Skip to content

About

Stephen Tobolowsky is one of the leading character actors in film today. USA Today listed Stephen as the 9th most frequently seen actor in movies; he has appeared over 200 movies and television shows.

He is best known for playing Ned Ryerson in Groundhog Day, Sammy Jankis in Memento, Werner Brandes in Sneakers, Happy Chapman in Garfield, and Mr. Bates in Freaky Friday.  On television, he played Tor Ekland on Seinfeld, Hugo Jarry on Deadwood, Bob Bishop on Heroes,  Sandy Ryerson on Glee and Stu Beggs on Californication.

He wrote and performed Stephen Tobolowsky’s Birthday Party and wrote True Stories with David Byrne and Beth Henley.

His podcast with David Chen “The Tobolowsky Files” at Slashfilm.com and on iTunes, also broadcast on KUOW 94.9 in Seattle and on WFPL in Louisville, KY is undergoing exciting transformation. For some exciting news on the podcast, please see David Chen’s update on /Film: Public Radio International Announces a New Radio Show Based on The Tobolowsky Files and PRI’s official announcement.

His first book of stories, The Dangerous Animals Club, is published by Simon & Schuster September 25, 2012.

Fun Facts:

He performed with Stevie Ray Vaughn when Stevie was 14 and cut the first songs Stevie ever performed.

Representation:

Steven Levy at Framework Entertainment
(310) 858-0333

David Rose at Innovative Artists
(310) 553-5200

Jud Laghi (Literary) at Jud Laghi Agency
(718) 285-0798

Craig Kroh (Autograph Shows)
(440) 670-4873

Speaking Engagements:
The Lavin Agency
info@thelavinagency.com

44 Comments
  1. Dear Mr. Tobolowsky,

    As a fellow KUOW chatsmith and a great fan of your work, I’d like to invite you to appear on my award-winning series, The High Bar (http://thehighbar.tv) when you are in Seattle early next year.

    The High Bar was just picked up by PBS regionally (KBTC) and by UWTV, the nationally-acclaimed television branch of the University of Washington. Together, these outlets will deliver The High Bar into nearly 3 million more homes.

    On each episode of The High Bar, an artist, author, activist or filmmaker joins us to raise a toast to and raise the bar for a subject about which she or he is passionate whether it be Jodie Foster examining mental health, Morgan Spurlock analyzing product placement, Miranda July exploring connectivity, Tom Shadyac demystifying a better world, Susie Bright extolling erotic literacy or Booker Prize winner Howard Jacobson expounding on the virtues and pitfalls of… being Jewish. We would love for you to visit The High Bar to raise the bar for… character acting… or neck injuries… being psychic?

    If you truly are the latter – whether you deny it or not — you should already realize what a wonderful opportunity this is and what a compelling conversation we will enjoy.

    So, whattayasay, Tobo? Will you visit The High Bar in January?

    Hope all is swell,
    Warren Etheredge

    Founder, The Warren Report
    Host, The High Bar
    (http://thehighbar.tv)

    1752 NW Market St #118
    Seattle WA 98107

  2. Dear Warren
    I would love to be on your show. I have a scheduling hitch in that I was just signed to do a couple of “Justified”s and it may cut my Seattle visit short – I am shooting that week. When I get the shooting schedule I will figure out when I can come up and we can do the show. I was planning on doing a couple of workshops in Seattle when I come so I may have to reschedule all of the meetings until after the shoot – or before maybe?

    Tobo

  3. Thanks for getting back to me, Tobo.

    Should I presume that you will still be in Seattle on january 7th and 8th regardless of the JUSTIFIED schedule?

    I need to lock down my crew for the day and we are building it around your availability primarily, so any insight would be greatly appreciated. Please feel free to contact me directly via my e-address.

    Incidentally, any preference as to what you will raise the bar for in our conversation?

    See you soon?
    Warren

    • Dear Warren I have requested a shooting schedule. If possible I would like to come in early so Saturday before the performance isn’t crazy. Also it would help is I don’t have to leave early Sunday. I will let you know as soon as they tell me. Stephen Tobolowsky

  4. susan kazmierski permalink

    Mr Tobolowsky, ground hog day is having a 20th reunion on Feb 1st 2012. We would like to invite you and any one else involved in the movie to the reunion. We are planning a weekend of fun things to celebrate the special day. Please let me know if you will be able to attend. Thank you Susan Kazmierski and extra in the movie.

  5. Dear Mr. Tobolowsky,

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful story in “The Santa Crisis.”
    I really enjoyed it.

    And, I have one minor question.
    I wonder whether there was any reason for your cute name, “stepidoors.”

    Thank you in advance.

  6. ANy chance you’ve determined your schedule for this weekend and whether of not you have 45 minutes to an hour to spare to appear on our show, The High Bar (http://thehighbar.tv) while you are in Seattle?

    Hope all is swell,
    Warren Etheredge

  7. Susan Willard permalink

    just heard your story exposition on KUOW- the light of creation- how can I hear it or read it again?

  8. Jon Mayberry permalink

    Mr. Tobolowsky, Will you be signing copies of your book similar to DVD copies of your movie? My wife and I are huge fans, she got me a signed copy of your DVD last year and I’d love to return the favor with her upcoming birthday by giving her a signed copy of your book. Thanks, and keep up the great story telling!

    • Jon, check the Appearances tab up above to see scheduled book signings that I have confirmed so far. If you aren’t near any of those cities, you can order from my website under The Dangerous Animals Club tab (but it’s more because I have to pay for the shipping, tax, etc.). Hope that helps, I’d love to sign one for you.

  9. Dear Mr. Tobolowsky,

    We host a monthly show at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater that is also recorded as a podcast called Before You Were Funny (BeforeYouWereFunny.com). We’d love to have you as a guest at one of our upcoming shows. If you’re interested, is it possible for you to email us at tremendosaur-at-gmail-dot-com or DM us at @BYWFpodcast on twitter? Thanks so much, it would be an honor to have you do the show!

    Thanks,
    Jacob and Justin

    • Dear Jacob and Justin
      Sounds great. Count me in. I am very busy now with the release of the book. We will find some time.
      Stephen

      • Sounds great! In addition to our regular shows, we’ve also got a few special episodes coming up including one at Google for TED talks and one in San Francisco as part of Sketchfest. Is there an email we can send some more information to? You can also contact us at tremendosaur-at-gmail-dot-com. Looking forward to having you on the show whenever scheduling allows!
        Thanks,
        Jacob and Justin

      • Dear J and J I am at stephentobolowsky@gmail… ST

  10. Kawika Chee permalink

    Stephen,

    I was just watching the episode of Deadwood called “Amateur Night.” Your imitation of a baby bird had me rolling on the ground! That little moment was perfectly matched to the comedic tone of the series, silly as it was. Hope all is well!

    Thanks,
    Kawika

  11. Stephen,

    I was at your book signing in Austin at Book People. It was great to see you tell your stories in person. I was too nervous to say anything when you were signing my book but I wanted to say thank you for the Tobowlosky Files. I listen to quite a few Podcasts and many of them including yours make me laugh however the Tobolowsky Files stands apart because it’s the only one that has made me feel true joy and made me cry. Sometimes in the same episode. I’ve been listening from your first appearances on the /Filmcast and it has been amazing to watch the show grow. I wish you the best of luck with the radio show and the book and I’m so excited for a larger audience to get a chance to hear your stories.

    • Thank you for your post; it means so much to me that the podcast has had a positive effect. It’s so heartening to know that when we’ve thrown these stories out into the darkness, there are people out there like you to appreciate them. – Stephen

  12. Doug Garrou permalink

    I just wanted to say that I really enjoyed your piece in Slate about your experiences in the 7th grade. It was superb.

  13. Gary Randall Willis permalink

    Stephen Tobolowsky,

    Who knew? Monday browsing the biography/memoir stacks at the local bookstore here in Midland, Texas, I discovered your The Dangerous Animals Club. Sat down Tuesday evening and here it is Wednesday morning before dawn and I have finished reading it in one sitting. Last book I read in one sitting was Scalzi’s Redshirts (sci-fi genre) last June. Bravo!

    Pulled my 1969 Excalibur off the shelf and Claire Richards and you were voted Most Likely to Succeed your senior year at Kimball HS. Well the Kimball Knights surely hit the target dead on naming you Most Likely to Succeed. It has been a delight these past decades watching your success in film and television. And now you write, and write very well. Warms my heart as a retired CPA who now teaches college and high school English and knows good writing when I see it. Any idea of whether Claire Richards succeeded in her journey through this life as predicted back in 1969?

    So when can we expect your next book? And for the record, were I to see you in some public space these past forty years I would have recognized you and known your name. After all you were our star Debater for Mrs. Curtis and all of us forensic types those high school years. Got a photo of you, Linda Ruth, my debate partner Bob Barrar, and myself in my files. I think it was taken at the Bellaire HS speech tournament in the fall of 1968. Yeah, you had all your hair then, but you still look like a Tobolowsky even now.

    And my students know who you are as well. On the afternoons of days they sit through all the high-stakes State tests all morning, as their minds are mush by midday, I show them the pilot episode of The Pretender. My students are impressed that I once went to high school with a real Hollywood film and television actor. Hey, I am impressed.

    But what delighted me the most in The Dangerous Animal Club was the skillful manner you weaved an uplifting subtext of spirituality, clearly affirming what it means to be truly human as we journey through our days. Relationships, for all their messiness at times, are what we must treasure to live well. So keep on writing. Oh, next time, tell us more about Ann and those two sons.

    And may the callbacks keep coming, sir. Should I make it to my 80s you had better still be showing up in film and television. Male actors may not retire; you do know that, right?

    Thank you for your talent, art, and writing. May God bless you and yours.

    Gary Randall Willis, CPA
    Kimball Class of 1970
    Midland College English Instructor
    Midland Senior High English Educator
    Midland, Texas

    • Dear Gary
      Hooray that you liked the book! Thank you! I talked to Claire recently. She is teaching economics and math in Abu Dhabi. Pause. Yes. She lived in Salt Lake and Provo for a while. She worked in economics and as an administrator of Children’ Miracle Network. Now she is riding camels in the the Middle East (she joked about the riding camels. In truth she said she climbed up on one for a photo op.) Next book starts in January…the writing not the selling…Yikes.

  14. Jeff Weiler permalink

    Mr. Tobolowsky
    A week or so ago, I was turned on to your book and the podcast. You are SUCH a great storyteller, thank you so very much for sharing with all of us. I have been a fan of your work for years, but had really never thought much about the real life side of being an actor. Constantly having to prove yourself via auditions etc, being subject to critical favor just to make a living, and the long periods of down time…had never really thought of that. Not quite the glamor many of us imagine. Thanks for sharing that and quite a bit of yourself.

    I would love to see you here in Las Vegas, if you ever have a show or reading here. If not, I should just drive the 4ish hours over to LA to see one of your events there.

    Thanks so much for the entertainment and joy over the years. Bless you!

    Jeff Weiler

  15. Karen Smithson permalink

    Stephen – Greetings of the New Year! I just placed an order for another book. I finished “DAC” over the Holidays – I laughed, I cried, and as they try to coach you when you rent a car from Enterprise Leasing, “if the Customer Service Department surveys you, please tell them that you are ‘completely satisfied'”, I was “completely satisfied”. The second book is for Cate’s 25th b-day, which is February 2 – I know – Groundhog Day. We watch “Groundhog Day”, the movie every year, now how fun is that? She’s definitely a fan. Best of everything to you and your family in 2013.

  16. I heard your segment on KERA last night – The Afflictions of Love. As soon as it was over I immediately started searching for an audio file to post on FB or send to a few friends. Can’t find this one anywhere! Is it in iTunes and I’m missing it? Help!

    Obviously, it was exactly what I needed to hear last night. I was driving home and actually pulled over to listen.

    Thanks!
    Donna

    • Dear Donna
      It should stream live for the next two weeks through KERA. You should be able to hear its on demand through the station. That’s my info.

  17. Okay, I’ll try this again. Mr. Tobolowsky, The High Bar (http://thehighbar.tv) is ready to come to you. We will be taping in LA in just a couple of weeks and would like to have you appear on the program. Other notables taping episodes while we are in town include: Amy Brenneman, Illeana Douglas, Diane Farr and SAG-AFTRA co-prez Ken Howard. Won’t you please join me for a half-hour conversation to raise a toast to… (insert passion of your choice here).

    See you soon?
    Warren

    • Dear Warren
      It sounds good. I will be back from New York Feb.19. I will be in LA for a while after that.

      • Excellent! We could host you on the 20th or 21st, ideally. Would you please, please send me your direct contact info to warren at thewarrenreport dotcom?

        Thanks!

  18. JonWragg permalink

    Dear Stephen,
    I am a great fan of your work and the tobolowsky files are a joy to listen to, I was wondering if you ever come to England at all that I might get a signed book ?
    Many thanks
    Jon

    • Dear Jon. I will be in England in July. I think i have three performances scheduled so far. London, north in Edale, and the latitudes Festival. More later! And yes I will sign.

  19. You ought to take part in a contest for one of the best blogs on the net.
    I’m going to highly recommend this website!

  20. Annie permalink

    Enjoyed seeing you tonight on SoCal Connected! Have to get the book, and I hope if I ever see you on the street I will be able to say “yes! I know who you are.” Now I have to check out the podcast.

  21. Possibly 20 years ago, our paths crossed late one night at the Studio City Kinko’s. Alas, it wasn’t a clandestine rendezvous by the copy machine. It was simply a “moment,” one that stuck with me.

    I addressed you by name (as opposed to any other method) and you were impressed that I actually knew your name. But it was I who was impressed… with your effortless and seamless acting. It’s nice to see that so many years later, the world has caught on and you’re succeeding even more. It’s quite an accomplishment to earn your living as a creative, thoughtful and intelligent person in this crazy business. Perhaps one day our paths will cross again, and you will know my name.

  22. Omar Pineda permalink

    Hi, I’ve been wondering for a while now what happened to the 1st 49 episodes of The Tobolowsky files. Are those available anywhere?

  23. Hi Stephen,

    I have been listening to the Tobo-files since the beginning. Many of your episodes I have listened to on repeat I think my favorite is the “zen story.” I am an actor in new york and I find your stories to be life affirming and full of wisdom to guide me at times when I am searching for purpose. I think of you as a mentor and guru even though I have never met you. I suppose many people feel that way about you. For all of these reasons you popped into my head as a person I could turn to in a time of self-reflection.

    It is occurring to me in this new year that I want to sharpen my focus and my goals.I thought a good approach would be to write a mission statement for myself both for my personal life and my career so that I have something specific to strive for in all of my work. The ultimate hope being that I will have a guide to know whether I am accomplishing my goals and that I may at times get some satisfaction out of progress.

    So my question is: Do you have a mission statement?

    I wish you a happy and healthy new year! I hope to hear from you. As always I look forward to your next episode.

    Best,
    Meredith Lark

    • Meredith what a great and tricky question. Several answers come to mind. I will give you all of them in the order I thought of them.
      1.No. No mission statement. I write my stories and try to make them as truthful as possible. I audition for TV and Movies. Occasionally a play or a voice over as they come my way.
      2.But within that I DO have a mission statement. I will try to always do my best. Sometimes we don’t functioning at a high level. Sometimes we miss opportunities. Sometimes we don’t tell the truth. The mission statement is to be honest about the mistakes and failures and see if they can be corrected. For example: I used to be able to learn lines at the drop of a hat. I have noticed since I started writing…I can’t do that anymore. Either it is a function of age or a function of tuning into the writer brain a lot…words swim on me more than they used to. It is part of my mission statement to understand this weakness and adapt. To do my best.
      3.I try not to waste time…that is my current mission statement

      There are all three. I move from a to b to c…depending on the weather. Thank you for listening…and for liking the Zen Story.
      Stephen

  24. Dear Mr. Tobolowsky.

    My name is Mark Samual Bonanno, and I am one third of Australian sketch group Aunty Donna.

    I’m writing to say hello and just to mention that we’re all huge fans of your work (in particular your role in Chris Nolan’s Memento – man that movie changed my tiny fifteen-year-old life!).

    In about a week we are heading up your way to the San Francisco Sketchfest where we’ll be opening for The Dana Gould Hour on the night you’re appearing. We would love the opportunity to catch up with you, buy you a coffee, and pick your brain on comedy in the US.

    Here is a link to our youtube channel in case you would like to check out what we do.

    http://www.youtube.com/TheAuntyDonnaChannel

    Thanks for taking the time to read this and I look forward to chatting more soon.

    Kind Regards,
    Mark Samual Bonanno, Aunty Donna

    • Dear Mark and Aunty Donna
      Hello. So good to hear from you! Sounds good…Brain picking is fine but have to go with beer at that hour.

  25. Dear Mr. Tobolowsky,

    Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to speak to The Texas A&M University SWAMP Club tonight. You presented me with invaluable information. I was the kid that asked you what you felt your “big break” was. The story you told about the miscommunication across languages was hysterical. As an actor and a writer it would be an incredible honor if you would to watch my 6 minute comedic short that featured in the Texas Independent Film Felstival this passed weekend. I know you are a busy man and I totally understand if you do not check it out. But, if you do it would mean more to me than I can possibly describe using the limits of the English language. Here is the link! http://youtu.be/U8_2LPc0x14. Thank you again for speaking with me and the Aggie SWAMP club.

    Sincerely,

    Steele Stephens

  26. Sue McCallister permalink

    Watching Wild Hogs…laughing my a** off! After listening to hours of your podcasts I feel like you’re a friend in a movie. I will say that you have rejiggered my view of the idealized view I had of character actors. I always thought that might be the most normal way one could earn a living in the movie business. After hearing your stories, I’m not so sure..

  27. Ginger Smith permalink

    Dear Stephen –

    I grew up in Dallas in the 1960s and spent many a magical weekend with my cousins at my grandparents’ house in Oak Cliff, so really enjoyed your mentions of Kiest Park, Mrs. Baird’s Bread, etc. I wonder if Icky Twerp, Wee St. Andrews, the State Fair, and the Marsalis Zoo (with its gorgeous flamingo lagoon and tragic imprisoned lions) loomed as large in your childhood as they did mine. If so, perhaps they might feature in a future story? Whether they do or not, I want you to know I have thoroughly enjoyed every minute of every episode, and that you have inspired me to try to get our own family stories written down for posterity.

    Warmest regards,
    Ginger Smith

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 29,556 other followers

%d bloggers like this: