Birthday: March 27, 1940 Birth
Place: Warren, Ohio, USA Height: 0' 0"
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An alumnus of the Yale School of drama, American actor Austin Pendleton was lucky enough to latch onto a starmaking stage role relatively early in life. Pendleton was the first performer to play the part of tailor Motel Kamzoil in the evergreen musical Fiddler on the Roof, in which he had one of the play's best non-Tevye songs, "Miracle of Miracles." Hollywood has been less generous to Pendleton in terms of good roles. He was cast in a supporting role in Skidoo (1968), a smash miss frequently cited as the worst film in the careers of most of its participants (Jackie Gleason, Groucho Marx, Carol Channing, Otto Preminger, et al.) He was shown to better advantage in What's Up, Doc? (1972), while in The Front Page (1974) he sparkled as a condemned killer plagued by a bad head cold on the eve of his execution. A first-rate character player, Austin Pendleton has never quite scaled the heights of stardom in films, though his theatre work as both actor and director has always been critically lauded.
Was nominated for Broadway's 1981 Tony Award as Best Director (Play) for directing Elizabeth Taylor in a revival of Lillian Hellman's "The Little Foxes." Years earlier he played Leo in said play on Broadway.
Began a lifelong association in 1957 with the Williamstown Festival Theatre in Massachusetts. Met actress/wife Katina Commings a year later while they were both interns there. Years later she appeared in the Broadway production of "The Runner Stumbles" which Austin directed.
Developed a stutter when young but it never affected his acting work. He didn't find a working cure for it until the 1980s.
In the 1970s he joined the Steppenwolf company as an actor and director. The company also produced a few of his plays.
Gave Philip Seymour Hoffman one of his first acting jobs at a New Jersey theatre company.
In the early 1990s, Austin inspired the then doorman of his building, Shane Perez, to try his hand at writing. Perez took his advice and began tooling a drama which he hoped Pendleton would one day star in. That dream became a reality when his script for Men of Means (1999) was eventually purchased and produced.
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