Timothy Francis Robbins (born October 16, 1958)[2] is an American actor, director, and producer. He is best known for portraying Andy Dufresne in the film The Shawshank Redemption (1994), and Jacob Singer in Jacob's Ladder (1990), as well as winning an Academy Award and Golden Globe award for his role in Mystic River (2003) and another Golden Globe for The Player (1992).

Tim Robbins
Robbins at the Berlin Film Festival 2013
Timothy Francis Robbins

(1958-10-16) October 16, 1958 (age 65)
EducationUniversity of California, Los Angeles (BA)
  • Actor
  • director
  • producer
  • screenwriter
Years active1982–present
WorksFull list
(m. 2017; div. 2022)
PartnerSusan Sarandon (1988–2009)
Children2, including Miles Robbins
AwardsFull list

Robbins's other roles include starring as Lt. Samuel "Merlin" Wells in Top Gun (1986), Nuke LaLoosh in Bull Durham (1988), Erik in Erik the Viking (1989), Ed Walters in I.Q. (1994), Nick Beam in Nothing to Lose (1997) and Senator Robert Hammond in Green Lantern (2011). He also directed the films Bob Roberts (1992) and Dead Man Walking (1995), both of which were well received. He received an Academy Award nomination for Best Director for Dead Man Walking.

On television, Robbins played Secretary of State Walter Larson in the HBO comedy The Brink (2015), and in Here and Now (2018) portrayed Greg Boatwright. In 2023, he starred as Bernard Holland in the Apple TV+ series Silo.

Early life


Robbins was born in West Covina, California, and raised in New York City. His parents were Mary Cecelia (née Bledsoe), a musician,[3] and Gilbert Lee Robbins,[4] a singer, actor, and manager of The Gaslight Cafe.[5][6][7] Robbins has two sisters, Adele and Gabrielle, and a brother, composer David Robbins. He was raised Catholic.[8][9]

Robbins moved to Greenwich Village with his family at a young age while his father pursued a career as a member of a folk music group called The Highwaymen. Robbins started performing in theater at age twelve and joined the drama club at Stuyvesant High School (Class of 1976).[10] He spent two years at SUNY Plattsburgh and then returned to California to study at the UCLA Film School, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Drama in 1981.[11][12]



Robbins's acting career began at Theater for the New City, where he spent his teenage years in their Annual Summer Street Theater and also played the title role in a musical adaptation of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's The Little Prince. After graduation from college in 1981, Robbins founded the Actors' Gang, an experimental theater group, in Los Angeles with actor friends from his college softball team, as well as John Cusack.

In 1982, he appeared as domestic terrorist Andrew Reinhardt in three episodes of the television program St. Elsewhere. He had a small role in the film No Small Affair (1984), starring Demi Moore. In 1985, he guest-starred in the second episode of the television series Moonlighting, "Gunfight at the So-So Corral". He also took parts in films, such as the role of frat animal "Mother" in Fraternity Vacation (1985) and Lt Sam "Merlin" Wells in the fighter pilot film Top Gun (1986). He appeared on The Love Boat, as a young version of one of the characters in retrospection about the Second World War. His first lead role in a major movie was as pitcher Ebby Calvin "Nuke" LaLoosh in the baseball film Bull Durham (1988), in which he co-starred with Susan Sarandon and Kevin Costner.[citation needed]

Robbins's amoral film executive in Robert Altman's film The Player (1992) was described by Peter Travers in Rolling Stone as "a classic performance, mining every comic and lethal nuance in the role of his career".[13] He won the Best Actor Award at Cannes. He made his directorial and screenwriting debut with Bob Roberts (also 1992), a mockumentary about a right-wing senatorial candidate. Todd McCarthy in Variety commented that the film is "both a stimulating social satire and, for thinking people, a depressing commentary on the devolution of the American political system".[14] Robbins then starred alongside Morgan Freeman in The Shawshank Redemption (1994), which was based on Stephen King's novella.[15]

Tim Robbins at the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival

Robbins has written, produced, and directed several films with strong social content, such as the capital punishment saga Dead Man Walking (1995), starring Sarandon and Sean Penn. The film earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Director. According to Roger Ebert in early 1996: "With this film he leaps far beyond" Bob Roberts "and has made that rare thing, a film that is an exercise of philosophy. This is the kind of movie that spoils us for other films, because it reveals so starkly how most movies fall into conventional routine, and lull us with the reassurance that they will not look too hard, or probe too deeply, or make us think beyond the boundaries of what is comfortable".[16]

His next directorial effort was Depression-era musical Cradle Will Rock (1999). Robbins has also appeared in mainstream Hollywood thrillers, such as Arlington Road (also 1999) as a suspected terrorist and Antitrust (2001) as a malicious computer tycoon, and in comical films such as The Hudsucker Proxy (1994), Nothing to Lose (1997), and High Fidelity (2000). Robbins has also acted in and directed several Actors' Gang theater productions.

Robbins won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar and the SAG Award for his work in Mystic River (2003), as a man traumatized from having been molested as a child. He followed his Oscar-win with roles as a temporarily blind man who is nursed to health by a psychologically wounded young woman in The Secret Life of Words (2005) and an apartheid torturer in Catch a Fire (2006). As of 2006, he was the tallest Academy Award-winning actor at 6 feet 5 inches (1.96 m).[17]

In early 2006, Robbins directed[18] an adaptation of George Orwell's novel 1984, written by Michael Gene Sullivan[19] of the Tony Award-winning San Francisco Mime Troupe. The production opened at Actors' Gang, at their new location at The Ivy Substation in Culver City, California. In addition to venues around the United States, it has played in Athens, Greece, the Melbourne International Festival in Australia and the Hong Kong Arts Festival. Robbins was soon considering a film adaptation.[20]

Robbins appeared in The Lucky Ones, with co-star Rachel McAdams as well as City of Ember (both 2008). Robbins next film role was as Senator Hammond, the disapproving father of the film's villain Hector Hammond, in the superhero film Green Lantern (2011).[21]

Robbins at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival

Robbins released the album Tim Robbins & The Rogues Gallery Band (2010), a collection of songs written over the course of 25 years that he ultimately took on a world tour. He was originally offered the chance to record an album in 1992 after the success of his film Bob Roberts, but he declined because he had "too much respect for the process", having seen his father work so hard as a musician, and because he felt he had nothing to say at the time.[22]

Robbins directed two episodes of the HBO series Treme. The series follows the interconnected lives of a group of New Orleanians in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. He helmed the episodes "Everything I Do Gonh Be Funky" in Season 2 (2011) and "Promised Land" in Season 3 (2012).[23][24] Robbins became interested in the show while staying in New Orleans during the filming of Green Lantern. "I had the unique experience of watching Treme with locals. It resonated for me immediately, and it resonated for them as well, because they have seen their town get misinterpreted and represented in ridiculous ways," he told The Times-Picayune in 2011. "Something about this show was different for them. I appreciated that. I loved the writing and the actors. I loved the environment it's set in. I watched the whole first season in New Orleans, and got in touch with David Simon and said, 'If you guys need a director next year, I'd be happy to do an episode.'"[25]

In 2013, he was a member of the jury at the 63rd Berlin International Film Festival.[26]

Personal life


In 1988, Robbins began a relationship with actress Susan Sarandon, whom he met on the set of Bull Durham. They have two sons: John "Jack" Henry (b. May 15, 1989) and Miles Robbins (b. May 4, 1992). Sarandon, like Robbins, is a lapsed Catholic,[27] and they share leftist political views. Robbins' relationship with Sarandon ended in December 2009.[28]

Robbins married Gratiela Brancusi on February 1, 2017. They split on July 1, 2020. News of the marriage was kept private[29][30] until Robbins filed for divorce in January 2021.[31] The divorce was finalized in 2022.[32]

Political views


Robbins supported Ralph Nader's 2000 presidential campaign and appeared on stage in character as Bob Roberts during the "Nader Rocks the Garden" rally at Madison Square Garden.[33] In December 2007, Robbins campaigned for Senator John Edwards in the 2008 U.S. presidential election.[34] He made critical statements against Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Leadership Council while introducing Bernie Sanders at a 2016 campaign stop.[35]

Robbins opposed the 2003 invasion of Iraq. In 2003, a 15th anniversary celebration of Bull Durham at the National Baseball Hall of Fame was canceled by Hall of Fame President Dale Petroskey. Petroskey told Robbins that his stance helped to "undermine the U.S. position, which could put our troops in even more danger."[36] Durham co-star Kevin Costner defended Robbins and Sarandon: "I think Tim and Susan's courage is the type of courage that makes our democracy work. Pulling back this invite is against the whole principle about what we fight for and profess to be about."[36]

In 2023, Robbins criticized COVID-19 lockdowns, arguing they undermined freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. Robbins added that his villainous character in the television series Silo, a "leader who crushes any dissent or protest with swift violence", was inspired by pro-lockdown politicians.[37]



Awards and nominations



  1. ^ "Tim Robbins". Front Row. September 2, 2010. BBC Radio 4. Retrieved January 18, 2014.
  2. ^ Jason Ankeny (2008). "Tim Robbins". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. Archived from the original on March 29, 2008. Retrieved August 14, 2010.
  3. ^ "Tim Robbins' Mother, Musician Mary Robbins, Dies Days After Her Husband". The Hollywood Reporter. April 19, 2011. Retrieved August 24, 2021.
  4. ^ Grimes, William (April 9, 2011). "Gil Robbins, Folk Musician, Dies at 80". The New York Times.
  5. ^ "Folk singer Gil Robbins dies at 80". CBC News. April 11, 2011. Retrieved April 14, 2011.
  6. ^ "Tim Robbins Biography". Retrieved November 1, 2007.
  7. ^ "Ancestry of Tim Robbins". Retrieved November 1, 2007.
  8. ^ Rose, Charlie (February 8, 1996). "Tim Robbins Interview". PBS. Retrieved May 9, 2010.: (Commentary with Tim Robbins saying; "Yes. We, we met. And I was raised a Catholic, so I have a whole other perception of nuns than, than the one that Sister Helen gave me.")
  9. ^ Wattenberg, Daniel (March 19, 2001). "No Nukes — how director Tim Robbins incorporates conspiracy into plots of his films". National Review. Archived from the original on November 26, 2004.
  10. ^ "Inside the Actors Studio — Guests — Tim Robbins". Bravo. December 5, 1999. Archived from the original on August 4, 2007. Retrieved November 1, 2007.
  11. ^ Jason Ankeny (2008). "Tim Robbins". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. Archived from the original on March 29, 2008. Retrieved August 23, 2009.
  12. ^ "Notable Alumni Actors". UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. Archived from the original on October 6, 2014. Retrieved September 29, 2014.
  13. ^ "Tim Robbins' Roles to Remember". Variety. October 8, 2008. Retrieved May 19, 2019.
  14. ^ McCarthy, Todd (May 13, 1992). "Bob Roberts". Variety. Retrieved May 19, 2019.
  15. ^ Sharf, Zack (November 20, 2014). "'Shawshank' Secrets Revealed: Frank Darabont, Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman Reveal All at 20th Anniversary Screening | IndieWire". www.indiewire.com. Retrieved September 7, 2017.
  16. ^ Ebert, Roger (January 12, 1996). "Reviews: Dead Man Walking". rogerebert. Retrieved May 19, 2019.
  17. ^ "Mr. Smarty Pants Knows". austinchronicle.com.
  18. ^ "1984". Archived from the original on July 3, 2007. Retrieved November 1, 2007.
  19. ^ "Velina Brown and Michael Gene Sullivan". Retrieved November 1, 2007.
  20. ^ Morris, Clint (January 15, 2006). "Tim Robbins returns to 1984". Archived from the original on June 22, 2008. Retrieved November 1, 2007.
  21. ^ "Tim Robbins plays villain's dad in "Green Lantern"". Reuters. February 9, 2010.
  22. ^ Wilks, Jon (August 15, 2011). "Tim Robbins: the interview". TimeOut Tokyo. Archived from the original on September 27, 2011. Retrieved August 15, 2011.
  23. ^ Phipps, Keith (May 2, 2011). "Treme: "Everything I Do Gonh Be Funky"". The A.V. Club. Retrieved June 21, 2024.
  24. ^ Phipps, Keith (November 5, 2012). "Treme: "Promised Land"". The A.V. Club. Retrieved June 21, 2024.
  25. ^ Walker, Dave (May 1, 2011). Tim Robbins immersed himself in New Orleans culture before directing Sunday's episode of 'Treme'. The Times-Picayune. Retrieved August 28, 2013.
  26. ^ "The International Jury 2013". Berlinale. January 28, 2013. Archived from the original on March 1, 2017. Retrieved January 28, 2013.
  27. ^ "Labor of Love: With Dead Man Walking, Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins Go From Oscar Outlaws to Golden Couple by Rebecca Ascher-Walsh". Entertainment Weekly. March 22, 1996. Archived from the original on December 22, 2002.
  28. ^ Longtime couple Sarandon, Robbins have split Archived August 22, 2014, at the Wayback Machinemsnbc. November 23, 2009
  29. ^ Kirkpatrick, Emily (January 28, 2021). "Tim Robbins's Divorce Ends a Marriage No One Even Knew Had Happened". Vanity Fair. Retrieved June 25, 2021.
  30. ^ Rice, Nicholas (February 3, 2021). "Tim Robbins Was Secretly Married to Gratiela Brancusi for Over 3 Years, Divorce Documents Reveal". People. Retrieved June 25, 2021.
  31. ^ "Tim Robbins Was Secretly Married to Gratiela Brancusi for Over 3 Years, Divorce Documents Reveal". nz.news.yahoo.com. February 3, 2021. Retrieved May 17, 2021.
  32. ^ Whitaker, Sterling (August 30, 2022). "'1883' Star Gratiela Brancusi Settles Divorce From Tim Robbins". Taste of Country. Retrieved January 29, 2023. 1883 star Gratiela Brancusi and Hollywood superstar Tim Robbins have finalized their divorce after two years, according to reports.
  33. ^ Bob Roberts at Madison Square Garden, Youtube.com
  34. ^ "Political Punch". Blogs.abcnews.com. December 9, 2007. Archived from the original on April 20, 2010. Retrieved March 26, 2010.
  35. ^ Daleno, Gaynor Dumat-ol (April 7, 2016). "Tim Robbins apologizes for joke about Guam at Sanders rally". USA Today. Retrieved October 24, 2017.
  36. ^ a b "Tim Robbins: Hall of Fame violates freedom". The Age. Melbourne. April 13, 2003. Retrieved November 1, 2007.
  37. ^ Hays, Gabriel (April 27, 2023). "'Shawshank Redemption' star Tim Robbins rips 'lack of freedom of assembly,' speech that COVID mandates brought". Fox News.