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Nathan Lane (1956)

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  Summary  

Nathan Lane is an American actor of stage and screen. He is best known for his roles as Mendy in The Lisbon Traviata, Albert in The Birdcage, Max Bialystock in the musical The Producers, Ernie Smuntz in MouseHunt, Nathan Detroit in Guys and Dolls, Pseudolus in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, and his voice work in The Lion King and Stuart Little. In 2006, he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and in 2008, he was inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame.

  Biography  

 early life
Lane was born Joseph Lane in Jersey City, New Jersey, the son of Irish American Catholic
parents. He was named after his uncle, a Jesuit priest. His father, Daniel, was a truck driver and an aspiring tenor who died from alcoholism when Lane was eleven; his mother, Nora, was a housewife and secretary who suffered from manic-depression, and died in 2000. He has two brothers, Robert and Daniel. Lane attended Roman Catholic schools in Jersey City, including Jesuit-run St. Peter's Preparatory High School, where he was selected Best Actor in 1974.

 career
 1970s-1980s
His brother Dan accompanied him to what was supposed to be his first day at St. Joseph's College in Philadelphia, where he had received a drama scholarship. When they arrived, they learned he still couldn't cover enough of the expenses for him to stay, without taking out another student loan, so he decided to go back home. "I remember him saying to me, 'College is for people who don't know what they want to do,'" Dan Lane recalled. Because there already was a Joseph Lane registered with Actors Equity, he changed his name to Nathan after the character Nathan Detroit from the musical Guys and Dolls. He moved to New York City where, after a long struggle, his career began to take off, first with some brief success in the world of stand-up comedy with partner, Patrick Stack, and later with Off-Broadway productions at Second Stage Theatre, the Roundabout Theatre, the Manhattan Theatre Club, and his 1982 Broadway debut in a revival of Noel Coward's Present Laughter as Roland Maule with George C. Scott, Kate Burton, Dana Ivey, and Christine Lahti.

His second Broadway appearance was in the 1983 musical Merlin, starring Chita Rivera and magician Doug Henning. This was followed by Wind in the Willows as Mr. Toad, Some Americans Abroad at Lincoln Center, and the national tour of Neil Simon's Broadway Bound.

  1990s
In 1991 Lane starred with George C. Scott again in a revival of Paul Osborne's On Borrowed Time at the Circle in the Square Theatre on Broadway.

In 1992, he starred in the revival of Guys and Dolls, receiving his first Tony nomination, as well as Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards, playing the character who lent him his name, opposite Peter Gallagher and Faith Prince.

His professional association with his close friend the playwright Terrence McNally includes roles in The Lisbon Traviata , Bad Habits, Lips Together, Teeth Apart, Love! Valour! Compassion! , Dedication or The Stuff of Dreams , The Last Mile on PBS Great Performances, and the film version of Frankie and Johnny. The early 1990s began a stretch of successful Broadway shows for Lane. In 1993, he portrayed Sid Caesar-like Max Prince in Neil Simon's Laughter on the 23rd Floor, inspired by Simon's early career writing sketches for Your Show of Shows. In 1996, he starred in the revival of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, for which he won the Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards.

His association with Sondheim began with the workshop of Assassins, and after Forum he appeared with Victor Garber in the workshop of Wise Guys . Their collaboration continued when he revised the original book for and starred in the Broadway debut of the composer's The Frogs at Lincoln Center in 2004. He also sang a song written especially for him by Sondheim in the film The Birdcage, for which he received his first Golden Globe nomination.

In addition to the McNally plays, Lane has appeared in numerous other Off Broadway productions, including Love (the musical version of Murray Schisgal's Luv), Measure for Measure directed by Joseph Papp in Central Park, for which he received the St. Clair Bayfield Award, The Common Pursuit, The Film Society, Mizlansky/Zilinsky or Schmucks, In a Pig's Valise, Trumbo, She Stoops to Conquer, The Merry Wives of Windsor and A Midsummer Night's Dream. In fact, in 1992 he won an Obie Award for Sustained Excellence of Performance. He also appeared at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in The School for Scandal and John Guare's Moon Over Miami .

Lane performed in 1995's The Wizard of Oz in Concert at Lincoln Center to benefit the Children's Defense Fund. The performance was originally broadcast on Turner Network Television , and issued on CD and video in 1996.

  2000s
Lane won his second Tony Award for his portrayal of Max Bialystock in the musical version of Mel Brooks's The Producers, as well as Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards. He later replaced Richard Dreyfuss in the role in 2004 at London's Theatre Royal Drury Lane at the last minute, and went on to win the Olivier Award as Best Actor in a Musical. He recreated his performance for the film version, for which he received his second Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy.

Lane has performed two roles originated by Zero Mostel, Pseudolus in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and Max Bialystock in The Producers. He declined the role of Tevye in the 2004 Broadway revival of Fiddler on the Roof because he didn't want to be seen as always following in Mostel's footsteps. Coincidentally, both of Lane's Tony Awards were for Mostel's roles.

In 2000 he starred in the Roundabout revival of The Man Who Came to Dinner as Sheridan Whiteside, with Jean Smart and Harriet Harris. Prior to that he starred in the Encores! production of Do Re Mi.

In 2005, Lane rejoined his Producers co-star Matthew Broderick for a successful limited run of The Odd Couple. In 2006, he took on a primarily dramatic role in a revival of Simon Gray's Butley, having played the role to great success at The Huntington Theater in Boston in 2004. He and Broderick were awarded adjacent stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in a joint ceremony on January 9, 2006. They were also immortalized as Max and Leo at Madame Tussauds Wax Museum. He then played the President of the United States in the new David Mamet political satire, November, directed by Joe Mantello, followed by the critically acclaimed revival of Waiting for Godot as Estragon with Bill Irwin as Vladimir. He next starred in the musical version of The Addams Family as Gomez . In 2008 he was inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame.

  2010s
Lane has committed to starring in a revival of the Eugene O'Neill play The Iceman Cometh at Chicago's Goodman Theatre. Lane will assume the role of Hickey, with Brian Dennehy playing the role of Larry Slade. The production will be directed by the Artistic Director of the Goodman Theatre Robert Falls. The play is slated to begin performances in April 2012 and run for six weeks.

 personal life
A reporter once asked Lane if he was gay; he replied, "I'm 40, single and work a lot in the musical theater. You do the math." When he told his mother he was gay, she replied, "I'd rather you were dead," to which he replied, "I knew you'd understand." Lane, who came out publicly after the death of Matthew Shepard, has been a long-time board member of and fundraiser for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, and has been honored by the Human Rights Campaign, Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, and The Trevor Project for his work in the LGBT community.

Lane resides in New York City with his long-time partner, producer Devlin Elliott. He has maintained close friendships with Matthew Broderick, Mel Brooks, and Ernie Sabella.

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Nathan Lane", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.