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Wallace Shawn

Wallace Shawn

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Also Known As: Wally Shawn Died:
Born: November 12, 1943 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: New York City, New York, USA Profession: actor, playwright, screenwriter, translator, shipping clerk, teacher, Xerox machine operator

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Having proved himself as an endearing and often hilarious character player on both the big screen and on television, actor Wallace Shawn was also noted for his work as a serious and provocative playwright. Shawn announced his arrival with his OBIE-winning play "Our Late Night" (1975), which led to a small, but memorable film debut in Woody Allen's "Manhattan" (1979). But it was his writing and performance in the art-house hit "My Dinner with Andre" (1981) that captured the attention of Hollywood at large. From there he enlivened a number of movies in relatively minor parts before essaying his most remembered character, the maniacal Sicilian Vizzini, in "The Princess Bride" (1987). Shawn segued over to television for recurring roles on "The Cosby Show" (NBC, 1984-1992) and "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" (syndicated, 1993-99), while carving out yet another career path in animation with the voice role of the insecure Rex in "Toy Story" (1995), which he reprised in the 1999 and 2010 sequels. Always capable of elevating even the most mundane of material - as he did with "My Favorite Martian" (1999) and "The Haunted Mansion" (2003) - Shawn was a favorite among filmmakers and audiences, while continuing to...

Having proved himself as an endearing and often hilarious character player on both the big screen and on television, actor Wallace Shawn was also noted for his work as a serious and provocative playwright. Shawn announced his arrival with his OBIE-winning play "Our Late Night" (1975), which led to a small, but memorable film debut in Woody Allen's "Manhattan" (1979). But it was his writing and performance in the art-house hit "My Dinner with Andre" (1981) that captured the attention of Hollywood at large. From there he enlivened a number of movies in relatively minor parts before essaying his most remembered character, the maniacal Sicilian Vizzini, in "The Princess Bride" (1987). Shawn segued over to television for recurring roles on "The Cosby Show" (NBC, 1984-1992) and "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" (syndicated, 1993-99), while carving out yet another career path in animation with the voice role of the insecure Rex in "Toy Story" (1995), which he reprised in the 1999 and 2010 sequels. Always capable of elevating even the most mundane of material - as he did with "My Favorite Martian" (1999) and "The Haunted Mansion" (2003) - Shawn was a favorite among filmmakers and audiences, while continuing to earn considerable acclaim as an award-winning playwright.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Don Peyote (2014)
3.
 Double, The (2014)
4.
 Admission (2013)
5.
 Fear of Falling (2013)
6.
 Toy Story 3 (2010)
7.
 Furry Vengeance (2010)
10.
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Raised in New York's upper East Side
1965:
Traveled to India as an English teacher on a Fulbright program
1967:
Wrote first play "Four Meals in May" for an Oxford drama contest
:
Supported himself working as English, Latin, and drama teacher in New York
1975:
First produced play, "Our Late Night" at NYC's Public Theater
1977:
Commissioned by stage director Wilford Leach to write translation of Machiavelli's "The Mandrake"
1977:
Stage acting debut, a small part in "The Mandrake"; discovered by Woody Allen's casting director Juliet Taylor
1979:
Made film debut playing Diane Keaton's ex-husband in "Manhattan"; first film with writer-director Woody Allen
1981:
Screenwriting debut (with Andre Gregory), "My Dinner With Andre"; directed by Louis Malle; also co-starred
1982:
Played Marilu Henner's love interest on ABC sitcom "Taxi"
1985:
Wrote play "Aunt Dan and Lemon" that opened at Royal Court Theatre in London
1987:
Played memorable evil Vizzini in fairy tale comedy "The Princess Bride"
1987:
Appeared as the Huxtable family's neighbor on NBC's "The Cosby Show"
1993:
Landed recurring role as Ferengi Grand Nagus Zek on "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" (Syndicated)
1994:
Reunited with Andre Gregory for Louis Malle film "Vanya on 42nd Street"
1994:
Began playing recurring character of Stuart Best, a former news anchor on CBS sitcom "Murphy Brown"
1995:
Hilariously played debate teacher Mr. Hall in Amy Heckerling's teen comedy "Clueless"
1995:
Voiced Rex, an inept and insecure Tyrannosaurus figure in Pixar animated film "Toy Story"
1996:
Reprised role of debate teacher Mr. Hall for short-lived ABC sitcom "Clueless"
1996:
Wrote play "The Designated Mourner"; the following year, was adapted into a film directed by David Hare
1999:
Again voiced Rex in animated sequel "Toy Story 2"
2000:
Starred with Deborah Eisenberg in NYC premiere of "The Designated Mourner"
2001:
Re-teamed with director Woody Allen for "The Curse of the Jade Scorpion"
2001:
Landed recurring role as psychiatrist Dr. Howard Stiles on NBC's "Crossing Jordan"
2004:
Voiced Gilbert Huph, Bob Parr's boss in Pixar animated feature "The Incredibles"
2005:
Again collaborated with writer-director Woody Allen for "Melinda and Melinda"
2007:
Portrayed a megalomaniacal industrialist in Richard Kelly's "Southland Tales"
2008:
Cast in recurring role on Showtime's "The L Word"
2008:
Appeared with Abigail Breslin in family film "Kit Kittredge: An American Girl"
2008:
Played recurring role on The CW teen drama "Gossip Girl" as Leighton Meester's stepfather
2009:
Appeared in Michael Moore documentary "Capitalism: A Love Story"
2010:
Reprised voice of Rex the green dinosaur in "Toy Story 3"
2010:
Voice character of Calico in animated sequel "Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore"
2013:
Cast opposite Tina Fey and Paul Rudd in "Admission," directed by Paul Weitz
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Harvard University: Cambridge , Massachusetts -
University of Oxford: Oxford , England -
University of Oxford: Oxford , England -
The Putney School: Putney , Vermont -

Notes

"Actor-playwright Wallace Shawn once told an interviewer: 'I actually believe that what we Americans are doing in the world is wrong. So, even though I have this moderately affable personality in person, I have no interest in leaving an American audience feeling great. I don't think they SHOULD feel great.'"

--From Lawrence Christon, "Wallace Shawn Turns Up the Heat", Los Angeles Times Calendar, May 12, 1991.

"We Americans have the nerve and effrontery not only to savagely protect our interests, but to insist that we be paid and complimented at the same time for being warm-hearted and humanitarian. We are used to reading about the crimes of the Russians or the Chinese and enjoying the feeling that so many terrible things that were being done in the world were not our fault. Now that we're living in this New World Order with just one superpower, that kind of fantasy may be less available to us." --From Lawrence Christon, "Wallace Shawn Turns Up the Heat" in Los Angeles Times Calendar, May 12, 1991.

Companions close complete companion listing

companion:
Deborah Eisenberg. Writer.

Family close complete family listing

father:
William Shawn. Editor, publisher. Worked at THE NEW YORKER; born in 1907; died on December 6, 1992; changed spelling of last name in 1932.
mother:
Cecille Shawn. Journalist. Married William Shawn on September 1, 1928.
brother:
Allen Shawn. Composer. Younger; collaborated with Shawn on an opera entitled "The Music Teacher".
sister-in-law:
Jamaica Kincaid. Author. Married Allen Shawn in 1979.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Bibliography close complete biography

"Our Late Night"
"A Thought in Three Parts"
"The Hotel Play"
"Marie and Bruce"
"Aunt Dan and Lemon"
"The Fever" Noonday
VIEW COMPLETE BIBLIOGRAPHY

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