Fast Facts

  • 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.

Awards

  • 1979, Tony — Actor (Featured Role--Play): Nominee
  • 2010, Emmy — Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special: Nominee
  • 2008, Emmy — Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special: Nominee
  • 2001, Oscar — Best Motion Picture of the Year: Nominee
  • 2008, Emmy — Outstanding Made for Television Movie: Nominee
  • 2002, Australian Film Institute Awards — Best Foreign Film: 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
  • 2005, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture: Nominee
  • 2001, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture: Winner

Relationships

  • Elenore Balaban — Mother
  • Nancy Magidson — Sister
  • Max Balaban — Uncle
  • David Balaban — Uncle
  • Augusta 'Gussie' Balaban — Grandmother
  • Ida — Aunt
  • Burt Balaban — Cousin
  • Barney Balaban — Uncle
  • Harry Balaban — Uncle
  • Susan — Sister
  • Abraham Joseph 'A.J." Balaban — Uncle
  • Elmer Balaban — Father
  • Mariah Balaban — Daughter
  • John Balaban — Uncle
  • Israel Balaban — Grandfather
  • Hazel — Daughter
  • Lynn Grossman — Wife
  • Sam Katz — Grandfather
  • Anna — Aunt
  • Belle Katz — Grandmother

College

  • Attended Colgate University, Hamilton, NY; New York University, New York, NY (BA)

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Details

  • Birth Name: Robert Elmer Balaban
  • Birth Place: Chicago, IL
  • Birthday: August 16, 1945, Leo
  • Profession: Actor, Director, Producer, Writer
  • User Rating:4.42 out of 5 (12 ratings)
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