Wallace Michael Shawn (born November 12, 1943) is an American character actor, voice artist, comedian, playwright and essayist. His film roles have included those of Wally Shawn (a fictionalized version of himself) in the Louis Malle-directed drama My Dinner with Andre (1981), Vizzini in The Princess Bride (1987), Mr. James Hall in Clueless (1995) and the voice of Rex in the Toy Story franchise. He has also had roles in Woody Allen's films Manhattan (1979), Radio Days (1987), Shadows and Fog (1991), The Curse of the Jade Scorpion (2001), Melinda and Melinda (2004) and Rifkin's Festival (2020). He has appeared in a variety of television series, including recurring roles as Grand Nagus Zek in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993–1999), Cyrus Rose in Gossip Girl (2008–2012), and Dr. John Sturgis in Young Sheldon (2018–).
Shawn in May 2014
|Born||November 12, 1943|
New York City, U.S.
|Occupation||Actor, voice artist, comedian, playwright, essayist|
|Relatives||Allen Shawn (brother)|
His plays include Obie Award-winning 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 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 in New York City, to a Jewish family. His parents were William Shawn (1907–1992), the longtime editor of The New Yorker, and journalist Cecille Shawn (née Lyon; 1906–2005). He has two younger siblings, twins Allen, a composer and Mary Shawn, who is autistic and lives in an institution. Shawn attended The Putney School, a private liberal arts high school in Putney, Vermont, and graduated with a A.B. 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 his 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 both lyrical and violent. In a conversation with Andre Gregory, parts of which were used to create My Dinner with Andre, Shawn said these plays depicted "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 Shawn "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. Shawn received the Obie Award for best playwrighting in 1974 for Our Late Night.
Shawn's later plays are more overtly political, drawing parallels between his characters' psychology 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. He has called Aunt Dan and Lemon a cautionary tale against fascism. Shawn's monologue The Fever, originally meant to be performed for small audiences in apartments, depicts a person who becomes sick while struggling to find a morally consistent way to live when faced with injustice, and harshly criticizes the United States' record 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 which he talked extensively about the thematic connections among them, as well as his own views on Marxist, communist and socialist politics, their relevance to American liberalism, and how governmental and individual responsibilities for finding solutions to the dichotomy between rich and poor in the world take hold in his characters. Aunt Dan and Lemon earned Shawn his second Obie Award for excellence in playwrighting in 1986, and The Fever won Best American Play in 1991. Three of Shawn's plays have been adapted into films: The Designated Mourner (basically a film version of David Hare's stage production), Marie and Bruce 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 featured 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 voiceover 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 express his perceptions of politics and other aspects 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 ex-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, Cyrus Rose on Gossip Girl, and Ezra in The Haunted Mansion (2003).
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 on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Stuart Best on Murphy Brown, Jeff Engels on The Cosby Show, Dr. Howard Stiles on Crossing Jordan, Arnie Ross on Taxi, Charles Lester on The Good Wife, and a reprisal of his role as Mr. Hall on 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 on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. He appeared in Vegas Vacation as Marty. A Master Builder opened in New York City in June 2014. In 2018, he joined the cast of Young Sheldon in the recurring role of Meemaw's boyfriend and Sheldon's physics professor, Dr. John Sturgis.
Shawn was honored in 2005 with the PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Award as a Master American Dramatist.
Shawn is a voice actor for animated films and television series, including Rex in the Toy Story franchise and Kingdom Hearts III, Mr. Gilbert Huph in The Incredibles, Principal Mazur in A Goofy Movie, Bertram in Family Guy, Munk in Happily N'Ever After, Purple Pirate Paul in Tom and Jerry: Shiver Me Whiskers, and as a caricature of himself in BoJack Horseman.
Shawn said that Toy Story director John Lasseter may have seen both his My Dinner with Andre and The Princess Bride roles and saw him as "excitable" like Rex.
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.
In June 2013, Shawn and numerous other celebrities appeared in a video showing support for Chelsea Manning. He referred to himself as a socialist in his essay "Why I Call Myself a Socialist: Is the World Really a Stage?", which was published online and later in his Essays.
Shawn is Jewish, born to Jewish parents. He identifies religiously as an atheist. As of 2012[update], he lives in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan. He voiced his support for the Palestinian people during the 2014 Israel–Gaza conflict. He is a member of Jewish Voice for Peace and is on the advisory board.
|Starting Over||Workshop Member|
|All That Jazz||Assistant Insurance Man|
|1980||Simon||Eric Van Dongen|
|Atlantic City||Waiter||Credited as Wally Shawn|
|1981||Cheaper to Keep Her||Mugger|
|My Dinner with Andre||Wally Shawn||Also writer|
|1982||A Little Sex||Oliver|
|The First Time||Jules Goldfarb|
|Deal of the Century||Harold DeVoto|
|The Hotel New Hampshire||Freud|
|The Bostonians||Mr. Pardon|
|Micki & Maude||Elliot Fibel|
|1985||Heaven Help Us||Father Abruzzi|
|Head Office||Mike Hoover|
|1987||The Bedroom Window||Henderson's Attorney|
|Radio Days||Masked Avenger|
|Nice Girls Don't Explode||Ellen|
|Prick Up Your Ears||John Lahr|
|The Princess Bride||Vizzini|
|1989||She's Out of Control||Dr. Herman Fishbinder|
|Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills||Howard|
|We're No Angels||Translator|
|1991||Shadows and Fog||Simon Carr|
|1992||Unbecoming Age||Dr. Block|
|Nickel & Dime||Everett Willits|
|The Double 0 Kid||Cashpot||Direct-to-video|
|Mom and Dad Save the World||Sibor|
|1993||The Cemetery Club||Larry|
|The Meteor Man||Mr. Little|
|1994||Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle||Horatio Byrd|
|Vanya on 42nd Street||Vanya|
|Canadian Bacon||Canadian Prime Minister Clark MacDonald|
|Clueless||Mr. James Hall|
|A Goofy Movie||Principal Mazur||Voice|
|1996||All Dogs Go to Heaven 2||Labrador MC|
|House Arrest||Vic Finley|
|Just Write||Arthur Blake|
|The Designated Mourner||N/A||Writer|
|1999||The Diary of the Hurdy-Gurdy Man|
|My Favorite Martian||Dr. Elliot Coleye|
|Toy Story 2||Rex||Voice|
|2000||Buzz Lightyear of Star Command: The Adventure Begins||Voice; direct-to-video|
|The Prime Gig||Gene|
|2001||The Curse of the Jade Scorpion||George Bond|
|Monsters, Inc.||Rex||Uncredited voice cameo|
|2002||Personal Velocity: Three Portraits||Mr. Gelb|
|The Haunted Mansion||Ezra|
|2004||Teacher's Pet||Crosby Strickler||Voice|
|Melinda and Melinda||Sy|
|The Incredibles||Gilbert Huph||Voice|
|Marie and Bruce||N/A||Writer|
|2005||Chicken Little||Principal Fetchit||Voice|
|2006||Southland Tales||Baron Von Westphalen|
|Air Buddies||Billy||Voice; direct-to-DVD|
|Tom and Jerry: Shiver Me Whiskers||Purple Pirate Barnacle Paul|
|2007||Happily N'Ever After||Munk||Voice|
|I Could Never Be Your Woman||Math Teacher||Uncredited|
|2008||Kit Kittredge: An American Girl||Mr. Gibson|
|Mia and the Migoo||Migoo||English dub|
|Scooby-Doo! and the Goblin King||Mr. Gibbles||Voice; direct-to-DVD|
|2009||Jack and the Beanstalk||Broker / Booker / Lancelot Squarejaw|
|Capitalism: A Love Story||Himself||Documentary|
|2010||Furry Vengeance||Dr. Christian Burr||Uncredited|
|Toy Story 3||Rex||Voice|
|Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore||Calico|
|Tea Time||Short film; writer|
|2011||The Speed of Thought||Sandy|
|Hawaiian Vacation||Rex||Voice; short film|
|A Late Quartet||Gideon Rosen|
|The Double||Mr. Papadopoulos|
|A Master Builder||Halvard Solness||Also writer and producer|
|2016||Drawing Home||Mr. Garfield|
|2017||Animal Crackers||Mr. Woodley||Voice|
|The Only Living Boy in New York||David|
|Someone Else's Wedding||Albert|
|2019||Toy Story 4||Rex||Voice|
|2020||Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made||Mr. Crocus|
|Rifkin's Festival||Mort Rifkin|
|1982–1983||Taxi||Arnie Ross||2 episodes|
|1983||How to Be a Perfect Person in Just Three Days||Professor Silverfish||Television film|
|Saigon: Year of the Cat||Frank Judd|
|1987–1991||The Cosby Show||Jeff Engels||5 episodes|
|1992||Civil Wars||Riley Baker||Episode: "A Bus Named Desire"|
|One Life to Live||Professor Marvel||Unknown episodes|
|The Pink Panther||The Little Man (voice)||Episode: "Ice Blue Pink/Pink Trek"|
|Matrix||Mr. Gonley||Episode: "Lapses in Memory"|
|1993–1999||Star Trek: Deep Space Nine||Grand Nagus Zek||7 episodes|
|1994||The Nanny||Charles Haste||Episode: "Pishke Business"|
|1994–1997||Murphy Brown||Stuart Best||4 episodes|
|Something Wilder||Roof Inspector||Episode: "Dr. Roof"|
|Just Like Dad||Stan Speigel||Television film|
|1996||Toy Story Treats||Rex (voice)||18 episodes|
|1996–1997||Clueless||Mr. Hall||17 episodes|
|1997||King of the Hill||Philip Ny (voice)||Episode: "How to Fire a Rifle Without Really Trying"|
|The Jungle Book: Mowgli's Story||Tarzan Chimp (voice)||Television special|
|The Lionhearts||Various (voice)||5 episodes|
|1999||Homicide: Life on the Street||Frank Hopper||Episode: "A Case of Do or Die"|
|Cosby||Mr. Fleming||2 episodes|
|2000–2001||Teacher's Pet||Crosby Strickler (voice)||6 episodes|
|2001||Ally McBeal||Mr. Dune||Episode: "Falling Up"|
|Blonde||I. E. Shinn||2 episodes|
|Three Sisters||Dean Webb||Episode: "Don't Be Thrown"|
|2001–2006||Crossing Jordan||Howard Stiles||8 episodes|
|Family Guy||Bertram (voice)||3 episodes|
|Teamo Supremo||Gauntlet (voice)||Episode: "Running the Gauntlet"|
|Mr. St. Nick||Mimir||Television film|
|2003||Monte Walsh||Colonel Wilson|
|Stanley||Mr. Goldberg (voice)||Episode: "Going-Away Goose/Time to Climb!"|
|2004||Sex and the City||Martin Grable||Episode: "Splat!"|
|Karroll's Christmas||Zeb Rosecog||Television film|
|2005||Fat Actress||Sigmund von Oy||Episode: "The Koi Effect"|
|Stargate SG-1||Arlos Kadawam||Episode: "The Ties That Bind"|
|Desperate Housewives||Lonny Moon||Episode: "They Asked Me Why I Believe in You"|
|2006||The 12th Man||Marty||Pilot|
|Law & Order: Criminal Intent||Film Professor||Episode: "Weeping Willow"|
|2008||The Return of Jezebel James||Garson Leeds||Episode: "I'm with Blank"|
|Cashmere Mafia||Animal Handler||Episode: "Dog Eat Dog"|
|2008–2009||The L Word||William Halsey||5 episodes|
|2009||Law & Order: Special Victims Unit||Roy Batters||Episode: "Snatched"|
|Life on Mars||Stephen Morrell – "The Sorcerer"||Episode: "Let All the Children Boogie"|
|ER||Teddy Lempell||Episode: "The Beginning of the End"|
|2010||The Daily Show with Jon Stewart||Alan Rubin||Episode: "Anthony Weiner"|
|Damages||Sterling Biddle||Episode: "Don't Forget to Thank Mr. Zedeck"|
|2008–2012||Gossip Girl||Cyrus Rose||11 episodes|
|2011–2012||Eureka||Warren Hughes||3 episodes|
|2011–2016||Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness||Taotie (voice)||9 episodes|
|2012||Fish Hooks||Rat King (voice)||Episode: "Guys' Night Out"|
|2013–2015||The Good Wife||Charles Lester||3 episodes|
|2013||Adventure Time||Rasheeta (voice)||Episode: "Puhoy"|
|Uncle Grandpa||Ule Gapa (voice)||Episode: "Belly Bros"|
|Toy Story of Terror!||Rex (voice)||Television special|
|2014||Toy Story That Time Forgot|
|Phineas and Ferb||Saul (voice)||Episode: "Phineas and Ferb Save Summer"|
|The Mysteries of Laura||Kenneth Walters||Episode: "The Mystery of the Sex Scandal"|
|Club Penguin: Monster Beach Party||Gary the Gadget Guy (voice)||Television special|
|The 7D||Not-So-Magic Mirror (voice)||Episode: "Mirror, Mirror"|
|BoJack Horseman||Himself (voice)||Episode: "One Trick Pony"|
|Christmas at Cartwright's||Harry Osbourne||Television film|
|2014–2018||Mozart in the Jungle||Winslow Elliot||6 episodes|
|2015||Club Penguin: Halloween Panic!||Gary the Gadget Guy (voice)||Television special|
|2016||The Night Shift||Mr. Neville||Episode: "Unexpected"|
|Life in Pieces||Samuel||Episode: "Eyebrow Anonymous Trapped Gem"|
|Regular Show||The Evil Brain (voice)||Episode: "The Brain of Evil"|
|2016–2019||The Stinky & Dirty Show||Tall (voice)||18 episodes|
|2017||Cop and a Half: New Recruit||Principal Miller||Television film|
|Mr. Robot||Mr. Williams||Episode: "eps3.2_legacy.so"|
|Graves||Jerry North||3 episodes|
|She's Gotta Have It||Julius Kemper||2 episodes|
|2017–2018||OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes||Wally the White (voice)|
|Trollhunters||Unkar the Unfortunate (voice)|
|2017, 2019||The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel||Herb Smith|
|2018||The Good Fight||Charles Lester||Episode: "Day 471"|
|Law & Order: Special Victims Unit||Benjamin Edelman||Episode: "Alta Kockers"|
|2018–present||Young Sheldon||Dr. John Sturgis||28 episodes|
|2019||Big City Greens||Jyle Donelan (voice)||Episode: "Night Bill"|
|The Simpsons||Wallace the Hernia (voice)||Episode: "I Want You (She's So Heavy)"|
|Butterbean's Cafe||Oopsie Doodle (voice)||Episode: "Oopsie Doodle!"|
|Forky Asks a Question||Rex (voice)||Episode: "What Is Time?"|
|2020||Search Party||William Badpastor||2 episodes|
|Esme & Roy||Grumbles (voice)||Episode: "Princess of Play Parts 1 and 2"|
|1996||Toy Story: The Video Game||Rex|
|Toy Story Activity Center|
|2004||The Incredibles||Gilbert Huph||Archive recordings|
|2006||Family Guy Video Game!||Bertram|
|2008||The Princess Bride Game||Vizzini|
|2010||Toy Story 3: The Video Game||Rex|
|2012||Kinect Rush: A Disney-Pixar Adventure||Rex and Gilbert Huph|
|Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse||Bertram|
|2014||Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes|
|2015||Disney Infinity 3.0|
|Disney Magic Kingdoms||Rex|
|2018||Lego The Incredibles||Gilbert Huph|
|2019||Kingdom Hearts III||Rex|||
|2008–16||Toy Story: The Musical||Rex||Voice|
|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|
|The Music Teacher||2006|
|Grasses of a Thousand Colors||2008|
|Evening at the Talk House||2015|
|2009||Essays||Book collection of essays, by Haymarket Books|
|2017||Night Thoughts||Published 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.
- "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.
- see pg. 20 of liner notes accompanying "Allen Shawn – Piano Works" CD issued by Coviello Classics label (COV 91414)> "Allen Shawn - Klavierwerke". Music Reference. Archived from the original on February 4, 2017. Retrieved February 3, 2017.
- Kakutani, Michiko (January 30, 2007). "Allen Shawn - Wish I Could Be There: Notes From a Phobic Life - Books - Review". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved April 30, 2019.
- 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.
- Obie Awards "1974 Winners"
- McGrath, Patrick (Spring 1997). "Wallace Shawn by Patrick McGrath". Bomb Magazine. Retrieved July 29, 2014.
- Obie Awards "1986 Winners"
- Obie Awards, "1991 Winners"
- Richmond, Ray (June 12, 2007). "Redgrave laid low by HBO's heavy "Fever"". Reuters. Retrieved January 5, 2017.
- "Wallace Shawn returns as Dr. Sturgis on Young Sheldon". Monsters and Critics. October 18, 2018. Retrieved February 27, 2019.
- "Woody Allen to Begin Filming New Movie This Summer", Nate Nickolai. Variety, June 4, 2019. 
- "Wallace Shawn talks acting, 'Princess Bride' and 'Toy Story' ahead of Steel City Con". Retrieved December 4, 2019.
- "We Bet You Didn't Know These Actors Voice Characters in Both Disney and Disney Pixar Movies". Oh My Disney. June 19, 2015. Retrieved September 14, 2017.
- 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.
- Als, Hilton (Summer 2012). "Wallace Shawn, The Art of Theater No. 17". The Paris Review. Paris, France: The Paris Review Foundation. Retrieved December 17, 2016.
- Shawn, Wallace (August 25, 2014). "Wallace Shawn on Gaza: "The Anger of the Palestinians Cannot Be Ended by Killing Their Children"". The Hollywood Reporter. Los Angeles, California: Valence Media. Retrieved December 22, 2017.
- "Councils, Staff and Board of Jewish Voice for Peace". Jewish Voice for Peace. Retrieved December 22, 2017.
- Steindler, Catherine (Spring 2013). "Interviews, Deborah Eisenberg, The Art of Fiction No. 218". The Paris Review. Paris, France: Paris Review Foundation. 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.
- "Square Enix Press Center - STAR-STUDDED VOICE CAST UNVEILED FOR DISNEY AND SQUARE ENIX'S KINGDOM HEARTS III". press.na.square-enix.com. Retrieved June 17, 2019.
|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.
- 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