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Peter Riegert

Peter Riegert

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: April 11, 1947 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Bronx, New York, USA Profession: actor, director, political aide, school teacher, waiter, social worker

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

An engaging, low-key performer, Peter Riegert marked time in a series of jobs from teaching eighth grade to waiting tables before he decided he wanted to pursue a career as an actor. Soon after settling on show business, the Bronx native joined the improvisational comedy troupe, War Babies. He obtained his Equity card playing Chico Marx in the stage musical "Minnie's Boys" and went on to appear in several theatrical productions, including the 1976 Off-Broadway hit "Sexual Perversity in Chicago" by David Mamet. After appearing in the short, "A Director Talks About His Film". Riegert made his feature film debut as one of the denizens of "National Lampoon's Animal House" (1978). He followed as John Heard's best friend in Joan Micklin Silver's "Chilly Scenes of Winter/Head Over Heels" (1979). Riegert turned in a memorable, understated performance as an oil company employee in Bill Forsyth's wry satire, "Local Hero" (1983). Reuniting with Joan Micklin Silver, he was quite affecting as a pickle salesman chosen for a book editor (Amy Irving) by a matchmaker in "Crossing Delancey" (1988). Riegert also delivered solid support as a policeman chasing Jim Carrey in "The Mask" (1994) and a hit man training a new...

An engaging, low-key performer, Peter Riegert marked time in a series of jobs from teaching eighth grade to waiting tables before he decided he wanted to pursue a career as an actor. Soon after settling on show business, the Bronx native joined the improvisational comedy troupe, War Babies. He obtained his Equity card playing Chico Marx in the stage musical "Minnie's Boys" and went on to appear in several theatrical productions, including the 1976 Off-Broadway hit "Sexual Perversity in Chicago" by David Mamet.

After appearing in the short, "A Director Talks About His Film". Riegert made his feature film debut as one of the denizens of "National Lampoon's Animal House" (1978). He followed as John Heard's best friend in Joan Micklin Silver's "Chilly Scenes of Winter/Head Over Heels" (1979). Riegert turned in a memorable, understated performance as an oil company employee in Bill Forsyth's wry satire, "Local Hero" (1983). Reuniting with Joan Micklin Silver, he was quite affecting as a pickle salesman chosen for a book editor (Amy Irving) by a matchmaker in "Crossing Delancey" (1988). Riegert also delivered solid support as a policeman chasing Jim Carrey in "The Mask" (1994) and a hit man training a new recruit in "Coldblooded" (1995).

Riegert earned mixed reviews for his turn as a young Richard M. Nixon in the award-winning "Concealed Enemies" (1984), a PBS docudrama about the Alger Hiss case. Exhibiting an ingratiating presence, he delivered a change of pace turn as an immigrant songwriter (loosely inspired by Irving Berlin) in the 1984 CBS miniseries "Ellis Island", Attempting to find series stardom, he accepted a leading role in John Byrum's acclaimed but little-seen CBS series "The Middle Ages" (1992). Bouncing back, Riegert earned a supporting Emmy nomination for his performance as a stockbroker arranging a deal in the HBO movie "Barbarians at the Gate" (1993) and then displayed his singing abilities opposite former girlfriend Bette Midler in the TV remake of "Gypsy" (CBS, 1993). More recently, Riegert has been cast in fatherly roles (as in the independent films "Infinity" and "Pie in the Sky" both 1996). He returned to the Broadway stage in 1997, first as the cheating husband of a political appointee in Wendy Wasserstein's "An American Daughter" and later as Bobby Gould in David Mamet's "The Old Neighborhood".

2000 proved to be a banner year for the actor who landed a key role in the ensemble of the hit film "Traffic" (2000) and a recurring part on the popular HBO series "The Sopranos". But perhaps his most notable accomplishment that year was making his directorial debut with the Oscar-nominated live-action short "By Courier".

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

2.
  By Courier (2000) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Admissions (2014)
3.
4.
 We Bought a Zoo (2011)
5.
 Oka! (2010)
6.
7.
 Chosen, The (2007)
8.
9.
10.
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Worked as an eighth grade teacher, social worker and political aide to Bella Abzug during her 1970 campaign
1971:
Decided to become an actor on New Year's Day
1971:
Performed with "War Babies" improvisational comedy group
:
Cast as Chico Marx in a Philadelphia production of "Minnie's Boys"; obtained Equity card
1975:
Off-Broadway debut in "Dance with Me"
1976:
Appeared Off-Broadway in David Mamet's "Sexual Perversity in Chicago"
:
Film debut in the short "A Director Talks About His Film"
1978:
First appearance in feature film, "National Lampoon's Animal House", playing one of the fraternity house residents
1979:
First collaboration with Joan Micklin Silver, "Chilly Scenes of Winter/Head Over Heels"
1983:
Starred opposite Burt Lancaster in "Local Hero"
1984:
TV dramatic debut as the young Richard M. Nixon in "Concealed Enemies" (PBS)
1984:
Sang and appeared in the CBS miniseries "ELlis Island"
1987:
Starred in the Broadway show "The Nerd"
1988:
Starred as a pickle salesman in love with Amy Irving's book editor in Joan Micklin Silver's "Crossing Delancey"
1989:
Portrayed noted photographer W Eugene Smith in the "American Masters" (PBS) segment "W Eugene Smith: Photography Made Difficult"
1992:
Series regular on "The Middle Ages", a CBS-TV drama
1993:
Received Emmy nomination for his supporting performance in "Barbarians at the Gates" (HBO)
1993:
Played Herbie opposite Bette Midler's Rose in the CBS remake of "Gypsy"
1994:
Had feature role in "The Mask" as a policman chasing Jim Carrey
1997:
Returned to the stage as co-star of the Broadway production "An American Daughter", by Wendy Wasserstein
1997:
Appeared in the Showtime TV-movie "North Shore Fish"
1997:
Returned to Broadway as star of David Mamet's "The Old Neighborhood"
1998:
Co-starred in the well-received independent film "Jerry and Tom"
2000:
Acted in "Traffic"
2000:
Joined cast of the HBO series "The Sopranos" in a recurring role
2000:
Directed the 13-minute short film "By Courier"; earned Oscar nomination for Best Short Film-Live Action
2001:
Had supporting role as a hot-tempered newsman in the ABC summer series "The Beast"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

University of Buffalo: Buffalo , New York - 1966

Notes

"When I started acting, my goal was to find [the equivalent of] two people: Eugene O'Neill and Preston Sturges. [My] Sturges was Bill Forsyth, who did 'Local Hero'; unfortunately, he lives in Scotland. And with David, I thought, 'This is my guy.' I didn't know he had these two friends named Joe Mantegna and Bill Macy." --Peter Riegert quoted in In Theater, November 14, 1997.

"It never occurs to me that acting with a superstar is something to worry about. I figure the bigger, the better, because more will be demanded of me." --Peter Riegert in New York Post, April 21, 1997.

Companions close complete companion listing

companion:
Bette Midler. Actor, singer. No longer together.

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