Mandy Patinkin Biography

Film Actor, Singer, Theater Actor, Television Actor (1952–)
Mandy Patinkin is an award-winning American singer and actor known for his work on such TV shows as ‘Homeland’ and in such films as ‘The Princess Bride.’


Born in 1952 in Chicago, Mandy Patinkin studied acting at the Juilliard School of Drama in New York. After beginning his career with stage work, Patinkin moved to films by the late 1970s, and his reputation hit a new high with 1987's The Princess Bride. Working across theater, film, music and television, Patinkin has most recently garnered fans with his roles on the popular programs Criminal Minds and Homeland.

Early Years

Mandy Patinkin was born Mandel Bruce Patinkin on November 30, 1952, in Chicago, Illinois, into a conservative Jewish family. After high school, Patinkin attended the University of Kansas, and then went on to study acting at the Juilliard School of Drama in New York City. He would never graduate from Juilliard, though, because acting jobs interceded and allowed him to transition to the life of a professional actor.

Patinkin's first major role came with the Public Theater’s production of Leave It to Beaver Is Dead (1979). He was also active with the New York Shakespeare Festival, and notably portrayed Che Guevara in Evita on Broadway in 1979, a role for which he won a Tony Award for Best Actor. He also performed the role on the Evita soundtrack, which sold more than a million copies. It was during this period that Patinkin made his first big-screen appearance, in The Big Fix (1979).

Movie Career Takes Off

Patinkin married author and actress Kathryn Grody in 1980, and the couple have sons Isaac and Gideon. Professionally, parts in films such as French Postcards (1979), Night of the Juggler (1980), Ragtime (1981) and Yentl (1983) led to a plum role in the 1987 film The Princess Bride.

In the comic homage to the adventure genre, Patinkin played Inigo Montoya, a man in search of vengeance for his murdered father. His signature lines, which he kept at the ready for the moment he confronted his father’s killer—“Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die”—made Patinkin famous, and the film went on to enjoy cult classic status.

Vocal Work and Move to TV

When Patinkin wasn’t busy on-screen, he returned to Broadway in productions such as the Stephen Sondheim musical Sunday in the Park with George (1984), a role that earned him a Tony nomination for his performance as artist Georges Seurat. The natural tenor also found other opportunities to sing, and he became an in-demand vocalist during this period. He was hired to sing on a series of recordings of Broadway musicals, including South Pacific (1986) and Man of La Mancha (1990). In addition, CBS Records signed him to a solo contract, releasing Patinkin’s eponymous debut album in 1989.

In 1994, Patinkin made the jump to TV with a starring role on the CBS drama Chicago Hope. The show was a huge hit, and Patinkin earned an Emmy for his work in 1995. He then returned to the big screen for films such as Men With Guns (1998) and The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland (1999), before landing another prime TV role: that of Special Agent Jason Gideon on the crime drama Criminal Minds. His character had a dedicated fan base, but Patinkin remained on the show for only two seasons.

Mandy Patinkin

Mandy Patinkin at the 2013 SAG Awards (Photo: DFree / Shutterstock)

Fans could catch up with the actor again in 2011 when he became an original cast member on Homeland. On the hit show, he plays a former CIA officer named Saul Berenson, opposite Claire Danes’s Carrie Mathison.

Patinkin also has also been a guest on numerous talk shows over the years including a 2013 appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, in which he reminded fans of his comedic timing in a sketch entitled 'Mandy Patinkin Teaches Jimmy Fallon 'Candy Crush.'"

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