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Jon Robin Baitz

Jon Robin Baitz

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: November 4, 1961 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Los Angeles, California, USA Profession: playwright, screenwriter, producer, actor, painter, sales clerk, short order cook, producers' assistant

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Acknowledged as one of the most promising playwrights in contemporary American theater, the openly gay Jon Robin Baitz has begun to branch out into films and television. His plays have generally been described as classically structured meditations on morality and they not only challenge and please audiences but also earn critical encomiums.The son of an executive of Carnation Company, Baitz had a peripatetic childhood, living with his family in Brazil, South Africa and California. After graduating from Beverly Hills High School, he worked at various jobs such as an assistant to two producers (which he used as the basis for his first play "Zilinsky/Mizlansky") and a clerk in a bookstore. His first two-act play, "The Film Society", about the staff of a prep school in South Africa, demonstrated a skill and maturity that belied his youth. Its 1987 success in L.A. led to an off-Broadway production featuring Nathan Lane the following year. By 1992 when he had two successful off-Broadway productions, "The End of the Day", starring Roger Rees, and "The Substance of Fire", with Ron Rifkin and Sarah Jessica Parker, Baitz's position as, in the words of The New York Times critic Frank Rich, "a mature artist with...

Acknowledged as one of the most promising playwrights in contemporary American theater, the openly gay Jon Robin Baitz has begun to branch out into films and television. His plays have generally been described as classically structured meditations on morality and they not only challenge and please audiences but also earn critical encomiums.

The son of an executive of Carnation Company, Baitz had a peripatetic childhood, living with his family in Brazil, South Africa and California. After graduating from Beverly Hills High School, he worked at various jobs such as an assistant to two producers (which he used as the basis for his first play "Zilinsky/Mizlansky") and a clerk in a bookstore. His first two-act play, "The Film Society", about the staff of a prep school in South Africa, demonstrated a skill and maturity that belied his youth. Its 1987 success in L.A. led to an off-Broadway production featuring Nathan Lane the following year. By 1992 when he had two successful off-Broadway productions, "The End of the Day", starring Roger Rees, and "The Substance of Fire", with Ron Rifkin and Sarah Jessica Parker, Baitz's position as, in the words of The New York Times critic Frank Rich, "a mature artist with a complete vision" was solidified. Four years later, he found himself as one of the three finalists for the 1996 Pulitzer Prize for his semi-autobiographical "A Fair Country".

With his success in theater well-established, Baitz began to branch into other media. He wrote and directed the two character play "Three Hotels" (widely believed to be based on his parents) for a 1991 PBS presentation of "American Playhouse". [Baitz later reworked the material for the stage under the same title.] For the Showtime anthology series "Fallen Angels", he adapted a Jim Thompson story "The Frightening Frammis" which also marked the directorial debut of actor Tom Cruise. Filmmaker Henry Jaglom cast him as a gay playwright who achieved success at an early age, a role that was hardly a stretch for Baitz, in the Chekhovian "Last Summer in the Hamptons" (1995). The darkly handsome Baitz more than held his own in a cast that included Viveca Lindfors (in her final screen role), Victoria Foyt, Andre Gregory and Melissa Leo. He furthered ventured into features in 1996 as both screenwriter and producer of the film version of his play "The Substance of Fire".

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Three Hotels (1991) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Hollywood Dreams (2006)
2.
 One Fine Day (1996) Yates Jr
3.
 Last Summer in the Hamptons (1995) Jake Axelrod
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Raised in Brazil and South Africa
1978:
Returned to Los Angeles with family
1979:
Travelled throughout Europe and Israel
:
Worked as producers' assistant; used experience as inspiration for play "Mizlansky/Zilansky"
:
Was sales clerk at Book Soup on Sunset Strip in Los Angeles; first met Henry Jaglom who was a customer
1987:
First two-act play produced in Los Angeles, "The Film Society"
1988:
"The Film Society" produced in London and later Off-Broadway in NYC; latter staging featured Nathan Lane
1991:
TV writing and directing debut, "Three Hotels" for "American Playhouse" on PBS
1992:
Had two plays produced successfully off-Broadway, "The End of the Day" and "The Substance of Fire"
1993:
Co-scripted (with Howard A Rodman) an episode of the Showtime anthology series "Fallen Angels" entitled "The Frightening Frammis"; adapted from a story by Jim Thompson; episode marked Tom Cruise's directorial debut
1995:
Feature film acting debut, "Last Summer in the Hamptons", directed by Henry Jaglom
1996:
Garnered praise for Off-Broadway play "A Fair Country"
1996:
Feature film debut as producer and screenwriter, "The Substance of Fire" (adapted from his play)
1996:
Had small role as a business associate of Michelle Pfeiffer's in the comedy "One Fine Day"
1998:
A revision of an earlier work, "Mizlansky/Zilinsky, or 'Schmucks'" opened Off-Broadway; Nathan Lane co-starred; staged by Joe Mantello
1998:
Contributed the first act to the play "House"; Terrence McNally wrote second half; staged by Mantello at Bay Street Theater
1999:
Adapted Ibsen's "Hedda Gabler"; produced at L.A.'s Geffen Playhouse with Annette Bening in the lead; restaged in summer 2000 at Long Island's Bay Street Theater starring Kate Burton; later played at Boston's Huntington Theatre
2001:
"Ten Unknowns", about an aging painter and a scientist who becomes involved with him, opened Off-Broadway starring Donald Sutherland and Juliana Margulies
2002:
Wrote the screenplay for the feature film "People I Know"
2006:
Created the ABC family drama, "Brothers and Sisters"; served as producer and writer
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Education

Clifton Preparatory School: -
Beverly Hills High School: Beverly Hills , California - 1979

Notes

Baitz has received Rockefeller, Revson, National Endowment for the Arts and American Academy of Arts and Letters fellowships, an Oppenheimer/Newsday award and Theatre Communications Guild's Playwrights USA Award.

He received the Humanitas Prize for the PBS production of "Three Hotels".

In 1999, he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship.

Baitz is a member of the Naked Angels Theater Company and the New York Stage and Theater Company

"If Arthur Miller married Noel Coward, their baby would be Robbie Baitz"--Andre Bishop, Artistic Director of NYC'c Lincoln Center Theatre

He and Mantello were among the theatrical personalities profiled in the November 1995 Architectural Digest.

Companions close complete companion listing

companion:
Joe Mantello. Actor; director. Met in 1989; together since November 1990.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Edward Baitz. Businessman. Worked for Carnation Company.
brother:
Jeffrey Wayne Baitz. Born on November 3, 1948.
brother:
Rick Baitz. Composer. Born on August 20, 1954.

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