American actor Paul Dooley drew comic strips for his local newspaper before he turned to the big screen. His first big break in Robert Altman's A Wedding. He went onto work with Altman for several more films, including A Perfect Couple, Health, and O.C. and Stiggs. Dooley was prolific on film throughout the 1980s and '90s, building a strong reputation for his endearing on-screen warmth.
Born Paul Brown on February 22, 1928, in Parkersburg, West Virginia, Paul Dooley drew comic strips for the local newspaper before entering the U.S. Navy. He returned home to study drama at West Virginia University; he graduated in 1952. In the early 1950s, he made his debut on the New York stage and was discovered by Mike Nichols. The director gave him his first break by casting him in 1965's The Odd Couple on Broadway.
Soon after, Paul Dooley launched a film career. Primarily a character actor, his work was strong but went largely unnoticed until Robert Altman cast him as the patriarch in 1978's A Wedding. Dooley, then 50, teamed with the director for several more films, including 1979's A Perfect Couple, 1980's Health and 1987's O.C. and Stiggs. Other notable roles include a frustrated father in 1979's Breaking Away and a down-to-earth dad in the seminal 1984 teen comedy Sixteen Candles. Dooley was prolific on film throughout the 1980s and 1990s, building a strong reputation for his endearing on-screen warmth.
Paul Dooley has also made a lasting impression on television. Notable projects include Coming of Age, Grace Under Fire and The Practice, the latter which earned the actor an Emmy nomination. During the 1970s, Dooley also co-created and wrote the groundbreaking children's series The Electric Company, which featured such regulars as Morgan Freeman and Rita Moreno.
Paul Dooley married Donna Lee Wasser in 1958; they have three children. He married writer and actress Winifred Holzman in 1984; they have a daughter.
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