Bob Balaban’s familiar, bespectacled face can be seen in such highly-acclaimed films as “Waiting for Guffman,” “Best in Show” and the Oscar-nominated film “Gosford Park,” which he also produced. He is perhaps most recognizable for his recurring and hilarious role on Seinfeld as the head executive of NBC who accepts, then declines, then accepts again the pilot written by George and Jerry. Balaban produced and directed “The Exonerated,” a hit Off-Broadway and nationally touring play that received the Drama Desk Award and the Outer Critics Circle Award, and was rated the #1 play by the New York Times. Balaban also directed a star studded cast, headed by Susan Sarandon and Danny Glover, of “The Exonerated” for Court TV. He also appeared with Phillip Seymour Hoffman in the 2005 Academy Award winning “Capote.”
Always busy, Balaban is currently directing Susan Sarandon and Ralph Fiennes in “Bernard and Doris,” the story of the twilight years of tobacco billionaires Doris Duke (Sarandon) and her relationship with her gay butler (Fiennes), to whom she left her entire fortune. He also recently finished production on “No Reservations,” in which he co-stars with Catherine Zeta Jones.
At the podium, Balaban speaks about finding and utilizing creativity in business and in life. Because of his own career, which has become a combination of many facets of the entertainment industry, he has intimate knowledge of merging a business-savvy agenda with acting and directing. Witty and insightful, Balaban reveals how an individual does not need to fall into the “right-brain/left-brain” stigma; rather, the most interesting careers combine both. He takes the audience inside the world of Hollywood and the funny, sometimes crazy events that take place in the entertainment industry. A product of Old Hollywood – Balaban’s family owned Paramount until the late 60′s – he also shares charming anecdotes about growing up in “the business” and being the only descendant of seven moguls to venture to the creative side of the entertainment industry.
AT A GLANCE: A veteran of Broadway, Balaban appeared in “Plaza Suite” and “Speed the Plow,” and received a Tony nomination for his performance in “The Inspector General.” Off-Broadway performances include “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown,” “Romance,” “The White House Murder Case,” “Marie and Bruce,” “Pavlo Hummel” and “Some Americans Abroad.” In the world of television, he directed the pilot for the long running series “Tales from the Darkside,” produced, directed and starred in the Fox FX pilot “Sex and the Suburbs,” and executive produced AMC’s “Celebrity Charades” with Hilary Swank and Chad Lowe. Balaban has appeared in nearly fifty movies, including “Midnight Cowboy,” “Catch 22,” “Close Encounters,” “Altered States,” “2010,” “Absence of Malice,” “Prince of the City,” “Deconstructing Harry,” “Jakob the Liar,” “Waiting for Guffman,” “Best in Show,” “The Mexican,” “Ghost World,” “Gosford Park,” “A Mighty Wind,” “No Reservations,” “Dedication” and “Marie and Bruce.” He produced, directed and wrote the film “The Last Good Time,” which won best director and best film at the Hamptons International Film Festival, and directed “Parents,” starring Randy Quaid, Sandy Dennis and Marybeth Hurt. Balaban is the acclaimed author of best-selling children’s books for Scholastic called McGrowl.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife, writer Lynn Grossman, and his children, Hazel and Mariah.