One of a handful of character players whom audiences know by face and name, McGinley honed his acting skills on New York stages before segueing in to a busy film career in the mid-'80s. His remarkable versatility won him a diverse roster of roles both in comedies and dramas, although he did play a striking number of military types. In 2001, he signed on to his first prime-time series, Scrubs, reportedly to be closer to his son, who suffers from Down syndrome. The move paid off professionally when he became famous as the hilariously insulting Dr. Cox. And in 2005, McGinley broke into children's book publishing with The Untalkative Bunny: How to Be Heard Without Saying a Word, which teaches kids about nonverbal communication.
- Was born with a mild form of dyslexia.
- Understudied for John Turturro in an off-Broadway production of John Patrick Shanley's Danny and the Deep Blue Sea, which led to his first big break when he was spotted by a scout for director Oliver Stone. He got a role in Platoon (1986), which was followed by several more Stone collaborations, including Wall Street (1987), Talk Radio (1988), Born on the Fourth of July (1989), Nixon (1995) and Any Given Sunday (1999).
- Part owner of Soho's Match restaurant, with Platoon costar Willem Dafoe.
- Auditioned five times for the part of Dr. Perry Cox on Scrubs.
- Appeared in Crazy as Hell (2002), a film directed by former New York University classmate Eriq La Salle.
- Actively involved in fund-raising activities for the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS).
- Kate Aleena McGinley — Daughter
- Billie Grace McGinley — Daughter
- Gerald McGinley — Father
- Mark McGinley — Brother
- Patricia McGinley — Mother
- Max McGinley — Son
- Lauren Lambert — Ex-wife
- Nichole Kessler — Wife
- Attended Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York, United States; New York University, Tisch School of the Arts, New York, New York, United States (MFA in Theater, 1984)