Actor Philip Barker Hall was born in Toledo, Ohio on September 10, 1931. He did not originally intend to pursue an acting career. Hall first became a military man and an English teacher. When he got bored with his life, he moved to Los Angeles. Hall began his illustrious career in theater, where he appeared in numerous stage productions in Broadway such as The Skin of Our Teeth. He enjoyed further success in other off-Broadway productions, and became well-known for his performances on commercial films as well.
Philip Baker Hall achieved cult fame when he gave a stirring performance as the title character, a veteran gambler, in Paul Thomas Anderson’s debut film Sydney. It aired in 1996, and allowed Hall to work with the director once again for his 1999 work, Magnolia and on Boogie Nights. Anderson wrote a film specifically for Hall as well, titled Hard Eight, which earned the actor a cult following. He also became known for playing Richard Nixon on Robert Altman’s Secret Honor, something that made him shoot to fame. Before rising to prominence, Hall was seen on many television series. He has had guest roles in Murder, She Wrote, Chicago Hope, a recurring one in The Practice, Seinfeld, Pasadena, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Everwood, Monk, Boston Legal, The West Wing and Psych. Another of his minor roles is that of Captain Diel in the Rush Hour film series, though his scenes were cut on the second installment’s theatrical release. Some of his other notable performances include those in Dogville, Say Anything, The Amityville Horror, The Sum of All Fears and Zodiac. He has worked with actor Jim Carrey on two of his movies, The Truman Show in 1998 and Bruce Almighty in 2003. He was soon cast as the demanding boss named Russ on the Fox comedy series The Loop, and was later seen on other films like The Shaggy Dog and the drama Islander.