Chicago native Tim Griffin, often known as, “the actor who is in everything,” has amassed a dizzying list of credits, and over the years has solidified his reputation as one of Hollywood’s nicest, most charming and versatile actors.
The son of a pediatric cardiologist, he first discovered acting after being cast as Oliver Twist in a school performance of the musical “Oliver!” As a teen Griffin would star in numerous theatrical productions for “The Body Politic” and “New Haven Playhouse,” as well local movies and commercials. After graduating from Francis Parker High School (among classmates Paul Adelstein, Anne Heche, and novelist Brad Thor), Griffin made the choice to put acting on the back-burner to enroll in the University of Vermont (UVM) where he graduated with a double major in political philosophy and English literature.
Griffin performed as a regular member of the UVM Players (as Claudio in “Much Ado About Nothing” and Riff in “West Side Story”). Fate intervened his sophomore year while driving back to Chicago when his car broke down outside New York City. While waiting for it to be repaired, his agents asked him to audition for a TV movie called “Taking A Stand.” He was cast in the leading role of the all-star production (Betty Buckley, Jane Adams, Michael Beach). The show went on to win a Daytime Emmy for “Outstanding Children’s Special.”
Following this success, Griffin turned down a scholarship to study abroad at the University of Kent in England, and went to Hollywood. Giving himself the extreme grand total of one year to make or break his career, he enrolled in classes at UCLA and signed with Writers and Artists. He quickly went on to star in high-profile TV shows and movies of the week, including “China Beach,” “In The Heat of the Night,” and Michael Zinberg’s autobiographical, coming-of-age drama “For The Very First Time.”
Rejecting the advice of his agents, he elected to return to the University of Vermont to finish up his Bachelor’s Degree. He considered attending graduate school for political philosophy, but his academic mentor convinced him to return to the West Coast and continue to pursue his acting career, noting that the scholarly life would always be there to fall back on if “things didn’t pan out.”
Unsure whether working as a “teen actor” came with an expiration date, he picked up right where he left off, landing recurring stints on “General Hospital,” the critically acclaimed “Against The Grain” (co-starring “Southland’s” Mike Cudlitz, and Ben Affleck), and a near-unrecognizable turn as the autistic Richie Grayson on “Party of Five.” His reputation as a multi-talented actor began to grow, and in 1996, director John Singleton gave Griffin his first break into features, casting him in “Higher Learning” (Jennifer Connelly, Lawrence Fishburne) as the orientation announcer at a pep rally whose booming message was “How many people came here to change the world?!”
In his hilarious recurring role as T.R. Knight’s brother, Ronny O’Malley,” on “Grey’s Anatomy,” Griffin is best know for shooting his own dad in the butt. He became even more recognizable in 2004 when he was cast in “The Bourne Supremacy,” the second installment of the legendary franchise. As “Nevins”, a hapless CIA agent who interrogates the eerily silent Bourne (Matt Damon), he’s repeatedly stonewalled and smugly says “You’re going to play ball one way or another…” During filming, Damon (by pure accident) really cracked Griffin across the bridge of his nose, giving him a deviated septum.
Griffin’s blockbuster streak continues with credits that include Jon Favreau’s “Iron Man,” and more than a few projects for the brilliant J.J. Abrams, such as “Cloverfield,” “Star Trek”(where Abrams directed him as the doomed UFSS Kelvin’s Chief Engineer in the opening sequence) and in the upcoming “Super 8″(Elle Fanning).
Being handpicked to star alongside and be directed by George Clooney in the 1920’s football romp, “Leatherheads” (also starring Renee Zellweger) was a huge thrill. He re-teamed with Clooney again in the comedy “The Men Who Stare at Goats” (featuring Academy Award winners Kevin Spacey and Jeff Bridges). Griffin earned critical praise for his work in Doug Liman’s true-life spy drama “Fair Game” as Paul, the lead CIA analyst charged with the unenviable task of taking on Scooter Libby (David Andrews) over the now infamous “yellow cake uranium.” Starring Academy Award winner Sean Penn and Naomi Watts, “Fair Game” was awarded screen writing honors by the Writer’s Guild of America, and a New York Film Critics award.
In addition to multiple recognizable commercial campaigns and television spots, Griffin has had numerous high profile projects in the past few years, including roles in feature films such as Chris Weitz’s “A Better Life,” John Singleton’s “Abduction” starring Taylor Lautner and Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper.”
On television, Griffin has starred in the Peter Berg produced NBC primetime drama “Prime Suspect,” with Maria Bello and Aidan Quinn and had a major arc on the hit USA drama “Covert Affairs” opposite Kari Matchett. Up next, Griffin will play Special Agent “Adam Hassler” in the Fox event series “Wayward Pines” from M. Night Shyamalan.
Griffin lives with his wife and their two children in L.A. With his wife, he has built and remodeled several homes. He’s a proud Irish-American ridiculously devoted to the Chicago Cubs.
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