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Jonathan Niven "Jon" Cryer (born April 16, 1965) is an Americanmarker actor, screenwriter and film producer. He is the son of actress/singer Gretchen Cryer. He made his motion picture debut by starring in the 1984 romantic comedy No Small Affair, but gained greater fame by starring as "Duckie" in the John Hughes-scripted film Pretty in Pink. In 1998 he finished writing and producing the independent film Went to Coney Island on a Mission from God... Be Back by Five, which was well received.

Even though Cryer gained some fame by starring in these movies, he had not found television success for several years; the shows he had starred in (The Famous Teddy Z, Partners and The Trouble with Normal) all did not last very long. In 2003 he was cast to portray Alan Harper on the CBS hit comedy series Two and a Half Men, opposite Charlie Sheen, for which Cryer won a Primetime Emmy Award in 2009. He received three earlier Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for his work on the show.

Early life

Cryer is the son of Gretchen Cryer (née Kiger), a Jewish playwright, songwriter, actress, and singer, and Donald David Cryer, an actor, singer, and producer. He has two sisters, Robin and Shelley. When he was 12 years old he decided that he wanted to become an actor. When his mother heard this she thought he should have a backup plan and joked "Plumbing is a pretty good career". Cryer attended Stagedoor Manormarker Performing Arts Training Center for several summers as a teenager and is a 1983 graduate of the Bronx High School of Sciencemarker. He was classmates with screenwriter and film director Boaz Yakin.


At age 19, Cryer first appeared in the 1984 romantic comedy film No Small Affair, having the lead role as Charles Cummings. He went on to have small roles in films and television movies, and he made his breakthrough when he was cast to portray Phil "Duckie" Dale in the John Hughes-scripted film Pretty in Pink. In an interview with the Daily News, Cryer's mother said that after Pretty in Pink, she started getting calls from teenage girls from all over the world, who would leave hysterical, giggling messages on her answering machine. Thanks to Pretty in Pink, Cryer slowly became more famous. In 1987, he portrayed Superman villain Lenny Luthor in Superman IV: The Quest for Peace. In 1989, he got the lead role in the TV comedy series, The Famous Teddy Z. His performance gained poor reviews and the show was canceled after the first season.

One year later, he starred with Charlie Sheen in the Jim Abrahams comedy Hot Shots!, which was received very positively. Cryer is frequently linked to the Brat Pack. In a March 2009 interview on Anytime with Bob Kushell, Cryer stated that he had auditioned for St. Elmo's Fire and did not get it. In 1993, he was asked to audition for the role of Chandler Bing on Friends, while he was doing a play in London. His reading was videotaped by a British casting agent but the tape failed to arrive in the U.S. before the network had made its final decision.

In 1995 he was cast to portray Bob in the sitcom Partners, which, like his prior show The Famous Teddy Z, was canceled after its first season. In an interview with Time Out New York he stated, "Hey, every show I'm in goes down. Think about this: George Clooney was in 28 pilots, or something. It means nothing". After guest starring on shows such as Dharma & Greg and The Outer Limits, he successfully wrote and produced his first film, Went to Coney Island on a Mission from God... Be Back by Five. It debuted in 1998 at the Los Angeles Film Festival and gained positive reviews from critics. Leonard Maltin from Playboy Magazine called it "A Breath of Fresh Air". In 2000, he got the lead in a comedy series called Trouble With Normal. For the third time, Cryer starred in a show which was canceled after its first season.

Cryer's unsuccessful track record with TV finally came to a halt three years later. Against the wishes of CBS executives (who were aware of his past failures), he was cast in 2003 to portray Alan Harper on the hit comedy series Two and a Half Men. To date, he has earned four Primetime Emmy Award nominations and one win for his acting work on the show. In a comment on the show's high ratings, he said, "When you’re on a show that's fighting for survival every week, you stop trusting your instincts, because you think, ‘My instincts haven't worked so far.’ But when people clearly like the show and are watching it in great numbers, it takes a huge amount of pressure off you. It allows you to trust your instincts and go with what has worked for you before". Before being cast for Two and a Half Men, Jon Cryer tried out for the role of Gaius Baltar on the Sci-Fi Channel's reimagined Battlestar Galactica. In the end the role went to James Callis. In 2008, Cryer appeared with Laurence Fishburne and James Cromwell in the film Tortured, and in 2009 co-starred with James Spader in the film Shorts.

Cryer's voice can also be heard doing voice-overs for Wells Fargo in the company's radio and television ads.

In 2008, Cryer endorsed John McCain's candidacy for president of the United States.

Personal life

Cryer married British-born actress Sarah Trigger in 1999, by whom he has a son, Charlie Austin, but the pair divorced in 2004. In February 2007, on an episode of The Tonight Show With Jay Leno, he announced that he was going to marry entertainment reporter Lisa Joyner; the couple married in Mexicomarker in June 2007. On September 29, 2009, it was announced that Jon and Lisa had adopted a baby girl, whom they named Daisy.

Cryer is often mistaken for Matthew Broderick, in an interview with Time Out New York he stated:

As a joke, he twice claimed to be Broderick in an episode of Two and a Half Men, first in an attempt to get into a club as a celebrity (though the bouncer didn't know who Broderick was) and later to get a doctor to treat his brother's chest pains; the doctor later asked him why there was no sequel to Ferris Bueller's Day Off.


Film work

Year Film Role Notes
1984 No Small Affair Charles Cummings Debut
1985 Noon Wine Teenage Herbert Made for Television Film
O.C. and Stiggs Randall Schwab Jr.
1986 Pretty in Pink Phil 'Duckie' Dale
1987 Morgan Stewart's Coming Home Morgan Stewart
Superman IV: The Quest for Peace Lenny Luthor
Dudes Grant
Hiding Out Andrew Morenski/Max Hauser
1988 Rap Master Ronnie: A Report Card direct-to-video
1989 Penn & Teller Get Killed 3rd Frat Boy
1991 Hot Shots! Jim 'Wash Out' Pfaffenbach
1993 The Waiter Tommy Kazdan
Hot Shots! Part Deux Jim 'Wash Out' Pfaffenbach
Heads Guy Franklin TV Movie
1996 The Pompatus of Love Mark also as writer
Cannes Man Himself Cameo appearance
1997 Plan B Stuart Winer
1998 Went to Coney Island on a Mission from God... Be Back by Five Daniel also as writer and producer
Holy Man Barry
2000 Clayton
2001 Glam Jimmy Pells
2003 The Metro Chase Mr. Stamm TV Movie
2008 Unstable Fables: 3 Pigs and a Baby Richard Pig Voice role
Tortured Brian
2009 Weather Girl Charles completed
Shorts Dad Thompson
Stay Cool Javier

Television work

Year Title Role Notes
1986 Amazing Stories Phil Episode: Miscalculation
1989 - 1990 The Famous Teddy Z Teddy Zakalokis
1995 - 1996 Partners Bob also as producer
1996 The Outer Limits Trevor McPhee Episode: Vanishing Act
1997 It's Good to Be King Mort
Dharma & Greg Brian Episode: Shower the People You Love with Love
1998 Getting Personal Sam Wagner Episode: Sam I am
Cryer also produced the series
Hercules: The Animated Series The Winged Wolves (voice) Episode: Hercules and the Underworld Takeover
Mr. Show with Bob & David Duckie Episode: It's Perfectly Understandishable
Two Guys a Girl and a Pizza Place Justin Episode: Two Guys, a Girl and a Thanksgiving
2000 Family Guy Kevin Swanson Episode: There's Something About Paulie
2000 - 2001 The Trouble with Normal Zack Mango
2002 Andy Richter Controls the Universe Lemuel Praeger Episode: Gimme a C
The Practice Terry Pender Episode: Of Thee I Sing
2003 Becker Roger Episode: Chris' Ex
Hey Joel Joel Stein (voice)
Stripperella (voice)
2003-present Two and a Half Men Alan Harper main cast member
Danny Phantom Freakshow Episode: Reality Trip
Episode: Control Freaks
2006 American Dad! Quacky Episode: It's Good to Be Queen
2009 Wells Fargo Commercial Voice Wells Fargo


  1. Foundation for Ethnic Understanding FFEU website 2000 Annual Report. Accessed November 30, 2009.
  2. {{cite news|url={5C0E1B12-1F43-4C3D-926A-44A9D14730D2}|title=Sheen and Cryer: Sitcom Survivors|first=Daniel R.|last=Coleridge|date=2003-07-23|accessdate=2008-09-14|publisher=TV Guide}}
  3. Vary, Adam B. "Battlestar Galactica: The Beginning of the End." Entertainment Weekly 20 Mar. 2009: 42.

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