- As a child, he became interested in acting through his mother, who started a community theater group that rehearsed in their home.
- Studied acting at New York's HB Studio under Uta Hagen.
- Made his Broadway debut with the original company of Fiddler on the Roof in 1964.
- Won an Obie and a Drama Desk Award for his performance in 1970's The Last Sweet Days of Isaac.
- An in-demand character actor who is best known to mainstream audiences for his turn as a reluctant villain in 1979's The Muppet Movie.
- Started writing plays at age 50.
- Joined Chicago's famed Steppenwolf Theatre Company in 1979.
- 2001, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture: Nominee
- 1981, Tony — Director (Play): Nominee
- Katina Commings — Wife
- Thorn Pendleton — Father
- Frances Pendleton — Mother
- Audrey Christine Pendleton — Daughter
- Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, United States (BA, 1961)