An alumnus of Chicago's Improv Olympic and Second City comedy troupe, Neil Flynn is familiar among TV audiences as Sacred Heart Hospital's menacing janitor on NBC's hit comedy series "Scrubs" (2001-2007). On the big screen, he was credited for playing small roles in such films as Major League (1989), The Fugitive (1993), Rookie of the Year (1993), Baby's Day Out (1994), Chain Reaction (1996), Home Alone 3 (1997), Magnolia (1999) and Mean Girls (2004; as Lindsay Lohan's father). He will next be seen alongside Simon Baker, Winona Ryder and Leslie Bibb in writer-director Daniel Waters' upcoming drama/comedy film, Sex and Death 101.
The 6' 5" performer has guest-starred on the TV series "C.S.I.: Crime Scene Investigation," "Boston Public," "NYPD Blue," "The Drew Carey Show," "That '70s Show," "Seinfeld," "Ellen," "Family Law" and "Smallville." He also lent his voice to the Disney animated sci-fi series "Buzz Lightyear of Star Command" (2000).
Childhood and Family:
The third of six children of the family, Neil Richard Flynn was born in Chicago, Illinois on November 13, 1960 and grew up in the nearby suburb of Waukegan, Illinois. He attended Waukegan High School (East Campus), where he and partner Mike Shklair won an Illinois Individual Events championship for “Humorous Duet Acting.” Graduating from Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois, in 1982, young Flynn went back to Chicago and to pursue an acting career on theaters.
A sports fanatic, Flynn plays on a local softball team and enjoys a weekly game of poker. He is single and currently resides in the Los Angeles area.
Having been acting since his school years, Neil Flynn pursued live theater in Chicago after graduating from college. He performed at the renowned Steppenwolf and Goodman Theaters, where he collaborated with Aidan Quinn in “Hamlet” and Brian Dennehey in “Galileo.” He later became a mainstay at Chicago's ImprovOlympic West in Hollywood, where he has appeared for three years in the popular show Beer, Shark, Mice. He also went on to be a member of the Second City Comedy Troupe in Chicago.
Meanwhile, Flynn began appearing on screen. He played a bit part as a street preacher in John McNaughton's biopic about serial killer, Henry Lee Lucas (played by Michael Rooker), Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986), but his scene was cut. Deleted scene can be seen on the 20th Anniversary DVD edition.
On television, Flynn was first seen playing guest roles in a 1987 episode of the anthology series "CBS Summer Playhouse" and the short-lived ABC drama "Sable," as well as in a 1989 episode of CBS Vietnam war drama series “Tour of Duty.” He also appeared in the pilot episode and in another episode of ABC drama/sitcom “Doogie Howser, M.D.” Flynn eventually landed his first big screen role as a longshoreman in writer-director David S. Ward's baseball comedy movie, Major League (1989), starring Tom Berenger and Charlie Sheen.
In the early of 1990s, Flynn could be seen in Daniel Stern's baseball movie Rookie of the Year (1993; with Gary Busey and Bruce Altman; Flynn played the first basemen), Andrew Davis' Oscar-winning action/drama thriller The Fugitive (1993; starring Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones; Flynn played a Chicago Transit Authority police officer), Peter Pistor's independent film The Fence (1994; starring Freddy Rodríguez) and Patrick Read Johnson's family comedy Baby's Day Out (1994; alongside Joe Mantegna and Lara Flynn Boyle). He also appeared in an episode of "ABC Afterschool Specials."
From 1996 to 1997, Flynn played different roles in three episodes of CBS sci-fi drama series "Early Edition." During that time, he played a detective in the made-for-television movie To Sir, with Love II (1996; starring Sidney Poitier) and played a state trooper in Andrew Davis' action/drama thriller film Chain Reaction (1996, starring Keanu Reeves, Morgan Freeman and Rachel Weisz). He also appeared as a cop in an episode of NBC Emmy-winning sitcom “Seinfeld” and in Raja Gosnell's family film Home Alone 3 (1997; starring Alex D. Linz), sequel in the Home Alone series.
Flynn spent the rest of the 1990s guest starring in such shows as ABC hit sitcoms "Ellen" and "The Drew Carey Show" (Flynn played the fake husband/partner of “Scrubs” co-star Christa Miller), Fox sci-fi series "Sliders," Fox sitcom "That '70s Show" and CBS popular medical drama "Chicago Hope." He also won National Board of Review' Best Acting by an Ensemble for his turn in writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson's drama film Magnolia (1999), alongside Tom Cruise, Julianne Moore, William H. Macy and Philip Seymour Hoffman.
Entering the new millennium, Flynn provided his voice for XR, a short, somewhat neurotic robot with many pop-out gadgets that gets blown up on nearly every mission he goes on although he can be rebuilt, on ABC/UPN animated TV series "Buzz Lightyear of Star Command." During that time, he was also cast in Lyndon Chubbuck's romantic thriller movie The Right Temptation, with Kiefer Sutherland, Rebecca De Mornay, Dana Delany and Adam Baldwin, as well as appeared in an episode of ABC sitcom "Then Came You" and CBS drama series "Family Law."
2001 saw Flynn snagged his most prominent role to date, as Sacred Heart Hospital's menacing janitor in NBC's Emmy and Peabody Award-winning American sitcom/dramedy series, "Scrubs." Originally tried out for the role of Dr. Perry Cox, which later went to co-star John C. McGinley, Flynn has been playing the role of Janitor since the show's premiere on October 2, 2001 until its current seventh season (announced in May 2007).
“When we watched the pilot, we knew instantly we had to keep this guy around.” “Scrubs” executive producer Bill Lawrence on Neil Flynn.
During his hefty six-year stint in “Scrubs,” Flynn guest starred in an episode of CBS cop drama series "The District," ABC sitcom "The Norm Show," popular, Emmy Award-winning CBS cop drama "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," Fox drama series "Boston Public" and ABC Emmy-winning police drama "NYPD Blue." He also appeared in Jon Schnepp's 23-minute sci-fi movie The Removers (2001).
While voicing Julius Caesar on MTV/Teletoon's animated sitcom "Clone High" (2002-2003), Flynn appeared in the made-for-television movie It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie (2002). Afterward, he was spotted as a guest in two episodes of the WB (now The CW) sci-fi/drama series about young Clark Kent/Superman, "Smallville," and was featured in Mark Waters' take on Rosalind Wiseman's book, Mean Girls (2004; as the father of Lindsay Lohan's character). He also had a deleted scene as an anonymous police officer in Adam McKay's comedy movie Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004; starring Will Ferrell), which can be viewed in the straight to DVD spin-off film Wake Up, Ron Burgundy: The Lost Movie, and in the deleted scenes of the Anchorman DVD.
Fynn provided his voice in the Disney Channel's animated TV series "Kim Possible" twice (in 2003 and 2007). Meanwhile, he appeared in an episode of UPN sitcom "Love, Inc." and TBS sitcom "My Boys," as well as in two episodes of NBC sitcom starring Matt LeBlanc, "Joey" and appeared in part live-action, part animated telemovie Re-Animated (2006).
On the big screen, Flynn was recently seen in Wil Shriner's film version of Carl Hiaasen's novel, Hoot (2006; starring Luke Wilson and Logan Lerman), and in writer-director Patrick Read Johnson's drama comedy 5-25-77 (2007). He also starred in Chris Peckover's 8-minute comedy movie Alive and Well (2007). In February 2007, TV audience caught him on Comedy Central's "The Naked Trucker and T-Bones Show."
Flynn will next be seen alongside Simon Baker, Winona Ryder and Leslie Bibb in writer-director Daniel Waters' upcoming drama/comedy film, Sex and Death 101. And adding to his TV and movie credits, Flynn has also done voice acting for the Playstation 2 video game series The Ratchet & Clank, as the Plumber.
National Board of Review: Best Acting by an Ensemble, Magnolia, 1999