Reed Birney
Born (1954-09-11) September 11, 1954 (age 69)
EducationBoston University
Years active1976–present
(m. 1999)

Reed Birney (born September 11, 1954) is an American actor. Birney is known for his performances on stage and screen often acting on and off Broadway. Birney gained acclaim in 2016 for his role in The Humans winning the Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play. He was also nominated previously in the same category for his performance in Casa Valentina in 2014.

He starred in the films Mass (2021), and The Menu (2022). He is also known for his recurring roles in Gossip Girl (2007–2009), House of Cards (2013–2017), The Blacklist (2014–2015), and Home Before Dark (2021–2022). He has also acted in The Americans, The Handmaid's Tale, and Succession.


Birney attended the Boston University College of Fine Arts for two years. After moving to New York City, he attended classes sponsored by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.[1]

Birney appeared Off-Broadway at Playwrights Horizons in 1976 in Gemini by Albert Innaurato. He has appeared in many plays Off-Broadway since, including Bug (2004) and Circle Mirror Transformation (2009).[2]

He has performed on Broadway in Casa Valentina (2014) and The Humans.[3] He appeared in the Annie Baker adaptation of Uncle Vanya at the Soho Rep in 2012. Charles Isherwood in his review for The New York Times wrote: "The indispensable Reed Birney is as vitally moving a Vanya as I’ve yet to see..."[4] He was nominated for the Drama Desk Award, Outstanding Actor in a Play, for Uncle Vanya.[5]

He won the 2016 Tony Award, Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play, for The Humans;[6] the 2014 Drama Desk Award, Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play, for Casa Valentina; and the 2010 Obie Award, Performance, for Circle Mirror Transformation.[7] He received a Special Drama Desk Award in 2011, honoring his career.[8][9]

He appeared off-Broadway in the play by Tracy Letts, Man from Nebraska, which opened in January 2017 in previews at the Second Stage Theatre.[10] From May to October 2017, he starred as O'Brien in the Broadway production of 1984 at the Hudson Theatre.

His television performances include Matthew Lester in Kane & Abel, Mr. Prescott on Gossip Girl, Donald Blythe on the Netflix series House of Cards,[8][11] Tom Connolly in The Blacklist and Dr. Adamson on Titans. He also appeared in Hulu's adaptation of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale as Lieutenant Stans.

His movie roles included Louie in Four Friends (1981), the Merchant Prince in A Perfect Murder (1998), Governor Willis in Morning Glory (2010), J. Whitman in The 40-Year-Old Version, Pa in The Hunt (both 2020), Peter Bloom in Strawberry Mansion, and Richard in Mass (both 2021).

Birney is an adjunct assistant professor at Columbia University.[8]

Personal life

He is married to actress Constance Shulman, who appears in Orange is the New Black, and they have two children together.[12] Their daughter Gus Birney is also an actor, as is their son, Ephraim.



Year Title Role Notes
1976 Not a Pretty Picture Fred
1981 Four Friends Louie
1985 Crimewave Vic Ajax
1998 A Perfect Murder Merchant Prince #1
2003 Uptown Girls Executive
2007 The Ten Jim Stansel
2008 Changeling Mayor Cryer
2010 Twelve Thirty Martin
2010 Morning Glory Governor Willis
2012 Girl Most Likely Dr. Chalmers
2013 Molly's Theory of Relativity Asher
2013 Adult World Todd
2014 In Your Eyes Dr. Maynard
2015 Jackrabbit Paul Bateson
2015 Mad Women Richard
2019 The Lost Weekend Henry Short film [13]
2020 The Forty-Year-Old Version J. Whitman
2020 Lost Girls Peter Hackett
2020 The Hunt Pop
2021 Strawberry Mansion Peter Bloom
2021 Mass Richard
2022 Baby Ruby Dr. Rosenbaum
2022 The Menu Richard Liebbrandt


Year Title Role Notes
1979 Eight Is Enough Steven Episode: "Mary, He's Married"
1981 Nurse Episode: "Margin for Error"
1983 3-2-1 Contact Wenfield Episode: "Flight: Flying Animals"
1985 Kane & Abel Matthew Lester 2 episodes
1987 Beverly Hills Buntz Larry Fielding Episode: "Sid and Randy"
1990 Tales from the Crypt Paul Episode: "Mute Witness to Murder"
1992–2010 Law & Order Various 3 episodes
1994 Another World Walter Trask 3 episodes
1994 American Masters Actor Episode: "Tennessee Williams: Orpheus of the American Stage"
1998 From the Earth to the Moon John Houbolt Episode: "Spider"
2000 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Harry Waters Episode: "Chat Room"
2002 The Education of Max Bickford Todd Episode: "Money Changes Everything"
2002 Ed Mr. Walzer Episode: "Human Nature"
2002–2005 Law & Order: Criminal Intent A.D.A. Stillman / Fred Martz 2 episodes
2003 Queens Supreme Episode: "The Eyes Have It"
2006 Kidnapped Mancini Episode: "Number One with a Bullet"
2007–2009 Gossip Girl Mr. Prescott 4 episodes
2008 Wainy Days Charlie Rose Episode: "Jonah and the Manilow"
2009 Kings Minister Forsythe 5 episodes
2010 My Generation Michael Foster 2 episodes
2012 The Good Wife Lee Tripke Episode: "Battle of the Proxies"
2013–2017 House of Cards Donald Blythe 17 episodes
2014 Blue Bloods Burden Maxwell Episode: "Manhattan Queens"
2014 Girls Peter Episode: "I Saw You"
2014–2015 The Blacklist Tom Connolly 9 episodes
2015 American Odyssey Senator Darnell 3 episodes
2017 Madam Secretary Roland Hobbs Episode: "Gift Horse"
2017 The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Dr. George Gey Television film
2018 Chicago Med Greg Episode: "Best Laid Plans"
2018 The Americans Patrick McCleesh 2 episodes
2018 Titans Dr. Adamson 5 episodes
2019 A Million Little Things Eugene Bloon Episode: "The Day Before..."
2019 High Maintenance Leonard Episode: "Cruise"
2019 Bull Judge Humphrey Episode: "Imminent Danger"
2020–2021 Home Before Dark Sylvester Lisko 18 episodes
2021 The Handmaid's Tale Lieutenant Stans Episode: "The Crossing"
2021 Evil Father Thunderland Episode: "I Is for IRS"
2021 Succession Dave Boyer Episode: "What It Takes"
2023 Poker Face Gabriel/Ben Episode "Time of the Monkey"
2023 Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Luq Episode: "Among the Lotus Eaters"
2024 American Horror Story: Delicate Dexter Harding Sr. Episode: TBC

Awards and nominations

Year Work Award Category Result
2011 N/A Drama Desk Award Special Drama Desk Award Won
2014 Casa Valentina Tony Award Best Featured Actor in a Play Nominated
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play Won
Drama League Award Distinguished Performance Award Nominated
2016 The Humans Tony Award Best Featured Actor in a Play Won
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Ensemble Won
Outer Critics Circle Award Outstanding Actor in a Play Nominated
Drama League Award Distinguished Performance Award Nominated
2021 Mass Gotham Award Outstanding Supporting Performance Nominated


  1. ^ Sod, Ted. "Interview" Archived 2017-04-23 at the Wayback Machine, October 4, 2015
  2. ^ Gates, Anita. "At Peter J. Sharp Theater: Actor, Make Like a Tree" The New York Times, October 15, 2009
  3. ^ "Reed Birney Credits", accessed June 13, 2016
  4. ^ Isherwood, Charles. "A Fresh Breeze in Pastoral Russia" The New York Times, June 18, 2012
  5. ^ Lefkowitz, Andy. "The 58th Annual Drama Desk Award Winners Are Announced!", May 19, 2013
  6. ^ Viagas, Robert. " 'Hamilton' Tops Tony Awards With 11 Wins" Playbill, June 12, 2016
  7. ^ "Reed Birney Bio", accessed June 13, 2016
  8. ^ a b c "Reed Birney" Archived 2016-12-22 at the Wayback Machine, accessed June 13, 2016
  9. ^ "Reed Birney Broadway" Playbill, accessed June 13, 2016
  10. ^ Clement, Olivia. " 'Man from Nebraska 'Opens at Second Stage" Playbill, February 15, 2017
  11. ^ "'House of Cards’ Star Reed Birney Endures ‘Quiet Desperation’ in ‘Mad Women’" Archived 2020-11-24 at the Wayback Machine, July 22, 2015
  12. ^ Borison, Susan. "Actors Constance Shulman and Reed Birney Talk Parenting" Your Teen, retrieved June 8, 2018
  13. ^ "The Lost Weekend (Short 2019)". IMDb. Retrieved 29 April 2023.