Thomas F. Wilson
Thomas Francis Wilson Jr. (born April 15, 1959) is an American character actor, voice actor, comedian, writer, artist, musician and podcaster. He is best known for portraying Biff Tannen, Griff Tannen and Buford "Mad Dog" Tannen in the Back to the Future trilogy (1985–1990), and as Coach Ben Fredricks in the TV Series Freaks and Geeks (1999–2000).
Thomas F. Wilson
Thomas Francis Wilson Jr.
April 15, 1959
|Other names||Tom Wilson|
Wilson was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and raised in nearby Wayne, Pennsylvania. While attending Radnor High School, he was involved in dramatic arts, was president of the debate team, where his partner was future New York Times columnist David Brooks, played tuba in the high school band, and was drum major of his marching band. He studied international politics at Arizona State University.
In 1981, Wilson moved to Los Angeles to pursue his acting career. He shared an apartment with fellow aspiring comedians Andrew Dice Clay and Yakov Smirnoff, and later joked that he "taught them both about America."
His breakthrough role was the bully Biff Tannen in the 1985 film Back to the Future. He returned in the sequels Back to the Future Part II and Part III to not only reprise his role as Biff, but to also play Biff's grandson Griff Tannen and great-grandfather Buford "Mad Dog" Tannen. In every Back to the Future film, his character ends up in a pile of manure (in reality, a heap of decayed sphagnum and other mulches) after trying to kill or hurt Michael J. Fox's character Marty McFly. He reprised his role as Biff and voiced various Tannen relatives in the animated series. Wilson did not reprise his role as Biff in the initial versions of Telltale's Back to the Future: The Game released in 2011, being replaced by Kid Beyond. When the game was ported to the PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One in 2015 in commemoration of the original film's 30th anniversary, Wilson returned to provide Biff's voice in these newer versions.
In 1992, he voiced gangster Tony Zucco in Batman: The Animated Series and police detective Matt Bluestone in the animated series Gargoyles. He later went to co-star with Mark Hamill in Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger, a video game. It was the third chapter in the Wing Commander series, but the first to feature live action and was extremely popular at the time. The character played by Wilson was Major Todd "Maniac" Marshall, a fellow starfighter pilot of Hamill's character. Wilson also starred in the sequels Wing Commander IV: The Price of Freedom (1995) and Wing Commander: Prophecy (1997) and contributed his voice to the animated series Wing Commander Academy (1996) in the same role. He also guest starred in an episode of Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman in 1997.
Wilson played McKinley High School's Coach Ben Fredricks in the 1999–2000 NBC comedy-drama Freaks and Geeks. Coach Fredricks dated Bill Haverchuck's mother. Wilson was briefly reunited with his Back to the Future co-star Christopher Lloyd in the 1994 film Camp Nowhere.
Wilson has done voice-over work for the Nickelodeon TV show SpongeBob SquarePants. He has voiced many villainous characters that are physically strong and menacing, such as Flats the Flounder in the third season episode The Bully, and The Tattletale Strangler in SpongeBob Meets the Strangler, and the non-villainous character Reg the Club Bouncer in No Weenies Allowed. In 2005 he played Coach Phelps in the TV series Zoey 101.
He hosted a podcast, Big Pop Fun, on the Nerdist Network from 2011 to 2014. The podcast featured Tom sharing stories of his career, as well as informal chats with show business friends including Samm Levine, Blake Clark, Steve Oedekerk and "Weird Al" Yankovic.
Wilson is also a painter. Many of his paintings focus on classic children's toys. In 2006, he was selected to join the California Featured Artist Series at Disneyland. Wilson is a devout Catholic, and released a Contemporary Christian album in 2000 called In the Name of the Father.
With the rise in popularity of the Back to the Future series, many people began to ask him questions about his experiences making the films. Wilson found the repetitive nature of the questions to be both hilarious and frustrating, so he wrote a song about them titled "Biff's Question Song" which he includes in his stand-up routine.
|1985||Ninja Turf||Member of Spike's Gang|
|Back to the Future||Biff Tannen|
|1986||April Fool's Day||Arch Cummings|
|Let's Get Harry||Bob Pachowski|
|1987||Smart Alex||Lieutenant Stevenson|
|1988||Action Jackson||Officer Kornblau|
|1989||Back to the Future Part II||Biff Tannen, Griff Tannen|
|1990||Back to the Future Part III||Buford "Mad-Dog" Tannen, Biff Tannen||Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor|
|1991||High Strung||Al Dalby|
|1993||Blood in Blood Out||Det. Rollie McCann|
|1994||Caroline at Midnight||Officer Keaton|
|Camp Nowhere||Lt. Eliot Hendricks|
|1995||Born to Be Wild||Det. Lou Greenburg|
|1997||That Darn Cat||Officer Melvin|
|1998||Girl||The Ticket Seller|
|2003||Atlantis: Milo's Return||Ashtin Carnaby (voice)||Direct-to-video|
|2004||The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie||Victor, Fish #3, Tough Fish #1 (voices)|||
|2006||Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector||Bart Tatlock|
|2009||The Informant!||Mark Cheviron|
|House Broken||Fire Chief Henry Decker|
|2010||Yohan: The Child Wanderer||Kevin|
|2011||Rio||Trapped Bird, Screaming Hang Glider (voices)|||
|2012||Atlas Shrugged: Part II||Robert Collins|
|The Heat||Captain Frank Woods|
|Tom and Jerry's Giant Adventure||Mr. Bigley, Ginormous (voices)||Direct-to-video|
|2015||The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water||Angry Customer #1 (voice)|
|1983||Knight Rider||Chip||Episode: "A Knight in Shining Armor"|
|1984||The Facts of Life||Moose||Episode: "All or Nothing"|
|1990||Turner & Hooch||Det. Scott Turner||Pilot|
|1991–1992||Back to the Future||Biff Tannen, Additional voices||26 episodes|
|1992||Batman: The Animated Series||Tony Zucco / John Grayson (voices)||Episodes: "Robin's Reckoning"|
|1995–1996||Gargoyles||Matt Bluestone (voice)||14 episodes|
|1996||Superman||Joey (voice)||Episode: "A Little Piece of Home"|
|Wing Commander Academy||Todd 'Maniac' Marshall (voice)||13 episodes|
|Sabrina, the Teenage Witch||Simon||Episode: "Dream Date"|
|Andersonville||Thomas Sweet||Television film|
|1997||Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman||Carter Landry||Episode: "Lethal Weapon"|
|Duckman||Park Ranger Smith (voice)||Episode: "Short, Plush and Deadly"|
|Aaahh!!! Real Monsters||Marty (voice)||2 episodes|
|steve.oedekerk.com||Costumer, Talk Show Host||Pilot|
|1997–1998||Fired Up||Steve Summer||5 episodes|
|1998||Pinky and the Brain||Larry Bruhn (voice)||Episode: "Dangerous Brains"|
|Men in White||Ed Klingbottom||Television film|
|The New Batman Adventures||Howlin' Jake, Gotham Angels Biker (voices)||Episode: "Torch Song"|
|Zoomates||Mark the Polar Bear (voice)||Television short|
|The Angry Beavers||Otis Otto, Bowling Patron (voices)||Episode: "Alley Oops!"|
|1999||The Hughleys||Stan||Episode: "Why Can't We Be Friends?"|
|Pepper Ann||Coach Bronson (voice)||Episode: "Beyond Good and Evel/One of the Guys"|
|1999–2000||Freaks and Geeks||Coach Ben Fredricks||6 episodes|
|2000–2001||Max Steel||Pete Costas (voice)||20 episodes|
|2000||Buzz Lightyear of Star Command||Buster (voice)||Episode: "Root of Evil"|
|2001||Nash Bridges||Jack Noon||Episode: "Bear Trap"|
|The Zeta Project||Burly Boyfriend (voice)||Episode: "West Bound"|
|Titus||Joe||Episode: "Amy's Birthday"|
|2001–2019||SpongeBob SquarePants||Various voices||13 episodes|
|2002||She Spies||Roger 'Rush' Gibson||Episode: "Fondles"|
|2002–2003||Do Over||Coach Dorsey||4 episodes|
|2003||Ed||Sean Nowell||4 episodes|
|The Pitts||Guard (voice)||Episode: "Ticket to Riot"|
|Boston Public||Paul Stanton||Episode: "Chapter Sixty-Six"|
|Stripperella||Tom Green, Zumo, Painted Patron, Director (voices)||2 episodes|
|Two and a Half Men||Mike||Episode: "Pilot"|
|2004||The Mullets||Lyle Turner||Episode: "Losin' It"|
|Rock Me Baby||Buffalo Buck||Episode: "Go, Otis! It's Your Birthday!"|
|Johnny Bravo||Trent (voice)||Episode: "The Time of My Life/Run Johnny Run"|
|2005||Rodney||Bill||Episode: "Sorry Charlie"|
|Zoey 101||Coach Phelps||Episode: "Disc Golf"|
|Higglytown Heroes||Truck Driver (voice)||Episode: "Kip's Dad Gets a Strike"|
|Reba||Ted||Episode: "Reba and the One"|
|George Lopez||Sonny||Episode: "George Drives the Batmobile"|
|2006||Help Me Help You||Kenny||4 episodes|
|Still Standing||Coach Kirk Stone||Episode: "Still Flunking"|
|Cold Case||Arnold Brown||Episode: "Superstar"|
|2006–2008||Ghost Whisperer||Tim Flaherty||6 episodes|
|2007||American Body Shop||Juicy Lou||Episodes: "Juicy Lou's", "Shop for Sale"|
|House||Lou||Episode: "Whatever It Takes"|
|Boston Legal||Jeffrey Bass||Episode: "Attack of the Xenophobes"|
|2008||The Spectacular Spider-Man||Stan Carter, Chameleon (voices)||6 episodes|
|Bones||Chip Barnett||Episode: "The Baby in the Bough"|
|Back at the Barnyard||Krebs (voice)||Episode: "Brave Udders"|
|2008–2009||Batman: The Brave and the Bold||Sportsmaster, Catman (voices)||2 episodes|
|2009||Psych||Butch||Episode: "Let's Get Hairy"|
|Family Guy||First Step (voice)||Episode: "Quagmire's Baby"|
|Tom Wilson: Bigger Than You||Himself||Stand-up special|
Also Executive producer
|2010||Adventure Time||Head Marauder, Cat Man, Coal Guy (voices)||2 episodes|
|True Jackson, VP||Ben Franklin||Episode: "Field Trip"|
|2010–2011||Big Love||Ricky Jax||3 episodes|
|2011||Harry's Law||Allan Meade||Episode: "Bangers in the House"|
|Billion Dollar Freshmen||Principal Preston||Pilot|
|Planet Sheen||Narrator, Blurg #1 (voices)||2 episodes|
|Melissa & Joey||Councilman Herbert Hancock||Episode: "Play Ball"|
|2011–2012||Franklin & Bash||Spiritual Advisor||2 episodes|
|2012–2016||Dragons: Riders of Berk||Bucket (voice)||19 episodes|
|2013||Zach Stone Is Gonna Be Famous||Mr. Stone||12 episodes|
|Mad||Additional voices||Episodes: "S Cape from Planet Earth/The X-Mentalist"|
|2014||See Dad Run||Principal Templeman||2 episodes|
|2015–2018||Pig Goat Banana Cricket||Banana, Body Builder (voices)||40 episodes|
|2016||The Ranch||Coach Fitzgerald||Episode: "The Boys of Fall"|
|K.C. Undercover||Agent Whitman||Episode: "The Legend of Bad, Bad Cleo Brown"|
|School of Rock||Mr. Finn's Dad||Episode: "A Band with No Name"|
|2016–2018||Trollhunters: Tales of Arcadia||Coach Lawrence (voice)||21 episodes|
|2017||Workaholics||Barnes||Episode: "The Most Dangerless Game"|
|Training Day||Gary Milestone||Episode: "Quid Pro Quo"|
|Doubt||Anthony Kellem||Episode: "Running Out of Time"|
|Will vs. The Future||Principal Rhodes||Pilot|
|The Mayor||Governor Fillucci||Episode: "Here Comes the Governor"|
|2017–2018||Mosaic||Cliff Jones||3 episodes|
|2018–2019||3Below: Tales of Arcadia||Coach Lawrence (voice)||9 episodes|
|2019–present||DC's Legends of Tomorrow||Henry "Hank" Heywood||9 episodes|
|2019||SpongeBob's Big Birthday Blowout||Dog walker||Television special|
|The Epic Tales of Captain Underpants||Major Messy/Camoflush (voice)||Episode: Captain Underpants and the Cunning Combat of the Covert Camoflush|
|2020||Sydney to the Max||Grandpa Doug||2 episodes|
|1990||Back to the Future... The Pinball||Biff Tannen||uncredited|
|1994||Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger||Maj. Todd "Maniac" Marshall||Credited as Tom Wilson|
|1996||Wing Commander IV: The Price of Freedom|
|1997||Wing Commander: Prophecy|
|2000||Star Trek: Voyager – Elite Force||Crewman Rick Biessman|
|2001||Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex||Rok-Ko||Credited as Tom Wilson|
|2002||Run Like Hell: Hunt or Be Hunted||Craig|||
|2010||Batman: The Brave and the Bold – The Videogame||Catman|
|Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions||Electro|||
|2011||Star Wars: The Old Republic||Additional voices|
|2013||Back to the Future: Back in Time Video Slots||Biff Tannen|||
|2015||Back to the Future: The Game 30th Anniversary Edition||Credited as Tom Wilson|
|1991||Back to the Future: The Ride||Biff Tannen||Voice|
|1989||The Last Ride||Writer||Short film|
|1996||Get Serious: Seven Deadly Subs||Writer and producer||6 episodes|
- Eustache, Louis (November 2, 2016). "Tom Wilson Of 'Back To The Future' Talks Pop Art, Biff Tannen And Parallels To Trump". Konbini United States. Archived from the original on November 4, 2016.
- Dennis Mclellan (March 11, 1993). "TUBA OR NOT TUBA? : Tom Wilson's Blasts of the Past Are Back". latimes.com. Retrieved September 5, 2020.
- "What's What With … Tom Wilson". Philadelphia magazine. MetroCorp. December 3, 2008. Retrieved March 16, 2019.
- Grant, Stacey (October 29, 2015). "12 Celeb Guest Stars You Completely Forgot Were On 'Zoey 101'". MTV News. MTV. Retrieved April 25, 2019.
- "Tom Wilson". YouTube. Retrieved October 8, 2019.
- Alexander, Bryan (October 21, 2015). "'Back to the Future': Catching up with the cast". USA Today. Gannett. Retrieved March 16, 2019.
- "Tom Wilson Artist Corner". The Art of Disney Parks. Disney.go.com. Archived from the original on November 20, 2011. Retrieved March 16, 2019.
- "Thomas F. Wilson – Musician". TomWilsonUSA.com. Dusty Tuba Entertainment, Inc. Archived from the original on February 8, 2011. Retrieved March 16, 2019.
- Zimmerman, Neetzan (November 5, 2012). "Biff Tannen Has a Business Card that Answers All Your Annoying Questions About Back to the Future". Gawker. Retrieved March 16, 2019.
- "Thomas F. Wilson - 64 Character Images". Behind The Voice Actors.
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