldn't function under the guide rules. They fell apart or were thrown out. To try to be an actor is a very delicate thing; you're exposing your soul. To say to a person of 17 or 18 or 19, who loves doing this, 'You're no god; we don't want you,' is a horrible thing!" --Mandy Patinkin to TheaterWeek, August 7-13, 1989.

"His biggest goal is to become less obsessive about acting, particularly about becoming a big screen success. His new philosophy? 'Take supporting parts, come back to New York, and sing for a week, then do a play,' he says. 'In the end you'll be known for your body of work.'

To that end, he credits Rob Reiner, who directed "The Princess Bride", with a memorable piece of advice. 'I was agonizing over some little scene where I was supposed to be drunk,' recalls Patinkin. 'I was in my trailer pouring my heart out to Rob, telling him I was letting the movie down. He said these words to me, which are at the heart of my struggle: 'GET OUT OF YOUR WAY, MAN!' I love Rob for that. I will always have to work at getting out of my own way.'"

--From "On the Move: Actor Mandy Patinkin Battles His Perfectionist Tendencies--with a Solo Album of Scorching Heat" by John Stark in People (1989).

"I'm very immature, but I'm an actor." --Patinkin to James Brady in Parade Magazine, August 28, 1994.

"Patinkin's over-the-top performing style won't be to everyone's taste. In an era where cool is king, where irony and wry detachment are expected from performers, the Tony-winning actor-singer is unapologetically extravagant. Among other pop singers these days, perhaps only U2's Bono could match Patinkin's willingness to so fervently wear his emotions on his sleeve." --From Jonathan Taylor's review of "Mandy Patinkin in Concert" in Variety, January 28, 1996.

"I love the audiences, their response and the freshness of the day or that evening. I love the songs that speak to my heart, my insanity, the complicated things, the things that tell you how to have a great day, be a better father or husband or how to shut up and have a good time." --Patinkin on his concert appearances, quoted in IDaily News, February 18, 1996.

On critics, Patinkin told InTheater (October 23, 1998): "If it's a live performance, I try not to read them while I'm doing it because they will affect my mood. I save them and read them later. Good ones will give me advice and teach me things--I've learned from critics. You can see the difference between a kind-hearted, constructive criticism and someone who's trying to draw attention to themselves. But must critics say I'm over-the-top and too big. ... Because it's true! And I've often said that I won't disappoint my critics."

"Mandy Patinkin does admirably subtle work (that's right, you just read the words Mandy Patinkin and subtle in the same sentence) as Kenneth Duberstein, the savvy political operative who pushed the Bush administration's appointee through the Senate." --From Bruce Fretts' review of the Showtime movie "Strange Justice" in Entertainment Weekly, August 27, 1999.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Kathryn Grody. Actor, writer. Met in 1978 when cast opposite each other in an off-Broadway drama called "Split"; married on June 15, 1980; starred in and wrote autobiographical play, "A Mom's Life" (also turned it into book).

Family close complete family listing

grandfather:
Max. Junk dealer.
grandmother:
Doralee Patinkin Rubin. Author. Wrote cookbook "Grandma Doralee Patinkin's Jewish Family Cookbook" (published in 1997).
father:
Lester Patinkin. Junk dealer. Died of cancer at age 52 in 1972; had studied business at University of Chicago; instead entered his father's business as head of Peoples Iron & Metal Company and the Scrap Corporation of America.
mother:
Doris Patinkin.
sister:
Marsha Patinkin. Older; regional head of the National Conference of Christians and Jews in northern Nevada.
cousin:
Laura Patinkin. Actor. Appeared in 1990 revival of "Fiddler on the Roof" and Off-Broadway in "Beau Jest".
son:
Isaac Patinkin. Born c. 1983.
son:
Gideon Patinkin. Born c. 1987.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Bibliography close complete biography

"Grandma Doralee Patinkin's Holiday Cookbook: A Jewish Family's Celebrations" St. Martin's Press

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