Tim Robbins

Tim Robbins
Not to be confused with novelist Tom Robbins
Tim Robbins

Robbins at the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival
Born Timothy Francis Robbins
October 16, 1958 (1958-10-16) (age 53)
West Covina, California, United States
Occupation Actor, director, producer, screenwriter, activist, musician
Years active 1976–present
Partner Susan Sarandon (1988–2009)

Timothy Francis "Tim" Robbins (born October 16, 1958)[1] is an American actor, screenwriter, director, producer, activist and musician. He is the former longtime partner of actress Susan Sarandon. He is known for his roles as Nuke in Bull Durham, Andy Dufresne in The Shawshank Redemption, and as Dave Boyle in Mystic River, for which he won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.


Early life

Robbins was born in West Covina, California, and raised in New York City, the son of Mary Robbins (née Bledsoe), an actress, and Gilbert Lee Robbins (1931–2011),[2] a musician, folk singer, actor and former manager of The Gaslight Cafe.[3][4][5] Robbins has two sisters, Adele and Gabrielle, and a brother, David. Robbins was raised Catholic.[6][7] He moved to Greenwich Village with his family at a young age, while his father pursued a career as a member of the folk music group The Highwaymen. Robbins started doing theater at age twelve and joined the drama club at Stuyvesant High School.[8] He spent two years at SUNY Plattsburgh and then returned to California to study at the UCLA Film School.[9]


Robbins's acting career began at Theater for the New City, where he spent his teenage years in their Annual Summer Street Theater and also played the title role in a musical adaptation of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's The Little Prince. After graduation from college in 1981, Robbins founded the Actors' Gang, an experimental theater group, in Los Angeles with actor friends from his college softball team (including John Cusack). In 1982, he appeared as domestic terrorist Andrew Reinhardt in three episodes of the television program St. Elsewhere. In 1985, he guest-starred in the second episode of the television series Moonlighting, "Gunfight at the So-So Corral". He also took small parts in films, such as the role of frat animal "Mother" in Fraternity Vacation (1985) and "Lt. Sam 'Merlin' Wells" in the iconic fighter pilot film Top Gun (1986). He played in The Love Boat, as a young version of one of the characters in retrospection about Second World War. His breakthrough role was as pitcher Ebby Calvin "Nuke" LaLoosh in the 1988 baseball film Bull Durham.

He received critical acclaim and won the Best Actor Award at Cannes for his starring role as an amoral film executive in Robert Altman's 1992 film The Player. He made his directorial and screenwriting debut with 1992's Bob Roberts, a mockumentary about a right-wing senatorial candidate. Robbins then starred alongside Morgan Freeman in the critically acclaimed The Shawshank Redemption (1994), which was based on Stephen King's short story.

Robbins at Cannes, 2001

Robbins has written, produced, and directed several films with strong social content, such as the critically acclaimed capital punishment saga Dead Man Walking (1995), starring Sarandon and Sean Penn. The film earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Director. His next directorial effort was 1999's Depression-era musical Cradle Will Rock. Robbins has also appeared in mainstream Hollywood thrillers, such as 1999's Arlington Road (as a terrorist) and 2001's Antitrust (as a malicious computer tycoon), and in comical films such as The Hudsucker Proxy, Nothing to Lose, and High Fidelity. Robbins has also acted in and directed several Actors' Gang theater productions.

Robbins won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar and the SAG Award for his work in Mystic River (2003), as a man traumatized from having been molested as a child. In 2005, he won the 39th annual Man of the Year Pudding Pot Award given by the Hasty Pudding Theatricals of Harvard. His most recent acting roles include a temporarily blind man who is nursed to health by a psychologically wounded young woman in The Secret Life of Words and an Apartheid torturer in Catch a Fire.

In early 2006, Robbins directed[10] an adaptation of George Orwell's novel 1984, written by Michael Gene Sullivan[11] of the Tony Award-winning San Francisco Mime Troupe. The show opened at Actors' Gang, at their new location at The Ivy Substation in Culver City, California. In addition to venues around the United States, it has played in Athens, Greece, the Melbourne International Festival in Australia and the Hong Kong Arts Festival. Robbins is considering adapting the play into a film version.[12]

Robbins appeared in 2008's The Lucky Ones, with co-star Rachel McAdams. Shooting took place in Illinois, including scenes filmed at Mojo's Music in Edwardsville, Illinois.

Robbins has just finished writing and directing a new pilot for Showtime called Possible Side Effects about a family that runs a pharmaceutical company. It will premiere later in 2010.

Robbins played Senator Hammond, the disapproving father of the film's villain Hector Hammond, in the 2011 superhero film Green Lantern.[13]

In 2010, Robbins released the album Tim Robbins & The Rogues Gallery Band, a collection of songs written over the course of 25 years that he ultimately took on a world tour. He was originally offered the chance to record an album in 1992 after the success of his film Bob Roberts, but he declined because he had "too much respect for the process", having seen his father work so hard as a musician, and because he felt he had nothing to say at the time.[14]

Personal life

In 1988, Robbins entered into a relationship with actress Susan Sarandon, whom he met on the set of Bull Durham. They have two sons: John "Jack" Henry (born May 15, 1989) and Miles Guthrie (born May 4, 1992). Robbins, like Sarandon, is a lapsed Catholic,[15] and they both share liberal political views. The end of Robbins' relationship with Sarandon was announced in late December 2009.[16]

Robbins supported Ralph Nader's 2000 presidential campaign and appeared on stage in character as Bob Roberts during the "Nader Rocks the Garden" rally at Madison Square Garden. Robbins is a prominent spokesperson for anti-globalisation,[citation needed] a frequent critic of former U.S. President George W. Bush, and a vocal opponent of the war in Iraq. In December 2007, he endorsed and campaigned for Senator John Edwards in the 2008 U.S. presidential election.[17]

In 2003, a 15th anniversary celebration of Bull Durham at the National Baseball Hall of Fame was canceled by Hall of Fame president Dale Petroskey. Petroskey, who was on the White House staff during the Reagan administration, told Robbins that his stance helped to "undermine the U.S. position, which could put our troops in even more danger."[18] Durham co-star Kevin Costner, a self-described libertarian, defended Robbins and Sarandon, saying, "I think Tim and Susan's courage is the type of courage that makes our democracy work. Pulling back this invite is against the whole principle about what we fight for and profess to be about."[18] Robbins later said that Kevin Costner, Clint Eastwood, and Jack Valenti were the only major Hollywood figures that stood up for his free speech rights in this case and noted that all three men are either Republicans or very conservative Democrats, adding that he felt there could be common ground between individuals with different political beliefs.

Robbins is an avid baseball and hockey fan. He supports the New York Mets and the New York Rangers and frequently attends games. In 1995, Robbins did a series of promos for MSG Network advertising upcoming Rangers games, and has narrated a documentary on the 1969 Mets for SNY. Robbins is a passionate ice hockey player who participates regularly in the New York adult recreational hockey community. At 6 feet, 5 inches or 1.95 metres, he is the tallest Academy Award winning actor, as of 2011.[19]


Year Film Role Notes
1982 St. Elsewhere Andrew Reinhardt Three episodes
1984 No Small Affair Nelson
Toy Soldiers Boe
1985 Fraternity Vacation Larry "Mother" Tucker
The Sure Thing Gary Cooper
1986 Howard the Duck Phil Blumburtt Nominated — Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor
Top Gun Lt. Sam 'Merlin' Wells
1988 Tapeheads Josh Tager
Bull Durham Ebby Calvin "Nuke" LaLoosh
Five Corners Harry
1989 Erik the Viking Erik
Miss Firecracker Delmount
Twister Jeff
1990 Jacob's Ladder Jacob Singer
Cadillac Man Larry
1991 Jungle Fever Jerry
1992 Bob Roberts Bob Roberts Also as writer, director
Bronze Award for Best Actor at the Tokyo International Film Festival
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
The Player Griffin Mill Best Actor Award (Cannes Film Festival)
Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Actor
1993 Short Cuts Gene Shepard Golden Globe Special Award for Ensemble Cast
Volpi Cup for Best Ensemble Cast
1994 I.Q. Ed Walters
Prêt-à-Porter Joe Flynne Title in English: Ready to Wear
National Board of Review Award for Best Cast
The Shawshank Redemption Andy Dufresne Nominated — Chlotrudis Award for Best Actor
Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
The Hudsucker Proxy Norville Barnes
1995 Dead Man Walking As writer/director only
Golden Aphrodite Award at the Love is Folly International Film Festival
Humanitas Prize for Feature Film Category
Palm Springs International Film Festival Award for Best Director
Prize of the Ecumenical Jury
Prize of the Guild of German Art House Cinemas
Reader Jury of the "Berliner Morgenpost"
Nominated — Academy Award for Best Director
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay
Nominated — Golden Berlin Bear Award for Best Film
1997 Nothing to Lose Nick Beam
1999 Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me The President
Cradle Will Rock As writer/director only
Gran Angular Award for Best Director
Gran Angular Award for Best Film
Istanbul International Film Festival Award for International Competition
National Board of Review Special Achievement in Filmmaking Award
Nominated — Palme d'Or (1999 Cannes Film Festival)[20]
Arlington Road Oliver Lang
2000 Mission to Mars Woodrow 'Woody' Blake
High Fidelity Ian 'Ray' Raymond
2001 Antitrust Gary Winston
2002 Human Nature Dr. Nathan Bronfman
The Truth About Charlie Lewis Bartholomew
2003 Mystic River Dave Boyle Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Cast
Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
Central Ohio Film Critics Association for Best Supporting Actor
Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
Florida Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture
Southeastern Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated — Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated — Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Nominated — Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
Code 46 William Geld
2004 Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy Public News Anchor (Cameo — uncredited)
2005 The Secret Life of Words Josef ADIRCAE Award for Best Performance in a Leading Role
Nominated — Barcelona Film Award for Best Actor (Millor Actor)
Nominated — Cinema Writers Circle Award for Best Actor (Mejor Actor)
Zathura Dad
War of the Worlds Harlan Ogilvy
2006 Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny The Stranger
Catch a Fire Nic Vos
2007 Noise David Owen
2008 The Lucky Ones Fred Cheaver
City of Ember Loris Harrow
2011 Green Lantern Senator Hammond[13]
Cinema Verite Bill Loud[21]


  1. ^ "Tim Robbins". The New York Times. http://movies.nytimes.com/person/108437/Tim-Robbins/biography. Retrieved August 14, 2010. 
  2. ^ Grimes, William (April 9, 2011). "Gil Robbins, Folk Musician, Dies at 80". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/10/arts/music/10robbins.html. 
  3. ^ "Folk singer Gil Robbins dies at 80". CBC News. April 11, 2011. http://www.cbc.ca/news/arts/story/2011/04/11/obit-robbins-gil.html. Retrieved April 14, 2011. 
  4. ^ "Tim Robbins Biography". http://www.filmreference.com/film/34/Tim-Robbins.html. Retrieved November 1, 2007. 
  5. ^ "Ancestry of Tim Robbins". http://www.wargs.com/other/robbins.html. Retrieved November 1, 2007. 
  6. ^ Rose, Charlie (February 8, 1996). "Tim Robbins Interview". PBS. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/angel/walking/timrobbins.html. Retrieved May 9, 2010. : (Commentary with Tim Robbins saying; "Yes. We, we met. And I was raised a Catholic, so I have a whole other perception of nuns than, than the one that Sister Helen gave me.")
  7. ^ Wattenberg, Daniel (March 19, 2001). "No Nukes — how director Tim Robbins incorporates conspiracy into plots of his films". National Review. Archived from [unknown the original] on March 19, 2001. http://web.archive.org/web/20080401150407/http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1282/is_5_53/ai_72007022. 
  8. ^ "Inside the Actors Studio — Guests — Tim Robbins". Bravo. December 5, 1999. http://www.bravotv.com/Inside_the_Actors_Studio/guest/Tim_Robbins. Retrieved November 1, 2007. [dead link]
  9. ^ "Tim Robbins". The New York Times. http://movies.nytimes.com/person/108437/Tim-Robbins/biography. Retrieved August 23, 2009. 
  10. ^ "1984". Archived from the original on July 3, 2007. http://web.archive.org/web/20070703092024/http://www.theactorsgang.com/Shows/1984.htm. Retrieved November 1, 2007. 
  11. ^ "Velina Brown and Michael Gene Sullivan". http://www.michaelgenesullivan.com/. Retrieved November 1, 2007. 
  12. ^ Morris, Clint (January 15, 2006). "Tim Robbins returns to 1984". Archived from the original on June 22, 2008. http://web.archive.org/web/20080622141546/http://www.moviehole.net/news/20060115_tim_robbins_returns_to_1984.html. Retrieved November 1, 2007. 
  13. ^ a b "Tim Robbins plays villain's dad in "Green Lantern"". Reuters. February 9, 2010. http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6180OQ20100209. 
  14. ^ Wilks, Jon (August 15, 2011). "Tim Robbins: the interview". TimeOut Tokyo. http://www.timeout.jp/en/tokyo/feature/4707/Tim-Robbins-the-interview-Part-1. Retrieved August 15, 2011. 
  15. ^ "Labor of Love: With Dead Man Walking, Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins Go From Oscar Outlaws to Golden Couple by Rebecca Ascher-Walsh". Entertainment Weekly. March 22, 1996. Archived from [unknown the original] on March 22, 1996. http://web.archive.org/web/20021222073855/http://www.geocities.com/timrobbinspage/interviews/014.html. 
  16. ^ Longtime couple Sarandon, Robbins have splitmsnbc. November 23, 2009
  17. ^ "Political Punch". Blogs.abcnews.com. December 9, 2007. http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2007/12/bacon-edwards.html. Retrieved March 26, 2010. 
  18. ^ a b "Tim Robbins: Hall of Fame violates freedom". The Age (Melbourne). April 13, 2003. http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2003/04/12/1050069116929.html. Retrieved November 1, 2007. 
  19. ^ Austin Chronicle "Mr. Smarty Pants Knows" October 13, 2006
  20. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Cradle Will Rock". festival-cannes.com. http://www.festival-cannes.com/en/archives/ficheFilm/id/5321/year/1999.html. Retrieved October 4, 2009. 
  21. ^ "Diane Lane, Tim Robbins and James Gandolfini Star in HBO Films' "Cinema Verite," A Dramatic Look at the Making of the Groundbreaking Documentary "An American Family" Debuting in April". The Futon Critic. http://www.thefutoncritic.com/news/2011/01/07/diane-lane-tim-robbins-and-james-gandolfini-star-in-hbo-films-cinema-verite-a-dramatic-look-at-the-making-of-the-groundbreaking-documentary-an-american-family-debuting-in-april-53512/20110107hbo08/. Retrieved January 12, 2011. 

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