- Bill Irwin
birthdate = Birth date and age|1950|4|11|mf=y
Santa Monica, California
William Mills "Bill" Irwin (born
April 11, 1950) is an American actorand clownnoted for his contribution to the renaissance of American circus during the 1970s. He is known for his vaudeville-style stage acts, but has made a number of appearances on filmand televisionand won a Tony Award for a dramatic role on Broadway.
Irwin was born in
Santa Monica, California, the son of Elizabeth (née Mills), a teacher, and Horace G. Irwin, an aerospaceengineer. [ [http://www.filmreference.com/film/28/Bill-Irwin.html Bill Irwin Biography (1950-) ] ] He graduated from Oberlin Collegein 1973 with a degree in theater arts, and from the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Clown Collegethe following year. In 1975, he helped found the Pickle Family Circusin San Francisco, California. He left the company in 1979, and decided to pursue stage work.
Irwin created a run of highly regarded stage shows that incorporated elements of clowning, often in collaboration with composer
Doug Skinner. These works included "The Regard of Flight" (1982), "Largely New York" (1989), "Fool Moon" (1993), "The Harlequin Studies" (2003), and "Mr. Fox: A Rumination" (2004). "Mr. Fox" is a production that Irwin has worked on for years, a biographyof 19th century clown George Washington Lafayette Fox that also has autobiographical elements.
In 1996, Irwin performed with
The Cadets Drum and Bugle Corpsat the 1996 Summer Olympics, in a "band on the run" sequence where he played Dr. Hubert Peterson of the fictitious Federation of United Marching Associations of America. [ [http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=2853774795331584631&q=dci DCI Cadets 1996 Olympics Performance ] ]
Although Irwin is best known for his theatrical clown work, he has also been featured in a number of dramatic plays. Irwin appeared in 1988 on stage with
Steve Martinand Robin Williamsfor a production of " Waiting for Godot" in the role of Lucky. Lucky's only lines consist of a famous 500-word-long monologue, an ironic element for Irwin since much of his clown-based stage work was silent. He appeared in 2002 with Sally Fieldin the replacement cast of " The Goat or Who is Sylvia?". In 2005, he starred alongside Kathleen Turneras George in a revival of Edward Albee's " Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?". He directed the 1998 Roundabout Theatre Companyproduction of " A Flea in Her Ear".
Irwin's first featured film role was in 1980, appearing as
Ham Gravyin Robert Altman's "Popeye" starring Robin Williams. He has appeared in over 20 films, mainly in supporting roles. Irwin's principal film roles included "My Blue Heaven", a 1990 comedy with Steve Martinand Rick Moranis, and " Eight Men Out", which tells the true story of the "Black Sox" gambling scandal of 1919. Irwin tap-danced in a leading role in 1991's "Stepping Out" with Liza Minnelliand appeared as a mime in the Paul Mazurskyfilm " Scenes from a Mall" alongside Woody Allenand Bette Midler. He appeared in film adaptations of "How The Grinch Stole Christmas", "The Laramie Project" and " A Midsummer Night's Dream". In 2006, Irwin played the solitary Mr. Leeds in M. Night Shyamalan's " Lady in the Water" and had a small role in 2007's " Across the Universe".
His most notable television roles have been Enrico Ballati, "The Flying Man", on the television series "
Northern Exposure", and Mr. Noodlein the " Elmo's World" segment of the PBS children's show " Sesame Street". He has also appeared on " The Cosby Show", " Saturday Night Live", " 3rd Rock From The Sun", and " Law & Order". Irwin was featured in the 1988 music videoof " Don't Worry, Be Happy" by Bobby McFerrin(along with McFerrin and Robin Williams).
Awards and honors
Irwin was awarded the
National Endowment for the ArtsChoreographer's Fellowship in 1981 and 1983. In 1984 he was named a Guggenheim Fellowand was the first person to be awarded a 5-year MacArthur Fellowship.
For "Largely New York" he won a
New York Drama Critics CircleSpecial Citation in 1988, and an Outer Critics Circle Awardand Drama Desk Awardin 1989. This show also received five nominations for Tony Awards.
In 1992 he won an
OBIE Awardfor his performance in "Texts for Nothing".
David Shinerhe won a special Tony Award for Live Theatrical Presentation in 1999 for their show " Fool Moon". In 1993, this show already had won a Drama Desk Award for "Unique Theatrical Experience" and an Outer Critics Circle "Special Achievement" Award.
In 2005, he won the
Tony Awardfor Best Actor in a Play for his appearance as George in the revival of Edward Albee's " Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?".
*imdb name|id=0410347|name=Bill Irwin
* [http://www.pbs.org/wnet/gperf/shows/billirwin/ Bill Irwin, Clown Prince] . "
Great Performances" ( PBS). (2004)
* [http://theater2.nytimes.com/mem/theater/treview.html?res=9501E4D81238F935A15757C0A962948260 The Regard of Flight] from the "
New York Times" (Registration required) (1984)
* [http://www.curtainup.com/harlequinstudies.html The Harlequin Studies] (2003)
NAME= Irwin, Bill
DATE OF BIRTH= 1950-4-11
PLACE OF BIRTH=
Santa Monica, California
DATE OF DEATH=
PLACE OF DEATH=
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