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Paul Dooley

Paul Dooley

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Also Known As: Paul Brown Died:
Born: February 22, 1928 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Parkersburg, West Virginia, USA Profession: actor, executive, screenwriter, magician, clown

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

An agreeably rumpled, very hard-working character actor of film and television, Paul Dooley has been active in big-budget and independent features, excelling in both lead roles and bit parts. Initially an aspiring cartoonist, Dooley got his start with the Second City theater group, making his New York stage debut in the early 1950s. Here he was discovered by Mike Nichols, who cast the actor as one of the poker buddies in the original 1965 Broadway production of "The Odd Couple." When star Art Carney left the play, Dooley replaced him as Felix opposite Walter Matthau's Oscar. The actor started his film career soon thereafter with work in such features as "What's So Bad About Feeling Good?" (1968), "The Out-of-Towners" (1970), "Death Wish" (1974) and "Slap Shot" (1977). Dooley's big break finally came at the age of 50 when Robert Altman cast him as the patriarch in his all-star "A Wedding" (1978). The actor went on to work with the director several more times, starring in "A Perfect Couple" (1979), acting in and co-writing the comedy "Health" (1980), playing Wimpy in the odd "Popeye" (also 1980), taking lead in "O.C. and Stiggs" (1987) and contributing a cameo to "The Player" (1992).While Dooley is...

An agreeably rumpled, very hard-working character actor of film and television, Paul Dooley has been active in big-budget and independent features, excelling in both lead roles and bit parts. Initially an aspiring cartoonist, Dooley got his start with the Second City theater group, making his New York stage debut in the early 1950s. Here he was discovered by Mike Nichols, who cast the actor as one of the poker buddies in the original 1965 Broadway production of "The Odd Couple." When star Art Carney left the play, Dooley replaced him as Felix opposite Walter Matthau's Oscar. The actor started his film career soon thereafter with work in such features as "What's So Bad About Feeling Good?" (1968), "The Out-of-Towners" (1970), "Death Wish" (1974) and "Slap Shot" (1977). Dooley's big break finally came at the age of 50 when Robert Altman cast him as the patriarch in his all-star "A Wedding" (1978). The actor went on to work with the director several more times, starring in "A Perfect Couple" (1979), acting in and co-writing the comedy "Health" (1980), playing Wimpy in the odd "Popeye" (also 1980), taking lead in "O.C. and Stiggs" (1987) and contributing a cameo to "The Player" (1992).

While Dooley is well-known for his Altman association, his most memorable work was arguably apart from that director, playing the beleaguered father of Dennis Christopher's Italy-obsessed cyclist in Peter Yates' touching drama "Breaking Away" (1979). Here the actor would best showcase his abilities, bringing added dimension to his character, a man at once cantankerous, affectionate, frustrating and funny. Dooley also proved himself in David Steinberg's comedy "Paternity" (1981) and Alan Rudolph's horror thriller "Endangered Species" (1982), and would become an icon to a new generation as Molly Ringwald's delightfully down-to-earth dad in the charming John Hughes comedy "Sixteen Candles" (1984). Frequent and notable turns on the big screen made Dooley an uncommonly recognizable, bringing a feeling of familiarity to all of his portrayals. Credits in films as divergent as "My Boyfriend's Back" (1993) and "Telling Lies in America" (1997) featured him in small roles that capitalized on his credibility, while a supporting turn as a likeable but troubled widower in 1999's "Runaway Bride" returned him to the feature foreground.

A performer with dozens of films to his credit, Dooley has also been very visible on TV, seeming a virtually constant presence with high-profile starring and supporting work in series, TV-movies and commercials. Dooley's earliest credits include the 1960s series "Get Smart" (NBC, CBS) and "The Dom DeLuise Show" (CBS, 1968), but it was 1988 when Dooley finally made his regular series debut, starring opposite Phyllis Newman as a reluctant retiree in the enjoyable sitcom "Coming of Age" (CBS, 1988-89). Sitcom guest roles were abundant for the actor before this series and after its demise, with significant parts on HBO's "Dream On" (as the hero's gay father) "The Golden Girls," "ALF" (both NBC) and "The Wonder Years" (ABC). The actor displayed his comic chops with odd roles on the comedy anthology series "The Ben Stiller Show" (Fox, 1992) and he subsequently had a three-season (1994-97) recurring role on ABC's "Grace Under Fire" as the oil refinery's preoccupied boss. Dooley similarly impressed in more dramatic fare including "thirtysomething" (ABC, 1990), "Chicago Hope" (CBS, 1994) and "ER" (NBC, 1995). In 1999, a five-episode recurring role on ABC's "The Practice" earned the veteran actor his second Emmy nomination (he was previously recognized for a 1993 episode of "Dream On"). His many TV movie and miniseries credits include featured roles in "The Murder of Mary Phagan" (NBC, 1988), "The Court-Martial of Jackie Robinson" (TNT, 1990), and NBC's dreadful 1991 effort "White Hot: The Mysterious Murder of Thelma Todd" (playing Hal Roach). Later in his career he was feature in the family-aimed TV productions "The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes" (ABC, 1995), "Angels in the Endzone" (ABC, 1997) and "Evolver" (Sci-Fi Channel, 1996).

While his work in front of the camera earned the most notice, Dooley has performed extensively on stage, including his turn as the titular baseball great the acclaimed one man play "The Amazing Casey Stengel" (1980-81) at the American Place Theatre. Another important feather in Dooley's cap was the groundbreaking children's series "The Electric Company," which he co-created and wrote. A 1970s program that enlivened educational TV for the post-"Sesame Street" set, "The Electric Company" featured such impressive regulars as Morgan Freeman and Rita Moreno, and would remain in the hearts of its target audience for decades after its last broadcast. Dooley also formed All Over Creations, a production company concerned with fortifying industrial films and commercials with clever comedic elements.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Cars 3 (2017)
2.
 Other People (2016)
3.
 Turbo (2013)
4.
 Cars 2 (2011)
5.
 Thanks (2011)
6.
 Horsemen (2009)
7.
8.
 Bedtime Stories (2008)
9.
 Chronic Town (2008)
10.
 Hairspray (2007)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1992:
Acted in the comedy TV series "The Ben Stiller Show" (Fox)
1994:
Appeared in episodes of the drama series "Chicago Hope" (CBS), "Sisters" (NBC) and "My So-Called Life" (ABC)
1983:
Co-starred in "Strange Brew", the film starring and directed by SCTV's McKenzie brothers, Dave Thomas and Rick Moranis
1986:
Featured in the John Cassavetes comedy "Big Trouble"
1985:
Guest starred on the ABC drama "Spenser: For Hire"
2000:
Cast as Cheryl's father on "Curb Your Enthusiasm"
1999:
Had a recurring guest role as Judge Swackheim on "The Practice" (ABC); was nominated for an Emmy for his performance
1991:
Made guest appearances on episodes of "Evening Shade" (CBS), "Coach" and "The Wonder Years" (both ABC)
1988:
Made TV series regular debut as a reluctant retiree on the CBS sitcom "Coming of Age"
1994:
Played Herb Tolliver in the PBS miniseries "Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City"
1979:
Played the grumpy father of Dennis Christopher in "Breaking Away"
2005:
Cast opposite Jenny McCarthy in John Mallory Asher's "Dirty Love"
1990:
Had a recurring role on "thirtysomething" (ABC)
1992:
Had an Emmy-nominated guest turn on the HBO sitcom "Dream On", playing the gay father of the series protagonist
1987:
Acted in Altman's "O.C. and Stiggs"
1983:
Acted in Steinberg's spoof "Going Berserk"
1980:
Co-wrote screenplay and acted in Altman's "Health"
1981:
Featured in David Steinberg's directorial debut "Paternity"
1990:
Featured in the TNT biopic "The Court-Martial of Jackie Robinson"
1997:
Played a priest in "Telling Lies in America"; featured in the independents "Clockwatchers" and "Loved"
1991:
Played Hal Roach in the TV-movie dramatization "White Hot: The Mysterious Murder of Thelma Todd" (NBC)
1997:
Starred as Coach Buck in the ABC "Wonderful World of Disney" presentation "Angels in the Endzone"
1994:
Acted on the syndicated series "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine"
1987:
Had a recurring role as a neighbor on the NBC sitcom "ALF"
1994:
Had recurring role on the ABC sitcom "Grace Under Fire"
1993:
Had supporting roles in the silly comedy "My Boyfriend's Back" and the gothic drama "A Dangerous Woman"
1989:
Played the father of a young woman fighting for justice after an acquaintance raped her in the CBS TV-movie "When He's Not a Stranger"
2009:
Guest-starred on medical sitcom "Scrubs"
2013:
Voiced The Foreman in animated adventure "Turbo"
1971:
Co-created and co-wrote the acclaimed children's TV show "The Electric Company"
1999:
Played Julia Roberts' hard-drinking widowed father in the romantic comedy "Runaway Bride"
1979:
Starred in Robert Altman's "A Perfect Couple"
1970:
Acted in Arthur Hiller's "The Out-of-Towners"
1981:
Made TV-movie debut in "Momma the Detective"
1980:
Reteamed with Altman to play Wimpy in "Popeye"
1968:
Made screen acting debut in "What's So Bad About Feeling Good?"
1983:
Acted in the "Faerie Tale Theatre" production of "Hansel and Gretel"
1977:
Featured in the comedy "Slap Shot"
1995:
Featured in Steven Soderburgh's "The Underneath"
1984:
Played Molly Ringwald's father in the John Hughes comedy "Sixteen Candles"
1965:
Spotted by Mike Nichols, who cast him as a poker player in "The Odd Couple"; subsequently replaced Art Carney as Felix opposite Walter Matthau's Oscar
2008:
Had a guest spot as Dr. Walter Tapley on "Grey's Anatomy"
2010:
Played Joe Sosniak on "Huge"
2010:
Voiced Sarge on Disney/Pixar sequel "Cars 2"
2013:
Reprised Sarge role on animated series "Tales from Radiator Springs"
2016:
Cast as Ronnie in comedy drama "Other People"
2017:
Reprised Sarge role yet again in Disney/Pixar sequel "Cars 3"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

West Virginia University: Morgantown, West Virginia - 1952
West Virginia University: Morgantown, West Virginia - 1952

Notes

"I've been hired for many father roles where the producers think they'll get the same performance as in 'Breaking Away', but they don't realize you can't do it without that kind of writing. I'm the same actor, but the words have to be right." --quoted in Los Angeles Times, July 25, 1999.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Donna Lee Wasser. Married in 1958; divorced.
wife:
Winnie Holzman. Writer. Second wife; married on November 18, 1984; wrote for the last two seasons of "thirtysomething"; creator of (and writer for) the acclaimed teen drama series "My So-Called Life" (ABC, 1994-95).

Family close complete family listing

father:
Peter James Brown. Factory worker.
mother:
Ruth Irene Brown.
child:
Robin Dooley. Mother, Donna Wasser.
son:
Adam Dooley. Mother, Donna Wasser.
son:
Peter Dooley. Mother, Donna Wasser.
daughter:
Savannah Dooley. Mother, Winnie Holzman.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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