Dabney Coleman was born Dabney Wharton Coleman on January 3, 1932 in Austin, Texas. He has had a lengthy and fruitful career spanning over two decades. For most of that, he has made a living out of playing a wealthy, smarmy, sniveling guy bent on getting the most out of a situation.
In 1949, Coleman entered the Virginia Military Institute, and later on studied law before he turned his attention to acting. His claim to fame came in the role of chauvinistic boss, Franklin Hart Jr. in the film, 9-5 starring Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Dolly Parton. Coleman won an Emmy in 1987 for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Special for his performance in Sworn to Silence. He won the Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a TV-Series - Comedy/Musical for The Slap Maxwell Story the next year. He is also known for portraying the lead role in the TV cult classic Buffalo Bill. He starred with Elvis Presley in The Trouble With Girls, and was seen on 1982’s Tootsie. The next year, he got a role in WarGames, and continued his career with performances in The Muppets Take Manhattan, Dragnet, Baby M, and Hot to Trot. He has also hosted an episode of Saturday Night Live.
During the 1990s, Dabney Coleman worked on series like Jumanji, The Magic School Bus, and films like Exiled and You’ve Got Mail. He was later seen on Inspector Gadget, and became known as the voice of Principal Prickly in Disney’s animated Recess. In 1999, he had a role in Stuart Little and a TV production titled Must Be Santa. Coleman later joined the cast of The Guardian, portraying a sympathetic character in the series. He was seen on several episodes of Courting Alex, and received the part of Dr. Bart Jacobs in the TNT series Heartland. He later took on roles in Hard Four and Mulligans. In 2010, he was cast on the HBO series about the Prohibition era called Boardwalk Empire.
(Photo courtesy of TNT)