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Peter MacNicol
Peter MacNicol.jpg
MacNicol at Eagle Base on November 14, 2001
Born (1954-04-10) April 10, 1954 (age 68)
Other namesPeter Johnson
Years active1978–present
Marsue Cummings
(m. 1986)

Peter MacNicol (born April 10, 1954) is an American actor. He received a Theatre World Award for his 1981 Broadway debut in the play Crimes of the Heart. His film roles include Galen in Dragonslayer (1981), Stingo in Sophie's Choice (1982), Janosz Poha in Ghostbusters II (1989), camp organizer Gary Granger in Addams Family Values (1993), and David Langley in Bean (1997).

MacNicol won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series in 2001 for his role as the eccentric lawyer John Cage in the FOX comedy-drama Ally McBeal (1997–2002). He is also known for his television roles as attorney Alan Birch in the medical drama Chicago Hope (1994–98), X the Eliminator on Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law (2000–2007), Tom Lennox in the sixth season of action-thriller 24 (2007), as physicist Dr. Larry Fleinhardt on the CBS crime drama Numbers (2005–10), Dr. Stark on Grey's Anatomy (2010–11), Jeff Kane on the political satire series Veep (2016–19), Doctor Octopus in The Spectacular Spider-Man, and Nigel the Advisor on Tangled: The Series.

Early life

MacNicol was born and raised in Dallas, Texas, the youngest of five children of Barbara Jean (née Gottlich), a Jewish homemaker, and John Wilbur Johnson, a Norwegian-American corporate executive who became an Episcopal priest later in life. He is a graduate of MacArthur High School in Irving, Texas. [1][2][3][4]


MacNicol performed for two seasons from 1978 at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, including in productions of Hamlet and The Pretenders. He made his New York debut in the 1980 off-Broadway play, Crimes of the Heart. The production eventually moved to Broadway in 1981, and he won the Theatre World Award. It was also during this production that a casting agent noticed him and called him in to read for his eventual role in Sophie's Choice. In 1981 he landed the starring role in his first film, Dragonslayer, opposite Sir Ralph Richardson.

In 1987, MacNicol starred in the Trinity Repertory Company's original production of the stage adaptation of Robert Penn Warren's All the King's Men, which first appeared at the Dallas Theater Center. The adaptation was developed in consultation with the author.[5]

Among his other stage credits is the Broadway production of Black Comedy/White Lies. He has appeared in repertory theater, including the New York Shakespeare Festival in which he played title roles in Richard II and Romeo and Juliet, and appeared in Twelfth Night, Rum and Coke and Found a Peanut.

In film, he played the naive Southern writer who fell in love with Meryl Streep in Sophie's Choice, the museum curator Janosz Poha in Ghostbusters II, and camp director Gary Granger alongside future Numbers co-star David Krumholtz in Addams Family Values. Other film credits include Housesitter and American Blue Note.

From 1992-1993 he starred opposite John Forsythe, Holland Taylor, David Hyde Pierce and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as press secretary Bradley Grist in the short-lived political comedy The Powers That Be.

In 1994 MacNicol played the role of Alan Birch for the first season and under half of the second season of Chicago Hope once creator David E. Kelley departed. He later rejoined Kelley in 1997 by taking a role on another TV series, Ally McBeal a main guest star from Season 1 to Season 4 and a recurring character in Season 5. MacNicol is well known for his Ally McBeal performance as eccentric attorney John Cage, for which he won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series in 2001. He also starred in the drama Numbers as physicist Dr. Larry Fleinhardt, and had a role as Tom Lennox in the sixth season of the hit FOX show 24. MacNicol reprised his role as Lennox in the film 24: Redemption. He also played a hotel receptionist in one episode of Cheers titled "Look Before You Sleep".

MacNicol has lent his voice to several comic book supervillains: Dr. Kirk Langstrom / Man-Bat in The Batman, David Clinton / Chronos in Justice League Unlimited, Professor Ivo in Young Justice, Dr. Otto Octavius / Doctor Octopus in The Spectacular Spider-Man, X The Eliminator in Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law and the Mad Hatter in the video games Batman: Arkham City, Batman: Arkham Origins, and Batman: Arkham Knight. He also voiced Firefly in G.I. Joe: Renegades.

MacNicol played Dr. Stark, a pediatric surgeon, on Grey's Anatomy.[6]

MacNicol was nominated for an Emmy for outstanding guest actor in the fifth season of Veep; however, this was rescinded after he appeared for only ten seconds in a fifth episode of the season's ten episode run, hence disqualifying him as a part-time "guest" and joining him in the ranks of Dennis Miller and Henry Winkler whose nominations were also revoked.[7] He was later nominated in the same category for the seventh season of Veep.



Year Title Role Notes
1981 Dragonslayer Galen Bradwarden
1982 Sophie's Choice Stingo
1986 Heat Cyrus Kinnick
1986 American Blue Note Jack Solow
1989 Ghostbusters II Dr. Janosz Poha
1991 Hard Promises Stuart
1992 Housesitter Marty
1993 Addams Family Values Gary Granger
1994 Radioland Murders Son Writer
1995 Dracula: Dead and Loving It Thomas Renfield
1996 Mojave Moon Tire Repairman
1997 Bean David Langley
1998 The Secret of NIMH 2: Timmy to the Rescue Narrator Direct-to-video
1999 Baby Geniuses Dan Bobbins
2001 Recess: School's Out Fenwick (voice)
2002 Balto II: Wolf Quest Muru (voice) Direct-to-video
2004 Breakin' All the Rules Philip Gascon
2005 Stuart Little 3: Call of the Wild Troopmaster Bickle (voice) Direct-to-video
2012 Battleship Secretary of Defense
2013 Scooby-Doo! Stage Fright Dewey Ottoman (voice) Direct-to-video


Year Title Role Notes
1984 Faerie Tale Theatre Martin Episode: "The Boy Who Left Home to Find Out About the Shivers"
1990 By Dawn's Early Light Sedgwick Television film
1992–1993 The Powers That Be Bradley Grist 20 episodes
1993 Cheers Mario Episode: "Look Before You Sleep"
1994 Tales from the Crypt Austin Haggard Episode: "Let the Punishment Fit the Crime"
1994–1995, 1998 (guest) Chicago Hope Alan Birch 31 episodes
Viewers for Quality Television Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Quality Drama Series
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series (1995–96)
1996 The Oz Kids Ork (voice)
1997–2002 Ally McBeal John Cage 103 episodes
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series (2001)
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series (1998)
Viewers for Quality Television Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Quality Comedy Series (1999)
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series (1999-2000)
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor – Television Series (2002)
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series (2001–02)
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series (1999-2001)
Nominated—Viewers for Quality Television Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series (1998, 2000)
1998 My Date with the President's Daughter Agent Fletcher TV Movie, uncredited
1999 The Angry Beavers Kid Friendly (voice) Episode: "The Legend of Kid Friendly"
1999 Olive, the Other Reindeer Fido (voice) Television film
2000 The Wild Thornberrys Raju, Monkey (voices) Episode: "Monkey See, Monkey Don't"
2000 Buzz Lightyear of Star Command Major (voice) 2 episodes
2003–2007 Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law Various (voices) 14 episodes
2004–2005 Danny Phantom Sidney Poindexter (voice) 2 episodes
2004–2008 The Batman Dr. Kirk Langstrom (voice) 3 episodes
2005 Justice League Unlimited Chronos (voice) 2 episodes
2005–2010 Numbers Dr. Larry Fleinhardt 94 episodes
2006 Boston Legal Dr. Sydney Field Episode: "Race Ipsa"
2007 24 Tom Lennox 24 episodes
2008 24: Redemption Television film
2008–2009 The Spectacular Spider-Man Doctor Octopus / Master Planner (voice) 12 episodes
2010 Ben 10: Ultimate Alien Oliver, Mr. Webb, Forever Knight #1 (voices) 2 episodes
2010–2011 Grey's Anatomy Dr. Robert Stark 7 episodes
2011 Young Justice Professor Ivo, Amazo, MONQIs (voice) 2 episodes
2011 G.I. Joe: Renegades Firefly (voice) Episode: "Homecoming Part 2"
2011 Fairly Legal Judge Smollet Episode: "Coming Home"
2012 Game Change Rick Davis Television film
2012-14 The Legend of Korra The Guard #4, Additional voice Main Role
2013 Necessary Roughness Dr. Gunner 3 episodes
2013–2015 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Professor Elliot Randolph 2 episodes
2014 The Mindy Project Rabbi David Adler Episode: "An Officer and a Gynecologist"
2014 Star Wars Rebels Tseebo (voice) 2 episodes
2014–2016 American Dad! Angel / Old Man Hanson (voices) 2 episodes
2015 CSI: Cyber Simon Sifter Main cast; 13 episodes
2016–2019 Veep Jeff Kane 9 episodes
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series (2019)
Previous Primetime Emmy Award nomination revoked due to rule technicality[8]
2017–2020 Tangled: The Series Nigel The Advisor (voice) Main cast
2018 The Big Bang Theory Dr. Robert Wolcott Episode: "The Reclusive Potential"
2019 A Series of Unfortunate Events Ishmael Episode: "The End"
2020–2021 All Rise Judge Campbell 9 episodes

Video games

Year Title Role
2008 Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law X the Eliminator
2011 Batman: Arkham City Mad Hatter
2013 Batman: Arkham Origins
2015 Batman: Arkham Knight


  1. ^ "Peter MacNicol Biography (1954?-)". Retrieved 2010-03-07.
  2. ^ Johnson, T. (June 13, 1998). "Ally McBeal's ally talks bagpipes, yodeling and other quirks". TV Guide – via Peter MacNicol Online.
  3. ^ Kaufman, Joanne; Balfour, Victoria (17 July 1989). "Striking Out with Sigourney, Social Slimer Peter MacNicol Still Scores in Ghostbusters II". People. 32 (3). Retrieved August 6, 2019.
  4. ^ Who's who in Commerce and Industry. Marquis Who's Who. January 1, 1968. p. 708 – via Google Books.
  5. ^ "'All the King's Men' is now a play. Adrian Hall stages a bigger-than-life adaptation". Christian Science Monitor. 1987-04-21. ISSN 0882-7729. Retrieved 2021-02-17.
  6. ^ Abrhams, Natalie (June 24, 2015). "Exclusive: Peter MacNicol Joins Grey's Anatomy". TV Guide. Retrieved October 1, 2010.
  7. ^ Dessem, Matthew (July 21, 2016). "Veep's Peter MacNicol Has His Emmy Nomination Revoked Over Eligibility Issue". Slate.
  8. ^ Whipp, Glenn (July 20, 2016). "A few seconds of screen time cost 'Veep' actor Peter MacNicol an Emmy nomination". Los Angeles Times.