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Tobin Bell (born Joseph Tobin; August 7, 1942) is an Americanmarker film and television actor. He is best and widely known as John Kramer, a.k.a. Jigsaw/Billy the Puppet in the Saw franchise.

Life and career

Bell was born in Queensmarker, New Yorkmarker and raised in Weymouthmarker, Massachusettsmarker. His mother, Eileen Bell Tobin, is a British-born actress.

Bell often plays the role of a villain and serial killer, and is distinguished in all his roles by a very soft, dead-pan voice; he was cast as a hitman in Sydney Pollack's The Firm and as Unabomber Theodore John Kaczynski in the made-for-TV movie Unabomber: The True Story; and most recently has played the role of the nefarious "Jigsaw", a serial killer who wants others to appreciate the value of life via twisted "games" in the 2004 film Saw and its sequels, Saw II, Saw III, Saw IV, Saw V, and Saw VI.

He received a 2006 MTV Movie Award nomination for "Best Villain", a 2007 MTV Movie Awards nomination for "Best Villain" again, and a winning nomination for "Best Butcher" in the Fuse/Fangoria Chainsaw Awards.

Aside from appearing in made-for-TV movies, Bell has guest starred in many TV shows such as Charmed, Seinfeld, La Femme Nikita, The X-Files, Stargate SG-1, Alias, The West Wing, The Pretender, The Sopranos, NYPD Blue, 24, ER, and Walker Texas Ranger.

On October 3, 2009, Bell was given the Best Villain in a Film Series title at the Chiller-Eyegore Awards.


Year Film Role Notes Award & Nominations
1982 Tootsie Waiter uncredited
The Verdict Courtroom Observer uncredited
1988 Mississippi Burning Agent Stokes
1989 An Innocent Man Zeke
1990 False Identity Marshall Errickson
Loose Cannons Gerber
Goodfellas Parole Officer
1992 Ruby David Ferrie
1993 Boiling Point Roth
The Firm The Nordic Man
In the Line of Fire Mendoza
Malice Earl Leemus
1995 Serial Killer William Lucian Morrano Direct-to-video
The Quick and the Dead Dog Kelly
1996 Cheyenne Marshal Toynbee
1998 Brown's Requiem Stan the Man
Overnight Delivery John Dwayne Beezly
Best of the Best: Without Warning Lukast Slava
1999 The 4th Floor The Locksmith
2000 The Road to El Dorado Zaragoza Voice
2001 Good Neighbor Geoffrey Martin
2002 Power Play Clemens
Black Mask 2: City of Masks Moloch
2004 Saw John Kramer/Jigsaw Lead role
2005 Saw II John Kramer/Jigsaw Lead role Fangoria Chainsaw Award for Best Villain
Nominated - MTV Movie Award for Best Villain
Nominated - Scream Awards for Best Villain

2006 Saw III John Kramer/Jigsaw Lead role Nominated - MTV Movie Award for Best Villain
Nominated - Scream Awards for Best Villain
2007 Buried Alive Lester
Decoys 2: Alien Seduction Professor Erwin Buckton Direct-to-video
The Haunting Hour: Don't Think About It The Stranger Direct-to-video
Boogeyman 2 Dr. Mitchell Allen Supporting role
Saw IV John Kramer/Jigsaw Lead role Nominated - Scream Awards for Best Villain
2008 Saw V John Kramer/Jigsaw Lead role Chiller-Eyegore Awards for Best Villain
2009 Saw: The Video Game Jigsaw/Billy the Puppet Voice
Saw VI John Kramer/Jigsaw Lead role
Highway 61 Devil Also executive producer
2010 Saw VII John Kramer/Jigsaw Pre-production
Bump Sheriff Lundy Announced


Year Film Role Notes
1988 The Equalizer Episode: "The Day of the Covenant"
1989 Perfect Witness Dillon TV film
1990 Alien Nation Brian Knox Episode: "Crossing the Line"
Jake and the Fatman Vic Episode: "More Than You Know"
Broken Badges Martin Valentine Episode: "Pilot"
1991 Love, Lies and Murder Al Stutz TV film
The 100 Lives of Black Jack Savage TV film
Disney Presents The 100 Lives of Black Jack Savage Tony Gianini Episode: "Pilot"
Vendetta: Secrets of a Mafia Bride Barman TV film
1992 Mann & Machine Richards Episode: "No Pain, No Gain"
Calendar Girl, Cop, Killer? The Bambi Bembenek Story TV film
Silk Stalkings Emil Rossler Episode: "Hot Rocks"
1993 Seinfeld Jack Episode: "The Old Man"
Sex, Love, and Cold Hard Cash Mansfield TV film
NYPD Blue Donald Selness Episodes:
"Personal Foul"

"He's Not Guilty, He's My Brother"
1994 Deep Red Warren Rickman TV film
Dead Man's Revenge Bullock TV film
ER Hospital Administrator Episode: "Day One"
Mortal Fear Dr. Alvin Hayes TV film
New Eden Ares TV film
1995 Under Suspicion Ron O'Keefe Episode: "A Haunting Case"
1996 The Babysitter's Seduction Det. Frank O'Keefe TV film
The Lazarus Man Episode: "Among the Dead"
Murder One Jerry Albanese Episode: "Chapter Twenty-Two"
Unabomber: The True Story Theodore Kaczynski TV film
Chicago Hope Luther Evans Episode: "A Time to Kill"
1997 La Femme Nikita Perry Bauer Episode: "Love"
Nash Bridges William Boyd Episode: "Payback"
1998 Stargate SG-1 Omoc Episode: "Enigma"
One Hot Summer Night Vincent "Coupe" De Ville TV film
Walker, Texas Ranger Karl Storm Episodes:
"The Wedding: Part 1"

"The Wedding: Part 2"
Vengeance Unlimited Teddy Hix Episode: "Bitter End"
1999 Strange World Owen Sassen Episode: "Eliza"
The Pretender Mr. White Episode: "The World's Changing"
2000 The X Files Ashman Episode: "Brand X"
Harsh Realm Slater Episode: "Reunion"
2001 Once and Again Man in Suit Episode: "Aaron's Getting Better"
The Sopranos Maj. Carl Zwingli Episode: "Army of One"
The Guardian Episode: "The Funnies"
Alias SD-6 Agent Karl Dreyer Episodes:
"Time Will Tell"

"Mea Culpa
2002 Charmed Orin Episode: "The Eyes Have It"
The West Wing Colonel Whitcomb Episode: "Process Stories"
2003 24 Peter Kingsley Episodes:
"Day 2: 2:00 a.m.-3:00 a.m."

"Day 2: 3:00 a.m.-4:00 a.m."

"Day 2: 6:00 a.m.-7:00 a.m."

"Day 2: 7:00 a.m.-8:00 a.m."
2004 Revelations Nathan Volk Episodes:
"Hour Two"

"Hour Three"

"Hour Four"

"Hour Five"

"Hour Six"
2007 The Kill Point Alan Beck Episodes:
"Who's Afraid of Mr. Wolf, Part 1"

"Who's Afraid of Mr. Wolf, Part 2"

"No Meringue"

"Pro Patria"

"Visiting Hours"

"The Great Ape Escape"

Further reading

  • Voisin, Scott, "Character Kings: Hollywood's Familiar Faces Discuss the Art & Business of Acting." BearManor Media, 2009. ISBN 9-781593-933425.


  2. Dread Central at the 2009 Chiller-Eyegore Awards and Halloween Horror Nights

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