Stephen Harold Tobolowsky (born May 30, 1951) is a Tony Award-nominated American actor. He is perhaps best known for playing amiable, brainy and/or clueless characters, in television, stage and film.
Tobolowsky was born and raised to a middle-class family in Dallas
, and graduated from Justin F. Kimball High School
in 1969. While attending high school, he was also a guitarist and back-up singer in the first band formed by musician Stevie Ray Vaughan
and Stevie Ray's brother Jimmie Vaughan
. Tobolowsky later graduated from Southern Methodist University
, majoring in theater, along with his friend Patricia Richardson
Stephen Tobolowsky has appeared in over 200 films and at least as many television projects with mostly minor roles. In 1994
's Radioland Murders
, he portrayed Max Applewhite, a gentle sound man with a dark secret. He appeared on Seinfeld
as Tor Eckman, Kramer
healer, in the second season episode, "The Heart Attack
". He is also known for playing Sammy Jankis in 2001
, starring Guy Pearce
. In 2005
, he was the eponymous subject of the documentary film, Stephen Tobolowsky's Birthday Party
, that featured him preparing for, and hosting, his own birthday party, while delivering a series of anecdotes from his life. He was a member of the cast of NBC
's television series Heroes
for its second season, portraying Bob, the new boss of The Company
Tobolowsky is perhaps best-known for his role in the 1993 film, Groundhog Day, in which he played Bill Murray's annoying former high school classmate - and now insurance salesman - Ned Ryerson. Murray's character (Phil Connors) continuously runs into Ryerson when reliving the day of February 2. Tobolowsky reunited with Murray 11 years later, appearing in the movie version of the comic strip Garfield, playing the sinister dog trainer Happy Chapman, with Murray providing the voice of Garfield.
Tobolowsky has also been involved in theater; directing and acting in plays in New York City, San Francisco and Los Angeles. He has directed one movie, Two Idiots in Hollywood, based on his play of the same name. He also co-wrote the film True Stories with David Byrne. He was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play for the 2002 revival of Morning's at Seven.
On August 5, 2008, on the 11th episode
of the /Filmcast
, Tobolowsky revealed that he had been thrown off of a horse in Iceland and broke his neck in five places, but is expected to make a full recovery.