Happy Birthday Bob Balaban

Happy Birthday Bob Balaban

Robert Elmer Balaban (born August 16, 1945) is an American actor, author, comedian, director and producer.[1] He was one of the producers nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture for Gosford Park (2001), in which he also appeared.

Balaban is most known for his appearances in the Christopher Guest comedies Waiting for Guffman (1996), Best in Show (2000), A Mighty Wind (2003), and For Your Consideration (2006) and in the Wes Anderson films Moonrise Kingdom (2012) ), The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014), Isle of Dogs (2018) and The French Dispatch (2021). Balaban’s other film roles include the drama Midnight Cowboy (1969); the science fiction films Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), Altered States (1980), 2010 (1984), the comedy Deconstructing Harry (1997), and the historical drama Capote (2005).

Balaban has directed three feature films, in addition to numerous television episodes and films. He is also an author of children’s novels.

Early life and education

Balaban was born to a Jewish family[2] on August 16, 1945, in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Eleanor (née Pottasch) and Elmer Balaban, who owned several movie theaters and later was a pioneer in cable television.[3] [4] His mother acted under the name Eleanor Barry.[5] His paternal student emigrated from Russia to Chicago, while his mother’s family was from Germany, Russia, and Romania.[4]

His uncles were dominant forces in the theater business; they founded the Balaban and Katz Theater circuit in Chicago, a chain which included the Chicago and Uptown Theaters.[6] Balaban’s father, Elmer, and uncle, Harry, founded the H & E Balaban Corporation in Chicago, which operated its own movie palaces, including the Esquire Theater in Chicago. They later owned a powerful group of television stations and cable television franchises. His uncle Barney Balaban was president of Paramount Pictures for nearly 30 years from 1936 to 1964.[7] His maternal grandmother’s second husband, Sam Katz, was a vice president at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer beginning in 1936. Sam had been an early partner of Bob’s uncles Abe, Barney, John, and Max in forming Balaban and Katz. Sam served as president of the Publix theater division of Paramount Pictures.[8]

Balaban began his college career at Colgate University where he joined Phi Kappa Tau fraternity and then transferred to New York University. He studied acting at HB Studio under Uta Hagen.[9]

Personal life

Balaban is married to Lynn Grossman; they have two daughters.[22] He resides on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, New York City, New York.[23]