Gary Cole


Actor

About

Also Known As
Gary Michael Cole
Birth Place
Park Ridge, Illinois, USA
Born
September 20, 1956

Biography

Gary Cole, a handsome actor trained on the Chicago theater scene first gained celebrity on TV in the mid-1980s with a series of accomplished performances in high-profile TV-movies and miniseries. Though youthful, Cole has brought strength and credibility to his portrayals of often flawed figures of authority. He won national attention with his breakthrough TV performance as charismatic a...

Biography

Gary Cole, a handsome actor trained on the Chicago theater scene first gained celebrity on TV in the mid-1980s with a series of accomplished performances in high-profile TV-movies and miniseries. Though youthful, Cole has brought strength and credibility to his portrayals of often flawed figures of authority. He won national attention with his breakthrough TV performance as charismatic accused killer Dr. Jeffrey MacDonald in the acclaimed miniseries "Fatal Vision" (NBC, 1984). As a former Green Beret officer accused (and convicted) of murdering his family, Cole displayed an impressive range that both encompassed and challenged the various points of view expressed about the true nature of his character. However, his roles as Mike Brady in "The Brady Bunch Movie" (1995) and sleazeball boss Bill Lumbergh in Mike Judge's "Office Space" (1999) reinvented Cole as one of the great deadpan comedians of his generation. A frequent presence on TV beginning in the mid-1980s, Cole's substantial telefilm work included a pairing with TV veteran Ed Asner in "Vital Signs" (CBS, 1986) playing father-and-son doctors cum substance abusers; portraying a newly widowed reluctant father in "Those She Left Behind" (NBC, 1989), and a memorable interpretation of General George Armstrong Custer in the miniseries "Son of the Morning Star" (ABC, 1991). He segued to series TV as the star of "Midnight Caller" (NBC, 1988-91). Here Cole was Jack Killian, a sensitive former San Francisco cop who leaves the force after accidentally killing his partner, finding redemption as "The Nighthawk," the host of an all-night, call-in radio show. Despite a busy TV career, Cole continued to tread the boards on the Chicago stage. After dropping out during his third year at Illinois State University, he helped form the Remains Theater. Cole left the Remains to become an ensemble member of the celebrated Steppenwolf Theatre Company where he appeared in such productions as "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," "Philadelphia Here I Come" and "Balm in Gilead." During a hiatus from "Midnight Caller," he returned to the Windy City to star in David Mamet's "Speed the Plow." Cole began dabbling in features beginning with a supporting role as young Secret Service agent who needles Clint Eastwood in "In the Line of Fire" (1993). He won appreciative notices for his uncanny recreation of always calm architect Mike Brady, Robert Reed's beloved TV sitcom dad, for "The Brady Bunch Movie" (1995), its sequel, "A Very Brady Movie" (1996) and a TV-movie follow-up "Bradys in the White House" (2002). Cole returned to series TV playing a far more ominous paternal figure in "American Gothic" (CBS, 1995-96). As Sheriff Lucas Buck, he cut a coolly menacing figure as a man with unusual--and perhaps supernatural--powers and influence in a sleepy North Carolina town. After the critically-hailed drama failed to catch on, Cole played a wide ranging assortment of characters from a conventional dad in "I'll Be Home for Christmas" (1998) to a sleazy attorney in "The Gift" (2000). At first, his portrayal of passive-aggressive boss Bill Lumbergh in Mike Judge's "Office Space" (1999) slipped under the radar, but as the box-office dud found a devoted cult audience on home video, Cole's drawled "...that'd be greeeeeat" catchphrase became one of the film's most beloved and oft-repeated memes. Slipping adeptly between comedy and drama, Cole had a banner year in 2002 with a small but compelling turn as the store manager to Robin Williams' creepy, obsessive photo developer in "One Hour Photo" (2002), a role he followed up with a broad comedic turn as Owen Wilson's can-do-no-wrong superspy rival in "I Spy" (2002). He was also cast in the Uncle Bill role (originally played by Brian Keith) in the short-lived update of the saccharine family sit-com "Family Affair" (WB 2002-03) and employed his considerable vocal talents in the title role of subversive animated comedy "Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law" (Adult Swim 2002-07). During this period, Cole also provided various voices on "Family Guy" (Fox 1999- ), played the title character's father on animated hit "Kim Possible" (Disney 2002-07), and had a recurring role as Vice President Bob Russell on "The West Wing" (NBC 1999-2006). Cole continued his comedic sneak attack on audiences with a turn in the retro-cool "Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!" (2004) as Kate Bosworth's Hollywood-impressed father, and in a pitch perfect turn as an obsequious sports broadcaster in "Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story" (2004). Cole continued in this late-career reinvention as a comic actor, appearing in character roles in Will Ferrell's "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby" (2006), stoner action comedy "Pineapple Express" (2008), animated bunny film "Hop" (2011) and Melissa McCarthy's "Tammy" (2014). However, he also maintained a steady presence in dramatic films, playing activist lawyer Bill Kunstler in hippie-era biopic "The Chicago 8" (2011), and appearing in crime drama "The Last Rites of Joe May" (2011) and horror flick "The Town That Dreaded Sundown" (2014). Throughout, he maintained his steady TV work schedule, appearing in story arcs on "Desperate Housewives" (ABC 2004-2012), "Entourage" (HBO 2004-2011), "The Good Wife" (CBS 2009-2016) and "Bob's Burgers" (Fox 2011- ). In 2013, Cole joined the cast of "Veep" (HBO 2012- ) as senior strategist Kent Davison, for which he was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Emmy.

Filmography

 

Cast (Feature Film)

The Art of Racing in the Rain (2019)
Unbroken: Path to Redemption (2018)
Blockers (2018)
Small Crimes (2017)
Scooby-Doo! Shaggy's Showdown (2017)
Rafe
Christmas Eve (2015)
The Bronze (2015)
Divine Access (2015)
Gay Dude (2014)
Tammy (2014)
The Town that Dreaded Sundown (2014)
An Officer and a Murderer (2012)
The Last Rites of Joe May (2011)
Ricochet (2011)
Hop (2011)
The Joneses (2010)
Batman: Under the Red Hood (2010)
James Gordon
Conspiracy (2008)
Forever Strong (2008)
Pineapple Express (2008)
American Pastime (2007)
Breach (2007)
Mozart and the Whale (2005)
Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story (2004)
Win a Date with Tad Hamilton! (2004)
Kim Possible: A Sitch in Time (2003)
Voice
I Spy (2002)
The Brady Bunch in the White House (2002)
One Hour Photo (2002)
The Rising Place (2002)
The Gift (2000)
A Babylon 5: Call to Arms (1999)
Captain Matthew Gideon
Office Space (1999)
A Simple Plan (1998)
I'll Be Home for Christmas (1998)
Gang Related (1997)
Lies He Told (1997)
Dave Bay
Santa Fe (1997)
Paul
Indecent Seduction (1996)
A Very Brady Sequel (1996)
The Brady Bunch Movie (1995)
A Time to Heal (1994)
Twilight Zone: Rod Serling's Lost Classics (1994)
In the Line of Fire (1993)
The Switch (1993)
The Old Man and the Sea (1990)
Tom
Those She Left Behind (1989)
Scott Grimes
Vital Signs (1986)
First Steps (1985)
Heart of Steel (1983)
Lee

Misc. Crew (Feature Film)

The Brady Bunch in the White House (2002)
Consultant

Cast (Special)

I Love the '90s (2004)
After Midnight (1988)
Gordon
A Matter of Principle (1984)

Cast (TV Mini-Series)

Harvey Birdman: Attorney General (2018)
Harvey Birdman
Pop Rocks (2004)
Cadet Kelly (2002)
Kiss the Sky (1999)
From the Earth to the Moon (1998)
Fall from Grace (1994)
When Love Kills: The Seduction of John Hearn (1993)
Son of the Morning Star (1991)
Echoes in the Darkness (1987)
Fatal Vision (1984)
Jeffrey Macdonald

Life Events

1979

Co-founded the Remains Theater in Chicago, IL

1983

Made his TV acting debut in the ABC TV-movie "Heart of Steel"

1984

Starred as Dr. Jeffrey MacDonald, a former Green Beret accused and convicted of murdering his family, in the fact-based NBC miniseries "Fatal Vision"

1985

Joined the ensemble of the famed Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago; acted in various Steppenwolf productions, including "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" and "Philadelphia Here I Come"

1988

Made TV series debut on the NBC drama "Midnight Caller"

1989

Returned to Chicago to star in David Mamet's "Speed the Plow" during a hiatus from "Midnight Caller"

1991

Starred as General George Armstrong Custer in the ABC miniseries "Son of the Morning Star"

1993

Made feature film debut in "In the Line of Fire"

1995

Returned to series TV as the star of CBS' "American Gothic"

1995

First feature lead, playing 1970s TV dad Mike Brady in "The Brady Bunch Movie"

1996

Reprised role of Mike Brady in "A Very Brady Sequel"

1998

Cast as Jonathan Taylor Thomas' father in the hit teen comedy "I'll Be Home for Christmas"

1998

Played astronaut Edgar Mitchell in producer Tom Hanks' HBO miniseries "From the Earth to the Moon"

1999

Played the jazzman father in the Steppenwolf production of "Side Man"

1999

Played the obnoxious, demanding supervisor Bill Lumbergh in Mike Judge's "Office Space"

2000

Cast in director Sam Raimi's "The Gift"

2000

Voiced various characters on the Fox animated series "Family Guy"

2000

Provided the voive of the titular superhero on the Adult Swim series "Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law"

2002

Played Robin Williams' department store manager in the psychological drama "One Hour Photo"

2002

Reprised the role of Mike Brady for the Fox telepic "The Brady Bunch in the White House"

2002

Cast as Uncle Bill Davis on The WB's updated take on the TV classic "Family Affair"

2002

Provided the voice of Dr. Possible on Disney Channel's animated series "Kim Possible"

2003

Played the recurring role of Vice President Bob Russell on the NBC political drama "West Wing"

2004

Appeared in the romantic comedy "Win a Date with Tad Hamilton"

2004

Cast with Ben Stiller in the comedy "Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story"

2005

Appeared in the horror film "The Ring Two"

2006

Cast as Will Ferrell's estranged father in the comedy "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby"

2008

Guest starred as Katherine Mayfair's (Dana Delany) ex-husband Wayne Davis on ABC's "Desperate Housewives"

2008

Played a drug lord in the Judd Apatow produced comedy "Pineapple Express"

2008

Landed recurring role on the fifth season of HBO's "Entourage," playing agent Ari Gold's old pal Andrew Klein; joined the regular cast in the sixth season

2009

Co-starred with David Duchovny and Demi Moore in the independent comedy "The Joneses"

2010

Made recurring guest appearance on CBS drama "The Good Wife"

2011

Acted in the family adventure "Hop"

2012

Starred as an Air Force colonel and Peeping Tom in Lifetime's fact-based movie "An Officer and a Murderer"

2012

Voiced Sergeant Bosco on "Bob's Burgers"

2013

Cast as Kent Davison on "Veep"

2014

Lent his voice to the character of Special Agent Hawley on "Archer"

2016

Played James Green on "Mercy Street"

2017

Appeared in TV movie "Libby and Malcolm"

Bibliography