Jeffrey Tambor Biography

Actor, Film Actor, Theater Actor, Television Actor (1944–)
Jeffrey Tambor is an American actor best known for his roles on the late-night spoof series 'The Larry Sanders Show,' the comedy series 'Arrested Development' and the dramedy 'Transparent.'

Who Is Jeffrey Tambor?

Born in 1944 in San Francisco, California, actor Jeffrey Tambor got his start in the industry after taking acting classes as an adolescent. He went on to study acting at Wayne State University, later teaching theater at his alma mater. In 1981, Tambor found recurring work playing different characters on the popular series Three's Company and its spin-off The Ropers. From there, he starred on several television series before landing one of his biggest roles: playing Hank Kingsley on The Larry Sanders Show (1992-98). After the show's six-year run, Tambor returned to the spotlight with a featured part on the popular TV comedy Arrested Development (2003-06, 2013). He later starred in the online series Transparent, for which he won a Golden Globe and multiple Emmys, before he was fired in early 2018 following an investigation into sexual harassment claims.

Background and Education

Actor Jeffrey Michael Tambor was born on July 8, 1944, in San Francisco, California, to Michael Tambor, a flooring contractor, and Eileen Tambor, a homemaker. At the age of 11, Tambor began to gain a serious interest in acting, taking classes and refining his skills. His desire to work in the performing arts persisted for years to come, with Tambor studying acting at San Francisco State University and attaining a master's degree from Wayne State University. Thereafter, he taught theater at his alma mater.

Stage Career and 'Three's Company'

Making good use of his degree, Tambor began what would become a 15-year career as a stage actor. He made his Broadway debut in Sly Fox (1976), co-starring with the iconic George C. Scott, and made his big-screen debut three years later in …And Justice for All (1979). He later picked up his first role as a regular cast member in 1980 on the Three's Company spin-off, The Ropers. Though the series only lasted one season, it gave Tambor some much-needed exposure. Tambor's hot streak continued, as he was given the opportunity to play different characters on Three's Company in 1981 and '82.   

Big Break: 'Larry Sanders'

Tambor primarily stayed in the TV industry, making a series of minor appearances on television programs in the 1980s and '90s, including M*A*S*H (1982) and Doogie Howser, M.D. (1989). It wasn't until he appeared on the series The Larry Sanders Show (1992-98) that Tambor made a name for himself. On the series, a spoof of other late-night talk shows, Tambor portrayed Hank Kingsley, the sidekick of talk show host Larry Sanders, played by Garry Shandling. Several celebrity guests, including Bridget Fonda, Jim Carrey and Rob Lowe, appeared on the series throughout its six-season run, during which time Tambor garnered four Emmy nominations.

'Arrested Development'

Various successful acting gigs came as a result of Tambor's acclaimed performance on The Larry Sanders Show, but none catapulted the actor further in his career than his portrayal of the Bluth twins—playing both George Sr., a business owner and the patriarch of the dysfunctional Bluth family, and Oscar, George's twin brother—on the TV series Arrested Development. Deemed an instant hit for its unique humor and wit, the show brought Tambor two more Emmy nominations.

Though revered by critics, the series saw poor ratings and was canceled after three seasons on FOX. After its initial run (2003-06), however, the show was renewed—due in no small part to its strong, cult-like following—this time airing exclusively on Netflix. Premiering in 2013, the fourth season of Arrested Development saw the reunion of the entire original cast, including Jason Bateman, Portia de Rossi, Michael Cera and Will Arnett.

'Transparent' Stardom and Allegations

In 2014, Tambor starred as lead in the Amazon online series Transparent. Created by Jill Soloway, the show looks at a transgender woman creating a life for herself while dealing with family drama. The groundbreaking venture won a 2015 Golden Globe for best TV series, musical or comedy, with Tambor claiming a Globe for lead actor. That year, as well as in 2016, he won a lead actor Emmy for his work. Tambor garnered yet another Golden Globe nomination for lead actor for the 2017 award show.

In November 2017, Tambor was accused of sexual harassment by a former assistant and Transparent co-star Trace Lysette, both transgender women. Although Tambor vehemently denied any improper actions, Amazon saw fit to initiate an investigation into the allegations.

In mid-February 2018, Tambor was formally fired from Transparent. The actor subsequently lashed out at the "deeply flawed and biased" investigation, saying, "I am profoundly disappointed in Amazon’s handling of these false accusations against me. I am even more disappointed in Jill Soloway’s unfair characterization of me as someone who would ever cause harm to any of my fellow castmates.  

"I deeply regret if any action of mine was ever misinterpreted by anyone and I will continue to vehemently defend myself," he continued. "I also deeply regret that this groundbreaking show, which changed so many lives, is now in jeopardy. That, to me, is the biggest heartbreak.”  

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