Although he first made an impression as a violin-playing geek in the film Revenge of the Nerds, Busfield came to prominence on the small screen, first with a two-year stint as the title character's son on Trapper John, M.D. and then in an Emmy-winning turn as a stressed-out yuppie on the late-'80s drama thirtysomething. While on the show, Busfield launched a second career behind the camera, helming a number of episodes and later directing and producing multiple series, including Ed and Without a Trace. He also appeared on Broadway in A Few Good Men and became friends with the show's playwright, Aaron Sorkin. Over the years, Sorkin gave Busfield plenty of work both behind the camera (Sports Night) and in front of it (such as recurring roles on The West Wing and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip). Busfield continues to act, but can more often be found directing episodes for TV shows, such as Damages, Lie to Me, White Collar and The Glades. In addition to his Hollywood work, Busfield and his brother run the B Street Theatre in Sacramento.

Fast Facts

  • Played semipro baseball.
  • Made his movie debut in 1981's Stripes.
  • Grew a beard to look older (he was 29 at the time) when he auditioned as Elliot in thirtysomething.
  • Made his Broadway debut in Aaron Sorkin's A Few Good Men in 1990. Later worked with Sorkin on Sports Night (as a director), The West Wing and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.
  • Played himself on several 2009 episodes of Entourage.
  • West Wing castmate Joshua Malina was previously his brother-in-law.


  • 1991, Emmy — Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series: Winner
  • 1988, Emmy — Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series: Nominee
  • 1990, Emmy — Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series: Nominee
  • 1989, Emmy — Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series: Nominee


  • Melissa Gilbert — Wife
  • Michael Boxleitner — Stepson
  • Buck Busfield — Brother
  • Julia Busfield — Sister
  • Roger Busfield — Father
  • Terry Schmit — Sister
  • Daisy Busfield — Daughter
  • Samuel Clark Busfield — Son
  • Virginia Busfield — Mother
  • Willy Busfield — Son
  • Radha Delamarter — Ex-wife
  • Dakota Brinkman — Stepson
  • Jennifer Merwin — Ex-wife


  • East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN (1978)

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  • Birth Place: Lansing, MI
  • Profession: Actor, Director, Producer

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