Kevin Pollak biography
SynopsisKevin Pollack was born October 30, 1957 in San Francisco, California. In 1988, Ron Howard cast him in the George Lucas film, Willow. A year later, starred in Avalon (1989). But it was in 1992 that he saw his career truly take-off. That year he starred in A Few Good Men. Other memorable roles followed. In all, he has appeared in more than 60 films and made appearances on several TV shows.
Actor, stand-up comedian. Born Kevin Elliot Pollak on October 30, 1957, in San Francisco, California. Pollak, whose family moved to San Jose when he was young and remained there for the rest of his childhood, showed an early passion for performance, trying his hand at stand-up comedy as early as 10 years old.
By his mid-teens stand-up comedy consumed his non-school hours. That was no small accomplishment given that San Jose's nightclub scene catered to bands, rather than comics. "When I began performing, it was in venues that were designed for music," Pollak recalled. "There were no comedy clubs then in San Jose. I would go on between the bands breaks when nobody really wanted to listen."
But Pollak was determined to find work and create opportunities for himself. His dead-on impersonations helped him land work, and at the age of 17 Rich Little invited him on stage so the two could compare their respective versions of the Peter Falk character, Columbo.
Following high school Pollak, who had started to land paying gigs, moved to San Francisco to land steadier work. There, Pollak made a name for himself, and in 1982 he took second place at the San Francisco International Comedy Competition.
Sensing, however, that he might have a future in film and television, Pollak hit the road again in 1983—this time relocating to Los Angeles.
Pollak wasn't an overnight success, but he did draw the attention of some big players. In 1988, Pollak caught a major career break when director Ron Howard cast him in the George Lucas film, Willow. A year later, Pollak showed off more of his acting chops in the drama Avalon (1989).
But it was in 1992 that Pollak saw his career truly take-off. That year he starred opposite Tom Cruise, Demi Moore, and Jack Nicholson in the box-office hit, A Few Good Men. Other memorable roles followed in films such as Grumpy Old Men (1993) and its 1995 sequel, Grumpier Old Men, The Usual Suspects (1995), Casino (1995), The Whole Nine Yards (1999), and The Whole Ten Yards (2004), among others.
In all, Pollak has appeared in more than 60 films, and made guest appearances on several TV shows, including Vamped Out and Entourage. In 2010 he started hosting the FOX show, Million Dollar Money Drop, a show in which couples are given a million dollars and then asked several multiple choice questions to see if they can hold onto the money.
Pollak has also been unafraid to embrace the Web as an entertainment medium. In 2009 he launched his own Internet talk show called Kevin Pollak's Chat Show, which featured interviews with fellow actors, from Dana Carvey and Matthew Perry to Jon Hamm.
Still, for all his acting work, Pollak, who's somewhat of a legend in Hollywood for his impersonations of A-list types like William Shatner, Alan Arkin, Christopher Walken, Walter Matthau and Robert De Niro, has never turned his back on his stand-up roots. In 2001 he returned to the stage with a 20-city tour.
"There's nothing else in the performer's life that matches that ridiculous energy of the live performance and the immediate, instant response, either good or bad, to your own thoughts or musings," he once explained. "It's a magical thing. When I started off in movies, all that was gone. If you did something funny during a shot, the crew was not allowed to laugh for fear of ruining the take. In terms of the acting, it was always fairly frustrating. So, as much as I love acting, it is that desire for that live experience that draws me to stand up. That need just doesn't stop when I do movies."