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Wallace Shawn

Wallace ShawnAKA Wallace Michael Shawn

Born: 12-Nov-1943
Birthplace: New York City

Gender: Male
Religion: Jewish
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Actor, Playwright

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Ate dinner with Andre

Most people think of Wallace Shawn as that rotund, lisping character actor from such films as Clueless with Alicia Silverstone and The Princess Bride with Mandy Patinkin. He also had recurring roles as Grand Nagus Zek on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Dr Stiles on Crossing Jordan, and he has done voice work in animated films including The Incredibles and Toy Story.

Shawn is also a playwright and occasional actor on the New York stage. As an author, he has won three Obies, for Our Late Night in 1975, Aunt Dan and Lemon in 1986, and The Fever in 1991. He also translated Bertolt Brecht's Threepenny Opera into English for its 2006 Broadway run, starring Alan Cumming and Edie Falco.

Shawn's father was William Shawn, editor of The New Yorker. He was raised amidst New York's upper-crust society, then studied history at Harvard. He taught English for a year in India before going on to Oxford, where he studied philosophy and economics. He wrote his first play, Four Meals in May, as a statement against the Vietnam war, but it was never staged professionally. He spent several years writing unproduced plays and working at a copy shop. His first major success was the 1975 off-Broadway play Our Late Night, and his first film was Woody Allen's Manhattan in 1979, where Shawn played Diane Keaton's ex-husband. Three of Shawn's plays have been made into movies, most memorably The Designated Mourner, starring Mike Nichols and Miranda Richardson. He also adapted Chekhov's Vanya on 42nd Street for the screen in 1994, and starred with Julianne Moore.

The unlikely 1981 art-house hit My Dinner with Andre will undoubtedly be the film for which Shawn is remembered. It is the recreation of a memorable meal Shawn shared with old friend and fellow stage writer and actor Andre Gregory, with Shawn and Gregory playing themselves. Nothing happens beyond two middle-aged men having dinner, but their conversation evolves into something strange and profound.

Now in his 70s, Shawn continues to work as an actor and playwright, and occasionally writes left-wing political comment. In 2004, he edited a political tract titled Final Edition, featuring essays by Noam Chomsky, Shawn's Harvard roommate and now The Nation writer Jonathan Schell, and Shawn's long-time lover Deborah Eisenberg.

Father: William Shawn (editor of The New Yorker from 1952-87)
Mother: Cecille Lyon Shawn (journalist, The New Yorker, 4 children, 2 of which d. infancy)
Brother: Allen Shawn (twin, b. 1948, composer)
Sister: Mary Shawn (twin, b. 1948, mentally retarded)
Girlfriend: Deborah Eisenberg (playwright, cohabited since the mid-1970s)

    High School: The Putney School, Putney, VT
    University: BA History, Harvard University
    University: Oxford University

    Fulbright India (1965)

    Gossip Girl Cyrus Rose (2008-)
    The L Word William Halsey (2008-)
    Crossing Jordan Dr. Howard Stiles (2001-06)
    Star Trek: Deep Space 9 Grand Nagus Zek (1993-99)
    Murphy Brown Stuart Best (1994-97)
    Clueless Mr. Hall (1996-97)
    The Cosby Show Jeffrey Engels (1987-91)

    Toy Story 4 (14-Jun-2019) [VOICE]
    Book Club (17-May-2018)
    The Only Living Boy in New York (27-Jul-2017)
    Maggie's Plan (12-Sep-2015)
    A Master Builder (11-Nov-2013)
    The Double (7-Sep-2013)
    Admission (22-Mar-2013)
    A Late Quartet (10-Sep-2012)
    Vamps (25-Aug-2012) · Dr. Van Helsing
    The Speed of Thought (29-Apr-2011) · Sandy
    Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore (29-Jul-2010) · Calico [VOICE]
    Toy Story 3 (12-Jun-2010) · Rex [VOICE]
    Jack and the Beanstalk (24-Apr-2010) · Broker
    Furry Vengeance (1-Apr-2010)
    Capitalism: A Love Story (6-Sep-2009) · Himself
    Kit Kittredge: An American Girl (20-Jun-2008) · Mr. Gibson
    New York City Serenade (13-Sep-2007)
    Strange Culture (19-Jan-2007) · Himself
    Happily N'Ever After (5-Jan-2007) [VOICE]
    Air Bud 6: Air Buddies (12-Dec-2006) [VOICE]
    Southland Tales (21-May-2006) · Baron Von Westphalen
    Chicken Little (3-Nov-2005) [VOICE]
    Karroll's Christmas (14-Dec-2004)
    The Incredibles (27-Oct-2004) · Gilbert Huph [VOICE]
    Melinda and Melinda (17-Sep-2004) · Sy
    Teacher's Pet (16-Jan-2004) [VOICE]
    The Haunted Mansion (26-Nov-2003) · Ezra
    Duplex (26-Sep-2003) · Herman
    Monte Walsh (17-Jan-2003)
    Mr. St. Nick (16-Nov-2002)
    Personal Velocity: Three Portraits (12-Jan-2002)
    The Curse of the Jade Scorpion (5-Aug-2001)
    Blonde (13-May-2001)
    The Prime Gig (1-Sep-2000) · Gene
    Buzz Lightyear of Star Command: The Adventure Begins (8-Aug-2000) [VOICE]
    Toy Story 2 (13-Nov-1999) · Rex [VOICE]
    My Favorite Martian (12-Feb-1999) · Coleye
    Noah (11-Oct-1998)
    The Jungle Book: Mowgli's Story (29-Sep-1998) [VOICE]
    Critical Care (6-Oct-1997) · Furnaceman
    Just Write (Mar-1997) · Arthur Blake
    Vegas Vacation (14-Feb-1997)
    House Arrest (14-Aug-1996)
    All Dogs Go to Heaven 2 (29-Mar-1996) · Labrador MC [VOICE]
    Toy Story (22-Nov-1995) [VOICE]
    Canadian Bacon (22-Sep-1995) · Canadian Prime Minister
    Clueless (19-Jul-1995)
    A Goofy Movie (7-Apr-1995) [VOICE]
    The Wife (Jan-1995) · Cosmo
    Vanya on 42nd Street (13-Sep-1994) · Vanya
    Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle (7-Sep-1994)
    The Meteor Man (6-Aug-1993)
    The Cemetery Club (3-Feb-1993)
    Mom and Dad Save the World (24-Jul-1992) · Sibor
    Shadows and Fog (30-Mar-1992) · Simon Carr
    Unbecoming Age (1992)
    The Double 0 Kid (1992)
    We're No Angels (15-Dec-1989)
    Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills (3-Jun-1989)
    She's Out of Control (14-Apr-1989)
    The Moderns (15-Apr-1988) · Oiseau
    The Princess Bride (25-Sep-1987) · Vizzini
    Prick Up Your Ears (8-May-1987)
    Radio Days (30-Jan-1987) · Masked Avenger
    The Bedroom Window (16-Jan-1987) · Henderson's Attorney
    Nice Girls Don't Explode (1987)
    Head Office (29-Dec-1985)
    Heaven Help Us (8-Feb-1985) · Fr. Abruzzi
    Micki + Maude (21-Dec-1984)
    The Bostonians (May-1984) · Mr. Pardon
    The Hotel New Hampshire (9-Mar-1984) · Freud
    Crackers (Feb-1984)
    Deal of the Century (4-Nov-1983) · Harold DeVoto
    Strange Invaders (16-Sep-1983)
    The First Time (24-Jul-1983)
    Lovesick (18-Feb-1983)
    A Little Sex (2-Apr-1982)
    My Dinner with Andre (11-Oct-1981) · Himself
    Cheaper to Keep Her (1981)
    Atlantic City (2-Sep-1980) · Waiter
    Simon (1980)
    All That Jazz (20-Dec-1979)
    Starting Over (5-Oct-1979)
    Manhattan (14-Mar-1979) · Jeremiah

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