Balaban, Bob 1945–

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Balaban, Bob 1945–

(Rob Balaban, Robert Balaban)


Full name, Robert Elmer Balaban; born August 16, 1945, in Chicago, IL; son of Elmer (a movie theatre chain partner) and Eleanor (maiden name, Pottasch) Balaban; grandson of Sam Katz (a film studio executive); nephew of Barney Balaban (a film studio executive); cousin of Burt Balaban (a director); married Lynn Grossman (a writer), April 1, 1977; children: Mariah, Hazel. Education: Attended Colgate University; New York University, B.A.; trained for the stage with Uta Hagen and Viola Spolin.

Addresses: Office—Chicagofilms, 101 Fifth Ave., 8th Floor, New York, NY 10003. Agent—Jim Stein, Innovative Artists, 1505 10th St., Santa Monica, CA 90401. Manager—Susan Smith, Susan Smith Co., 121 North San Vicente Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90211; (commercial directing) Washington Square Arts and Films, 1041 North Formosa Ave., 305 Writer's Building, West Hollywood, CA 90046.

Career: Actor, director, producer, and writer. Made stage debut with Second City comedy troupe, Chicago, IL; Chicagofilms, New York City, founder and president; director of commercials. Astoria Foundation, member of board of directors.

Member: Actors' Equity Association, Screen Actors Guild, American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.

Awards, Honors: Antoinette Perry Award nomination, best featured actor in a play, 1979, for The Inspector General; Audience Award, most popular film, Hamptons International Film Festival, 1994, Prix Tournage, U.S. category, Avignon Film Festival, 1995, and nomination for Grand Special Prize, Deauville Film Festival, 1995, all for The Last Good Time; Evening Standard Award, best film, 2001, Academy Award nomination, best picture, Alexander Korda Award for Best British Film, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, Australian Film Institute Award nomination, best foreign film, Screen Actors Guild Award, outstanding cast performance in a theatrical motion picture, Special Achievement Award, outstanding motion picture ensemble, Golden Satellite Awards, International Press Academy, Florida Film Critics Circle Award, best ensemble cast, Broadcast Film Critics Association Award, best acting ensemble, Online Film Critics Society Award, best ensemble, and Phoenix Film Critics Society Award nomination, best acting ensemble, all 2002, all (with others) for Gosford Park; Drama Desk Award, unique theatrical experience, 2003, for The Exonerated; Florida Film Critics Circle Award (with others), best ensemble cast, 2004, for A Mighty Wind; Screen Actors Guild Award nomination (with others), outstanding cast performance in a motion picture, 2006, for Capote.


Film Appearances:

(Film debut) Homosexual student in movie theatre, Midnight Cowboy, United Artists, 1969.

Morris, Me Natalie, National General, 1969.

Elliot, The Strawberry Statement, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1970.

Captain Orr, Catch-22, Paramount, 1970.

Wilkie, Making It, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1971.

Julie, Day for Night (also known as La nuit americaine), Columbia, 1973.

(As Rob Balaban) Victor Karp, Bank Shot, United Artists, 1974.

(As Robert Balaban) Joey Egan, Report to the Commissioner (also known as Operation Undercover), United Artists, 1975.

Interpreter David Laughlin, Close Encounters of the Third Kind (also known as CE3K; also released as Close Encounters of the Third Kind: Special Edition), Columbia, 1977.

Martin, Girlfriends, Warner Bros., 1978.

Narrator, First Love, 1979.

Arthur Rosenberg, Altered States, Warner Bros., 1980.

Elliot Rosen, Absence of Malice, Columbia, 1981.

Santimassino, Prince of the City, Warner Bros., 1981.

Carter Hill, Whose Life Is It, Anyway?, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1981.

Himself, In Our Hands (music documentary), Libra Cinema 5, 1984.

(Uncredited) Himself, 2010: The Odyssey Continues (short film), ZM Productions, 1984.

Dr. R. Chandra, 2010 (also known as 2010: The Year We Make Contact), Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1984.

Warren Gerber, End of the Line, Orion, 1987.

Actor and director, "Buy Your Slippers" and "The Whale Sandwich," Funny Original Cinema, 1988.

Elliot Webly, Dead Bang, 1989.

Sid Moscowitz, Alice, Paramount/Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1990.

(Uncredited) Quizmaster, Little Man Tate, Orion, 1991.

Michael Janes, Bob Roberts, Paramount/Miramax, 1992.

Ed Drinkwater, For Love or Money (also known as The Concierge), Universal, 1993.

Dr. Roy "R. A." Fink, Amos & Andrew, Sony Pictures Releasing, 1993.

Ed, Greedy, Universal, 1994.

(Uncredited) Dr. Jeffrey Sanborn, City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly's Gold (also known as City Slickers II and City Slickers: The Legend of Curly's Gold), Sony Pictures Releasing, 1994.

Paul Entamen, Pie in the Sky, Fine Line, 1996.

Lloyd Miller, Waiting for Guffman, Sony Pictures Classics, 1996.

Arnold Webster, Conversation with the Beast (also known as Gespraech mit dem Biest and Gespraech mit der Bestie), 1996.

Milton Lasky, Clockwatchers, Artistic License, 1997.

Richard, Deconstructing Harry, Fine Line, 1997.

Wolfe Rollins, The Definite Maybe, 1997.

Harry Hopkins, Cradle Will Rock, Buena Vista, 1999.

Kowalsky, Jakob the Liar (also known as Jakob le menteur), Buena Vista, 1999.

Decker, Three to Tango, Warner Bros., 1999.

Dr. William Powell, Natural Selection (also known as The Demon Slayer, The Monster Hunter, and The Monster Slayer), 1999.

Dr. Theodore W. Millbank III, Best in Show, Warner Bros., 2000.

Title role, Tex, the Passive-Aggressive Gunslinger (short film), 2000.

Bernie Nayman, The Mexican (also known as La Mexicana), DreamWorks, 2001.

James, Plan B, Franchise Pictures/Half Moon Entertainment, 2001.

Enid's dad, Ghost World, United Artists, 2001.

Morris Weissman, Gosford Park, USA Films, 2001.

Elvin Clyde, The Majestic, Warner Bros., 2001.

(Uncredited) Winton Chalmers, The Tuxedo, DreamWorks, 2002.

Jonathan Steinbloom, A Mighty Wind, Warner Bros., 2003.

Marie and Bruce, New Films International, 2004.

Jonathan Crouch, Esquire, Scene Stealers, Indieflix Distribution, 2004.

William Shawn, Capote, Sony Pictures Classics, 2005.

Tobey's therapist, Trust the Man, Fox Searchlight, 2005.

Lady in the Water, Warner Bros., 2006.

Dedication, Plum Pictures, 2006.

For Your Consideration, Warner Independent Pictures, 2006.

Film Work:

Director, Parents, Samuel Goldwyn Company, 1989.

Director, My Boyfriend's Back (also known as Johnny Zombie), Buena Vista, 1993.

Producer and director, The Last Good Time, Samuel Goldwyn Company, 1994.

Executive producer, The Definite Maybe, 1997.

Producer, Gosford Park, USA Films, 2001.

Producer, Lost in the Snow (short film), Deluxe Media Services, 2002.

Producer and director, Bernard and Doris, Little Bird Productions, 2006.

Also affiliated with the short film SPFX 1140, 1982.

Stage Appearances:

(Off-Broadway debut) Linus, You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown, Theatre 80 St. Mark's, beginning 1967.

Oak Bainbridge, Up Eden, Jan Hus Playhouse, New York City, 1968.

Bellhop, "Visit from Mamaroneck," and Borden Eisler, "Visitor from Forest Hills," Plaza Suite, Plymouth Theatre, New York City, between 1968 and 1970.

Weems, The White House Murder Case, Circle in the Square Downtown, New York City, 1970.

Title role, The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel, New York Shakespeare Festival, Public Theatre, New York City, 1971.

Who Wants to Be the Lone Ranger?, Center Theatre Group, New Theatre for Now, Los Angeles, 1971.

Christopher, The Children, New York Shakespeare Festival, Public Theatre, 1972–73.

Lawrence Mumford, Some of My Best Friends, Long-acre Theatre, New York City, 1977.

Ossip, The Inspector General, Circle in the Square, 1978.

Bruce, Marie and Bruce, New York Shakespeare Festival, Estelle R. Newman Theatre, Public Theatre, New York City, 1980.

Baron Nicolai Lvovich Tuzenbach, The Three Sisters, Manhattan Theatre Club Stage I, New York City, 1982.

Arnold Wiggins, The Boys Next Door, McCarter Theatre, Princeton, NJ, 1986.

Charlie Fox, Speed-the-Plow, Royale Theatre, New York City, 1988.

Henry McNeil, Some Americans Abroad, Mitzi E. New-house Theatre, New York City, 1990.

Title role, "Mr. Happiness," The Water Engine & Mr. Happiness (double bill), Atlantic Theatre Company, New York City, 1999.

The Exonerated, Actors' Gang Theatre, Hollywood, CA, 2002, then Culture Project, Forty-Five Bleecker Street Theatre, New York City, 2002–2004.

The prosecutor, Romance, Atlantic Theatre Company, New York City, 2005.

Also appears in readings and benefit performances.

Stage Director:

Girls, Girls, Girls, New York Shakespeare Festival, Public Theatre, New York City, 1980.

Vick's Boy, Rattlestick Productions, Theatre Off Park, New York City, 1999.

Y2K, Humana Theatre Festival, 1999, then Manhattan Theatre Club, Lucille Lortel Theatre, New York City, 1999–2000.

Addicted, Zipper Theatre, New York City, and Marines Memorial Theatre, San Francisco, CA, both 2004.

Manuscript, Daryl Roth Theatre, New York City, 2005.

Not a Genuine Black Man, DR2 Theatre, New York City, 2006.

Family Secrets, 37 Arts Theatre B, New York City, 2006.

Also directed Tennessee and Me, Ensemble Studio Theatre, New York City.

Stage Producer:

The Exonerated, Actors' Gang Theatre, Hollywood, CA, 2002, then Culture Project, Forty-Five Bleecker Street Theatre, New York City, 2002–2004.

Television Appearances; Movies:

Bernie, Marriage: Year One, NBC, 1971.

Detective Ira Preduski, The Face of Fear, CBS, 1990.

Unnatural Pursuits, Arts and Entertainment, 1994.

Warren Littlefield, The Late Shift, HBO, 1996.

Bob Shadyac, Giving Up the Ghost, Lifetime, 1998.

Justice Eli "The Cork" MacCorkle, Swing Vote (also known as The Ninth Justice), ABC, 1999.

Gerald L'Ecuyer: A Filmmaker's Journey, Showcase Network (Canada), 2004.

Television Appearances; Series:

Host, Celebrity Charades, AMC, 2005.

Voice of Sam Spitz, Hopeless Pictures (animated), Independent Film Channel, 2005.

Television Appearances; Episodic:

(As Robert Balaban) Harvey, "Will the Real Harvey Wheatley Please Stand Up?," Hank, 1965.

"Fathers and Sons," Room 222, 1969.

"Love and the Fuzz," Love, American Style, 1971.

Walter, "A Short Course in War," The Mod Squad, ABC, 1971.

(As Robert Balaban) "Belinda, End of Little Miss Bubble Gum," The Mod Squad, ABC, 1972.

Ambrose Riley, "Maude's Ex-Convict," Maude, 1976.

Ira Stone, "Back in the World," Miami Vice, 1985.

Ira Stone, "Stone's War,' Miami Vice, 1986.

Jo-Jo Gillespie, "Gershwin's Trunk," Amazing Stories (also known as Steven Spielberg's "Amazing Stories"), 1987.

Russell Dalrymple, "The Pitch," Seinfeld, NBC, 1992.

Russell Dalrymple, "The Ticket," Seinfeld, NBC, 1992.

Russell Dalrymple, "The Watch: Part 2," Seinfeld, NBC, 1992.

Russell Dalrymple, "The Shoes," Seinfeld, NBC, 1993.

Harry Parver, "Birth of a Legend," Legend, UPN, 1995.

Harry Parver, "Revenge of the Herd," Legend, UPN, 1995.

Frank Buffay, Sr., "The One with Joey's Bag," Friends, NBC, 1999.

Ted Marcus, "20 Hours in LA.," The West Wing, NBC, 2000.

Frederick Lizzard, "Lizzard's Tale," Now and Again, 2000.

Elvin Clyde and himself, "The Majestic," HBO First Look, HBO, 2001.

Dr. Lowell Sherman, "I Never Schlunged My Father," The Education of Max Bickford, CBS, 2002.

"Julian Fellowes," This Is Your Life, BBC, 2002.

Walt Pickle, "The Layover," Tom Goes to the Mayor (animated), Cartoon Network, 2006.

Also appeared in "Gosford Park," an episode of Anatomy of a Scene, Sundance Channel; and "The Films of Peter Hyams," The Directors, Encore.

Television Appearances; Specials:

The Making of "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," 1977.

The Making of "Absence of Malice," 1982.

Himself, Invisible Thread (also known as Penn & Teller's "Invisible Thread'), Showtime, 1987.

The Making of "Gosford Park," Bravo, 2001.

Presenter, The Museum of the Moving Image Salutes John Travolta, USA Network, 2004.

Himself, "No Joking," The First Amendment Project, Sundance Channel and Court TV, 2004.

Host, IFP Gotham Awards 2004, Independent Film Channel, 2004.

Television Appearances; Other:

Russell Dalrymple, Seinfeld (pilot), NBC, 1993. I Love the '70s, VH1, 2003.

Television Director; Movies:

The Brass Ring, 1983.

"The 5:24," Subway Stories: Tales from the Underground (also known as Subway), HBO, 1997.

(And executive producer) The Exonerated, Court TV, 2005.

Television Director; Episodic:

"Fine Tuning," Amazing Stories (also known as Steven Spielberg's "Amazing Stories"), NBC, 1985.

Eerie, Indiana, 1991.

Legend, UPN, 1995.

"Great Men," Oz, HBO, 1998.

Now and Again, CBS, 1999.

Strangers with Candy, Comedy Central, 1999.

Dead Last, The WB, 2001.

"Future Trade," The Twilight Zone, UPN, 2002.

"Pharaoh's Curse," The Twilight Zone, UPN, 2003.

Also directed episodes of Deadline, NBC, and LateLine, ABC.

Television Work; Series:

Creator and executive producer, Celebrity Charades, AMC, 2005.

Creator, executive producer, and director, Hopeless Pictures (animated), Independent Film Channel, 2005.

Television Director; Specials:

Invisible Thread (also known as Penn and Teller's "Invisible Thread'), Showtime, 1987.

(And executive producer) "No Joking," The First Amendment Project, Sundance Channel and Court TV, 2004.

Television Director; Pilots:

"Trick or Treat," Tales from the Darkside, syndicated, 1983.

(And executive producer), The Minor Accomplishments of Jackie Woodman, Independent Film Channel, 2006.



Day for Night: Truffault in the USA, Warner Home Video, 2003.

Seinfeld: Jason + Larry = George, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, 2005.


Performed for original cast album, You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown.



The Last Good Time, Samuel Goldwyn Company, 1994.

Television Specials:

"No Joking," The First Amendment Project, Sundance Channel and Court TV, 2004.

Television Episodes:

"The Farmer's Daughter," Monsters, 1989.


Close Encounters of the Third Kind Diary, Fromm International, 1997.

Beware of Dog (juvenile), Scholastic, 2002.



Backstage, October 29, 1999, p. 19.

Entertainment Weekly, March 22, 1996, p. 12.

New York Times, April 2, 1995, p. H17.