NATHAN LANE Biography - Actors and Actresses


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Name: Nathan Lane                                                                         
Birth name: Joseph Lane                                                                   
Born: 3 February 1956 Jersey City, New Jersey, U.S.                                       
Nathan Lane (born February 3, 1956) is a Tony Award- and Emmy Award-winning               
American actor of the stage and screen. He's known for his roles as Albert in             
The Birdcage, Max Bialystock in the musical (as well as the film) The Producers,         
and his voice work in The Lion King and Stuart Little.                                   
Lane was born Joseph Lane in Jersey City, New Jersey, the son of Irish American           
Catholic parents. He was named after a paternal uncle, a Jesuit priest.                   
His father, Daniel, was a truck driver and an aspiring tenor who died from               
alcoholism when Lane was eleven; his mother, Nora, was a manic-depressive                 
housewife and secretary who died in 2000. He has two brothers, Robert                     
and Daniel. Lane attended Roman Catholic schools in Jersey City, including               
Jesuit-run St. Peter's Preparatory High School where he was elected Best Actor           
in 1974.                                                                                 
Deciding between college and an acting career, Lane opted for the latter, saying         
that college was for people who didn't know what they wanted to do, while he did.         
Because there already was a Joseph Lane registered with Actors Equity, he                 
changed his name to Nathan after the character Nathan Detroit from the musical           
Guys and Dolls. He moved to New York City where, after a long struggle, his               
career began to take off, with off-Broadway productions at Second Stage Theatre,         
the Roundabout Theatre, and the Manhattan Theatre Club, and his 1982 Broadway             
debut in a revival of Noel Coward's Present Laughter with a cast headed by               
George C. Scott, Kate Burton, Dana Ivey, and Christine Lahti.                             
His second Broadway appearance was in the 1983 box-office failure Merlin,                 
starring Chita Rivera, and magician Doug Henning. This was followed by The Wind           
in the Willows as Toad, Some Americans Abroad at Lincoln Center, and On Borrowed         
Time at Circle in the Square Theatre with George C. Scott again. In 1992, he             
starred in the revival of Guys and Dolls, receiving his first Tony nomination,           
as well as Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards, playing the character who         
lent him his name, opposite Peter Gallagher and Faith Prince.                             
His professional association with his close friend the playwright Terrence               
McNally includes roles in Lips Together, Teeth Apart, The Lisbon Traviata [Drama         
Desk and Lucille Lortel Awards], Bad Habits, Love! Valour! Compassion! [ Obie,           
Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards ], and Dedication. The early 1990s             
began a highly successful stretch of Broadway shows for Lane. In 1993, he                 
portrayed Sid Caesar-like Max Prince in Neil Simon's Laughter on the 23rd Floor,         
inspired by Simon's early career writing sketches for Your Show of Shows. In             
1996, he starred in the highly successful revival of Stephen Sondheim and Larry           
Gelbart's A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, for which he won a             
Tony Award , Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards. His association with             
Sondheim continued when he appeared with Victor Garber in the workshop of Wise           
Guys (later Bounce) and again in 2004 when he revised the original book for and           
starred in the Broadway debut of the composer's The Frogs at Lincoln Center. He           
also sang a song written especially for him by Sondheim in the film The Birdcage         
Golden Globe nomination. In 1999 he starred in the Roundabout revival of The Man         
Who Came to Dinner as Sheridan Whiteside, with Jean Smart and Harriet Harris.             
Prior to that he starred in the Encores production of Do, Re, Mi. In addition to         
the McNally plays, Lane has appeared in numerous other Off Broadway productions,         
including Love (the musical version of Murray Schisgal's Luv), Measure For               
Measure in Central Park, The Film Society, Mizlansky/Zilinsky or "Schmucks", In           
a Pig's Valise, Trumbo, She Stoops to Conquer, and A Midsummer Night's Dream.             
In 1995 he performed in The Wizard of Oz in Concert: Dreams Come True a musical           
performance of the popular story at Lincoln Center to benefit the Children's             
Defense Fund. The performance was originally broadcast on Turner Network                 
Television (TNT), and issued on CD and video in 1996. Lane won his second Tony           
Award for his portrayal of Max Bialystock in the musical version of Mel Brooks's         
The Producers, as well as Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards. He later           
replaced Richard Dreyfuss in the role at London's Theatre Royal Drury Lane at             
the last minute and went on to win the Olivier Award as Best Actor in a Musical.         
He recreated his performance for the film version, for which he received a               
Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture,             
Musical or Comedy.                                                                       
Lane has performed two roles originated by Zero Mostel, Pseudolus in A Funny             
Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and Max Bialystock in The Producers. He           
declined the role of Tevye in the 2004 Broadway revival of Fiddler On The Roof           
because he didn't want to be seen as always following in Mostel's footsteps.             
Coincidentally, both of Lane's Tony Awards were for Mostel's roles.                       
In 2005, Lane rejoined Broderick for a wildly successful limited run of The Odd           
Couple. In 2006, he changed gears to take on a primarily dramatic role in a               
revival of Simon Gray's Butley. He and Broderick were awarded adjacent stars on           
the Hollywood Walk of Fame in a joint ceremony on January 9, 2006. They were             
also immortalized as Max and Leo at Madame Tussauds Wax Museum. He is currently           
starring in the new David Mamet play, November, directed by Joe Mantello.