An incisive talent when it comes to playing bent, off-the-wall characters, Jeffrey Tambor has been captivating audiences for nearly four decades.
Tambor was born and raised in San Francisco, to Eileen (Salzberg) and Michael Bernard Tambor, a flooring contractor. His family is Jewish (from Hungary and Ukraine). He studied acting at San Francisco State University and earned his Bachelors of Arts degree there. Following his Masters at Wayne State University, he started building up his resume in repertory theater. He was first seen on episodic TV in the mid-’70s in both comedies (Taxi (1978), Barney Miller (1975)) and dramas (Kojak (1973), Starsky and Hutch (1975)). A large, somewhat looming fellow, his sly-eyed look and leering gaze, matched with a bright set of pearly teeth and stark pattern baldness, made him a natural for broad, warped comedy. The folks at Three’s Company (1976) brought Jeffrey back time and time again, standing toe-to-toe with John Ritter and stealing many of their scenes with his noticeably bizarre gents. Before his “Three’s Company” guest roles, he co-starred in the show’s spin-off The Ropers (1979) with Norman Fell and Audra Lindley. He and Patty McCormack played the Ropers’ chagrined neighbors. On the legitimate stage, he has been an earnest player over the years with performances in “Sly Fox” and “Glengarry Glen Ross” on Broadway in addition to roles in “Measure for Measure,” “A Flea in Her Ear” and “The Seagull.” On the side, Jeffrey has directed a number of stage productions and teaches acting in the Los Angeles area. Although not as well known for his film work, he made a strong dramatic impression in his film debut And Justice for All (1979), in which he played Al Pacino’s half-crazed law partner. He went on to enhance a number of other movies including The Dream Chasers (1984), Mr. Mom (1983), Brenda Starr (1989), Radioland Murders (1994), Doctor Dolittle (1998), Pollock (2000). More recently he played the Mayor of Whoville in How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000). Emmy-nominated for his quirky work on The Larry Sanders Show (1992), Jeffrey’s fondness and talent for the weird and wacky has recently found a nesting roost. Quite at home amid the insanity in the series Arrested Development (2003), he recently copped another Emmy nomination as the patriarch of the highly dysfunctional Bluth family.
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