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Nathan Lane (born February 3, 1956) is a two-time Tony and Emmy award winning Americanmarker actor of stage and screen. He is best known for his roles as Albert in The Birdcage, Max Bialystock in the musical The Producers, Ernie Smuntz in MouseHunt, Pseudolus in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, and his voice work in The Lion King and Stuart Little. He was recently inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame.

Early years

Lane was born Joseph Lane in Jersey City, New Jerseymarker, the son of Irish American Catholicparents. He was named after his uncle, a Jesuit priest. His father, Daniel, was a truck driver and an aspiring tenor who died from alcoholism when Lane was eleven; his mother, Nora, was a housewife and secretary, who suffered from manic-depression, and died in 2000. He has two brothers, Robert and Daniel. Lane attended Roman Catholic schools in Jersey Citymarker, including Jesuit-run St. Peter's Preparatory High Schoolmarker where he was selected Best Actor in 1974.

Career

His brother Dan accompanied him to what was supposed to be his first day at St. Joseph's Collegemarker in Philadelphia. When they arrived, they learned the drama scholarship Lane had won didn't cover enough of the expenses for him to stay. They went back home. "I remember him saying to me, 'College is for people who don't know what they want to do,'" Dan Lane recalls. Because there already was a Joseph Lane registered with Actors Equity, he changed his name to Nathan after the character Nathan Detroit from the musical Guys and Dolls. He moved to New York Citymarker where, after a long struggle, his career began to take off, first with some brief success in the world of stand-up comedy with partner, Patrick Stack, and later with off-Broadway productions at Second Stage Theatre, the Roundabout Theatre, the Manhattan Theatre Clubmarker, and his 1982 Broadwaymarker debut in a revival of Noel Coward's Present Laughter as Roland Maule [Drama Desk nomination] with George C. Scott, Kate Burton, Dana Ivey, and Christine Lahti.

His second Broadway appearance was in the 1983 box-office failure Merlin, starring Chita Rivera, and magician Doug Henning. This was followed by The Wind in the Willows as Toad, Some Americans Abroad at Lincoln Centermarker, the national tour of Neil Simon's Broadway Bound , and On Borrowed Time at Circle in the Square Theatremarker with George C. Scott again. In 1992, he starred in the revival of Guys and Dolls, receiving his first Tony nomination, as well as Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards, playing the character who lent him his name, opposite Peter Gallagher and Faith Prince.

His professional association with his close friend the playwright Terrence McNally includes roles in Lips Together, Teeth Apart, The Lisbon Traviata (Drama Desk and Lucille Lortel Awards), Bad Habits, Love! Valour! Compassion! (Obie Award, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards) , and Dedication (Drama Desk nomination). The early 1990s began a highly successful stretch of Broadway shows for Lane. In 1993, he portrayed Sid Caesar-like Max Prince in Neil Simon's Laughter on the 23rd Floor, inspired by Simon's early career writing sketches for Your Show of Shows. In 1996, he starred in the highly successful revival of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, for which he won the Tony Award, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards.

His association with Sondheim began with the workshop of Assassins , and after Forum he appeared with Victor Garber in the workshop of Wise Guys (later Bounce and Road Show ). Their collaboration continued in 2004 when he revised the original book for and starred in the Broadway debut of the composer's The Frogs at Lincoln Center. He also sang a song written especially for him by Sondheim in the film The Birdcage. In 2000 he starred in the Roundabout revival of The Man Who Came to Dinner as Sheridan Whiteside, with Jean Smart and Harriet Harris. Prior to that he starred in the Encores production of Do, Re, Mi.

In addition to the McNally plays, Lane has appeared in numerous other Off Broadway productions, including Love (the musical version of Murray Schisgal's Luv), Measure For Measure directed by Joe Papp in Central Park, The Common Pursuit, The Film Society, Mizlansky/Zilinsky or Schmucks, In a Pig's Valise, Trumbo, She Stoops to Conquer, and A Midsummer Night's Dream. He also appeared at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in The School For Scandal and John Guare's Moon Over Miami .

Lane performed in 1995's The Wizard of Oz in Concert: Dreams Come True at Lincoln Center to benefit the Children's Defense Fund. The performance was originally broadcast on Turner Network Television (TNT), and issued on CD and video in 1996. Lane won his second Tony Award for his portrayal of Max Bialystock in the musical version of Mel Brooks's The Producers, as well as Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards. He later replaced Richard Dreyfuss in the role in 2004 at Londonmarker's Theatre Royal Drury Lanemarker at the last minute, and went on to win the Olivier Award as Best Actor in a Musical. He recreated his performance for the film version, for which he received his second Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy.

Lane has performed two roles originated by Zero Mostel, Pseudolus in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and Max Bialystock in The Producers. He declined the role of Tevye in the 2004 Broadway revival of Fiddler On The Roof because he didn't want to be seen as always following in Mostel's footsteps. Coincidentally, both of Lane's Tony Awards were for Mostel's roles.

In 2005, Lane rejoined his Producers co-star Matthew Broderick for a wildly successful limited run of The Odd Couple. In 2006, he changed gears to take on a primarily dramatic role in a revival of Simon Gray's Butley. He and Broderick were awarded adjacent stars on the Hollywood Walk of Famemarker in a joint ceremony on January 9, 2006. They were also immortalized as Max and Leo at Madame Tussauds Wax Museummarker. He next starred in the new David Mamet play, November, directed by Joe Mantello, and in the critically acclaimed revival of Waiting For Godot with Bill Irwin. He is now starring in the musical of The Addams Family as Gomez with Bebe Neuwirth as Morticia. He was recently inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame.

Personal life

When he told his mother he was gay, she replied, "I'd rather you were dead." To which he replied, "I knew you'd understand." Lane, who came out publicly after the death of Matthew Shepard, once jokingly explained, "I was born in 1956. I'm one of those old-fashioned homosexuals, not one of the newfangled ones who are born joining [pride] parades." He has been a long-time board member of and fundraiser for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, and he has been honored by the Human Rights Campaign, Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, and The Trevor Project for his work in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community.

Lane resides in New Yorkmarker, has a long-time partner, and remains very good friends with Matthew Broderick, Mel Brooks, Robin Williams and Ernie Sabella.

Awards and nominations

Television

He has received three nominations and won two Daytime Emmy Awards, in 1995 for Disney's Timon and Pumbaa and in 2000 for Disney's Teacher's Pet. He has also received two Emmy nominations for guest appearances on Frasier and Mad About You. In 1999 he won the People's Choice Award for Favorite Male Performer in a New TV Series.

Film

  • 1997 Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast - The Birdcage
  • 1996 American Comedy Award for Funniest Actor in a Motion Picture - The Birdcage
  • 2002 National Board of Review Award for Best Ensemble Performance - Nicholas Nickleby
Nominations
  • 1997 MTV Movie Award for Best On-Screen Duo - The Birdcage
  • 1997 Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy - The Birdcage
  • 1997 Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role - The Birdcage
  • 2006 Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy - The Producers


Theatre

  • 1986 St. Clair Bayfield Award for Shakespearean Performance - Measure For Measure
  • 1990 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Play - The Lisbon Traviata
  • 1992 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical - Guys and Dolls
  • 1992 Obie Award for Sustained Excellence of Performance
  • 1995 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play - Love! Valour! Compassion!
  • 1995 Obie Award for Ensemble Acting - Love! Valour! Compassion!
  • 1996 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical - A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
  • 1996 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical - A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
  • 2001 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical - The Producers
  • 2001 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical - The Producers
  • 2005 Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical - The Producers
Nominations
Also the winner of four Outer Critics Circle Awards, and a Lucille Lortel Award for The Lisbon Traviata

Other



Work

Television

His television credits include One of the Boys with Mickey Rooney and Dana Carvey, The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd , the title role in The Man Who Came to Dinner, the voice of the title character in the animated series Teacher's Pet, as well as Timon & Pumbaa and George and Martha, and guest appearances on Miami Vice, Mad About You, Sex and the City, Frasier, Saturday Night Live as host, The Tony Awards as host and co-host four times, Great Performances - Alice In Wonderland , The Last Mile, and as host for the 30th anniversary, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Absolutely Fabulous and 30 Rock. He has starred in two television films, The Boys Next Door and Laughter on the 23rd Floor. With the Boston Pops, he performed a tribute concert of Danny Kaye material, as well as appearing in the Harry Connick Christmas Special, Merry Christmas, George Bailey, and A Muppet Christmas: Letters to Santa. His attempts at a regular series of his own, Encore! Encore! and Charlie Lawrence, were ratings disappointments.

Filmography



Voice





Lane provided the voice of Tom Morrow, the Audio-Animatronic host of Disneylandmarker's Innoventions attraction.

References



External links




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