Tim Blake Nelson
Timothy Blake Nelson
May 11, 1964
Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S.
|Education||Brown University (BA)|
Juilliard School (GrDip)
|Occupation||Actor, director, writer|
Timothy Blake Nelson (born May 11, 1964) is an American actor, director and writer. His most noted roles include Delmar O'Donnell in O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000), Dr. Pendanski in Holes (2003), Daniel "Danny" Dalton Jr. in Syriana (2005), Dr. Samuel Sterns in The Incredible Hulk (2008), Richard Schell in Lincoln (2012), Buster Scruggs in The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018), and Wade Tillman / Looking Glass in the HBO series Watchmen (2019) for which he was nominated for a Critics' Choice Television Award.
Nelson was born to a Jewish family in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the son of Ruth Nelson (née Kaiser), a noted social activist and philanthropist in Tulsa, and Don Nelson, a geologist and wildcatter. His maternal uncle is businessman George Kaiser.
His maternal grandparents Herman Geo. Kaiser and Kate Kaiser, daughter of businessman Max Samuel, were from Germany, and escaped the Nazis shortly before World War II. They moved to Britain in 1938, where Nelson's mother was born, and immigrated to the United States in 1941. His father's family were Russian-Jewish emigrants.
Nelson attended the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute at Quartz Mountain Resort Arts and Conference Center in Lone Wolf, Oklahoma.
Nelson is a 1982 graduate of Holland Hall School in Tulsa, and a graduate of Brown University, where he was a Classics major as well as Senior Orator for his class of 1986. At Brown, he studied under the philosopher Martha Nussbaum. He is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society. Nelson won the Workman/Driskoll award for excellence in Classical Studies. He graduated from Juilliard in 1990, a member of Group 19.
Nelson's debut play, Eye of God, was produced at Seattle Repertory Theatre in 1992. The Grey Zone premiered at MCC Theater in New York in 1996, where his 1998 work Anadarko was produced. He was a co-star of the sketch comedy show The Unnaturals, which ran on HA! (later CTV, and would turn into Comedy Central) between 1989 and 1991, alongside Paul Zaloom, John Mariano and Siobhan Fallon Hogan.
Nelson has appeared as an actor in film, TV and theatre. He had a featured role as Delmar in the film O Brother, Where Art Thou? According to directors Joel and Ethan Coen, he was the only one in the cast or crew who had read Homer's Odyssey, a story upon which the film is loosely based. He sang "In the Jailhouse Now" on the film's soundtrack (which received a Grammy for Album of the Year in 2001). Nelson has gone on to act in a number of supporting performances in films such as Minority Report, Syriana and Lincoln. He also appeared in Marvel Comics adaptations The Incredible Hulk and Fantastic Four. Nelson portrayed Ralph Myers in the 2019 drama/legal drama "Just Mercy".
Nelson narrated the 2001 audiobook At the Altar of Speed: The Fast Life and Tragic Death of Dale Earnhardt, Sr. He appeared on stage extensively off-Broadway in New York at theatres including Manhattan Theater Club, Playwrights Horizons, Manhattan Class Company, Soho Repertory Theater, New York Theater Workshop, and Central Park's Open Air Theater in the Shakespeare plays Richard III, Troilus and Cressida, and A Midsummer Night's Dream.
He has directed film versions of his plays The Grey Zone and Eye of God (for which he received an Independent Spirit Awards nomination for the Someone to Watch Award), as well as writing and directing two original screenplays: 1998's Kansas and Leaves of Grass, which was released in 2009. He directed the film O, based on Othello and set in a modern-day high school.
For Eye of God, he received the Tokyo Bronze Prize at the Tokyo International Film Festival (1997) and the American Independent Award at the Seattle International Film Festival (1997); for O, the Best Director Award at the Seattle International Film Festival (2001); and for The Grey Zone, the National Board of Review's Freedom of Expression Award (2002). He is on the Board of Directors for The Actors Center in New York City, as well as Soho Rep Theatre.
Nelson guest-starred on the CSI: Crime Scene Investigation season 10 episode "Working Stiffs". In the episode "My Brother's Bomber" (aired September 29, 2015) of the PBS investigative series Frontline, he talked about the loss of his friend David Dornstein in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.
In 2018, Nelson played Buster Scruggs in The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, a western anthology film by Joel and Ethan Coen. Nelson had received the original script sixteen years prior in 2002. The film was released on Netflix on November 16, after a limited theatrical run, and received positive reviews from critics, with many highlighting Nelson's performance and his overall segment.
Nelson's play Socrates opened at The Public Theater in 2019, starring Michael Stuhlbarg. It was favorably received by numerous publications, including the New York Times.
Nelson resides in New York City with his wife, Lisa Benavides, and their three sons. On May 8, 2009, he was inducted as an honorary member of the University of Tulsa's Beta of Oklahoma chapter of the Phi Beta Kappa national collegiate honor society.
|1992||This Is My Life||Dennis|
|1993||Motel Blue 19||Adult Luther||Uncredited voice|
|1997||Eye of God||Director and writer|
|Donnie Brasco||FBI Technician|
|Prix Fixe||Busboy||Short film|
|1998||The Thin Red Line||Pvt. Lysander Tills|
|Kanas||Short film; director and writer|
|O Brother, Where Art Thou?||Delmar O'Donnell|
|The Grey Zone||Director, writer, producer and editor|
|2002||The Good Girl||Bubba|
|2003||A Foreign Affair||Jake Adams||Also executive producer|
|Holes||Dr. Kiowa "Mom" Pendanski|
|2004||Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed||Dr. Jonathan Jacobo|
|The Last Shot||Marshal Paris|
|Meet the Fockers||Officer Vern LeFlore|
|2005||The Amateurs||Barney Macklehatton|
|My Suicidal Sweetheart||Various|
|The Big White||Gary|
|2006||Come Early Morning||Uncle Tim|
|The Darwin Awards||Perp|
|2007||The Astronaut Farmer||Kevin Munchak|
|2008||The Incredible Hulk||Samuel Sterns|
|American Violet||David Cohen|
|2009||Saint John of Las Vegas||Militant Ned|
|Leaves of Grass||Bolger||Also director, writer and producer|
|Yelling to the Sky||Coleman|
|The Big Year||Fuchs|
|2012||Big Miracle||Pat Lafayette|
|As I Lay Dying||Anse|
|Child of God||Sheriff Fate|
|Snake and Mongoose||Mike McAllister|
|The Sound and the Fury||Father|
|Kill the Messenger||Alan Fenster|
|Rickover: The Birth of Nuclear Power||Admiral Hyman Rickover||Documentary|
|2015||Anesthesia||Adam Zarrow||Also director, writer and producer|
|Fantastic Four||Dr. Allen|
|Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk||Wayne Pfister|
|2017||Deidra & Laney Rob a Train||Truman|
|The Vanishing of Sidney Hall||Johan Tidemand|
|The Institute||Dr. Lemelle|
|The Ballad of Buster Scruggs||Buster Scruggs||Segment: "The Ballad of Buster Scruggs"|
|2019||The Report||Raymond Nathan|
|Angel Has Fallen||Vice President Martin Kirby|
|Just Mercy||Ralph Myers|
|The True Don Quixote||Don Quixote|
|The Jesus Rolls||Doctor|
|Ghosts of the Ozark||Torb|
|National Champions||Rodger Cummings|
|Nightmare Alley||Carny Boss|
|2022||Pinocchio||The Coachman||Post-production; Voice|
|TBA||The Long Home||Hovington||Post-production|
|1989–1991||The Unnaturals||Recurring characters|
|1995||House of Buggin'||Kidnapper||Episode: "The Paco Vasquez Story"|
|1996||Dead Man's Walk||Johnny Carthage||3 episodes|
|2005||Stella||Mountain Man||Episode: "Camping"|
|Warm Springs||Tom Loyless||Television film|
|2006||Haskett's Chance||Pilot; director|
|2009||CSI: Crime Scene Investigation||Paulie Krill||Episode: "Working Stiffs"|
|2011||CHAOS||Casey Malick||13 episodes|
|Modern Family||Hank||Episode: "Dude Ranch"|
|2012–2015||Black Dynamite||Chief McGillihorn (voice)||4 episodes|
|2015, 2019||Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt||Randy||4 episodes|
|2015||Z: The Beginning of Everything||Episode: "Pilot"; director|
|For Justice||Ochs Rainey||Pilot|
|2017||Wormwood||Sidney Gottlieb||4 episodes|
|2018||Dallas & Robo||The Woodsman (voice)||8 episodes|
|2019||Watchmen||Wade Tillman / Looking Glass||6 episodes|
|2020||Big City Greens||Grampa Ernest Green (voice)||Episode: "Garage Tales"|