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Wallace Michael Shawn (born November 12, 1943) is an American actor, voice actor, playwright, essayist and comedian. His film roles have included those of Wally Shawn in the Louis Malle directed comedy-drama My Dinner with Andre (1981), Vizzini in The Princess Bride (1987), Mr. Wendell Hall in Clueless (1995) and providing the voice of Rex in the Toy Story franchise. He has also appeared in a variety of television series, including recurring roles as as Grand Nagus Zek in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993–1999) and Cyrus Rose in Gossip Girl (2008–2012).
Shawn at Pen America / Free Expression Literature on May 5, 2014
|Born||Wallace Michael Shawn
November 12, 1943
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Residence||Manhattan, New York|
|Occupation||Actor, voice actor, playwright, essayist, comedian|
His plays include Aunt Dan and Lemon (1985), The Designated Mourner (1996) and Grasses of a Thousand Colors (2008). He also co-wrote the screenplay for My Dinner with Andre with Andre Gregory, and he scripted A Master Builder (2013), a film adaptation of the play by Henrik Ibsen, which he also starred in. His book Essays was published in 2009 by Haymarket Books.
Shawn was born on November 12, 1943 in New York City, to William Shawn (1907–1992), the long-time editor of The New Yorker, and journalist Cecille Shawn (née Lyon; 1906–2005); his brother, Allen, is a composer. Shawn attended The Putney School, a private liberal arts high school in Putney, Vermont, and graduated with an B.A. in history from Harvard College. He studied philosophy, politics and economics, as well as Latin, at Magdalen College, Oxford, originally intending to become a diplomat. He also traveled to India as an English teacher, on a Fulbright program. He then taught Latin in Manhattan but, since 1979, has made a living primarily as an actor.
Shawn's early plays, such as Marie and Bruce (1978), portrayed emotional and sexual conflicts in an absurdist style, with language that was both lyrical and violent. In a conversation with Andre Gregory, parts of which were used to create My Dinner with Andre, Shawn referred to these plays as depicting "my interior life as a raging beast." Critical response was extremely polarized: some critics hailed Shawn as a major writer, while John Simon called Marie and Bruce "garbage" and described Shawn as "one of the unsightliest actors in this city." His 1977 play A Thought in Three Parts caused controversy in London when the production was investigated by a vice squad and attacked in Parliament after allegations of pornographic content.
His later plays became more overtly political, drawing parallels between the psychology of his characters and the behavior of governments and social classes. Among the best-known of these are Aunt Dan and Lemon (1985) and The Designated Mourner (1997). Shawn's political work has invited controversy, as he often presents the audience with several contradictory points of view, such as Aunt Dan and Lemon, which Shawn described as a cautionary tale against fascism. The monologue The Fever, originally created by Shawn to be performed for small audiences in apartments, describes a person who becomes sick while struggling to find a morally consistent way to live when faced with injustice, and harshly criticizes the record of the United States in supporting oppressive anti-communist regimes. In 1997, Shawn discussed the political nature of Aunt Dan and Lemon, The Fever and The Designated Mourner in an interview. In this interview Shawn talked extensively with Patrick McGrath about the thematic developments between the three plays, as well as his own views on Marxist, communist and socialist politics, their relevance to American liberalism, and how government and individual responsibilities for finding solutions to the dichotomy between rich and poor in the world take hold in the characters presented in his plays. Shawn's four plays have been adapted into films: The Designated Mourner (basically a film version of David Hare's stage production), Marie and Bruce, My Dinner with Andre and The Fever. Oscar winner Vanessa Redgrave stars in The Fever (2004), which first aired on HBO on June 13, 2007.
Shawn has also written political commentary for The Nation, and in 2004 he published the one-issue-only progressive political magazine Final Edition, which features interviews with and articles by Jonathan Schell, Noam Chomsky, Mark Strand and Deborah Eisenberg. Shawn is credited as translator of Bertolt Brecht's The Threepenny Opera, which opened at Studio 54 in Manhattan on March 25, 2006. He appears briefly in voice-over during "Song about the Futility of Human Endeavor". He published his first nonfiction work, Essays, on September 1, 2009. It is a collection of essays that expresses his perceptions of politics and other subjects that reflect an aspect of his life.
Shawn's involvement with theater began in 1970 when he met Andre Gregory, who has since directed several of his plays. As a stage actor, he has appeared mostly in his own plays and other projects with Gregory. He made his film debut in 1979, playing Diane Keaton's former husband in Woody Allen's Manhattan and an insurance agent in Bob Fosse's All That Jazz. His best-known film roles include Earl in Strange Invaders (1983) and Mr. Hall in Clueless (1995). After seeing his performance in My Dinner With Andre (1981), casting director Janet Hirshenson was so fond of his delivery of the word "inconceivable" that she cast him as Vizzini in The Princess Bride (1987). Other roles include Baron Von Westphalen in Southland Tales, on Gossip Girl as Cyrus Rose, and in The Haunted Mansion (2003) as Ezra.
His rare non-comedic film roles include two collaborations with Andre Gregory and Louis Malle: the semi-autobiographical dialogue My Dinner with Andre, and a combined production-and-backstage-drama of Uncle Vanya titled Vanya on 42nd Street. Shawn quite often appears on television, where he has appeared in many genres and series. He has had recurring roles as the Grand Nagus Zek in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Stuart Best in Murphy Brown, Jeff Engels in The Cosby Show, Dr. Howard Stiles in Crossing Jordan, Arnie Ross in Taxi, Charles Lester in The Good Wife, and a reprisal of his role as Mr. Hall in Clueless (based on the film). He appeared in the 1985 music video for Chaka Khan's "This is My Night". On February 4, 2010, Shawn appeared as Alan Rubin in The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. He appeared in Vegas Vacation (1997) as Marty. One of Shawn's latest films opened in his birthplace in New York in June 2014 titled A Master Builder.
Shawn was honored in 2005 with the PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Award as a Master American Dramatist.
Shawn is also a voice actor for animated films and television series, including Rex in the Toy Story franchise, Mr. Gilbert Huph in The Incredibles, Principal Mazur in A Goofy Movie, Bertram in Family Guy, Munk in Happily N'Ever After, and as a caricature of himself in BoJack Horseman.
In The Fox and the Hound, he was originally going to voice Boomer, but dropped out and was replaced by Paul Winchell. In Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore, Shawn replaced Jon Lovitz as the voice of Calico. Coincidentally, Lovitz and Shawn both appeared in I Could Never Be Your Woman.
In June 2013, Shawn and numerous other celebrities appeared in a video showing support for Chelsea Manning. He has referred to himself as a socialist in an essay titled Why I Call Myself a Socialist: Is the World Really a Stage?, which was published online and later in a nonfiction collection titled Essays.
|1979||Starting Over||Workshop Member|
|1979||All That Jazz||Assistant Insurance Man|
|1980||Simon||Eric Van Dongen|
|1980||Atlantic City||Waiter||Credited as Wally Shawn|
|1981||Cheaper to Keep Her||Mugger|
|1981||My Dinner with Andre||Wally Shawn||Also writer|
|1982||A Little Sex||Oliver|
|1983||The First Time||Jules Goldfarb|
|1983||Deal of the Century||Harold DeVoto|
|1984||The Hotel New Hampshire||Freud|
|1984||The Bostonians||Mr. Pardon|
|1984||Micki & Maude||Elliot Fibel|
|1985||Heaven Help Us||Father Abruzzi|
|1985||Head Office||Mike Hoover|
|1987||The Bedroom Window||Henderson's Attorney|
|1987||Radio Days||Masked Avenger|
|1987||Nice Girls Don't Explode||Ellen|
|1987||Prick Up Your Ears||John Lahr|
|1987||The Princess Bride||Vizzini|
|1989||She's Out of Control||Dr. Herman Fishbinder|
|1989||Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills||Howard|
|1989||We're No Angels||Translator|
|1992||Shadows and Fog||Simon Carr|
|1992||Unbecoming Age||Dr. Block|
|1992||Nickel & Dime||Everett Willits|
|1992||The Double 0 Kid||Cashpot||Direct-to-video|
|1992||Mom and Dad Save the World||Sibor|
|1993||The Cemetery Club||Larry|
|1993||The Meteor Man||Mr. Little|
|1994||Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle||Horatio Byrd|
|1994||Vanya on 42nd Street||Vanya|
|1995||Napoleon||Echidna (voice)||American dub|
|1995||Canadian Bacon||Canadian Prime Minister Clark MacDonald|
|1995||A Goofy Movie||Principal Mazur (voice)|
|1995||Clueless||Mr. Wendell Hall|
|1995||Toy Story||Rex (voice)|
|1996||All Dogs Go to Heaven 2||Labrador MC (voice)|
|1996||House Arrest||Vic Finley|
|1997||Just Write||Arthur Blake|
|1997||The Designated Mourner||Writer|
|1999||The Diary of the Hurdy-Gurdy Man|
|1999||My Favorite Martian||Coleye|
|1999||Toy Story 2||Rex (voice)|
|2000||Buzz Lightyear of Star Command: The Adventure Begins||Rex (voice)||Direct-to-video|
|2000||The Prime Gig||Gene|
|2001||The Curse of the Jade Scorpion||George Bond|
|2001||Monsters, Inc.||Rex (voice)||Uncredited cameo|
|2002||Love Thy Neighbor||Clinic Doctor|
|2002||Personal Velocity: Three Portraits||Mr. Gelb|
|2003||The Haunted Mansion||Ezra|
|2004||Teacher's Pet||Crosby Strickler (voice)|
|2004||Melinda and Melinda||Sy|
|2004||The Incredibles||Gilbert Huph (voice)|
|2004||Marie and Bruce||Writer|
|2005||Chicken Little||Principal Fetchit (voice)|
|2006||Southland Tales||Baron Von Westphalen|
|2006||Air Buddies||Billy (voice)||Direct-to-DVD|
|2006||Tom and Jerry: Shiver Me Whiskers||Purple Pirate Barnacle Paul (voice)||Direct-to-DVD|
|2007||Happily N'Ever After||Munk (voice)|
|2007||I Could Never Be Your Woman||Math Teacher||Uncredited|
|2008||Kit Kittredge: An American Girl||Mr. Gibson|
|2008||Mia and the Migoo||Migoo (voice)||English dub|
|2008||Scooby-Doo! and the Goblin King||Mr. Gibbles (voice)||Direct-to-DVD|
|2009||Jack and the Beanstalk||Broker / Booker / Lancelot Squarejaw|
|2010||Furry Vengeance||Christian Burr||Uncredited|
|2010||Toy Story 3||Rex (voice)|
|2010||Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore||Calico (voice)|
|2010||Tea Time||Short film; writer|
|2011||The Speed of Thought||Sandy|
|2011||Tower Heist||Mr. McBurns|
|2011||Hawaiian Vacation||Rex (voice)||Short film|
|2011||Small Fry||Rex (voice)||Short film|
|2012||Partysaurus Rex||Rex (voice)||Short film|
|2012||A Late Quartet||Gideon Rosen|
|2013||The Double||Mr. Papadopoulos|
|2013||A Master Builder||Halvard Solness||Also writer and producer|
|2016||Drawing Home||Mr. Garfield|
|2017||Animal Crackers||Mr. Woodley (voice)|
|2017||The Only Living Boy in New York||David|
|2017||Someone Else's Wedding||Albert|
|2019||Toy Story 4||Rex (voice)||In production|
|1982–83||Taxi||Arnie Ross||2 episodes|
|1983||How to Be a Perfect Person in Just Three Days||Professor Silverfish||Television film|
|1983||Saigon: Year of the Cat||Frank Judd||Television film|
|1987–91||The Cosby Show||Jeff Engels||5 episodes|
|1992||Civil Wars||Riley Baker||Episode: "A Bus Named Desire"|
|1992||One Life to Live||Professor Marvel||Unknown episodes|
|1993–99||Star Trek: Deep Space Nine||Grand Nagus Zek||7 episodes|
|1993||The Pink Panther||Little Man (voice)||Episode: "Ice Blue Pink/Pink Trek"|
|1993||Matrix||Mr. Gonley||Episode: "Lapses in Memory"|
|1994||The Nanny||Charles Haste||Episode: "Pishke Business"|
|1994–97||Murphy Brown||Stuart Best||4 episodes|
|1995||Something Wilder||Roof Inspector||Episode: "Dr. Roof"|
|1995||Just Like Dad||Stan Speigel||Television film|
|1996||Toy Story Treats||Rex (voice)||18 episodes|
|1996–97||Clueless||Mr. Hall||17 episodes|
|1997||King of the Hill||Philip Ny (voice)||Episode: "How to Fire a Rifle Without Really Trying"|
|1998||The Jungle Book: Mowgli's Story||Tarzan (voice)||Television special|
|1998||The Lionhearts||(voice)||5 episodes|
|1999||Homicide: Life on the Street||Frank Hopper||Episode: "A Case of Do or Die"|
|1999||Cosby||Mr. Fleming||2 episodes|
|2000–01||Teacher's Pet||Crosby Strickler (voice)||6 episodes|
|2001||Ally McBeal||Mr. Dune||Episode: "Falling Up"|
|2001||Blonde||I. E. Shinn||2 episodes|
|2001||Three Sisters||Dean Webb||Episode: "Don't Be Thrown"|
|2001–06||Crossing Jordan||Howard Stiles||8 episodes|
|2001–11||Family Guy||Bertram (voice)||3 episodes|
|2002||Teamo Supremo||Gauntlet (voice)||Episode: "Running the Gauntlet"|
|2002||Mr. St. Nick||Mimir||Television film|
|2003||Monte Walsh||Colonel Wilson||Television film|
|2003||Stanley||Mr. Goldberg (voice)||Episode: "Going-Away Goose/Time to Climb!"|
|2004||Sex and the City||Martin Grable||Episode: "Splat!"|
|2004||Karroll's Christmas||Zeb Rosecog||Television film|
|2005||Fat Actress||Sigmund von Oy||Episode: "The Koi Effect"|
|2005||Stargate SG-1||Arlos Kadawam||Episode: "The Ties That Bind"|
|2005||Desperate Housewives||Lonny Moon||Episode: "They Asked Me Why I Believe in You"|
|2006||The 12th Man||Marty||Pilot|
|2006||Law & Order: Criminal Intent||Film Professor||Episode: "Weeping Willow"|
|2008||The Return of Jezebel James||Garson Leeds||Episode: "I'm with Blank"|
|2008||Cashmere Mafia||Animal Handler||Episode: "Dog Eat Dog"|
|2009||Law & Order: Special Victims Unit||Roy Batters||Episode: "Snatched"|
|2009||Life on Mars||Stephen Morrell – "The Sorcerer"||Episode: "Let All the Children Boogie"|
|2008–09||The L Word||William Halsey||5 episodes|
|2009||ER||Teddy Lempell||Episode: "The Beginning of the End"|
|2010||The Daily Show with Jon Stewart||Alan Rubin||Episode: "Anthony Weiner"|
|2010||Damages||Sterling Biddle||Episode: "Don't Forget to Thank Mr. Zedeck"|
|2008–12||Gossip Girl||Cyrus Rose||11 episodes|
|2011–12||Eureka||Warren Hughes||3 episodes|
|2011–16||Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness||Taotie (voice)||9 episodes|
|2012||Fish Hooks||Rat King (voice)||Episode: "Guys' Night Out"|
|2013||Adventure Time||Rasheeta (voice)||Episode: "Puhoy"|
|2013||Uncle Grandpa||Ule Gapa (voice)||Episode: "Belly Bros"|
|2013||Toy Story of Terror!||Rex (voice)||Television special|
|2013–15||The Good Wife||Charles Lester||3 episodes|
|2014||Phineas and Ferb||Saul (voice)||Episode: "Phineas and Ferb Save Summer"|
|2014||Courage the Cowardly Dog||Eustace Bagge (voice)||Episode: "The Fog of Courage"|
|2014||Toy Story That Time Forgot||Rex (voice)||Television special|
|2014||The Mysteries of Laura||Kenneth Walters||Episode: "The Mystery of the Sex Scandal"|
|2014||Club Penguin: Monster Beach Party||Gary the Gadget Guy (voice)||Television special|
|2014||The 7D||Not-So-Magic Mirror (voice)||Episode: "Mirror, Mirror"|
|2014||BoJack Horseman||Himself (voice)||Episode: "One Trick Pony"|
|2014–16||Mozart in the Jungle||Winslow Elliot||4 episodes|
|2014||Christmas at Cartwright's||Harry Osbourne||Television film|
|2015||Club Penguin: Halloween Panic!||Gary the Gadget Guy (voice)||Television special|
|2016||The Night Shift||Mr. Neville||Episode: "Unexpected"|
|2016–17||The Stinky & Dirty Show||Tall (voice)||11 episodes|
|2016||Life in Pieces||Samuel||Episode: "Eyebrow Anonymous Trapped Gem"|
|2016||Regular Show||The Evil Brain (voice)||Episode: "The Brain of Evil"|
|2017||Cop and a Half: New Recruit||Principal Miller||Television film|
|2017||OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes||Wally the White (voice)||Episode: "You Got Me"|
|2017||Mr. Robot||Mr. Williams||Episode: "eps3.2_legacy.so"|
|2017||Graves||Jerry North||3 episodes|
|2017||She's Gotta Have It||Julius Kemper||2 episodes|
|2017||The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel||Herb Smith||Episode: "Doink"|
|2017||Trollhunters||Unkar the Unfortunate (voice)||Episode: "Unbecoming"|
|1996||Toy Story: The Video Game||Rex|
|Toy Story Activity Center|
|2004||The Incredibles: The Video Game||Gilbert Huph|
|2006||Family Guy Video Game!||Bertram|
|2008||The Princess Bride Game||Vizzini|
|2010||Toy Story 3: The Video Game||Rex|
|2012||Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse||Bertram|
|Four Meals in May||1967|
|The Family Play||1970|
|The Hotel Play||1970|
|The Hospital Play||1971|
|Our Late Night||1975|
|A Thought in Three Parts||1976|
|Marie and Bruce||1978|
|Aunt Dan and Lemon||1985|
|The Designated Mourner||1997|
|The Threepenny Opera||2006|
|Grasses of a Thousand Colors||2008|
|Evening at the Talk House||2015|
|2009||Essays||Book collection of essays, by Haymarket Books|
- Steindler, Catherine (Spring 2013). "Interviews, Deborah Eisenberg, The Art of Fiction No. 218". The Paris Review.
- Ciampaglia, Dante A. (August 1, 2014). "Film Review: A Master Builder". Architectural Record. Retrieved November 12, 2014.
- see pg. 20 of liner notes accompanying "Allen Shawn – Piano Works" CD issued by Coviello Classics label (COV 91414)> "Allen Shawn - Klavierwerke". Music Reference. Retrieved February 3, 2017.
- Brantley, Ben (April 5, 2011). "There's Room for Everyone Aboard a Marital Misery Tour". The New York Times. Retrieved January 5, 2017.
- "Aunt Dan and Lemon". Whistler in the Dark. 2011. Archived from the original on March 23, 2012. Retrieved July 29, 2014.
- McGrath, Patrick (Spring 1997). "Wallace Shawn by Patrick McGrath". BOMB Magazine. Retrieved July 29, 2014.
- Richmond, Ray (June 12, 2007). "Redgrave laid low by HBO's heavy "Fever"". Reuters. Retrieved January 5, 2017.
- "We Bet You Didn't Know These Actors Voice Characters in Both Disney and Disney Pixar Movies". Oh My Disney. 2015-06-19. Retrieved 2017-09-14.
- Gavin, Patrick (June 20, 2013). "Celeb video: 'I am Bradley Manning'". Politico. Retrieved July 29, 2014.
- Shawn, Wallace (February 3, 2011). "Why I Call Myself a Socialist: Is the World Really a Stage?". Huffington Post. Retrieved January 5, 2017.
- "Bag of Tricks". Tablet Magazine.
- "Interview: Wallace Shawn".
- "JUF : Tweens : Celebrities : Wallace Shawn".
- "Councils, Staff and Board of Jewish Voice for Peace". Jewish Voice for Peace.
- Als, Hilton (Summer 2012). "Wallace Shawn, The Art of Theater No. 17". The Paris Review. Retrieved December 17, 2016.
- "Wallace Shawn on Gaza: "The Anger of the Palestinians Cannot Be Ended by Killing Their Children"". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2017-12-22.
- "Councils, Staff and Board of Jewish Voice for Peace". Jewish Voice for Peace. Retrieved 2017-12-22.
- Steindler, Catherine (Spring 2013). "Interviews, Deborah Eisenberg, The Art of Fiction No. 218". The Paris Review. Retrieved January 6, 2017.
- The Odd Gentlemen. King's Quest – Chapter III: Once Upon A Climb. Sierra Entertainment. Scene: Closing credits, 1 min in, Cast.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Wallace Shawn.|
- Wallace Shawn on IMDb
- Wallace Shawn at the Internet Broadway Database
- Wallace Shawn at the Internet Off-Broadway Database
- Hilton Als (Summer 2012). "Wallace Shawn, The Art of Theater No. 17". The Paris Review.
- Amazon.com author index
- An Innocent Man in Guantanamo with readings by Wallace Shawn at LIVE from the New York Public Library, April 4, 2008
- Lannan Foundation: Wallace Shawn reading of The Fever