Fast Facts

  • As a child, he became interested in acting through his mother, who started a community theater group that rehearsed in their home.
  • Studied acting at New York's HB Studio under Uta Hagen.
  • Made his Broadway debut with the original company of Fiddler on the Roof in 1964.
  • Won an Obie and a Drama Desk Award for his performance in 1970's The Last Sweet Days of Isaac.
  • An in-demand character actor who is best known to mainstream audiences for his turn as a reluctant villain in 1979's The Muppet Movie.
  • Started writing plays at age 50.
  • Joined Chicago's famed Steppenwolf Theatre Company in 1979.


  • 2001, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture: Nominee
  • 1981, Tony — Director (Play): Nominee


  • Katina Commings — Wife
  • Thorn Pendleton — Father
  • Audrey Christine Pendleton — Daughter
  • Frances Pendleton — Mother


  • Yale University, New Haven, CT (BA, 1961)

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  • Birth Place: Warren, OH
  • Profession: Actor, Writer, Stage director

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