Stephen Tobolowsky

Stephen Tobolowsky

Highest Rated: 100% Stephen Tobolowsky's Birthday Party (2005)

Lowest Rated: 0% Nobody's Fool (1986)

Birthday: May 30, 1951

Birthplace: Dallas, Texas, USA

An astonishingly prolific actor in film and on television, Stephen Tobolowsky played outlandish types and bookish roles with equal vigor, which helped to make him one of the most recognizable faces in entertainment for nearly four decades. Born Stephen Harold Tobolowsky on May 30, 1951 in Dallas, Texas, he began acting at a very young age in local drama programs, but his primary interests were baseball and later, geology, the latter of which he honed through summer work at the Museum of Natural History in his hometown. Geology would eventually become his initial major at Southern Methodist University (SMU), but Tobolowsky found the lure of drama too strong, and after a brief break in his studies - due to his being thrown out of the acting program at SMU in his junior year - he earned his masters' degree in acting from the University of Illinois. He soon divided his time between acting, writing and directing assignments on West and East Coast stages, while also making his feature film debut in "Keep My Grave Open" (1977), a low-budget horror movie from Texas-based filmmaker S.F. Brownrigg. Tobolowsky's television debut came nearly a decade later with a minor role in the TV-movie "Cocaine and Blue Eyes" (NBC, 1983); from there, he worked at an almost ceaseless pace, amassing character roles in features like Jonathan Demme's "Swing Shift" (1984) and Mel Brooks' "Spaceballs" (1987), as well as countless episodes of television series like "Alice" (CBS, 1976-1985) and "Knots Landing" (CBS, 1979-1993). He would credit Alan Parker, who cast him as a Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan in "Mississippi Burning" (1988), as his big break, which was soon followed by more substantive character turns in "Great Balls of Fire!" (1989) as Sun Records executive Jud Phillips, and in such critical and box office hits as Norman Jewison's "In Country" (1989), John Badham's "Bird on a Wire" (1990), Stephen Frears' "The Grifters" (1990) and Ridley Scott's "Thelma and Louise" (1991). During this period, Tobolowsky also found time to co-write, with playwright and then-girlfriend Beth Henley, the original script for David Byrne's "True Stories," though Byrne would later rewrite nearly all of their material; he also wrote and directed the feature film, "Two Idiots in Hollywood" (1988), which he based on his own play. He would continue to cement his position as one of the industry's busiest and most recognized character players in films like "Groundhog Day" (1993), which cast him as the blissfully unaware Ned Ryerson, as well as "Basic Instinct" (1991), "Single White Female" (1992) and Phil Alden Robinson's "Sneakers" (1993) As the decade wore on, television became Tobolowsky's most prominent showcase, most notably as the faux healer Tor Eckman, on a 1991 episode of "Seinfeld" (NBC, 1989-1998), as well as appearances on "Chicago Hope" (CBS, 1994-2000) and "Mad About You" (NBC, 1992-99) and series regular assignments on such short-lived series as "Mr. Rhodes" (NBC, 1996-97). His feature work also continued unabated, and by the new millennium, Tobolowsky was the go-to player for harried paper-pushers, supercilious authority figures and eccentrics of all stripes, as evidenced by turns as the doomed amnesiac Sammy Jankis in Christopher Nolan's "Memento" (2000); as the spurned English teacher Elton Bates in "Freaky Friday" (2003) and as obnoxious television host Happy Chapman in "Garfield" (2004). Television also offered plum roles like assistant state attorney Don Haffman on "CSI: Miami" (CBS, 2002-2012), haughty Commissioner Hugo Jarry on "Deadwood" (HBO, 2004-06), the malevolent supervillain Bob Bishop on "Heroes" (NBC, 2006-2010) and predatory glee club director Sandy Ryerson on "Glee" (Fox, 2009-2015). Between 2011 and 2014, he was also a recurring cast member on no less than four network shows, playing movie producer Stu Beggs on Showtime's "Californication" (2007-2014), FBI agent Jerry Barkley on "Justified" (FX, 2010-15), Dr. Marc Shulman on "The Mindy Project" (Fox/Hulu, 2012-17) and the exasperated Principal Ball on "The Goldbergs" (ABC, 2013- ). When these series or characters ran their course, Tobolowsky simply segued into the next projects, which included recurring roles on "Silicon Valley" (HBO, 2014- ) and the revived "One Day at a Time" (Netflix, 2017- ) as Justina Machado's boss and boyfriend to her mother, played by Rita Moreno. Somehow, he also found time to host two podcasts - "The Tobolowsky Files," which was picked up for broadcast by Public Radio International in 2012, and "Big Problems - An Advice Podcast," in 2015 - and pen the short story collection The Dangerous Animals Club (2012) and  My Adventures with God (2017).


Highest Rated Movies



No Score Yet 100% Loners Mr. Tessman (Character) - 2019
59% 49% Fractured Dr. Berthram (Character) - 2019
43% 64% Strange Nature Mayor Paulson (Character) - 2018
No Score Yet No Score Yet Monsters at Large Mr. Phillips (Character) - 2018
No Score Yet No Score Yet Scooby-Doo! Shaggy's Showdown Andy Gunderson (Voice) - 2017
No Score Yet 62% Mamaboy Reverend Weld (Character) - 2016
No Score Yet 22% Welcome to the Men's Group Carl (Character) - 2016
91% 57% The Confirmation Father Lyons (Character) - 2016
No Score Yet No Score Yet Guys and Girls Can't Be Friends Andy (Character) - 2014
0% 40% Atlas Shrugged: Who Is John Galt? Hugh Akston (Character) $830.2K 2014
81% 73% Mr. Peabody & Sherman Principal Purdy (Voice) $111.5M 2014
No Score Yet 30% Christian Mingle: The Movie Douglas McCarver (Character) $19.8K 2014
20% 26% The Barber Chief Hardaway (Character) - 2014
54% 63% Dr. Seuss' the Lorax Uncle Ubb (Voice) $213.9M 2012
No Score Yet No Score Yet Pearblossom Hwy Rick Lawler (Character) - 2012
47% 52% The Last Ride Ray (Character) - 2012
0% 33% You May Not Kiss the Bride Plumber (Character) - 2011
87% 65% Buried Alan Davenport (Voice) $1M 2010
14% 9% Hard Breakers Unknown (Character) - 2010
25% 22% Peep World Ephraim (Character) $10.9K 2010
38% 59% The Time Traveler's Wife Dr. Kendrick (Character) $63.4M 2009
No Score Yet 41% Beethoven's Big Break Sal (Character) - 2008
24% 47% Blind Dating Dr. Perkins (Character) $87.4K 2007
14% 61% Wild Hogs Charley (Character) $168.2M 2007
No Score Yet 59% The Valley of Light Taylor Bowers (Character) - 2007
46% 57% The Sasquatch Gang Dalrymple (Character) $9.5K 2007
No Score Yet 24% Loveless in Los Angeles Jon (Character) - 2007
No Score Yet 63% Pope Dreams Carl Venable (Character) - 2006
No Score Yet 67% Boxboarders! Unknown (Character) - 2006
No Score Yet No Score Yet Love Hollywood Style Marty Greenbaum / Devil (Character) - 2006
No Score Yet 56% Living 'til the End Dr. Shaw (Character) - 2005
64% 53% Robots Bigmouth/Executive/Forge (Voice) - 2005
100% 91% Stephen Tobolowsky's Birthday Party Unknown (Character) - 2005
No Score Yet No Score Yet McBride: The Doctor Is Out ... Really Out Harry Evers (Character) - 2005
15% 43% Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous Tom Abernathy (Character) $48.5M 2005
No Score Yet 33% Debating Robert Lee Debate Judge (Character) - 2004
14% 37% Garfield: The Movie Happy Chapman/Walter J. Chapman (Character) $75.4M 2004
22% 37% Little Black Book Carl (Character) $20.4M 2004
11% 45% National Security Billy Narthax (Character) $35.8M 2003
67% 41% Frankie and Johnny Are Married Murray (Character) $22.9K 2003
88% 57% Freaky Friday Mr. Bates (Character) $110.2M 2003
31% 33% The Country Bears Norbert Barrington (Character) $17M 2002
53% 76% Love Liza Tom Bailey (Character) $211.7K 2002
91% 85% Adaptation Ranger Steve Neely (scenes deleted) (Character) $22.2M 2002
No Score Yet 50% Black River Mayor Tom Thompson (Character) - 2001
No Score Yet 83% Stanley's Gig Abe Cohen (Character) - 2000
No Score Yet No Score Yet Alien Fury: Countdown to Invasion B.J. McQueen (Character) - 2000
No Score Yet No Score Yet Sleep Easy, Hutch Rimes Dewey Wise (Character) - 2000
93% 94% Memento Sammy (Character) $25.5M 2000
45% 57% The Operator Doc (Character) - 2000
44% 35% The Prime Gig Mick (Character) - 2000
73% 60% Miss Simpson Trevor (Character) $1.8M 2000
38% 63% One Man's Hero Capt. Gaine (Character) $229.3K 1999
96% 90% The Insider Eric Kluster (Character) $29M 1999
No Score Yet 68% Don't Look Under the Bed Michael McCausland (Character) - 1999
No Score Yet 74% Around the Fire Doc (Character) - 1999
10% 60% Black Dog Agent McClaren (Character) $12.8M 1998
40% 45% The Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars Calculator (Voice) - 1998
80% 73% Boys Life 2 Father Joe (segment "Trevor") (Character) $20.9K 1997
8% 14% An Alan Smithee Film: Burn, Hollywood, Burn Bill Bardo (Character) $43.9K 1997
7% 24% Mr. Magoo Agent Chuck Stupack, FBI (Character) $21.4M 1997
No Score Yet 6% The Curse of Inferno Lonnie Martin (Character) - 1996
No Score Yet No Score Yet Night Visitors Taylor (Character) - 1996
No Score Yet No Score Yet Power 98 Rick Harris (Character) - 1996
No Score Yet No Score Yet The Traveler Taylor (Character) - 1996
12% 38% The Glimmer Man Christopher Maynard (Character) $20.4M 1996
53% 44% Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco Bando (Voice) $32.8M 1996
50% 80% Murder in the First Mr. Henkin (Character) $16.1M 1995
14% 21% Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde Oliver Mintz (Character) $2.5M 1995
24% 59% Radioland Murders Max Applewhite (Character) $1.2M 1994
14% 54% My Father, the Hero Mike (Character) $25.3M 1994
96% 88% Groundhog Day Ned Ryerson (Character) $70.8M 1993
20% 18% The Pickle Mike Krakower (Character) $45.6K 1993
25% 48% Josh and S.A.M. Thomas "Thom" Whitney (Character) $1.5M 1993
11% 31% Calendar Girl Antonio Gallo (Character) $2.5M 1993
80% 74% Where the Day Takes You Charles (Character) $389K 1992
79% 80% Sneakers Dr. Werner Brandes (Character) $50.6M 1992
24% 32% Memoirs of an Invisible Man Warren Singleton (Character) $13.4M 1992
67% 50% Hero Wallace (Character) $18.2M 1992
53% 44% Single White Female Mitchell 'Mitch' Myerson (Character) $46.2M 1992
54% 63% Basic Instinct Dr. Lamott (Character) - 1992
No Score Yet No Score Yet Deadly Medicine Ron Sutton (Character) - 1991
No Score Yet 20% The Marla Hanson Story Defense Attorney (Character) - 1991
No Score Yet No Score Yet Tagget Al Hentz (Character) - 1991
No Score Yet 37% Wedlock Warden Holliday (Character) - 1991
32% 40% Bird on a Wire Joe Weyburn (Character) $68.8M 1990
44% 47% Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael Mayor Bill Klepler (Character) $3.5M 1990
0% 13% Funny About Love Hugo (Character) $7.6M 1990
90% 42% Breaking In District Attorney (Character) $1.8M 1989
63% 53% Great Balls of Fire! Jud Phillips (Character) $13.4M 1989
No Score Yet No Score Yet Two Idiots in Hollywood Prosecuting Attorney (Character),
- 1988
84% 90% Mississippi Burning Clayton Townley (Character) $33.7M 1988
0% 33% Nobody's Fool Kirk (Character) $258.1K 1986
78% 83% True Stories Screenwriter $1.6M 1986
50% 40% The Philadelphia Experiment Barney (Character) - 1984
No Score Yet No Score Yet Keep My Grave Open Robert (Character) - 1977


No Score Yet 86% The Goldbergs Principal Bell (Guest Star) 2014-2020
99% 91% One Day at a Time Dr. Berkowitz (Character) 2017-2020
73% 82% Schooled Earl Ball (Guest Star) 2019-2020
No Score Yet No Score Yet The Talk Guest 2020
78% 89% Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Miles Kayman (Guest Star) 2019
65% 79% The Cool Kids Leonard (Guest Star) 2019
No Score Yet 87% We Bare Bears Stephen (Guest Voice) 2017
53% 76% White Famous Stu Beggs (Guest Star) 2017
94% 92% Silicon Valley Jack Barker (Guest Star) 2016-2017
No Score Yet No Score Yet Before the Morning After Unknown (Character) 2016
86% 82% The Mindy Project Dr. Marc Shulman (Character),
Unknown (Guest Star)
2015 2012-2013
7% 60% Dr. Ken Unknown (Guest Star) 2015
75% 85% Big Time in Hollywood, FL Alan (Character) 2015
No Score Yet No Score Yet At Midnight With Chris Hardwick Guest 2015
85% No Score Yet The Hotwives of Orlando Phil (Character) 2014
57% 77% Californication Unknown (Guest Star) 2011-2014
13% 67% Friends With Better Lives Unknown (Guest Star) 2014
97% 95% Justified Unknown (Guest Star) 2012-2013
0% No Score Yet Work It Unknown (Guest Star) 2012
70% 71% Glee Sandy Ryerson (Guest Star) 2009-2011
88% 88% Community Professor Peter Sheffield (Guest Star) 2011
74% 73% The Defenders Judge Gelineau (Guest Star) 2011
No Score Yet No Score Yet True Jackson, VP Lars Balthazar (Guest Star) 2010
89% 78% The New Adventures of Old Christine Unknown (Guest Star) 2009
53% 66% Heroes Unknown (Guest Star) 2007-2008
No Score Yet 85% CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Unknown (Guest Star) 2008
58% No Score Yet John From Cincinnati Mark Lewinsky (Guest Star) 2007
66% 83% Entourage Mayor of Beverly Hills (Guest Star) 2007
86% 90% Boston Legal Dr. Alvin Azinabinacroft (Guest Star) 2007
74% 92% Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip Joe (Guest Star) 2007
50% No Score Yet Big Day Unknown (Guest Star) 2006-2007
No Score Yet No Score Yet Night Stalker Titus Berry (Guest Star) 2006
92% 96% Deadwood Hugo Jarry (Guest Star) 2005-2006
72% 89% Desperate Housewives Unknown (Guest Star) 2006
No Score Yet 84% Ghost Whisperer Unknown (Guest Star) 2006
No Score Yet No Score Yet Reba Judge (Guest Star) 2005
82% 81% The Closer James Bloom (Guest Star) 2005
No Score Yet 66% CSI: Miami Unknown (Guest Star) 2003-2005
No Score Yet 87% Will & Grace Ned Weathers (Guest Star) 2004
No Score Yet No Score Yet According to Jim Unknown (Guest Star) 2004
14% No Score Yet It's All Relative Unknown (Guest Star) 2004
No Score Yet No Score Yet Las Vegas Unknown (Guest Star) 2003
18% No Score Yet Oliver Beene Unknown (Guest Star) 2003
No Score Yet No Score Yet Law & Order: Criminal Intent Unknown (Guest Star) 2002
No Score Yet 89% Malcolm in the Middle Unknown (Guest Star) 2002
10% No Score Yet Off Centre Unknown (Guest Star) 2001
No Score Yet 87% Roswell Unknown (Guest Star) 2001
38% No Score Yet The Lone Gunmen Unknown (Guest Star) 2001
No Score Yet 70% King of the Hill Unknown (Guest Star) 2001
No Score Yet No Score Yet That's Life Unknown (Guest Star) 2000
No Score Yet No Score Yet Snoops Unknown (Guest Star) 1999
20% No Score Yet Odd Man Out Unknown (Guest Star) 1999
No Score Yet No Score Yet Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place Unknown (Guest Star) 1999
No Score Yet 77% That '70s Show Unknown (Guest Star) 1999
No Score Yet No Score Yet The Practice Unknown (Guest Star) 1999
No Score Yet No Score Yet Mad About You Unknown (Guest Star) 1999
20% No Score Yet The Secret Diary of Desmond Pfeiffer Unknown (Guest Star) 1998
15% No Score Yet Vengeance Unlimited Unknown (Guest Star) 1998
No Score Yet No Score Yet Suddenly Susan Unknown (Guest Star) 1998
50% 82% The Closer Phil (Guest Star) 1998
No Score Yet No Score Yet The Drew Carey Show Unknown (Guest Star) 1997
No Score Yet No Score Yet Promised Land Unknown (Guest Star) 1997
No Score Yet No Score Yet Mr. Rhodes Ray Heary (Character) 1996-1997
No Score Yet No Score Yet The Home Court Unknown (Guest Star) 1996
100% No Score Yet Dweebs Unknown (Character) 1995
No Score Yet No Score Yet Chicago Hope Unknown (Guest Star) 1995
No Score Yet No Score Yet A Whole New Ballgame Unknown (Character) 1995
No Score Yet No Score Yet Blue Skies Oak (Character) 1994
No Score Yet No Score Yet Against the Grain Niles Hardeman (Character) 1993
88% 94% Seinfeld Tor (Guest Star) 1991
0% No Score Yet Baby Talk Unknown (Guest Star) 1991
No Score Yet No Score Yet Designing Women Unknown (Guest Star) 1986
No Score Yet No Score Yet 227 Unknown (Guest Star) 1986
33% No Score Yet Alice Unknown (Guest Star) 1985


Agent Ford says: Oh spare us the physco babble will you!

Agent McClaren says: If you screw this up shithead I am not going down with you!

Max says: If she calls, just be gentle, you know? Like you're really happy to hear from her. Like you miss her. Women love that shit.

Principal Purdy says: Pictures were taken for insurance purposes.

Agent Chuck Stupak says: It's Luanne Leseur, the Black Widow. She kills all of her male accomplices. No one has ever been able to finger her.

Ned says: Watch that first step. It's a doozie.

Ned says: Phil, Hey Phil, Phil Connors!

Phil Connors says: Ned?! [Punches Ned in face]

Phil Connors says: Ned?! [punches Ned in face]

Max Applewhite says: I could yell fire over the intercom and we could call it a night.

Max Applewhite says: I could yell 'Fire' into the intercom and we could call it a night.

Mrs. Barrington says: [To Beary] Honey, even if you were adopted, we would love you as much as we love Dexter.

Mrs. Barrington says: [to Beary] Honey, even if you were adopted, we would love you as much as we love Dexter.

Norbert Barrington says: Maybe more.

Mr. Bates says: Who couldn't make up his... mind.

Mitchell Myerson says: Black leather gloves means more than murdr, her hands are cold!

Townley says: you dont know who i am