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Wallace Michael Shawn

Also Known As: "Wally Shawn"
Current Location:: New York, New York, United States
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of William Shawn and Cecille L Shawn
Brother of Private User; Private and Private

Occupation: Actor, playwright, essayist, voice artist
Managed by: Randy Schoenberg
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Wallace Shawn

Wallace Michael "Wally" Shawn (born November 12, 1943) is an American actor, playwright, and essayist. His best-known film roles include Wally Shawn in My Dinner with Andre (1981), Vizzini in The Princess Bride (1987), Ezra in Disney's The Haunted Mansion (2003), and Rex the toy dinosaur in the Toy Story animated film series. He also starred in a variety of TV series, including Gossip Girl, and repeat appearances as Grand Nagus Zek in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993–99).

His plays include The Designated Mourner, Aunt Dan and Lemon, and Grasses of a Thousand Colors. He also co-wrote the screenplay for My Dinner with Andre with Andre Gregory, and he scripted Vanya on 42nd Street, a film adaptation of Anton Chekov's play Uncle Vanya. His latest film from June 2014 was A Master Builder based on the play by Henrik Ibsen.[1]

Contents [show] Early life[edit] Shawn was born in New York City, where he continues to reside. He is the son of William Shawn, the long-time editor of The New Yorker, and journalist Cecille Shawn (née Lyon); his brother, Allen, is a composer.[2] Shawn attended The Putney School, a private liberal arts high school in Putney, Vermont, and graduated with an A.B. in history from Harvard College. He studied economics and philosophy at Oxford, originally intending to become a diplomat; he also traveled to India as an English teacher, on a Fulbright program. Since 1979, Shawn has made a living primarily as an actor.

Career[edit] Playwright[edit]

Shawn at the Miami Book Fair International in 1991 Shawn's early plays, such as Marie and Bruce (1978), portrayed emotional and sexual conflicts in an absurdist style, with language that was both lyrical and violent. In a conversation with Andre Gregory, parts of which were used to create My Dinner with Andre, Shawn referred to these plays as depicting "my interior life as a raging beast." Critical response was extremely polarized: some critics hailed Shawn as a major writer, while John Simon called Marie and Bruce "garbage" and described Shawn as "one of the unsightliest actors in this city".[3] His play A Thought in Three Parts caused a minor uproar in London in 1977 when the production was investigated by a vice squad and attacked in Parliament due to allegedly pornographic content.[4]

His later plays became more overtly political, drawing parallels between the psychology of his characters and the behavior of governments and social classes. Among the best-known of these are Aunt Dan and Lemon (1985) and The Designated Mourner (1997). Shawn's political work has invited controversy, as he often presents the audience with several contradictory points of view, such as Aunt Dan and Lemon, which Shawn described as a cautionary tale against fascism. The monologue The Fever, originally created by Shawn to be performed for small audiences in apartments, describes a person who becomes sick while struggling to find a morally consistent way to live when faced with injustice, and harshly criticizes the record of the U.S. in supporting oppressive anticommunist regimes. In 1997, Shawn discussed the political nature of Aunt Dan and Lemon, The Fever, and The Designated Mourner in an interview. In this interview Shawn talked extensively with Patrick Mcgrath about the thematic developments between the three plays, as well as his own views on Marxist, communist and socialist politics, their relevance to American liberalism, and how government and individual responsibilities for finding solutions to the dichotomy between rich and poor in the world take hold in the characters presented in his plays.[5] Shawn's four plays have been adapted into films: The Designated Mourner (basically a film version of David Hare's stage production), Marie and Bruce, My Dinner with Andre, and The Fever. Oscar-winner Vanessa Redgrave stars in The Fever (2004),[6] which first aired on HBO on June 13, 2007.

Shawn has also written political commentary for The Nation, and in 2004 he published the one-issue-only progressive political magazine Final Edition, which features interviews with and articles by Jonathan Schell, Noam Chomsky, Mark Strand, and Deborah Eisenberg. Shawn is credited as translator of Bertolt Brecht's The Threepenny Opera, which opened at Studio 54 in Manhattan on March 25, 2006. He appears briefly in voice-over during "Song about the Futility of Human Endeavor." He published his first nonfiction work, Essays, on September 1, 2009. It is a collection of essays that expresses his perceptions of politics and other subjects that reflect an aspect of his life.

Acting[edit] Shawn's involvement with theater began in 1970 when he met Andre Gregory, who has since directed several of his plays. As a stage actor, he has appeared mostly in his own plays and other projects with Gregory. He made his film debut in 1979, playing Diane Keaton's former husband in Woody Allen's Manhattan and an insurance agent in Bob Fosse's All That Jazz. His best-known film roles include Earl in Strange Invaders (1983) and Mr. Hall in Clueless (1995). After seeing his performance in My Dinner With Andre (1981), casting director Janet Hirshenson was so fond of his delivery of the word "inconceivable" that she cast him as the evil Vizzini in The Princess Bride (1987). Other recent roles include Baron Von Westphalen on the 2005 film Southland Tales, in Gossip Girl as Cyrus Rose, and in The Haunted Mansion as Ezra.

His rare noncomedic film roles include two collaborations with Andre Gregory and Louis Malle: the semiautobiographical dialogue My Dinner with Andre, and a combined production-and-backstage-drama of Uncle Vanya titled Vanya on 42nd Street. Shawn quite often appears on television, where he has appeared in many genres and series. He has had recurring roles as the Grand Nagus Zek on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Stuart Best on Murphy Brown, Jeffrey "Jeff" Engels on The Cosby Show, Dr. Howard Stiles on Crossing Jordan, Arnie Ross on Taxi, and a reprisal of his role as Mr. Hall in the television series Clueless, based on the film. He appeared in the 1985 music video for Chaka Khan's "This is My Night." On February 4, 2010, he appeared as Dr. Alan Rubin in The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. He appeared in Vegas Vacation (1997) as Marty. His latest film opened in New York in June 2014 titled A Master Builder playing opposite Julie Haggerty and Andre Gregory.[1]

Voice acting[edit] Shawn is also a voice actor for animated films and T.V. series, including the role of the timid Rex in the Toy Story franchise, Mr. Huph in The Incredibles, Principal Mazur in A Goofy Movie, Bertram in Family Guy, Munk in Happily N'Ever After, and as an extreme version of himself in BoJack Horseman. In The Fox and the Hound, he was originally to voice Boomer, but was replaced by Paul Winchell. Shawn also replaced Jon Lovitz as Calico in Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore. Coincidentally, Lovitz and Shawn both appeared in I Could Never Be Your Woman.

Personal life[edit] Part of a series on Socialism in the United States New Harmony community, as proposed by Robert Owen History[show] Parties and organizations Active[show] Former[show] People[show] Literature[show] Related topics[show] Portal icon Socialism portal Portal icon Politics portal v t e Shawn is the son of William Shawn, the long-time editor of The New Yorker, and journalist Cecille Shawn (née Lyon). His brother, Allen, is a composer.[2]

In June 2013, Shawn and numerous other celebrities appeared in a video showing support for Chelsea Manning.[7][8]

He has appeared on MSNBC and referred to himself as a Socialist, and has praised Socialism in an essay.[9][10]

Awards and honors[edit] Wallace was honored with the PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Award as a Master American Dramatist in 2005.

Boston Society of Film Critics Awards[edit] Year Award 1982[11] Best Screenplay My Dinner with Andre Yes 1994[11] Best Actor Vanya on 42nd Street 2nd Filmography[edit] Film Year Title Role Notes 1979 Manhattan Jeremiah 1979 Starting Over Workshop Member 1979 All That Jazz Assistant Insurance Man 1980 Simon Eric Van Dongen 1980 Atlantic City Waiter Credited as Wally Shawn 1981 Cheaper to Keep Her Mugger 1981 My Dinner with Andre Wally Shawn Also screenwriter 1981 Strong Medicine Uncredited 1982 A Little Sex Oliver 1983 How to Be a Perfect Person in Just Three Days Professor Silverfish 1983 Lovesick Otto Jaffe 1983 The First Time Jules Goldfarb 1983 Strange Invaders Earl 1983 Deal of the Century Harold DeVoto 1983 Saigon: Year of the Cat Frank Judd 1984 Crackers Turtle 1984 The Hotel New Hampshire Freud 1984 The Bostonians Mr. Pardon 1984 Micki + Maude Dr. Elliot Fibel 1985 Heaven Help Us Father Abruzzi 1985 Head Office Mike Hoover 1987 The Bedroom Window Henderson's Attorney 1987 Radio Days Masked Avenger 1987 Nice Girls Don't Explode Ellen 1987 Prick Up Your Ears John Lahr 1987 The Princess Bride Vizzini 1988 The Moderns Oiseau 1989 She's Out of Control Dr. Fishbinder 1989 Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills Howard 1989 We're No Angels Translator 1991 Shadows and Fog Simon Carr 1992 Unbecoming Age Dr. Block 1992 Nickel & Dime Everett Willits 1992 Mom and Dad Save the World Sibor 1993 The Cemetery Club Larry 1993 The Meteor Man Mr. Little 1993 Eligible Dentist 1994 Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle Horatio Byrd 1994 Vanya on 42nd Street Vanya 1995 The Wife Cosmo 1995 Napoleon Echidna 1995 Canadian Bacon Canadian Prime Minister 1995 A Goofy Movie Principal Mazur Voice only 1995 Clueless Mr. Wendell Hall 1995 Just Like Dad Stan Speigel 1995 Toy Story Rex Voice only 1996 All Dogs Go to Heaven 2 Labrador MC Voice only 1996 House Arrest Victor "Vic" Finley 1997 Vegas Vacation Marty 1997 Just Write Arthur Blake 1997 Critical Care Furnaceman 1998 Blind Men 1998 Noah Zack 1999 The Diary of the Hurdy-Gurdy Man 1999 My Favorite Martian Coleye 1999 Toy Story 2 Rex Voice only 2000 The Prime Gig Gene 2001 The Curse of the Jade Scorpion George Bond 2001 Monsters, Inc. Rex Uncredited Voice only 2002 Sun Gods Spaulding 2002 Love Thy Neighbor Clinic Doctor 2002 Personal Velocity: Three Portraits Mr. Gelb 2002 Mr. St. Nick Mimir 2003 Monte Walsh Colonel Wilson 2003 Duplex Herman 2003 The Haunted Mansion Ezra 2004 Teacher's Pet Principal Crosby Strickler Voice only 2004 Melinda and Melinda Sy 2004 The Incredibles Gilbert Huph Voice only 2004 Karroll's Christmas Zeb Rosecog 2005 Chicken Little Principal Fetchit Voice only 2006 The 12th Man Marty 2006 Southland Tales Baron Von Westphalen 2006 Air Buddies Billy Voice only 2007 Happily N'Ever After Munk Voice only 2007 I Could Never Be Your Woman Math Teacher Uncredited 2007 New York City Serenade Himself 2008 Kit Kittredge: An American Girl Mr. Gibson 2008 Mia and the Migoo Migoo English language version only Voice only 2009 Capitalism: A Love Story Himself Documentary 2010 Jack and the Beanstalk Broker/Booker/Lancelot Squarejaw 2010 Furry Vengeance Dr. Christian Burr 2010 Toy Story 3 Rex Voice only 2010 Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore Calico Voice only 2011 The Speed of Thought Sandy 2011 Tower Heist Mr. McBurns 2011 Hawaiian Vacation Rex Short film Voice only 2011 Small Fry Rex Short film Voice only 2012 Partysaurus Rex Rex Short film Voice only 2012 A Late Quartet Gideon Rosen 2012 Vamps Dr. Van Helsing 2013 Admission Clarence 2013 Toy Story of Terror! Rex TV special Voice only 2013 The Double Mr. Papadopoulos 2014 Don Peyote Psychotherapist 2014 A Master Builder Halvard Solness Also screenwriter Television Year Title Role Notes 1982–1983 Taxi Arnie Ross Episode: "Love Un-American Style" Episode: "Arnie Meets the Kids" (as Arnie) 1987–1991 The Cosby Show Jeffrey "Jeff" Engels Episode: "Cliff's Mistake" (as Jeffrey Engels) Episode: "The Day the Spores Landed" (as Jeff Engels) Episode: "Cliff's Nightmare" (as Jeffrey Engels; voice) Episode: "The Moves" (as Jeff Engels) Episode: "Olivia's Field Trip" (as Jeffrey Engels) 1992 The Double 0 Kid Cashpot Video 1992 Civil Wars Riley Baker 1992 One Life to Live Professor Marvel 1993 Matrix Mr. Gonley 1993 The Pink Panther The Little Man 1 episode (voice) 1994 The Nanny Charles Haste 1 episode 1995 Kalamazoo Bobby Short 1995 Something Wilder Roof Inspector 1 episode 1996 Toy Story Treats Rex Voice only 1996–1997 Clueless Mr. Hall 17 episodes 1994–1997 Murphy Brown Stuart Best 4 episodes 1997 King of the Hill Philip Ny 1 episode Voice only 1998 The Jungle Book: Mowgli's Story Tarzan the Chimp Video Voice only 1998 The Lionhearts 5 episodes 1999 Homicide: Life on the Street Frank Hopper 1 episode 1993–1999 Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Grand Nagus Zek 7 episodes 1999 Cosby Mr. Fleming 2 episodes 2000 Buzz Lightyear of Star Command: The Adventure Begins Rex Video Voice only 2000 Teacher's Pet Principal Crosby Strickler Voice only 2001 Ally McBeal Mr. Dune 1 episode 2001 Blonde I. E. Shinn 2001 Three Sisters Dean Webb 1 episode 2003 Stanley Mr. Goldberg 1 episode Voice only 2002–2004 Teamo Supremo Gauntlet 1 episode Voice only 2004 Sex and the City Martin Grable 1 episode 2005 Fat Actress Dr. Sigmund von Oy 1 episode 2005 Stargate SG-1 Arlos Season 9, episode 4: "The Ties That Bind" 2005 Desperate Housewives Lonny Moon 1 episode 2001–2006 Crossing Jordan Dr. Howard Stiles 8 episodes 2001–2011 Family Guy Bertram 3 episodes Voice only 2006 Tom and Jerry: Shiver Me Whiskers Purple Pirate Paul/Narrator Video Voice only 2006 Law & Order: Criminal Intent Film Professor 1 episode 2008 The Return of Jezebel James Garson Leeds 1 episode 2008 Cashmere Mafia Animal Handler 1 episode 2008 Scooby-Doo and the Goblin King Mr. Gibbles Video Voice only 2009 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Professor Roy Batters 1 episode 2009 Life on Mars The Sorcerer 1 episode 2008–2009 The L Word William Halsey 5 episodes 2009 ER Teddy Lempell 1 episode 2010 The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Dr. Alan Rubin 1 episode 2010 Damages Sterling Biddle 1 episode 2008–2013 Gossip Girl Cyrus Rose 11 episodes 2011 Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness Taotie Voice only 2011 Eureka DoD psychological assessor Warren Hughes 3 episodes 2012 Fish Hooks Rat King Episode: "Guys' Night Out" (voice only) 2013-2014 The Good Wife Charles Lester 2 episodes 2013 Adventure Time Rasheeta Episode: "Puhoy" 2013 Uncle Grandpa Ule Gapa (Voice) Episode: "Belly Bros" 2014 Phineas and Ferb Saul Episode: "Phineas and Ferb Save Summer" Voice only Video games Year Title Role Notes 1996 Toy Story Rex Voice only Toy Story Activity Center Rex Voice only 2004 The Incredibles Gilbert Huph Voice only 2006 Family Guy Video Game! Bertram Voice only 2008 The Princess Bride Game Vizzini Voice only 2010 Toy Story 3: The Video Game Rex Voice only 2012 Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse Bertram Voice only Writer Year Title Notes 1981 My Dinner with Andre 1997 The Designated Mourner Play Written by 2004 Marie and Bruce Screenplay The Fever Play Screenplay 2009 Essays Book collection of essays, by Haymarket Books 2010 Tea Time Short Script Himself Year Title Notes 1995 Charlie Rose TV series 1 episode Showbiz Today TV series 1 episode 2001 As You Wish: The Story of The Princess Bride E! True Hollywood Story TV series 1 episode 2005 Now TV series 2 episodes Clueless: The Class of '95 2007 Strange Culture Up Close with Carrie Keagan TV series 1 episode 2008 USIDent TV: Surveilling the Southland The Windmill Movie 2009 Capitalism: A Love Story Made in Hollywood TV series 1 episode 2010 MindFlux 2012 Up with Chris Hayes TV series 1 episode 2014 BoJack Horseman TV series 1 episode Plays[edit] Play Name Year Four Meals in May 1967 The Family Play 1970 The Hotel Play 1970 The Hospital Play 1971 Our Late Night 1975 A Thought in Three Parts 1976 Marie and Bruce 1978 Aunt Dan and Lemon 1985 The Fever 1990 The Designated Mourner 1997; film directed by David Hare, 1998 The Threepenny Opera 2006 Grasses of a Thousand Colors 2008

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Wallace Shawn's Timeline

November 12, 1943
New York, New York, United States