"If someone comes up to me, 90 percent of the time it's about 'Office Space.'" Gary Cole
A stage-trained actor who has appeared in numerous award-winning productions in Chicago as well as off-Broadway, Gary Cole first garnered national attention with his breakthrough TV performance as the charismatic accused killer Dr. Jeffrey MacDonald, a former Green Beret officer accused (and convicted) of murdering his family, in the acclaimed NBC miniseries "Fatal Vision" (1984). He would continue to impress television audiences with his performances as Jack 'Nighthawk' Killian in the NBC dramatic series "Midnight Caller" (1988-1991), and as Lucas Buck, a corrupt sheriff with apparent supernatural powers, on the supernatural-tinged CBS drama "American Gothic" (1995-1996).
The talented actor also played roles in the TV series "Crusade,” "Family Affair,” "Wanted,” "The West Wing" (as Vice President Bob Russell), "Family Guy" (various voices), "Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law,” "Kim Possible,” "12 Miles of Bad Road,” and "Desperate Housewives" (as Katherine Mayfair's first husband Wayne Davis).
A veteran of more than 50 movies, Cole has starred in such films as "In the Line of Fire" (1993), "The Brady Bunch Movie" (1995) and "A Very Brady Sequel" (1996; as Mike Brady), "I'll Be Home for Christmas" (1998), "Office Space" (1999; as the callous office boss Bill Lumbergh), "The Gift" (2000), "One Hour Photo" (2002), "I Spy" (2002), "Win a Date with Ted Hamilton" (2004), "Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story" (2004), "The Ring Two" (2005), "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby" (2006) and "Conspiracy" (2008). He will next be seen in the upcoming films "Pineapple Express," "Forever Strong" and "The Last Stan."
This 5' 11" handsome player has been married to actress/writer Teddi Siddall since 1992 and has one daughter.
Childhood and Family:
Born in Park Ridge, Illinois, on September 20, 1956, Gary Michael Cole was raised in Rolling Meadows, Illinois, (near Chicago). Son to a director-of-finance mother and a school administrator father, Cole attended Rolling Meadows High School. He then went to Illinois State University, where he majored in theater alongside actors Laurie Metcalf and John Malkovich.
On March 8, 1992, Cole married actress/writer Teddi Siddall (born on August 12, 1959), whom he met when she was a writer on his TV series "Midnight Caller" (1988). They have one daughter, Mary, who was diagnosed with autism at age 28 months. Cole and his family now live in California.
"I'm a family man with an 11-year-old daughter, but when I think back to my early 20s, I was anything but that label of domestic. I like the fact that this kind of family has been seen in a movie a million times… teenage kids, the family is a bit strained and they don't have enough money, but in the background the guy used to be a Gene Simmons type." Gary Cole
While studying at Rolling Meadows High School, Gary Cole began his acting experience as Snoopy in the high school production of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” and subsequently spent his high school years as a regular cast member of the school's shows. After studying theater at Illinois State University, he began his professional stage career in Chicago, where he co-founded the Remains Theatre Ensemble in 1979.
“I miss everything about Chicago, except January and February.” Gary Cole
In the early '80s, Cole received his first TV break when producer-actor Peter Strauss came to Chicago to cast a TV-movie about steel workers. He soon made his TV acting debut with a supporting role in the ABC Golden Globe-nominated television movie starring Strauss, "Heart of Steel" (1983). The following year, he made his breakthrough TV performance in the Primetime Emmy-winning true story-based miniseries "Fatal Vision" (1984), in which he starred as Dr. Jeffrey MacDonald, a former Green Beret doctor accused and convicted of murdering his pregnant wife and two children.
In the mid '80s, Cole left the Remains Theatre Ensemble to become a member of the celebrated Steppenwolf Theatre Company. He has since appeared in numerous award-winning productions in Chicago as well as off-Broadway in New York. He also landed a starring role, as Jack 'Nighthawk' Killian, in the NBC dramatic series "Midnight Caller" (1988-1991).
During this time, Cole returned to Chicago to star in David Mamet's "Speed the Plow" (1989) and starred as General George Armstrong Custer in the ABC historical Western miniseries, "Son of the Morning Star" (1991).
Post "Midnight Caller," Cole was seen on the big screen in Wolfgang Petersen's three-time Academy Award-nominated thriller film starring Clint Eastwood and John Malkovich, "In the Line of Fire" (1993), playing Secret Service Presidential Detail Agent-In-Charge Bill Watts. Two years later, he scored his first feature lead, as Mike Brady, in Betty Thomas' comedy adaptation of the 1969-1974 television series, "The Brady Bunch Movie" (1995). He would later reprise the role for "A Very Brady Sequel" (1996) and the Fox TV movie "Bradys in the White House" (2002).
Cole returned to series TV as the star of the supernatural-tinged CBS drama "American Gothic" (1995-1996), in which he played corrupt Sheriff Lucas Buck. Unfortunately, the show that was created by Shaun Cassidy and executive produced by Sam Raimi was cancelled after a single season.
The rest of the '90s saw Cole as Jonathan Taylor Thomas' father in the hit teen comedy movie "I'll Be Home for Christmas" (1998), and as astronaut Edgar Mitchell, the lunar module pilot of Apollo 14 who was the sixth man to walk on the Moon, in the Ron Howard and Tom Hanks-produced HBO miniseries, "From the Earth to the Moon" (1998). He also portrayed the jazzman father in the Steppenwolf production of Warren Leight's "Side Man" (1999) and the callous office boss Bill Lumbergh in writer-director Mike Judge's comedy movie "Office Space" (1999).
On his audition for “Office Space,” Cole revealed, "I did read for it. Both my character and Stephen Root's character were based on early Mike Judge cartoons. I spent a lot of time with that before meeting Mike, so I went in and did an imitation of Mike because he did the voice on the original cartoon. I mimicked the cartoon as best I could, which I guess he appreciated. I knew I had done well because I think I came back the very next day. When I read that script, I thought it was very clever."
From 2000 to 2007, Cole lent his voice to the titular superhero in the Cartoon Network's "Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law," and voiced Michael Eisner on FOX’s animated sitcom, "Family Guy." He also provided the voice of Dr. Possible on the Disney Channel's Emmy Award-winning animated series "Kim Possible" from 2002 to 2007.
On working with “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane, Cole said, “It's great. I admire him for this creative process they've put together. They write it and voice all the characters. The more I've done, the more I enjoy doing it because it's relatively open and free. The writing surpasses a lot of the writing on sitcoms. The other day I did a ‘King of the Hill’ episode and that was a similar experience.”
Gary was also cast in director Sam Raimi's supernatural thriller starring Cate Blanchett, "The Gift," as District Attorney David Duncan who was involved with Katie Holmes' character, and starred opposite Alfred Molina in a Los Angeles stage production of Sam Shepard's "True West" (2001).
In 2002, he portrayed Uncle Bill Davis in the short-lived WB revival of the CBS classic sitcom, "Family Affair," and played super-suave secret agent Carlos in the feature adaptation of the NBC classic espionage series, "I Spy," starring Eddie Murphy and Owen Wilson. He was also cast in writer-director Tom Rice's racially-tinged romantic drama adapted from David Armstrong's novel, "The Rising Place" (with Liam Aiken and Frances Fisher) and played Robin Williams' department store manager in writer/director Mark Romanek's psychological drama "One Hour Photo."
Cole played Vice President Bob Russell on the NBC political drama series "The West Wing" from 2003 to 2006. About his involvement in the show, he said, "I'm a recurring cast member. I probably do ten episodes a season, while the regular cast does about 22."
Meanwhile, Cole also appeared in Robert Luketic's romantic comedy movie starring Kate Bosworth, Topher Grace, and Josh Duhamel, "Win a Date with Tad Hamilton" (2004), and was cast with Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn in Rawson Marshall Thurber's comedy, "Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story" (2004). He also became Will Ferrell's estranged father in the comedy "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby" (2006) and was cast alongside Naomi Watts, David Dorfman, and Simon Baker in director Hideo Nakata's remake of the 1998 Japanese horror film "Ring," "The Ring Two" (2005).
That same year, in 2005, Cole co-starred with Josh Hartnett and Radha Mitchell in Petter Næss' feature-length motion picture "Mozart and the Whale" and with Julian Morris and Lindy Booth in Jeff Wadlow's murder mystery "Cry Wolf." He also starred as Lieutenant Conrad Rose on TNT’s primetime police drama series "Wanted."
Cole recently played Will Ferrell's alcoholic father in Adam McKay's comedy film about NASCAR racing, "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby" (2006), starred in Etan Cohen's 10-minute short comedy film "My Wife Is Retarded" (2007), and co-starred with Chris Cooper, Ryan Phillippe, and Laura Linney in Billy Ray's fact-based thriller "Breach" (2007).
He also starred in Desmond Nakano's film set in the Topaz War Relocation Center, "American Pastime" (2007), co-starred with Cheryl Hines in Stacy Sherman's 8-minute short comedy film "Goodnight Vagina" (2007), and acted opposite Val Kilmer in Adam Marcus' direct-to-video released film "Conspiracy" (2008).
TV viewers could catch Cole as Lily Tomlin's son Jerry on HBO’s original comedy series "12 Miles of Bad Road" (2008) and as Katherine Mayfair's first husband Wayne Davis (2008) on the ABC critically-acclaimed "Desperate Housewives." He is set to co-star with DJ Qualls in the pilot episode of an American adaptation of the New Zealand series "Outrageous Fortune," "Good Behavior."
Cole has completed his new films, "Pineapple Express," an action-comedy directed by David Gordon Green starring Seth Rogen and James Franco, and "Forever Strong," a true story-based rugby drama directed by Ryan Little featuring Sean Faris, Neal McDonough, Sean Astin, Penn Badgley, and Arielle Kebbel.
Next, Cole will star in writer/director David Moreton's comedy set in 1979, "The Last Stan."