Austin Pendleton has led one of the most diverse careers on stage and television and in film of any industry professional today – and that includes as actor, director, playwright and teacher. A Yale alum, Austin began his career at the prestigious Williamstown Theatre Festival in Massachusetts, where he has acted and directed many times.
His Broadway credits are extensive and include roles in noted productions of The Diary of Anne Frank and Grand Hotel as well as the original productions of Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Fiddler on the Roof, Hail Scrawdyke (Derwent Award), The Last Sweet Days of Isaac (Drama Desk & Obie Award), The Sorrows of Frederick, Doubles, The Imposter, The Loop and Sophistry.
Title roles in Off-Broadway productions include New York Shakespeare Festival/Public Theater productions of Bertolt Brecht’s Mother Courage and Her Children, where he played Chaplain alongside Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline, Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park where he played the role of Friar Lawrence, Classic Stage Company’s revival of Anton Chekhov’s Ivanov, featuring Ethan Hawke, Joely Richardson and Juliet Rylance where Austin directed and was also called to step into the role of Lebedev. Other Classic Stage Company plays that Pendleton has directed include revivals of Anton Chekhov’s Three Sisters and Uncle Vanya. Austin’s most recent work includes directing the Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s production of The Birthday Party by Harold Pinter and the Abingdon Theatre Company’s Off-Broadway premiere of Robert Brustein’s The Last Will.
Austin’s film credits include What’s Up Doc?, Catch 22, Amistad, Trial and Error, A Beautiful Mind, The Associate, The Mirror Has Two Faces, Mr. and Mrs. Bridge, The Proprietor, Guarding Tess, The Fifteen Minute Hamlet. He also voiced the character of Gurgle in the Disney animated film Finding Nemo and is currently scheduled to appear in at least three major motion pictures in 2012.
TV appearances include Frasier and another memorable turn: murderer William Giles, a recurring role in HBO’s acclaimed series Oz.
Austin is a playwright (Orson’s Shadow, Booth and Uncle Bob), director (Spoils of War, The Runner Stumbles and Elizabeth Taylor in The Little Foxes), teacher (HB Studio and The New School), and member of Chicago’s Steppenwolf Ensemble.
Currently, there is a documentary film in production on Austin’s life and work called The Austin Pendleton Project: Where The Work Is, co-directed by Gene Gallerano and David Holmes, which includes interviews with many people he has worked with throughout his career including Meryl Streep, Olympia Dukakis, Natalie Portman and Maggie Gyllenhaal.