Jeffrey Tambor: Biography highlights
Jeffrey Tambor is known for his television roles such as Jeffrey Brookes, the uptight neighbor of Stanley and Helen Roper in the TV sitcom The Ropers (1979–1980), as Hank Kingsley on The Larry Sanders Show (1992–1998), George Bluth Sr. and Oscar Bluth on Arrested Development (2003–2006, 2013, 2018–2019) and Maura Pfefferman on Transparent (2014–2017). For his role in the latter, Tambor earned two Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series out of three nominations. In 2015, he was also awarded a Golden Globe for his portrayal of Pfefferman.
Full biography of Jeffrey Tambor
Jeffrey Tambor was born in San Francisco, California, the son of Eileen (born Salzberg), a homemaker, and Bernard Tambor, a flooring contractor. He grew up in a Conservative Jewish family with roots in Hungary and Ukraine. Tambor is a graduate of Abraham Lincoln High School and San Francisco State University, where he studied acting and then went on to receive a master’s degree from Wayne State University.
Tambor first moved to repertory theater in Milwaukee, later making his Broadway debut in the comedy Sly Fox (1976), appearing with George C. Scott and directed by Arthur Penn. He appeared in Measure for Measure in the same year. In 1979 he starred in Norman Jewison’s …And Justice For All, as a lawyer friend of the protagonist, Arthur Kirkland (Al Pacino). In an early TV job, an ad for Avis rent-a-car, he was seen running (huffing and puffing) through an airport, mocking O. J. Simpson’s “Go, O.J., go!” ads for Hertz. He has had a significant career in episodic TV, where he made numerous guest appearances on different shows, including Taxi, Kojak, M*A*S*H, The Golden Girls, and Three’s Company. In 1979 Tambor got his first role as a main character in television in the short-lived show The Ropers. Throughout the 1980s Tambor had a recurring role on Hill Street Blues playing a defense attorney who eventually becomes a judge. In 1981 he appeared in an episode of Barney Miller as a man who was trying to bring exposure to the members of the Trilateral Commission in charge of the coming New World Order. In 1987 and 1988, Tambor appeared as a regular on the prime time ABC series Max Headroom as Murray, Edison’s editor. In 1990, he appeared in the music video for the Phil Collins song “I Wish It Would Rain Down”.
Tambor served as the announcer (and occasional square) for the game show Hollywood Squares in 2002 and 2003. He was the voice of King Neptune in 2004’s The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie. In the spring of 2005, he starred as George Aaronow in the Broadway revival of Glengarry Glen Ross.
After the cancellation of Arrested Development in April 2006, Tambor signed on to a series with John Lithgow called Twenty Good Years about two men who ponder the last 20 years of their life. The show premiered on NBC on October 11, 2006, but was taken off the air after only a few episodes. Also in 2006, he portrayed George Washington on The Radio Adventures of Dr. Floyd. He starred as “Uncle” Saul in the CBS comedy Welcome to The Captain until its cancellation in March 2008. He has made several cameo appearances on Entourage as a fictionalized version of himself who regularly annoys his agent, Ari Gold.
For several years, based on his availability, Tambor has taught a class for actors. He was a longtime teaching associate of acting coach Milton Katselas.
In 2009, Tambor appeared in the animated film Monsters vs. Aliens and in the comedy The Hangover. In 2009, Tambor began playing the recurring character Len Trexler in the sardonic comedy Archer, an animated television series on the FX network. He is a major love interest to Malory Archer played by Jessica Walter – the two formerly playing husband and wife in Arrested Development.
Tambor replaced Kelsey Grammer as Georges in the Broadway revival of the musical La Cage aux Folles on February 15, 2011, but withdrew from the production after the February 24 performance. Also in 2011, Tambor starred in an indie comedy, Lucky. That same year, he had a minor role in the film Paul with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, reprised his Hangover role for its sequel, and was featured in Flypaper, with Patrick Dempsey and Ashley Judd.
In 2012, Tambor co-starred as Walt, Pete’s aspiring musician father on the sitcom Bent starring Amanda Peet and David Walton. In May 2013 he returned to Arrested Development for season 4 and subsequently, season 5 in 2018–2019.
In 2017 he played Georgy Malenkov in The Death of Stalin.
In May 2017, Tambor released a book entitled Are You Anybody? A Memoir.