Michael Cristofer
Portrait of Michael Cristofer
Portrait of Michael Cristofer
BornMichael Procaccino[1]
(1945-01-22) January 22, 1945 (age 78)[2]
Trenton, New Jersey, U.S.[1]
  • Actor
  • playwright
  • director
  • screenwriter
Notable worksThe Shadow Box
Notable awardsPulitzer Prize
Tony Award

Michael Cristofer (born January 22, 1945) is an American actor, playwright and filmmaker. He received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Tony Award for Best Play for The Shadow Box in 1977. From 2015 to 2019, he played the role of Phillip Price in the television series Mr. Robot.

Life and career

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Cristofer was born Michael Procaccino in Trenton, New Jersey, the son of Mary and Joseph Procaccino.[1] He started his theatrical career as an actor, primarily on stage. He also started writing plays. He has also written numerous screenplays for film.

Cristofer was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for Drama and a Tony Award for the Broadway production of his play The Shadow Box (1977).[3] Other plays include Breaking Up at Primary Stages; Ice at Manhattan Theatre Club; Black Angel at Circle Repertory Company; The Lady and the Clarinet (starring Stockard Channing), produced by the Mark Taper Forum, Long Wharf Theater, Off-Broadway and on the London Fringe; and Amazing Grace (1996; starring Marsha Mason), which received the American Theater Critics Award as the best play produced in the United States during the 1996–1997 season.

Cristofer's film work includes the screenplays for The Shadow Box, directed by Paul Newman (Golden Globe Award, Emmy nomination); Falling in Love; The Witches of Eastwick, adapted from the novel by John Updike; The Bonfire of the Vanities, adapted from the novel by Tom Wolfe and directed by Brian De Palma; Breaking Up, and Casanova.[citation needed]

His directing credits include Gia, starring Angelina Jolie, Mercedes Ruehl and Faye Dunaway, which was nominated for five Emmy Awards and for which he won a Directors Guild Award. He next directed Body Shots; and Original Sin, released in 2001.[citation needed]

For eight years, he worked as artistic advisor and finally co-artistic director of River Arts Repertory in Woodstock, New York, a company which produced plays by writers such as Richard Nelson, Mac Wellman, and Eric Overmeyer, including the American premiere of Edward Albee's Three Tall Women, a production that later moved to Off-Broadway.

Also at River Arts, he wrote stage adaptations of the films Love Me or Leave Me and Casablanca. He directed Joanne Woodward in his adaptation of Henrik Ibsen's Ghosts. His most recent work for the theater, The Whore and Mr. Moore, premiered at Dorset Theatre Festival's 2012 summer season. He collaborated with trumpeter Terence Blanchard, writing the libretto for Champion, a boxing opera in jazz music based on the life of prize fighter Emile Griffith. It premiered in June 2013 at Opera Theater of St. Louis. His work Execution of the Caregiver is based on the true story of a woman in South Carolina who killed her mother, fiancé and several people for whom she purportedly was caring.[4]

After a 15-year hiatus, Cristofer returned to his acting career, appearing in Romeo and Juliet (New York Shakespeare Festival), Trumpery by Peter Parnell, Three Sisters (Williamstown Theater), Body of Water (with Christine Lahti), and the Broadway revival of A View from the Bridge (starring Liev Schreiber and Scarlett Johansson). He recently appeared in The Other Woman (with Natalie Portman), and created the role of Gus in Tony Kushner's The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures at the Public Theater.

In 2010, Cristofer was a cast member on Rubicon, in which he played Truxton Spangler.[citation needed] In 2012, he played Jerry Rand on Smash.[5]

In 2013–2014, he played millionaire witch-hunter Harrison Renard in American Horror Story: Coven. In 2015, Cristofer made guest appearances in four episodes of season one of Mr. Robot as Phillip Price, the shadowy CEO of the sinister E Corp, and he became a cast member in season two, three, and four.[citation needed]




Year Title Director Writer
1984 Falling in Love No Yes
1987 The Witches of Eastwick No Yes
1990 The Bonfire of the Vanities No Yes
1993 Mr. Jones No Yes
1997 Breaking Up No Yes
1999 Body Shots Yes No
2001 Original Sin Yes Yes
2005 Casanova No Story
2016 Chuck No Yes
2020 The Night Clerk Yes Yes

Acting roles

Year Title Role Notes
1973 The Exorcist voice uncredited
1974 The Crazy World of Julius Vrooder Alessini
1978 An Enemy of the People Hovstad
1984 The Little Drummer Girl Tayeh
1995 Die Hard with a Vengeance CIA Agent Bill Jarvis
2009 The Other Woman Sheldon
2014 Emoticon ;) Walter Nevins
2015 The Adderall Diaries Paul Hora
Chronic John
The Girl in the Book Dad
2016 Year by the Sea Robin


Year Title Director Writer Notes
1980 The Shadow Box No Yes TV movie
1982 Candida Yes No
1998 Gia Yes Yes
2009 Georgia O'Keeffe No Yes
Eastwick No Yes episode "Pilot"

Acting roles

Year Title Role Notes
1974–1976 Carl Sandburg's Lincoln John Nicolay 5 episodes
1974 The Magician David Webster episode: "The Illusion of Black Gold"
Gunsmoke Ben 2 episodes
1975 The Rookies Charlie Phillips episode: "Someone Who Cares"
Kojak Michael Viggers, Jr. episode: "Over the Water"
1975 Crime Club Frank Swoboda TV movie
Knuckle Curly
1976 The Entertainer Frank
The Last of Mrs. Lincoln Robert Lincoln
1977 The Andros Targets Ron Comack episode: "The Surrender"
2010 Rubicon Truxton Spangler 11 episodes
2012 Suits Paul Porter episode: "The Choice"
2012–2013 Smash Jerry Rand 15 episodes
2013–2016 Ray Donovan Father Daniel O'Connor 5 episodes
2013–2014 American Horror Story: Coven Harrison Renard 3 episodes
2014 Elementary Isaac Pyke episode: "Bella"
2015–2019 Mr. Robot Phillip Price main role


  1. ^ a b c "Michael Cristofer Biography". TV Guide. Retrieved August 16, 2021.
  2. ^ "Michael Cristofer". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved August 16, 2021.
  3. ^ "The 1977 Pulitzer Prize winner in Drama". Pulitzer.org. Retrieved March 8, 2022.
  4. ^ "The Lighter Side of Michael Cristofer : Stage: The playwright's latest, opening tonight at the Old Globe, is about breaking up. But in an upbeat kind of way". Los Angeles Times. July 8, 1992.
  5. ^ Aucoin, Don (February 6, 2012). "A familiar face in 'Smash'". Boston Globe. Archived from the original on July 1, 2012.
  6. ^ "'Man in the Ring' a knockout world premiere at Court". Chicago Sun-Times. September 29, 2016. Retrieved March 7, 2022.