Stephen Tobolowsky
Tobolowsky at the 2012 Texas Book Festival
Stephen Harold Tobolowsky

(1951-05-30) May 30, 1951 (age 72)
Dallas, Texas, U.S.
EducationSouthern Methodist University (BFA)
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (MFA)
  • Actor
  • author
  • musician
Years active1975−present
(m. 1988)
Children2 Edit this at Wikidata

Stephen Harold Tobolowsky (born May 30, 1951) is an American character actor. He is known for film roles such as insurance agent Ned "The Bull" Ryerson in Groundhog Day[1] and amnesiac Sammy Jankis in Memento, as well as such television characters as Commissioner Hugo Jarry in Deadwood, Bob Bishop in Heroes, Sandy Ryerson in Glee, Stu Beggs in Californication and White Famous, "Action" Jack Barker in Silicon Valley, Dr. Leslie Berkowitz in One Day at a Time, Principal Earl Ball in The Goldbergs, and Dr. Schulman in The Mindy Project.

Tobolowsky has a monthly audio podcast, The Tobolowsky Files, of autobiographical stories of his acting and personal life.[2] In 2015, he co-hosted a short-lived second podcast, Big Problems – An Advice Podcast, with David Chen.[3] He has also authored three books: The Dangerous Animals Club, Cautionary Tales, and My Adventures With God.

Early life and education

Tobolowsky was born on May 30, 1951, in Dallas, Texas.[4] He grew up creating imaginative games with his brother, and his story The Dangerous Animals Club paints a picture of how unsupervised children in the 20th century could amuse themselves. He showed talent at baseball, but a serious childhood illness ended his career as an athlete before it began. He graduated from Justin F. Kimball High School and Southern Methodist University.[5] He received a master's degree from the University of Illinois in 1975.[6]

He is a cousin of former Dallas attorney Ira Tobolowsky,[7] who was murdered in his home in 2016 by a disgruntled former litigant.[8] Another cousin (and Ira's brother) is the sculptor George Tobolowsky.[9]

Stephen Tobolowsky also played in a band called A Cast of Thousands, which had two songs, "Red, White and Blue" and "I Heard a Voice Last Night", on a compilation of local Dallas bands called A New Hi. Both of these songs featured Steve Vaughan on guitar, who would be later known as Stevie Ray Vaughan.[10]


Tobolowsky has appeared in over 200 films, plus many television projects. He has also worked in the theater, directing and acting in plays in New York City, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. He directed one film, Two Idiots in Hollywood, based on his play of the same name. He also co-wrote the film True Stories with David Byrne and Beth Henley.[11] While writing True Stories, he told Byrne about his supposed psychic abilities, which inspired Byrne to write the song Radio Head for the film. The band Radiohead later named themselves after the Talking Heads song.[12] Tobolowsky was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play for the 2002 revival of Morning’s at Seven.

On October 29, 2009, Tobolowsky started a new podcast on /Film called The Tobolowsky Files, where he tells stories, in a similar fashion to his film Stephen Tobolowsky's Birthday Party.[13][14] The show was picked up by Public Radio International in 2012.[15]



Year Title Role Notes
1977 Keep My Grave Open Robert
1984 The Philadelphia Experiment Barney
Swing Shift French deMille / Documentary Narrator
1986 Nobody's Fool Kirk
1987 Spaceballs Captain of the Guard
1988 Mississippi Burning Clayton Townley
Two Idiots in Hollywood Prosecuting Attorney Also writer and director
1989 Checking Out Pharmacist
Breaking In District Attorney
Great Balls of Fire! Jud Phillips
In Country Pete
1990 Bird on a Wire Joe Weyburn
Funny About Love Hugo
Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael Mayor Bill Klepler Credited as Stephen Tobolowski
The Grifters Jeweler
Mirror, Mirror Mr. Anderson
1991 Thelma & Louise Max

1992 Wedlock Warden Holliday
Basic Instinct Dr. Lamott
Where the Day Takes You Charles
Hero Wallace
Memoirs of an Invisible Man Warren Singleton
Single White Female Mitchell Myerson
Roadside Prophets Ranger Bob
Sneakers Dr. Werner Brandes
1993 Josh and S.A.M. Thom Whitney
Calendar Girl Antonio Gallo
The Pickle Mike Krakower
Romeo Is Bleeding District Attorney Uncredited
Groundhog Day Ned Ryerson
1994 Trevor Father Jon
My Father the Hero Mike
Radioland Murders Max Applewhite
1995 Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde Oliver Mintz
Murder in the First Mr. Henkin
1996 The Glimmer Man Christopher Maynard
Power 98 Rick Harris
Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco Bando Voice[16]
1997 Boys Life 2 Father John
The Curse of Inferno Lonnie Martin
Mr. Magoo Agent Chuck Stupak
1998 An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn Bill Bardo
Black Dog McClaren
The Jungle Book: Mowgli's Story Tabaqui Voice[16]
Around the Fire Doc
The Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars Calculator Voice, credited as Stephen Tobolowski[16]
1999 The Insider Eric Kluster
One Man's Hero Captain Gaine
Don't Look Under The Bed Michael McCausland Television film
2000 Sleep Easy, Hutch Rimes Dewey Wise
Bossa Nova Trevor
The Operator Doc
Memento Sammy Jankis
Stanley's Gig Abe Cohen
2001 The Prime Gig Mick
The Day the World Ended Principal Ed Turner Television film
Sleep Easy, Hutch Rimes Dewey Wise
Freddy Got Fingered Uncle Neil Uncredited
2002 Love Liza Tom Bailey
The Country Bears Norbert Barrington
Adaptation Ranger Steve Neely Scenes cut
Ritual Dr. Javitz Uncredited
2003 National Security Billy Narthax
View from the Top Frank Thomas Uncredited
Freaky Friday Mr. Elton Bates
Frankie and Johnny Are Married Murray Mintz
2004 Win a Date with Tad Hamilton! George Ruddy
Garfield Happy Chapman / Walter J. Chapman
Little Black Book Carl
Debating Robert Lee Debate Judge
2005 Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous Tom Abernathy
Robots Bigmouth Executive, Forge Voice[16]
Stephen Tobolowsky's Birthday Party Himself
Living 'til the End Dr. Shaw
2006 The Sasquatch Gang Ernie Dalrymple
Failure to Launch Bud
Pope Dreams Carl Venable
Blind Dating Dr. Perkins
National Lampoon's Totally Baked: A Potumentary Jesco Rollins
2007 Wild Hogs Charley
Boxboarders! Dr. Stephen James
Loveless in Los Angeles Jon
2008 The Rainbow Tribe Principal Sands
Beethoven's Big Break Sal DeMarco Video
2009 The Time Traveler's Wife Dr. Kendrick
2010 Buried Alan Davenport Voice
Hard Breakers Ephraim
Peep World Ephraim
2011 You May Not Kiss the Bride Plumber
The Last Ride Ray
2012 A Little Something on the Side Larry Short
The Lorax Uncle Ubb Voice[16]
Pearblossom Hwy Rick Lawler
2014 The Barber Chief Gary Hardaway
Mr. Peabody & Sherman Principal Purdy Voice[16]
Atlas Shrugged: Part III Dr. Hugh Akston
Christian Mingle Douglas McCarver
2015 Hollywood Adventures Wronald Wright
2016 Welcome to the Men's Group Carl
Six LA Love Stories Professor John Dobler
The Confirmation Father Lyons
Guys and Girls Can't Be Friends Andy
2017 Scooby-Doo! Shaggy's Showdown Andy Gunderson Voice[16]
Mamaboy Reverend Weld
2018 Strange Nature Mayor Paulson
Monsters At Large Mr. Phillips
2019 Fractured Dr. Berthram
2023 Candy Cane Lane Mr. Benedetto


Year Title Role Notes
1983 Cocaine and Blue Eyes TV Clerk Television film
1985 Alice Caveman Carl Episode: "Vera, the Nightbird"
Knots Landing Steve Comiskey Episode: "A Man of Good Will"
Falcon Crest Doctor Episode: "The Phoenix"
Cagney & Lacey Russell Phelps Episode: "Ordinary Hero"
Stir Crazy Salesman Episode: "Where's Mary?"
1986 Designing Women Boyd Episode: "Design House"
227 Professor Episode: "We the People"
1987 The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd Alex Episode: "Here's Why You Should Never Wear High Heels to the Bank"
1989 Roe vs. Wade Darryl Horwath Television film
L.A. Law Dr. Michael Segal Episode: "Lie Down and Deliver"
Lifestories Josh Gant Episode: "Art Conforti"
1990 Last Flight Out Doctor Timothy Brandon Television film
1991 Seinfeld Tor Episode: "The Heart Attack"
Tagget Al Hentz Television film
Down Home Honis Episode: "Mail Order Tran"
Baby Talk Dr. Ezra Farr Episode: "The Whiz Kid"
The Marla Hanson Story Defense Attorney Television film
Deadly Medicine Ron Sutton Television film
Perry Mason: The Case of the Maligned Mobster Sergeant Phil Baranski Television film
1993 Picket Fences Ben Sasha Episode: "Be My Valentine"
Civil Wars Eugene Paxton Episode: "A Liver Runs Through It"
When Love Kills: The Seduction of John Hearn Detective Keefe Television film
Café Americain Roger Episode: "Toast of the Town"
Against the Grain Niles Hardeman Recurring role
1994 Harts of the West Dave's former boss Episode: "Back in the Panties Again"
Blue Skies Oak Main role
1995 Dweebs Karl Main role
A Whole New Ballgame Dr. Warner Brakefield 2 episodes
Chicago Hope Dr. Ted Joseph 2 episodes
1996 The Home Court Jeffrey Solomon Episode: "Touched by an Anger"
The Pretender Dr. Alan Trader Episode: "Pilot"
Night Visitors Taylor Television film
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Principal Flutie Unaired pilot
1996–1997 Mr. Rhodes Ray Heary Main role
1997 The Drew Carey Show The Councilman Episode: "The Dog and Pony Show"
The Naked Truth Vincent Hartford Episode: "The Birds"
Murder One Dr. Andross 3 episodes
Promised Land Fred Argyle Episode: "Par for the Course"
1997–1998 Life with Louie Voice, 2 episodes
1998 The Closer Phil Episode: "Morality Bites"
Hercules Numericles Voice, episode: "Hercules and the Techno Greeks"
Suddenly Susan Dr. Gerken Episode: "Don't Tell"
Vengeance Unlimited Mayor Bob Laird Episode: "Eden"
1998-2000 Any Day Now Mr. Brinkman 2 episodes
1999 Mad About You Principal Hocksacker Episode: "Uncle Phil Goes Back to High School"
The Practice Clyde Burrows Episode: "Closet Justice"
Don't Look Under the Bed Michael McCausland Television film
That '70s Show The Professor Episode: "Laurie and the Professor"
Two Guys and a Girl Father Viteri Episode: "Berg's New Roommate"
Odd Man Out Alan Carlson Episode: "In the Name of the Father"
Snoops Michael Bench 3 episodes
2000 Manhattan, AZ Dr. Bob Recurring role
Alien Fury: Countdown to Invasion B.J. McQueen Television film
Buzz Lightyear of Star Command Gil Voice, episode: "Mindwarp"[16]
That's Life Study Advisor Roger Robinson Episode: "The Screw-Up"
2001 Roswell Julius Walters Episode: "Secrets and Lies"
Bull Mr. Siegel Episode: "Blood, Flopsweat and Tears"
King of the Hill Dr. Benson, Burt Halverstrom Voice, episode: "The Exterminator"
Off Centre Milt Flack Episode: "Swing Time"
The Day the World Ended Principal Ed Turner Television film
The Lone Gunmen Adam Burgess Episode: "Madam, I'm Adam"
Black River Mayor Tom Thompson Television film
2002 Malcolm in the Middle Mr. Fisher Episode: "Lois' Makeover"
Law & Order: Criminal Intent Jim Halliwell Episode: "Malignant"
Do Over Mr. Meyers Episode: "The Block Party"
2003 Las Vegas Donny Rollins Episode: "Donny, We Hardly Knew Ye"
Kingpin Dr. Klein's lawyer Episode: "Black Magic Woman"
Lloyd in Space Voice, episode: "At Home with the Bolts"
Oliver Beene Ringmaster Bob Episode: "Divorce-o-Rama"
The Dead Zone Dr. Jim Pratt Episode: "Plague"
2003–2005 CSI: Miami Assistant State Attorney Don Haffman Recurring role
2004 Will and Grace Ned Weathers Episode: "Company"
It's All Relative Roy Episode: "Philip in a China Shop"
The West Wing Dr. Max Milkman Episode: "The Stormy Present"
Complete Savages Mr. Frehley Episode: "Voodude"
Married to the Kellys Henry Conway Episode: "Talk Radio"
According to Jim Dr. Ted Episode: "The Marriage Bank"
2005 American Dragon: Jake Long Stan Lipkowski Voice, 2 episodes[16]
McBride: The Doctor Is Out... Really Out Harry Evers Television film
Curb Your Enthusiasm Len Dunkel Episode: "The Seder"
The Closer James Bloom Episode: "The Butler Did It"
Reba Judge Episode: "Grannies Gone Wild"
2005–2006 Deadwood Hugo Jarry Recurring role
2006 Ghost Whisperer Dr. Edward Episode: "Dead Man's Ridge"
Night Stalker Titus Berry Episode: "Timeless"
Desperate Housewives Bud Penrod Episode: "No One Is Alone"
2006–2007 Big Day The Garf Recurring role
2007 John From Cincinnati Mark Lewinsky 3 episodes
Entourage Mayor of Beverly Hills Episode: "Sorry, Harvey"
Boston Legal Dr. Alvin Azinabinacroft Episode: "The Good Lawyer"
Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip Joe Episode: "The Friday Night Slaughter"
The Valley of Light Littlefield Television film
Raines Wally Anderson Episode: "Stone Dead"
2007–2008 Heroes Bob Bishop Recurring role
2008 CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Spencer Freiberg Episode: "Two and a Half Deaths"
Rita Rocks Bill Bowman Episode: "Get Off Off of My Cloud"
2009 The New Adventures of Old Christine Principal James Merrow 2 episodes
2009–2011 Glee Sandy Ryerson Recurring role
2010 The Sarah Silverman Program Bill Fantastimart Episode: "A Fairly Attractive Mind"
True Jackson, VP Lars Balthazar Episode: "Saving Snackleberry"
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Edwin Adelson Episode: "Bullseye"
2011 Community Professor Peter Sheffield Episode: "Competitive Wine Tasting"
The Defenders Judge Gelineau Episode: "Nevada v. Wayne"
Pound Puppies Mr. Geekman Voice, episode: "Taboo"[16]
2011–2014 Californication Stu Beggs Main role
2012 Work It Dr. David Deutsch Episode: "Shake Your Moneymaker"
2012–2013 Justified FBI Agent Jerry Barkley 3 episodes
2012–2016 The Mindy Project Marc Shulman 4 episodes
2013 Toy Story of Terror! Ron the Hotel Manager Voice, television film[16]
2014-2023 The Goldbergs Principal Earl Ball Recurring role
2014 Friends with Better Lives Dr. Adleman Episode: "Game Sext Match"
Hello Ladies: The Movie Alan Television film
The Hotwives Phil Recurring role
2015 Big Time in Hollywood, FL Alan Dolfe Main role
Dr. Ken Joe Episode: "Pilot"
Another Period Thomas Edison Episode: "Rejects Beach"
2016 Fuller House Mr. Gerald Episode: "The Not-So-Great Escape"
Blunt Talk Daniel Rudolph Episode: "Walter Has to Look After Walter"
2016–2017 Silicon Valley Jack Barker 13 episodes
Justice League Action Martin Stein Voice, recurring role (10 episodes)[16]
2017–2020 The Loud House Principal Huggins Voice, recurring role[16]
One Day at a Time Dr. Berkowitz Main role
2017 White Famous Stu Beggs 3 episodes
We Bare Bears Stephen Voice, episode: "Tubin"
2018 DIY Mister Wonderworm Voice, television film
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Defense Attorney Kayman Episode: "The Good Girl”
2019 Schooled Earl Ball Recurring role
The Cool Kids Leonard Episode: "Margaret Ups Her Game”
Live in Front of a Studio Audience Harry Bentley Episode: "Norman Lear's All in the Family and The Jeffersons"
Green Eggs and Ham Chad Voice, episode: "House"[16]
The Epic Tales of Captain Underpants Creepy Rattlechains Voice, episode: "The Spooky Tale of Captain Underpants Hack-a-Ween"[16]
2019-2022 Puppy Dog Pals Chip Voice, 2 episodes
2020 ThunderCats Roar Driller Voice, episode: "Driller"[16]
2020-2021 Archer Robert Voice, 8 episodes
2022 Grace and Frankie Allen Episode: "The Horrible Family"
Haul Out the Holly Ned Television film (Hallmark)
2023 Lopez vs Lopez Sam Van Bryan Recurring
The Really Loud House Walter Phillipini 2 episodes
Animaniacs Local DJ Voice, 2 episodes


Stage appearances

Selected stage appearances

Year Title Venue Role Notes
1976 Meredith Monk Dance Company's Paris Royce Hall Man with a clipboard [20]
1982 Beth Henley's The Wake of Jamie Foster Eugene O'Neill Theatre Leon
1985 Chekhov's The Three Sisters Los Angeles Theatre Center Baron Tuzenbach
1986 Michel de Ghelderode's Barabbus Los Angeles Theatre Center Pontius Pilate and The Watcher
1987 Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie Los Angeles Theatre Center Gentleman caller
1989 Christopher Durang's The Marriage of Bette and Boo Los Angeles Theatre Center Father Donnally and The Doctor
2002 Paul Osborn's Mornings at Seven Lyceum Theater and Ahmanson Theatre Homer
2002 Shaw's Heartbreak House Theater 40 Capt. Shotover
2003 Sally Nemeth's Holy Days Theater 40 Gant [21]
2019 Angela J. Davis' The Spanish Prayer Book Road Theater Los Angeles Alexander [22]

Writing credits

Year Title Notes
1984 Two Idiots in Hollywood Stage play and film
1986 True Stories Film

Directing credits

Year Title Notes
1984 Two Idiots in Hollywood Stage play at Theatre Los Angeles
1984 Beth Henley's The Miss Firecracker Contest Stage play at Manhattan Theatre Club
1987 Beth Henley's The Lucky Spot Film
1988 Two Idiots in Hollywood Film
2003 Jim McLure's Blue Silence Stage play at Theater 40


  1. ^ "The Tobolowsky Files Ep. 29 – The Classic". Archived from the original on June 18, 2010. Retrieved June 3, 2010.
  2. ^ "iTunes - Podcasts - The Tobolowsky Files by PRI". Retrieved April 24, 2013.
  3. ^ "Big Problems". Retrieved September 28, 2017.
  4. ^ "Stephen Tobolowsky". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved July 26, 2023.
  5. ^ Currey, Mason (October 3, 2012). "Stephen Tobolowsky: What I learned in the seventh grade". Retrieved April 24, 2013.
  6. ^ "Stephen Tobolowsky". Retrieved November 23, 2018.
  7. ^ Dolsten, Josefin (May 18, 2016). "Who Was Prominent Dallas Lawyer Ira Tobolowsky – and Did 'Jihad' Man Want Him Dead?". Forward. Retrieved July 6, 2016.
  8. ^ Keomoungkhoun, Nataly (April 27, 2022). "What We Know About the 2016 Slaying of Dallas Lawyer Ira Tobolowsky". Dallas Morning News. Retrieved February 22, 2023.
  9. ^ Thompson, Jamie (May 2017). "A Place Where Something Evil Happened". D Magazine. Retrieved February 22, 2023.
  10. ^ A New Hi (Dallas 1971)
  11. ^ Phipps, Keith (August 2, 2011). "Random Roles Stephen Tobolowsky". The A.V. Club. Retrieved August 3, 2011.
  12. ^ Rabin, Nathan. "". Vulture. New York Magazine. Retrieved January 25, 2024. ((cite web)): External link in |title= (help)
  13. ^ Tobolowsky, Stephen (September 16, 2010). "Op-Ed Contributor - They Had Great Character". New York Times. Retrieved February 8, 2011.
  14. ^ Chapman, Glen (March 16, 2010). "Celebrating Stephen Tobolowsky". Den of Geek. Retrieved February 8, 2011.
  15. ^ Public Radio International® signs actor, writer Stephen Tobolowsky to create new storytelling series for radio,; accessed April 8, 2015.
  16. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p "Stephen Tobolowsky (visual voices guide)". Behind The Voice Actors. Retrieved August 21, 2023. A green check mark indicates that a role has been confirmed using a screenshot (or collage of screenshots) of a title's list of voice actors and their respective characters found in its opening and/or closing credits and/or other reliable sources of information.
  17. ^ "Various – A New Hi (Dallas 1971 - Part 1)". Discogs. Retrieved October 13, 2023.
  18. ^ "Glee Cast – Glee: The Music, Volume 3 Showstoppers". Discogs. Retrieved October 13, 2023.
  19. ^ "Glee Cast – Glee: The Music, The Complete Season One". Discogs. Retrieved October 13, 2023.
  20. ^ "The Tobolowsky Files Ep. 85 - The Resume". Retrieved October 13, 2020.
  21. ^ "In 'Holy Days,' a story full of grit and grace". Los Angeles Times. August 19, 2004. Retrieved October 14, 2020.
  22. ^ "The Spanish Prayer Book". Retrieved October 14, 2020.