The Working Actor EDITOR'S INTRO
This is the twenty third in a continuing feature at IndustryCentral profiling "The Working Actor". (See Archives below)
William Shakespeare said "There are no small parts.....". William Shatner may have said it too, but the longhair with the tights was first, or so the reports go. In this feature we will explore what it really means to be an actor working in Motion Pictures and Television.
Broad public acknowledgment may have eluded some who find their way to these pages, or perhaps they may have brushed against what is referred to as stardom by virtue of one or more remarkable performances. However for many, the rewards of plying their craft in a field which has allowed them to earn a living may exceed the burdens of public acclaim. Given the chance, some in this clan might prefer the longevity offered by anonymity over the potential for short lived fame.
These individuals, either by design or fate, have managed to sustain a career by crafting performances which rendered them a good casting choice. They are usually thought of as a face you recognize, but you just can't get the name past the tip of your tongue.
Most of these folks have spent countless hours on stage in theaters ranging from 20 seats to 2000, building characters from the works of Ibsen, to Eliot, to Williams, to yes even Shakespeare, and so many of the modern Playwrights. They have rounded their skills doing drama, comedy, & musicals. Their work is a serious venture.
These people have given us screen performances which quite often were the catalyst that brought an Oscar or Emmy to another and yet they continue to work as "Characters" or "Co-Stars" without the trophies and plaques adorning their mantle.
Peter Riegert
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Peter Riegert's unfailing ability to slip effortlessly into almost any role, be it dramatic, comedic, or musical, has enabled him to work continuously in films, television and on stage for three decades.

Riegert marked time in a series of jobs from teaching eighth grade to waiting tables before he decided he wanted to pursue a career as an actor. Soon after settling on show business, the Bronx native joined the improvisational comedy troupe, War Babies.

He obtained his Equity card playing Chico Marx in the stage musical "Minnie's Boys" and went on to appear in several theatrical productions, including the 1976 Off-Broadway hit "Sexual Perversity in Chicago" by David Mamet.

Riegert has appeared memorably in more than 30 films, including the recently SAG and Oscar-awarded "Traffic," the classic "Local Hero," opposite Burt Lancaster, the memorable romantic comedy "Crossing Delancey" and the perennial comedy favorite, "Animal House." He also starred in the "The Mask," opposite Jim Carrey, "Passed Away," "Oscar," opposite Sylvester Stallone, "Object Of Beauty" and "A Man In Love," among many others.

Riegert most recently starred in Showtime's "Bojangles," opposite Gregory Hines, and in the 2001 season's first several episodes of "The Sopranos." He will next be seen this month in the new ABC drama "The Beast." Riegert has appeared in many made-for-TV movies including, "The Baby Dance," "North Shore Fish" and "Face Down." Other cable features include "The Infiltrator" "Gypsy," opposite Bette Midler, and "Barbarians At The Gate," opposite James Garner, among many others. On network television, Riegert was featured in the infamous final episode of "Seinfeld" and the movies "Jacqueline Susann, The Element Of Truth," "Mystery Dance," "Ellis Island," and the comedy series "Middle Ages."

On Broadway, Riegert has starred in David Mamet's "The Old Neighborhood, " "An American Daughter," "The Nerd," "Censored," "Scenes From King Kong" and "Dance With Me," and on the off-Broadway stage in "Road To Nirvana," "The Birthday Party," "Isn't It Romantic," "Sexual Perversity In Chicago" and "A Rosen By Any Other Name."

His experience as an actor--as well as his pre-acting career as a social worker--sustained him in his recent directorial debut of the short film "By Courier," based on an 0'Henry short story. Legendary jazz musician Al Cooper composed the music for the film which was honored this year with an Academy Award Award as Best Live Action Short Film.

Riegert adapted and directed "By Courier," employing a host of friends and well wishers in his low-budget effort. His acting experience helped him in inspiring his actors, while his social work experience came in handy in managing the ensuing chaos when both a tornado and torrential rains threatened to scuttle the production, which was planned for and only for that particular weekend in upstate New York. The film subsequently was shown successfully at the Telluride and Hamptons Film Festivals prior to earning its Oscar nod.

Bresler * Kelly & Associates

Peter Riegert's advice to the aspiring actor:

"It never occurs to me that acting with a superstar is something to worry about. I figure the bigger, the better, because more will be demanded of me."
          --Peter Riegert in NEW YORK POST, April 21, 1997.

Peter Riegert' Credits (partial)

  • Whitey And Davey
  • Traffic
  • How To Kill Your Neighbor's Dog
  • Passion Of Mind
  • Jerry And Tom
  • A Pie In The Sky
  • Infinity
  • Cold Blooded
  • The Mask
  • Passed Away
  • Utz
  • Oscar
  • The Rhunestone
  • Object Of Beauty
  • A Shock To The System
  • Crossing Delancy
  • A Man In Love
  • La Grande Carnival
  • Local Hero
  • Chilly Scenes Of Winter
  • Animal House
  • A Director Talks About His Films
Dir. Seth Kiersley
Dir. Steven Soderbergh
Dir. Michael Kalesniko
Dir. Alain Berliner
Dir. Saul Rubinek
Dir. Bryan Gordon
Dir. Matthew Broderick
Dir. Wallace Wolodarsky
Dir. Chuck Russell
Dir. Charlie Peters
Dir. George Sluizer
Dir. John Landis
Dir. Willard Carroll
Dir. Michael Lindsay - Hogg
Dir. Jan Egleson
Dir. Joan Micklin-Silver
Dir. Diane Kurys
Dir. Alex Arcady
Dir. Bill Forsythe
Dir. Joan Micklin - Silver
Dir. John Landis
Short - Starred in and Produced

  • The Beast
  • The Sopranos (Recurring)
  • Bojangles
  • Sports Night
  • Famly Guy
  • Jacqueline Susann Movie
  • Seinfeld (Final Episode)
  • Baby Dance
  • North Shore Fish
  • Face Down
  • The Element Of Truth
  • The Infiltrator
  • Mystery Dance
  • Gypsy
  • Middle Ages
  • Barbarians At The Gate
  • News At Eleven
  • Ellis Island
  • Concealed Enemies
  • W. Eugene Smith: Photography Made Difficult
  • Trying Times

  • The Old Neighborhood - Booth Theater
  • An American Daughter - Lincoln Center
  • The Nerd - Helen Hayes Theater
  • Censored Scenes From King Kong - Princess Theater
  • Dance With Me - Mayfair Theater
  • Road To Nirvana - Circle Repertory Theater
  • The Birhtday Party - Csc Repertory Theater
  • Isn't It Romantic - The Phoenix Theater
  • Sexual Perversity In Chicago - Cherry Lane Theater
  • A Rosen By Any Other Name - American Jewish Thcater

For more info and credits see IMDb

-- End ---

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William Daniels [March 2001]
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March 2001
Dick Whittinghill [February 2001]
Dick Whittinghill
February 2001
Chris Ellis [January 2001]
Chris Ellis
January 2001
James Whitmore Jr. [December 2000]
James Whitmore Jr.
December 2000
Vince Grant [November 2000]
Vince Grant
November 2000
Judith Hoag [October 2000]
Judith Hoag
October 2000
Madison Mason [September 2000]
Madison Mason
September 2000
Jay Acovone [August 2000]
Jay Acovone
August 2000
Richard Riehle [July 2000]
Richard Riehle
July 2000
Charlie Brill [June 2000]
Charlie Brill
June 2000
Edie McClurg [May 2000]
Edie McClurg
May 2000
Miguel Sandoval [April 2000]
Miguel Sandoval
April 2000
Tom Bower [March 2000]
Tom Bower
March 2000
Amy Aquino [February 2000]
Amy Aquino
February 2000
Danny Chambers [January 2000]
Danny Chambers
January 2000
Eve Gordon [December 1999]
Eve Gordon
December 1999
Barbara Niven [November 1999]
Barbara Niven
November 1999
Bill Lucking [October 1999]
Bill Lucking
October 1999
Richard Roundtree [September 1999]
Richard Roundtree
September 1999
Pat Harrington [August 1999]
Pat Harrington
August 1999
Robert Donner [July 1999]
Robert Donner
July 1999

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