- Paternal grandparents were Russian immigrants who owned a grocery store in Chicago.
- Comes from a family of cinema magnates who---with Morris and Sam Katz---formed Balaban & Katz, which owned more than 100 theaters in the Midwest.
- His uncle Barney Balaban was president of Paramount Pictures from 1936-64.
- Grandfather Sam Katz, who was head of production at MGM, was first married to Bob's paternal aunt Ida and then, after her death, to Bob's maternal grandmother, Belle.
- Studied with the Second City Comedy Troupe at age 16 and made his stage debut with them.
- As a college junior, won the role of Linus in the original off-Broadway production of You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown.
- As a senior, he was cast in Plaza Suite on Broadway; had to postpone graduation because he kept getting acting jobs.
- Film debut was in 1969's Midnight Cowboy.
- Wrote Spielberg, Truffaut and Me, a diary about his experiences filming Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
- Authored children's books featuring a bionic dog named McGrowl.
- Pitched idea for 2001's Gosford Park to friend Robert Altman, who directed the Emmy-nominated murder mystery; Balaban also acted in and produced the film.
- 2005, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture: Nominee
- 2001, Oscar — Best Motion Picture of the Year: Nominee
- 2002, Australian Film Institute Awards — Best Foreign Film: Nominee
- 1979, Tony — Actor (Featured Role--Play): Nominee
- 2001, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture: Winner
- 2008, Emmy — Outstanding Made for Television Movie: Nominee
- 2008, Emmy — Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special: Nominee
- 2001, BAFTA Film Awards — The Alexander Korda Award for the Outstanding British Film of the Year: Winner
- 2008, Emmy — Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie: Nominee
- 2010, Emmy — Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special: Nominee
- John Balaban — Uncle
- Israel Balaban — Grandfather
- Lynn Grossman — Wife
- Sam Katz — Grandfather
- Anna — Aunt
- Belle Katz — Grandmother
- Abraham Joseph 'A.J." Balaban — Uncle
- Elenore Balaban — Mother
- Nancy Magidson — Sister
- Max Balaban — Uncle
- David Balaban — Uncle
- Augusta 'Gussie' Balaban — Grandmother
- Mariah Balaban — Daughter
- Ida — Aunt
- Burt Balaban — Cousin
- Barney Balaban — Uncle
- Harry Balaban — Uncle
- Susan — Sister
- Elmer Balaban — Father
- Hazel — Daughter
- Attended Colgate University, Hamilton, NY; New York University, New York, NY (BA)
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