A well-respected acting teacher who initially made his mark in regional theater, this balding everyman came to prominence on television playing pompous, pent-up and occasionally goofy characters. A recurring role on Three's Company
led to a series-regular gig on the sitcom's short-lived spin-off, The Ropers
, as the title characters' snotty neighbor. Once that series folded, the producers of Three's Company
invited Tambor back for a variety of guest spots. From the 1980s on, this consummate character actor (and Dr. Phil doppelgänger) never lacked for small-screen work, alternating between dramas and comedies, but making his biggest impression in the latter. After a series of flop sitcoms (9 to 5
, Mr. Sunshine
, Max Headroom
), Tambor finally struck comedic gold in 1992, when he signed on as Garry Shandling's hilariously bombastic sidekick on the late-night talk-show spoof The Larry Sanders Show.
During that series' six seasons, Tambor racked up four Emmy nods and parlayed his newfound fame into small but memorable feature-film roles (Girl, Interrupted
, Malibu's Most Wanted
) that capitalized on his stock-in-trade. In 2003, he won a plum dual role on the cult hit Arrested Development
. Although initially only slated to appear in the pilot, Tambor so impressed creator Mitch Hurwitz (who had previously worked with the actor on the short-lived sitcom Everything's Relative
) that he was promoted to series regular, essaying an imprisoned millionaire and his hippie twin brother, a pair of tour de force turns that earned him two more Emmy nominations. That series folded in the spring of 2006, but Tambor was back on the tube by fall in the retirement-aged buddy comedy Twenty Good Years
; reviews and ratings were disappointing, and the series lasted just over half a season. Undeterred, Tambor took another shot at sitcom success in 2008 with Welcome to the Captain
. But when CBS pulled the plug on Captain
after just a handful of episodes, the actor turned back to the big screen, putting in appearances in comedies like The Hangover
and The Invention of Lying
, and lending his voice to the animated hit Monsters vs. Aliens
.Jeffrey Tambor Fast Facts:
- Began taking acting lessons as a preteen.
- Dropped out of a Ph.D. program at Wayne State University in 1970 to appear alongside Richard Chamberlain in a Seattle Repertory Theater production of Richard II.
- Signature catchphrase as sidekick Hank Kingsley on the Larry Sanders Show was "Hey now!"
- Became a co-owner of Los Angeles' Skylight Bookstore in 1996.
- Was the announcer on Hollywood Squares for the game show's 2002-03 season.
- An acting teacher for many years, Tambor at one time taught his future Arrested Development co-star, Judy Greer.
- On December 10, 2004, his wife, Kasia Ostlun, gave birth to son Gabriel Kasper; four days later, his grown daughter, Molly Tambor, gave birth to grandson Mason Jay Moore.
- Has lent his voice to the animated series Archer and WordGirl, as well as big-screen hits The SpongeBob Squarepants Movie (2004) and Monsters vs. Aliens (2009).
- Jeffrey Tambor Relationships:
- Gabriel Kasper Tambor - Son
- Kasia Ostlun - Wife
- Eve Julia Tambor - Daughter
- Molly Tambor - Daughter
- Hugo Bernard Tambor - Son
- Katherine Mitchell - Ex-wife
- Eli Nicholas Tambor - Son
- Jeffrey Tambor Awards:
- 2004 Emmy: Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series - Nominee
- 1998 Emmy: Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series - Nominee
- 1996 Emmy: Outstanding Supporting Actor for a Comedy Series - Nominee
- 1993 Emmy: Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series - Nominee
- 1997 Emmy: Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series - Nominee
- 2005 Emmy: Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series - Nominee
- 2005 Screen Actors Guild Awards: Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series - Nominee
- 2013 Screen Actors Guild Awards: Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series - Nominee
- 2004 Screen Actors Guild Awards: Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series - Nominee
- San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA (BA, 1965); Wayne State University, Detroit, MI (MFA, 1969)