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Kevin Pollak

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Also Known As: Kevin E Pollak Died:
Born: October 30, 1957 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: San Francisco, California, USA Profession: actor, comic, producer, comedy writer, director, screenwriter

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

After nearly a decade of professional success on the stand-up comedy circuit, where he was known for his acute impressions, Kevin Pollak added the "actor" hyphenate to his name and enjoyed a long second act as a film and television player. Pollak made his mark as a character actor who often appeared as cynical, droll sidekicks to leading men like Arnold Schwarzenegger in the thriller "End of Days" (1999) and opposite Walter Matthau as the comedy legend's son in the "Grumpy Old Men" films (1993, 1995). Pollak's talent for accents was well-showcased in popular comedies like "The Whole Nine Yards" (2000) and the animated family film "A Shark's Tale" (2004), though the comedian-turned-actor earned the most critical praise for his dramatic performances, like his breakout roles in the indie crime thriller "The Usual Suspects" (1995), the courtroom drama "A Few Good Men" (1992), and the HBO miniseries "From the Earth to the Moon" (HBO, 1998). While maintaining a well-regarded career as a stand-up comedian and television personality, Pollak proved a versatile Hollywood talent with the ability to inject an often-needed edginess into mainstream comedies, while also balancing that with surprisingly dramatic...

After nearly a decade of professional success on the stand-up comedy circuit, where he was known for his acute impressions, Kevin Pollak added the "actor" hyphenate to his name and enjoyed a long second act as a film and television player. Pollak made his mark as a character actor who often appeared as cynical, droll sidekicks to leading men like Arnold Schwarzenegger in the thriller "End of Days" (1999) and opposite Walter Matthau as the comedy legend's son in the "Grumpy Old Men" films (1993, 1995). Pollak's talent for accents was well-showcased in popular comedies like "The Whole Nine Yards" (2000) and the animated family film "A Shark's Tale" (2004), though the comedian-turned-actor earned the most critical praise for his dramatic performances, like his breakout roles in the indie crime thriller "The Usual Suspects" (1995), the courtroom drama "A Few Good Men" (1992), and the HBO miniseries "From the Earth to the Moon" (HBO, 1998). While maintaining a well-regarded career as a stand-up comedian and television personality, Pollak proved a versatile Hollywood talent with the ability to inject an often-needed edginess into mainstream comedies, while also balancing that with surprisingly dramatic turns.

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:


CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Night Owls (2015)
3.
 Columbus Circle (2012)
4.
 Napa (2012)
5.
 Red State (2011)
6.
 Chez Upshaw (2011)
7.
 Big Year, The (2011)
8.
 Choose (2011)
9.
 Cop Out (2010)
10.
 Middle Men (2010)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1960:
Moved to San Jose, CA at age two
:
Began doing stand-up comedy routines at age ten; began touring at age 20
1982:
Won second place at the San Francisco International Comedy Competition
1983:
Moved to Los Angeles
:
Briefly formed a comedy team with Dana Carvey
1984:
Made TV debut on the syndicated "National Lampoon's Hot Flashes"
1987:
Made feature acting debut in "Million Dollar Mystery"
1988:
Played a three-inch tall Brownie in Ron Howard's "Willow"
1988:
Starred on short-lived CBS sitcom "Coming of Age"
1989:
Filmed first solo comedy special, a segment of HBO's "One Night Stand"
1990:
Appeared in breakthrough screen role as Aidan Quinn's business partner in Barry Levinson's "Avalon"
1991:
Cast as Morton on Rob Reiner's short lived sitcom "Morton and Hayes" (CBS)
1991:
Starred in HBO's "Kevin Pollak: Stop With the Kicking"
1991:
Portrayed Steve Martin's agent in "L.A. Story"
1992:
Re-teamed with Reiner for "A Few Good Men"
:
With Lucy Webb, formed Calm Down Productions
1993:
Played Walter Matthau's son in the feature comedy "Grumpy Old Men"
1995:
Co-wrote (with Lucy Webb) and directed the "Anger" segment of Showtime's "The Seven Deadly Sins"
1995:
Cast as an explosives expert in the ensemble thriller "The Usual Suspects"
1995:
Appeared in Martin Scorsese's "Casino" as the innocent front man who gets the loan from the Teamsters
1995:
Reprised role of Matthau's son in the sequel "Grumpier Old Men"
1996:
Starred opposite Jamie Lee Curtis in the comedy "House Arrest"
1996:
Acted in the Tom Hanks directed "That Thing You Do!"
1997:
Appeared in the Kiefer Sutherland directed "Truth or Consequences, N.M."; first association with actor Vincent Gallo
1998:
Made cameo appearance in Gallo's directorial debut "Buffalo 66"
1998:
Played Joe Shea in HBO's award-winning 12-part docudrama "From the Earth to the Moon"
1999:
Cast on the short-lived CBS sitcom "Work With Me"; also co-executive produced with wife Lucy Webb
1999:
Appeared as Arnold Schwarzenegger's sardonic sidekick in the apocalyptical thriller "End of Days"
2000:
Portrayed a Hungarian gangster in the comedy "The Whole Nine Yards"
2000:
Portrayed Gerry Lefcourt in the Abbie Hoffman biopic "Steal This Movie!"
2001:
Played a U.S. Marshal in "3000 Miles to Graceland"
2002:
Featured in the Ben Affleck and Matt Damon produced "Stolen Summer"
2004:
Reprised role as a Hungarian gangster in "The Whole Ten Yards"
2007:
Joined CBS' legal drama "Shark" as recurring character Lloyd Cutler
2008:
Played the father of Ashley Tisdale's character in "Picture This"
2010:
Cast opposite Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan in the buddy comedy "Cop Out"
2010:
Cast opposite Luke Wilson in the crime film "Middle Men"
2011:
Cast in the comedy feature "The Big Year" opposite Owen Wilson, Jack Black, and Steve Martin
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Notes

"I pretty much learned the style I have come to enjoy from director Barry Levinson in 'Avalon'. It was the 'Less is more' theory. His nurturing during the film was about being loose and natural. A general looseness that creates authenticity and reality. As a comedian, I've been influenced by Albert Brooks, Bill Cosby and Woody Allen. From Cosby, I learned timing and nuance; from Allen, I learned intellectual silliness, and from Brooks, cerebral angst. Also Mark Twain, from whom I really learned the importance of cynicism and sarcasm.

"'Avalon' will always be the most important [role]. It was my first legitimate acting. [But my favorite role came in] 'A Few Good Men' because what I learned on 'Avalon' about less is more was taken to the next level . . . If you can actually do nothing in a scene and be interesting, you've won the battle. I never got so much attention for doing so little, as far as the subtlety of that portrayal." --Kevin Pollak quoted in Daily News, May 10, 1994

On why he continues doing stand-up: "As rewarding as a good film role can be, there is just nothing like getting up on a stage and taking an audience for a ride. You make a movie, and the audience may not see it for another ten months. Here, you know immediately their reaction." --Kevin Pollak to James Brady in Parade, January 8, 1995

On serious Method actors: "I understand the process and I respect the technique, but I still want to slap them and say, get over yourself. I'd rather have fun between takes than be in silence while they brood and find their place again." --Pollak quoted in USA Today, August 21, 1995

"I did 'The Tonight Show' a dozen times when Johnny was the reigning king. One time, on the air, I taught him to do the Peter Falk single roving eye, and every single time I did his show after that, as I'd shake his hand, Johnny would lean forward and do a little Columbo for me. I had an inside joke with the king! It was just the coolest." --Pollak to People, October 9, 1995

"When Rod Lurie told me he was writing a script for me where I play the president, I said, 'You're insane!' I said he needed a big, charismatic, born-to-be-leader guy.

"But [Lurie] said the character is more like Harry Truman, in the sense that he's an Everyman. And it all started to make sense, because being an Everyman is what I try to bring to every role." --Pollak to Robert Dominguez in the Daily News, March 9, 2000

"I'm a rabid fan of cinema, and I go to the movies every day. I haven't missed a day in 17 year, and there's alot of crap out there." --Kevin Pollak to Empire, September 1995

"I'd rather have Tom Hanks' career. But I am exceeigly grateful and happy with the career I have. The leading man will always need a best friend, and I've been able to do almost 30 films in the last 10 years based on that theory." --Pollak to Daily News, March 9, 2000

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Lucy Webb. Actor, comedian. Together since c. 1985; married in December 1995; appeared together in the feature "Outside Ozona" (1998) and on TV in "Not Necessarily the Elections" (HBO, 1996) and "The Don's Analyst" (TMC, 1997); also served as a co-executive producer of the short-lived CBS series "Work with Me" (1999).

Family close complete family listing

brother:
Craig Pollak.

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