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George Grizzard

George Grizzard

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Also Known As: George Cooper Grizzard Jr. Died: October 1, 2007
Born: April 1, 1928 Cause of Death: lung cancer
Birth Place: Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina, USA Profession: actor, stage manager

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A celebrated stage actor with numerous Broadway and stock company plays to his credit, George Grizzard has generally been seen as a supporting player in TV and films. The light-haired actor was often cast as politicians and men of authority, most memorably as John Adams in "The Adams Chronicles" (PBS, 1976), the ruthless Senator van Ackerman in "Advise and Consent" (1962) and the forceful defense attorney Arthur Gold in more or less annual appearances on NBC's "Law & Order". Born in North Carolina and raised in Washington, DC, Grizzard began his acting career in a production of "The Corn Is Green" at the Crossroads Theatre in Virginia in 1945, before working at the Arena Stage. He headed to NYC to study with Sanford Meisner and soon made his Broadway debut in "The Desperate Hours" (1955) playing Paul Newman's younger brother who joins in taking Karl Malden and his family hostage. The next year he won a Theatre World Award for his work in "The Happiest Millionaire", earned a Tony nomination for his turn in "The Disenchanted" and created the role of Nick in Edward Albee's "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" (1962). Grizzard went on to play numerous classical roles, including several at Minneapolis'...

A celebrated stage actor with numerous Broadway and stock company plays to his credit, George Grizzard has generally been seen as a supporting player in TV and films. The light-haired actor was often cast as politicians and men of authority, most memorably as John Adams in "The Adams Chronicles" (PBS, 1976), the ruthless Senator van Ackerman in "Advise and Consent" (1962) and the forceful defense attorney Arthur Gold in more or less annual appearances on NBC's "Law & Order".

Born in North Carolina and raised in Washington, DC, Grizzard began his acting career in a production of "The Corn Is Green" at the Crossroads Theatre in Virginia in 1945, before working at the Arena Stage. He headed to NYC to study with Sanford Meisner and soon made his Broadway debut in "The Desperate Hours" (1955) playing Paul Newman's younger brother who joins in taking Karl Malden and his family hostage. The next year he won a Theatre World Award for his work in "The Happiest Millionaire", earned a Tony nomination for his turn in "The Disenchanted" and created the role of Nick in Edward Albee's "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" (1962). Grizzard went on to play numerous classical roles, including several at Minneapolis' Guthrie Theater, before returning to the Great White Way in a 1965 revival of "The Glass Menagerie". By 1970, he was playing Julius Rosenberg in Donald Freed's "Inquest" and two years later co-starred with Jason Robards in a revival of Clifford Odets' "The Country Girl". Throughout the 70s, he worked in plays by many of America's best writers including Arthur Miller ("The Creation of the World and Other Business" 1972), George S Kaufman and Edna Ferber (the 1975 revival of "The Royal Family") and Neil Simon ("California Suite" 1976). In 1986, Grizzard tackled the role of Tobias in Albee's "A Delicate Balance" at the Berkshire Theatre Festival and a decade later capped his long stage career with a Tony Award as Best Actor in the Broadway revival.

Despite his extensive stage credits, Grizzard managed to find occasional film and TV roles. Throughout the small screen's so-called 'Golden Age', he appeared in numerous anthology series and such prestigious offerings as "Teacher, Teacher", a 1969 NBC "Hallmark Hall of Fame" offering in which he was cast as the father of a retarded youth. His work alongside Henry Fonda in the live presentation of "The Oldest Living Graduate" (NBC, 1980), earned him a well-deserved Emmy Award. Grizzard has often played real-life figures in TV shows such as journalist Tom Wicker in "Attica" (ABC, 1980), John Siegenthaler in "Robert Kennedy and His Times" (CBS, 1985) and US President Jimmy Carter in "Iran: Days of Crisis" (TNT, 1991). More recently, he returned to his Southern roots in two CBS miniseries 1993's "Queen" and 1994's "Scarlett". Grizzard and Elaine Stritch (with whom he also co-starred in "A Delicate Balance") offered delicious comic turns as the battling parents of Jane Curtin in a 1997 episode of the NBC sitcom "3rd Rock From the Sun".

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
2.
 Small Time Crooks (2000) George Blint
3.
 Wonder Boys (2000) Fred Leer
4.
 Sisters and Other Strangers (1997) Ben Strickland
6.
 Shattering The Silence (1993) Malcolm Worth
7.
 Caroline? (1990) Paul Carmichael
8.
 False Witness (1989) Mcmahon
9.
 David (1988) Dr Achauer
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1945:
Stage debut in production of "The Corn Is Green" in Virginia
1951:
TV debut in episode of "Crime Photographer" (CBS)
1954:
Worked at the Arena Theater in Washington, DC as a stage manager and understudy in "All Summer Long"
1955:
Broadway debut as Paul Newman's younger brother in "The Desperate Hours"
1958:
Earned first Tony Award nomination for "The Disenchanted"; first time working with Rosemary Harris
1959:
Played Benedick to Harris' Beatrice in Shakespeare's "Much Ado About Nothing" in Wellesley, MA
1960:
Feature acting debut in "From the Terrace"
1962:
Had a meaty supporting role as a ruthless senator in "Advise and Consent"
1962:
Originated the role of Nick in the Broadway production of Edward Albee's "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?"
1965:
Earned critical plaudits for his turn as Tom in a revival of "The Glass Menagerie"
1967:
Starred in the stage comedy "you Know I Can't Hear You When the Water's Running"
1970:
Played Julius Rosenberg in the Braodway play "Inquest"
1971:
TV-movie debut in "Travis Logan, D.A." (CBS)
1972:
Played Bernie Dodd in the Broadway revival of "The Country Girl"
1974:
Reprised stage role of Bernie Dodd in NBC "Hallmark Hall of Fame" adaptation of "The Country Girl"
1975:
Teamed with Rosemary Harris for the Braodway revival of "The Royal Family"
1976:
Starred as John Adams in "The Adams Chronicles" (PBS)
1978:
Played a supporting role in the film "Comes a Horseman"
1980:
Reprised stage role in the NBC TV-movie "The Oldest Living Graduate"; won Emmy Award
1984:
Last feature role (to date), "Bachelor Party"
1986:
First played the role of Tobias in "A Delicate Balance" at the Berskshire Theatre Festival
1989:
Was regular on short-lived ABC series "Studio 5-B"
1991:
Portrayed US President Jimmy Carter in the TNT production "Iran: Days of Crisis"
1992:
Made first of several appearances as defense attorney Arthur Gold on the celebrated NBC series "Law & Order"
1994:
Had featured role of Henry Hamilton in the CBS miniseries "Scarlett"
1995:
Played Cap'n Andy in the Toronto production of "Show Boat"
1996:
Starred on Broadway in "A Delicate Balance" opposite Rosemary Harris and Elaine Stritch; won Tony Award
1997:
Reteamed with Elaine Stritch playing the parents of Jane Curtin in an episode of the NBC sitcom "3rd Rock From the Sun"
2001:
Had leading role in Broadway production of "Judgment at Nuremberg"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

University of North Carolina: - 1949

Notes

Inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame in 2001.

"I never read reviews. I have friends who tell me if they're good. It will affect you in some way, and I don't want to be affected. It's between me and the playwright to interpret the play. I collect the reviews, and say I'll read them later. I have some from 'The Glass Menagerie' in 1965 that I've never read". --George Grizzard in TheaterWeek, July 22-28, 1996

He and Rosemary Harris have appeared together in eight plays, beginning with 1958's "The Disenchanted" and including the 1996 revival of "A Delciate Balance".

Family close complete family listing

father:
George Cooper Grizzard. Accountant.
mother:
Mary Winifred Grizzard.

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