Emmy and Tony Award-winning American actor and famous singer Mandy Patinkin made his Broadway debut in 1975's “Trelawny of the Wells” and enjoyed a big breakthrough with his Tony-winning performance of Ernesto 'Che' Guevara in the popular musical “Evita” (1979). His first big screen success arrived four years later when he was cast as the romantic lead of Barbra Streisand in the actress-directed drama “Yentl” (1983), from which Patinkin was nominated for a Golden Globe Award. For his bright performance in the Broadway musical “Sunday in the Park with George” (1984), the Chicago native was handed a Tony nomination. He received a CableACE Award when he recreated the role for the 1986 television movie version of “Sunday in the Park with George.”
A Golden Globe nominee, Patinkin experienced some resurgence on the wide screen during the late 1980s with his memorable scene-stealing role of Inigo Montoya in Rob Reiner's “The Princess Bride” (1987) and by netting a Saturn nomination for his work in “Alien Nation” (1988). He continued to act but it was not until the mid-1990s that Patinkin rose to TV stardom with his Emmy-winning role of Dr Jeffrey Geiger on the CBS hit series “Chicago Hope” (1994-2000). Despite the success, he opted to leave the show early in its second season, but managed to revisit as a recurring role in the 1999-2000 season. Following his small screen victory, Patinkin took home his next Tony nomination after playing the cruel Burrs in the short-lived musical “The Wild Party” (2000). More recently, he is known by television audiences as Rube Sofer on the Showtime series “Dead Like Me” (2003-2004) and FBI profiler Jason Gideon on the CBS crime/drama series “Criminal Minds” (2005-2007).
As a renowned tenor, Patinkin has produced several albums, including his debut, “Mandy Patinkin” (1989), the multi-platinum “I'm Breathless” (1990), “Experiment” (1994) and ”Mamaloshen” (1998). In addition, he has toured extensively around the globe.
Patinkin has been married to wife writer/actress Kathryn Grody since 1980. The couple has two sons, Isaac and Gideon. In the mid-1990s, Patinkin was diagnosed with a degenerative eye disease and had to undergo corneal transplants twice (1997 and 1998). Later, in 2004, he suffered from prostate cancer, but has since recovered. To celebrate his first year of recovery, Patinkin and his son Isaac participated in a 280-mile charity bike ride with the Arava Institute Hazon Israel Ride: Cycling for Peace, Partnership & Environmental Protection. He has also actively participated in the Prostate Cancer Foundation founded by Michael Milken.
Childhood and Family:
Mandel Bruce Patinkin, who would later be famous as Mandy Patinkin, was born on November 30, 1952, in Chicago, Illinois, to a Jewish family. His father, Lester Patinkin, was the head of Peoples Iron & Metal Company and the Scrap Corporation of America (died of cancer at age 52 in 1972) and his mother, Doris, wrote “Grandma Doralee Patinkin's Jewish Family Cookbook.” Mandy has an older sister named Marsha Patinkin who serves as the regional head of the National Conference of Christians and Jews in northern Nevada.
“I'm a spiritual person, I'm an American, I'm a Jew, and all of those things influence every breath I take, everywhere I go.” Mandy Patinkin
Mandy was raised in conservative Judaism. He went to religious school for several years and began singing in the temple choir when he was nine years old. He graduated from Kenwood High School in Chicago in 1970 and then attended the University of Kansas. After two years, he left the university and moved to New York to attend the Juilliard School, where among his classmate was Kelsey Grammer. Conflicts with his instructors led Mandy to leave the school in 1974.
On June 15, 1980, Mandy, whose nickname is The Patink, married Los Angeles-born actress and writer Kathryn Grody. Together, they welcomed their son, Isaac Patinkin, in 1983. Their second child, Gideon Patinkin, was born four years later in 1987.
After leaving New York's prestigious Juilliard School, Chicago native Mandi Patinkin found work in children's theater in Baltimore and after gaining his Equity card, he made his Broadway debut opposite Meryl Streep, John Lithgow, Mary Beth Hurt and Michael Tucker in a 1975 production of “Trelawny of the Wells.” The next year, he was hired to play Mark in a 1976 production of “The Shadow Box” at the Long Wharf Theater and recreated the role for a Broadway production in 1977. During the run of the Pulitzer-winning “The Shadow Box,” he received singing lessons from his costar Geraldine Fitzgerald.
Patinkin continued to appear in many plays, most notably the New York Shakespeare Festival production of “Leave It to Beaver Is Dead” (1978), with Dianne Wiest, but did not hit the big time until he won the important role of Ernesto 'Che' Guevara in “Evita” (1979), a musical directed by Harold Prince. Although the production earned mixed reviews, “Evita” went on to become one of the year's most successful shows and collected an awesome seven Tony Awards, including a Best Actor (Featured Role – Musical) for Patinkin.
Patinkin made his film acting debut in 1978's “ The Big Fix,” a comedy/mystery starring Richard Dreyfuss. His television film debut was the NBC drama “Charleston” (1979), starring Delta Burke. The same year, he also made a guest appearance on an episode of the classic sitcom “Taxi,” playing a new father. After his success on “Evita,” Patinkin resumed his big screen career by having more significant roles in Willard Huyck's “French Postcards” (1979), “Night of the Juggler” (1980) and Milos Forman's mismatched adaptation of E.L. Doctorow's novel “Ragtime” (1981). He revisited the stage in 1981 to play Hotspur in a production of “Henry V.”
After costarring with Timothy Hutton in the Sidney Lumet-directed drama “Daniel” (1983), Patinkin captured the attention of moviegoers with his Golden Globe-nominating turn as Avigdor, the dream lover of Barbra Streisand, in the Oscar-winning “Yentl” (1983), which was also directed by Streisand. He enjoyed additional victory the next year when he starred as Georges Seraut in the Broadway musical “Sunday in the Park with George,” directed by James Lapine. He picked up a Tony nomination for his performance in the play and when he reprised the role in the television movie version of the same name in 1986, which was directed by Terry Hughes, Patinkin successfully won a CableACE for Best Actor in a Theatrical or Dramatic Special.
Still in 1985, Patinkin, who first worked with Stephen Sondheim in “Sunday in the Park with George,” was reunited with Broadway's most illustrious songwriter for the concert version of “Sondheim's Follies in Concert.” Playing the role of Buddy, he launched a reputation as a significant interpreter of the show, which also spawned a soundtrack that hit the charts in 1986. In film, he costarred with Glenn Close in the based-on-novel “Maxie.”
Patinkin withdrew to Off-Broadway and assumed the challenging role of a transsexual in the controversial Nick Bicat-David Hare musical “The Knife” (1987), in which the actor/singer received mixed reviews. He fared better playing Inigo Montoya in the Rob Reiner romantic comedy “The Princess Bride” (also 1987). Patinkin next supported Kelly McGillis and Jeff Daniels in Peter Yates' “House on Carroll Street” (1988) and teamed up with James Caan for the crime/drama “Alien Nation” (1988), where he was nominated for a 1990 Best Supporting Actor Saturn Award for his role.
A talented singer, Patinkin signed a recording deal with CBS and released his debut album in 1989 called “Mandy Patinkin.” It was accompanied with his one-man show, “Mandy Patinkin in Concert: Dress Casual,” which premiered at the Public Theater later that same year before being transferred to Broadway where it enjoyed a limited run. A second album, “I'm Breathless,” ensued in May 1990 and went on to achieve multi-platinum certification. Also in 1990, Patinkin finally had the opportunity to showcase his vocal prowess on-screen with his brief role as 88 Keys, Madonna's pianist, in Warren Beatty's “Dick Tracy.”
1991 saw Patinkin make three films. He was first cast alongside John Cusack and James Spader in Herbert Ross's “True Colors” and then gave a flamboyant portrayal of a poet romantically chasing the writer George Sand in James Lapine's feature directorial debut, “Impromptu.” He also supported William Hurt, Christine Lahti and Elizabeth Perkins in the drama “The Doctor” and resurfaced on Broadway to play Archibald Craven in the musical version of “The Secret Garden.” He remained on Broadway in the role of Marvin in the musical “Falsettos” (1993), which was directed by James Lapine.
Back to film, Patinkin costarred with James Spader in the Pilip Has-helmed drama “The Music of Chance” (1993), had a cameo role in Lapine's comedy “Life with Mikey” (also 1993) and portrayed Brother Daniel in “Squanto: A Warrior's Tale” (1994) before releasing his third record, “Experiment,” in May 1994 under his new record label, Nonesuch Records. It was also in 1994 that Patinkin decided to accept a leading role in a new television series created by David E. Kelley, “Chicago Hope.” Premiering on CBS, the hospital drama became a hit and Patinkin, who played the brainy but troubled heart surgeon Dr Jeffrey Geiger, won a 1995 Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series as well as nominations at the Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Awards. However, he decided to leave the show early in its second season because of personal reasons. He returned to “Chicago Hope” as an occasional guest performer in 1999 until the show came to an end in 2000.
Patinkin launched his forth album, “Oscar & Steve,” in 1995 and his fifth album, “Mamaloshen,” followed three years later in February 1998. 1998 also found the acclaimed musical performer returning to Broadway in “Mandy Patinkin in Concert: Mamaloshen.” Despite problems with his eyes that led to corneal transplants in 1996 and 1998, he kept on pursuing his screen career by appearing in such projects as PBS' “Broken Glass” (1996), TNT's “The Hunchback” (1997), John Sayles' “Men With Guns” (1998), the Cannes-screened “Lulu on the Bridge” (1998), Showtime's “Strange Justice” (1999) and the children's film “The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland” (1999, played the comic villain Huxley).
Entering the new millennium, Patinkin again made a splash on stage with his portrayal of Burrs in the Broadway musical “The Wild Party” (2000), opposite Toni Collette and Eartha Kitt. Although the show ran for only two months, he managed to nab a Tony nomination for Lead Actor in a Musical. Following episodic roles in the series “Touched by an Angel” and “Boston Public” and a supporting role as a producer named Joseph Papp in the biographical movie “Piñero” (all 2001), he returned to series TV as a regular on the short-lived comedy/drama series “Dead Like Me” (Showtime, 2003-2004), playing Rube Sofer. After the series ended, Patinkin moved to the CBS crime series “Criminal Minds,” where he played Special Agent Jason Gideon from 2005 to 2007.
In 2006, Patinkin made two films: Steve Barron's “Choking Man” and the animated “Everyone's Hero” and in May 2008, Patinkin is scheduled to perform a solo concert, “Mandy Patinkin on Broadway,” at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre.
Emmy: Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, “Chicago Hope,” 1995
CableACE: Actor in a Theatrical or Dramatic Special, “Sunday in the Park with George,” 1987
Tony: Best Actor (Featured Role – Musical), “Evita,” 1980