Family & Companions
A soap opera star of the 1980s who emerged in the 90s as a primetime sitcom star, Geoffrey Pierson was well into his 20 before he embarking on an acting career. He made his professional debut at the Shady Land Summer Theatre in Marengo, Illinois in 1976. The following year, he enrolled at the Yale School of Drama and by 1978, had made his NYC stage debut in the small role of a doctor in "Wings." The handsome actor remained with the play when it transferred to Broadway, simultaneously commuting to New Haven to work on his MFA. After graduation, Pierson found employment in daytime dramas beginning with a brief stint as a policeman on NBC's "Texas" and culminating in a three year stint as the charismatic politician Frank Ryan on ABC's acclaimed "Ryan's Hope" (1983-85). While still based in NYC, he segued to primetime with guest appearances on shows like "Kate and Allie" and "The Equalizer." He appeared in the CBS TV-movie "The Mating Season" (1980) and made an impact as the father of a youth (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) who sues his parents when they decide to divorce in "Necessary Parties" (PBS, 1988), directed by Alan Arkin. By the 90s, Pierson had begun to make his mark in primetime sitcoms. He landed the recurring role as the ex-husband of Brett Butler's Grace Kelly on "Grace Under Fire" (ABC). Simultaneously, Pierson was tapped as the lead in The WB sitcom "Unhappily Ever After" (1995-99), playing half of a couple facing a bitter divorce who learn they cannot live without one another. After supporting turns in films such as "Behind Enemy Lines" (2001) and "Spartan" (2004) and a short stint starring on the brief-lived Fox sit-com "That 80s Show" (2002), Pierson returned to series TV in the 2004-2005 season of the hit drama "24" as a senator who becomes embroiled in Jack Bauer's turbulent life.
Cast (Feature Film)
Professional stage debut at the Shady Land Summer Theatre in Marengo, IL
NYC stage debut in small role as a doctor in the New York Shakespeare Festival production of "Wings"; show later transferred to Broadway
Had first regular role on TV as Lt. Donovan on the NBC soap opera "Texas"
Made TV-movie debut in "The Mating Season" (CBS)
Feature film debut, "Without a Trace"
Played Frank Ryan on the ABC daytime drama "Ryan's Hope"
Co-starred in "Necessary Parties" (PBS)
Played Jimmy Kelly, Grace's ex-husband, on the ABC sitcom "Grace Under Fire"
Returned to features in small role in "Two Bits"
Starred as Jack Malloy on The WB sitcom "Unhappily Ever After"
Cast on the short-lived Fox comedy "That '80s Show" as R.T. Howard
Had a recurring role as Senate Minority Leader Tripplehorn on the NBC political drama "The West Wing"
Returned to series TV as Senator John Keeler on the Fox action drama "24"
Starred in David Mamet's "Spartan" with Derek Luke and Val Kilmer
Cast in the NBC movie "The Poseidon Adventure," a remake of the 1972 film that starred Gene Hackman and Shelley Winters
Appeared in Bob Goldthwait's indie feature "Sleeping Dogs Lie"
Played Captain Tom Matthews on the Showtime series "Dexter"
Portrayed the flamboyant defense attorney Sammy 'S.S.' Hahn in Clint Eastwood's "Changeling"
Played the vice president in the big screen adaptation of "Get Smart"
Made a guest appearance on HBO's "Boardwalk Empire"
Played a supporting role in romantic comedy "Something Borrowed"
Cast opposite Leonardo DiCaprio in the biographical drama "J. Edgar"; again directed by Eastwood