- Met his wife, Sharon, at Illinois Wesleyan University; they both graduated in 1969.
- Spent 15 years with Rhode Island's Trinity Repertory Theater, where he performed on stage, directed and served as artistic director (1990-94).
- First TV appearance was the PBS airing of the play Feasting With Panthers, a 1974 Trinity Repertory Company production about playwright Oscar Wilde's incarceration.
- Began adding film and TV credits in the early 1980s, including Hannah and Her Sisters, The Witches of Eastwick and Sea of Love.
- Attained a higher profile with his recurring role as the deceased Nathaniel Fischer Sr. in the HBO hit series Six Feet Under (2001-05).
- 2002, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series: Winner
- 2015, Critics' Choice Television Awards — Best Actor in a Movie or Limited Series: Nominee
- 2015, Emmy — Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or a Movie: Winner
- 2016, Independent Spirit Awards — Best Supporting Male: Nominee
- 2009, Independent Spirit Awards — Best Male Lead: Nominee
- 2017, Critics' Choice Awards — Best Supporting Actor: Nominee
- 2018, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in Any Motion Picture: Nominee
- 2017, Oscar — Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role: Nominee
- 2014, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries: Nominee
- 1997, Independent Spirit Awards — Best Supporting Male: Nominee
- 2017, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role: Nominee
- 2009, Critics' Choice Awards — Best Actor: Nominee
- 2008, Oscar — Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role: Nominee
- 2008, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role: Nominee
- M. Elizabeth Wheeler — Mother
- Sarah Pamela Jenkins — Daughter
- Sharon R. Frederick Jenkins — Wife
- Dale Stevens Jenkins — Father
- Andrew Dale Jenkins — Son
- Illinois Wesleyan University, Bloomington, Illinois, United States (BFA in Theatre Arts, 1969); Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, United States
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