Award-winning American actor Peter MacNicol was born on April 10, 1954 in Dallas, Texas. He began acting when he was still a student at the University of Dallas, and later, at the University of Minnesota, during which he performed in productions staged at the nearby Guthrie Theater. After being discovered by a talent agent, he moved to Manhattan, where he starred in the off-Broadway production of Crimes of the Heart. The play later moved to Broadway, and he won the Theater World Award in 1981.
MacNicol’s first acting accolades were mostly centered on the stage, with his performances in productions such as All the King’s Men, Black Comedy/White Lies, Twelfth Night, Richard II, Found a Peanut and Rum and Coke being acclaimed by critics. At around the same time, though, he began acting for film, first appearing in the 1981 fantasy release Dragonslayer. The following year, he starred in the breakout film role, as young writer Stingo in the Oscar-winning drama Sophie’s Choice. He has since appeared in other films such as Ghostbusters II, Heat and Addams Family Values.
MacNicol was also playing small roles on television, culminating in regular roles on the short-lived sitcom The Powers That Be and the popular medical drama Chicago Hope. However, he became more popular with audiences when he took on a role in the successful series Ally McBeal. His portrayal of eccentric lawyer John Cage earned him an Emmy for Best Supporting Actor in 2001.
Despite appearing in other films, such as Breaking All The Rules and Behind the Curtain, MacNicol is more recognizable for his television roles. After providing the voices for characters in Danny Phantom, Justice League and Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law, he signed on to play physics professor Larry Fleinhardt in the procedural drama Numb3rs. He has also taken a role in the action series 24, playing White House Chief of Staff Tom Lennox, who convinced Wayne Palmer (D.B. Woodside) to run for president. He also appeared on shows like Fairly Legal, Grey’s Anatomy and the TV movie Game Change.
- Peter has said that Maverick is his favorite television show of all time.
-Peter plays the bagpipes.
-He spends his summer holidays in a small village in Northern Spain where a friend of his has a house.
- Peter's role as John Cage on Ally McBeal was his fifth major role as a lawyer. He also played an attorney in a guest star appearance on an episode of Tales from the Crypt.
- Peter was nominated at the Screen Actors Guild Awards for 'Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series', for Ally McBeal in 1999, 2000 and 2001. He won 'Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series', with the cast of Ally McBeal in 1999. The cast was also nominated for that award in 2000 and 2001.
-Peter was nominated to receive a Golden Satellite Award for 'Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Comedy or Musical' for Ally McBeal in 2003.
-Peter won an Emmy Award for 'Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series', for Ally McBeal in 2001. He was nominated for the same award in 1999 and 2000.
2012: Battleship - Secretary of Defense
2011: Game Change (TV movie) - Rick Davis
2010-2011: Grey's Anatomy (TV series) - Dr. Robert Stark
2011: Fairly Legal (TV series) - Judge Smollet
2011: G.I. Joe: Renegades (TV series) - Firefly
2011: Young Justice (TV series) - Amazo/MONQI/Professor Ivo
2010: Ben 10: Ultimate Alien (TV series) - Oliver/Forever Knight #1/Mr. Webb
2005-2010: Numb3rs (TV series) - Dr. Larry Fleinhardt
2008-2009: The Spectacular Spider-Man (TV series) - Dr. Otto Octavius/Dr. Octopus/Master Planner
2008: 24: Redemption (TV movie) - Tom Lennox
2004-2008: The Batman (TV series) - Dr. Kirk Langstrom
2008: Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law (Video Game) - X the Eliminator (voice)
2003-2007: Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law (TV series) - X the Eliminator/Customer/Employee/…
2007: 24 (TV series) - Tom Lennox
2006: Boston Legal (TV series) - Dr. Sydney Field
2005: Stuart Little 3: Call of the Wild (video) - Troopmaster (voice)
2004-2005: Danny Phantom (TV series) - Sidney Poindexter
2005: Behind the Curtain (short) - Vincent Poinsetta
2005: Justice League (TV series) - Chronos/David Clinton
2004: Breakin' All the Rules - Philip Gascon
2004: This Just In (TV series) - Craig Tindle
2003: The Lyon's Den (TV series) - Darryl Nicks
2003: Crazy Love (TV movie) - Husband
1997-2002: Ally McBeal (TV series) - John Cage
2002: Balto: Wolf Quest (video) - Muru (voice)
2001: The Ponder Heart (TV movie) - Uncle Daniel
2001: Recess: School's Out - Fenwick (voice)
2000: Buzz Lightyear of Star Command (TV series) - Major (voice)
2000: The Pooch and the Pauper (TV movie) - Liberty (voice)
2000: The Wild Thornberrys (TV series) - Raju, Monkey (voice)
1999: Olive, the Other Reindeer (TV movie) - Fido (voice)
1999: Snowden's Christmas (TV movie) - Snowden (voice)
1999: Ally (TV series) - John 'The Biscuit' Cage
1999: The Angry Beavers (TV series) - Kid Friendly (voice)
1999: Baby Geniuses - Dan
1998: The Secret of NIMH 2: Timmy to the Rescue (video) - Narrator (voice)
1994-1998: Chicago Hope (TV series) - Alan Birch
1998: Silencing Mary (TV movie) - Lawrence Dixon
1997: Bean - David Langley
1996: Toto Lost in New York (video) - Ork (voice)
1996: Mojave Moon - Tire Repairman
1996: Abducted: A Father's Love (TV movie) - Roy Dowd
1995: Dracula: Dead and Loving It - Thomas Renfield
1994: Tales from the Crypt (TV series) - Austin Haggard
1994: Radioland Murders - Son Writer
1994: Roswell (TV movie) - Lewis Rickett
1993: Addams Family Values - Gary Granger
1993: Cheers (TV series) - Mario
1992-1993: The Powers That Be (TV series) - Bradley Grist
1992: HouseSitter - Marty
1991: Hard Promises - Stuart
1990: By Dawn's Early Light (TV movie) - Sedgwick
1989: Ghostbusters II - Dr. Janosz Poha
1989: American Blue Note - Jack Solow
1987: The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd (TV series) - Steve Cooper
1986: Heat - Cyrus Kinnick
1986: Johnny Bull (TV movie) - Joe Kovacs
1984: Faerie Tale Theatre (TV series) - Martin
1982: Sophie's Choice - Stingo
1981: Dragonslayer - Galen
On his character on 'Numb3rs')
-This character is very mysterious. He's a little bit Yoda, a little bit [physicist] Richard Feynman, a little bit Dr. Watson. It was probably the third in a series of people [I've portrayed] who I would call a wise fool. It's appealing in that I don't know what is going on with this character. I don't understand his precise function in the story.
(about his role in the film, "Bean")
-I play the person who exists to have his life destroyed by Mr. Bean. My character happens to be the curator of a heavily endowed art museum. But he's actually just the picnic to which Mr. Bean brings the ptomaine and salmonella.
-Acting is about covering up traces of who you are and just being the character. I think it's easier to accept people in roles if you don't know a lot about them.