skip navigation
Jerry Zaks

Jerry Zaks

Up
Down

| VIEW ALL

TCM Messageboards
Post your comments here
ADD YOUR COMMENT>

share:

TCM Archive Materials VIEW ALL ARCHIVES (0)

Recent DVDs

 
 

Jerry Zaks - NOT AVAILABLE

Find what your looking for faster use the search field below to shop for titles.

SEARCH TCM.COM/SHOP


OR ... Click here to VOTE > for this person to be released on Home Video



Also Known As: Died:
Born: September 7, 1946 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Germany Profession: director, actor, dialogue coach

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

This acclaimed stage actor and director has lately been delving into films as well. Born in Germany, Zaks was appearing on the New York stage by the mid-1970s. The curly-haired, diminutive actor made a splash as Kenicke in the long-running hit musical "Grease" and subsequently alternated between musicals and plays, including "Once in a Lifetime" (1977), "Tintypes" (1980), Lanford Wilson's "Talley's Folly" (1982) and "Isn't It Romantic?" (1983). In 1994, he made a rare return to acting, handling the title role in of a concert version of "Fiorello!" (1994). His film acting career has consisted mostly of cameos in "Outrageous Fortune" (1987), Woody Allen's "Crimes and Misdemeanors" (1989) and "Husbands and Wives" (1992). Zaks has also acted in the TV-movies "Attica" (ABC, 1980), "The Gentleman Bandit" (CBS, 1981) and "The Wall" (CBS, 1982).But it is as a director that Zaks has become better known. His first New York show was Christopher Durang's "Beyond Therapy" (1981). A year later, he garnered praise and had a big success with the double bill of Durang's "Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You" and "The Actor's Nightmare". He has specialized in darkly humorous, wacky, almost vaudeville-style...

This acclaimed stage actor and director has lately been delving into films as well. Born in Germany, Zaks was appearing on the New York stage by the mid-1970s. The curly-haired, diminutive actor made a splash as Kenicke in the long-running hit musical "Grease" and subsequently alternated between musicals and plays, including "Once in a Lifetime" (1977), "Tintypes" (1980), Lanford Wilson's "Talley's Folly" (1982) and "Isn't It Romantic?" (1983). In 1994, he made a rare return to acting, handling the title role in of a concert version of "Fiorello!" (1994). His film acting career has consisted mostly of cameos in "Outrageous Fortune" (1987), Woody Allen's "Crimes and Misdemeanors" (1989) and "Husbands and Wives" (1992). Zaks has also acted in the TV-movies "Attica" (ABC, 1980), "The Gentleman Bandit" (CBS, 1981) and "The Wall" (CBS, 1982).

But it is as a director that Zaks has become better known. His first New York show was Christopher Durang's "Beyond Therapy" (1981). A year later, he garnered praise and had a big success with the double bill of Durang's "Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You" and "The Actor's Nightmare". He has specialized in darkly humorous, wacky, almost vaudeville-style comedies and musical revivals, winning Tony Awards for his staging of John Guare's "The House of Blue Leaves" (1986), Ken Ludwig's farcical "Lend Me a Tenor" (1989), Guare's "Six Degrees of Separation" (1991) and an acclaimed revival of the Frank Loesser-Abe Burrows-Jo Swerling classic "Guys and Dolls" (1992). A font of energy, Zaks has also directed Stephen Sondheim's "Assassins" (1990), Neil Simon's "Laughter on the 23rd Floor" (1994), shaped the revue "Smokey Joe's Cafe" (1995), a popular revival of Sondheim's "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" (1996) and many other shows, hits and flops alike. He has won particular praise for his handling of actors and many have earned awards and/or some of the best reviews of their careers in one of his productions. Among them are John Mahoney and Swoosie Kurtz ("House of Blue Leaves"), Stockard Channing ("Six Degrees of Separation"), Philip Bosco ("Lend Me a Tenor") and Patti LuPone ("Anything Goes"). He has directed Nathan Lane to acclaim in three productions, "Guys and Dolls", "Laughter on the 23rd Floor" and "Forum", which earned a Tony for the actor.

In 1996, Zaks' career took a sharply different turn as he directed his first feature film. Based on Scott McPherson's play, the warm comedy-drama "Marvin's Room" starred Meryl Streep and Diane Keaton as long-estranged sisters who are reunited when one is diagnosed with leukemia. The film also boasted a strong supporting cast including Robert De Niro, Leonardo DiCaprio, Hume Cronyn and Gwen Verdon.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
2.
  Marvin's Room (1996) Director
3.
  Man Who Came to Dinner, The (2000) Stage Director
5.
  Guys and Dolls Off the Record (1992) Stage Director
6.
  House of Blue Leaves, The (1987) Stage Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Husbands and Wives (1992) Dinner Party Guest
2.
 Crimes And Misdemeanors (1989) Man On Campus
3.
 Outrageous Fortune (1987) Tobacco Clerk
4.
 Wall, The (1982)
5.
 Gentleman Bandit, The (1981) Carl Schnee
6.
 Attica (1980) Lenny Becker
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Born in Germany
:
Family moved to the USA and settled in Paterson, New Jersey
1971:
Began acting with Ensemble Studio Theater, New York
:
Appeared on Broadway as Motel the tailor opposite Zero Mostel's Tevye in the Broadway hit "Fiddler on the Roof"
1974:
Played Kenicke in the long-running musical "Grease"
1977:
Visiting professor at Dartmouth College
1980:
Co-starred in the stage musical "Tintypes"
1980:
First TV appearance, in "Attica" (ABC)
1981:
New York debut as director, "Beyond Therapy"
1982:
First big hit as director, the double bill of one-act plays, "Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All for You" and "The Actor's Nightmare", both by Christopher Durang
1982:
Directed touring company of "Tintypes"
1983:
Served as dialogue coach for film "Private School"
1983:
Was again visiting professor at Dartmouth
:
Was resident director of the Lincoln Center Theater
1986:
Made Broadway debut as director, "The House of Blue Leaves", a revival of John Guare's comedy
1987:
Directed first musical revival, Cole Porter's "Anything Goes"
1987:
First film appearance, in "Outrageous Fortune"
1990:
Hired by Jujamcin Theaters as a consultant
1992:
Had biggest stage success as director with the revival of "Guys and Dolls", starring Peter Gallagher, Nathan Lane and Faith Prince
1996:
Staged the revival of the Larry Gelbart-Stephen Sondheim musical "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum", starring Nathan Lane
1996:
Directed first feature film, "Marvin's Room", adapted from the off-Broadway play and starring Diane Keaton, Meryl Streep and Robert De Niro
1998:
Oversaw the production of the ill-fated Broadway musical "The Capeman", composed by Paul Simon
1999:
Experienced another flop with the musical "The Civil War"
1999:
Directed the stage comedy "Epic Proportions", starring Kristen Chenoweth
2000:
Staged the Broadway revival of "The Man Who Came to Dinner", starring Nathan Lane
2001:
Directed the Neil Simon comedy "45 Seconds from Broadway"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Dartmouth College: Hanover , New Hampshire - 1967
Smith College: Northampton , Massachusetts - 1969

Notes

Zaks was honored by the Drama League in 1996.

He received an honorary doctorate from Dartmouth College.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Jill Rose. Actor. Married on January 14, 1979.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Sy Zaks. Butcher. Holocaust survivor.
mother:
Lily Zaks. Holocaust survivor.
daughter:
Emma Rose Zaks.

Please support TCMDB by adding to this information.

Click here to contribute