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Richard Schiff
Richard Schiff 2012 Shankbone.JPG
Schiff at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival premiere of Knife Fight
Born (1955-05-27) May 27, 1955 (age 59)
Bethesda, Maryland, U.S.
Nationality American
Alma mater City College of New York
Occupation Actor, comedian
Years active 1983–present
Political party
Spouse(s) Sheila Kelley (1996–present)
Children Gus Schiff
Ruby Schiff

Richard Schiff (born May 27, 1955) is an American actor and comedian. He played Toby Ziegler on The West Wing, a role for which he received an Emmy Award. Schiff made his directorial debut with The West Wing, directing an episode entitled "Talking Points." He will appear in Ted 2 (2015).

Early life[edit]

Schiff was born on May 27, 1955, in Bethesda, Maryland to a Jewish-American family. The second of three sons of Charlotte, a television and publishing executive, and Edward Schiff, a real estate lawyer.[1]

Schiff dropped out of high school, but later obtained an equivalency diploma. In 1973, he studied briefly at The City College of New York (CCNY) but did not graduate. He moved to Colorado where he found employment cutting firewood. Returning to New York in 1975, he began to study acting at CCNY and was accepted into their theater program.


Schiff initially studied directing. He directed several off-Broadway plays, including Antigone in 1983 with a just-graduated Angela Bassett. In the mid-1980s Schiff decided to try his hand at acting and landed several TV roles. He was seen by Steven Spielberg in an episode of the TV drama High Incident and was cast in The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997). His career began an upward climb that led to his co-starring role as White House Communications Director Toby Ziegler on Aaron Sorkin's award winning television series The West Wing. Schiff became known for his introverted and intense approach to his craft as well as his low-key delivery style.[citation needed]

In 1995, Schiff portrayed a lawyer in Se7en. In 1996, he guest starred on the TV series ER (Season 2 - Episode 17), and appeared in NYPD Blue the following year. In 1996, he portrayed a corrupt probation officer in City Hall along with Al Pacino and John Cusack. Schiff portrayed a doctor alongside Eddie Murphy in the 1998 Dr. Dolittle remake. He also portrayed Col./Brig. Gen. Robert Laurel Smith in the 1998 HBO TV movie The Pentagon Wars, based on the real-life development of the US Army's Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle. That same year, Schiff appeared in the movie Deep Impact, in which he played Don Beiderman. Schiff appeared in one episode of Becker during its first season. In 2001, he acted in the movie What's the Worst That Could Happen? starring Martin Lawrence and Danny DeVito. He played the part of the tough Mr. Turner in I Am Sam opposite Sean Penn and Michelle Pfeiffer and co-starred in People I Know with Al Pacino.

Schiff appeared in Ray as Jerry Wexler, shaving his beard for the role. After working on The West Wing for 6 seasons, Schiff chose to leave the series, fulfilling his contractual obligations by appearing in half of the following season's episodes. When NBC chose to end the series, Schiff continued his appearances until the end of the show's run in May 2006, though he appeared only briefly in the series finale. That same year, he starred alongside Peter Krause in Civic Duty.

Schiff in May 2009

Schiff had a cameo appearance as himself in the second season finale of Entourage. The scene has Schiff at lunch with his agent Ari Gold, where he declares a desire to act in action movies. In early 2006, Schiff returned to his stage roots, starring in the premiere run of Underneath the Lintel, a one-act, single-character play by Glen Berger, at the George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick, New Jersey. In February 2007, he appeared in the West End production of Underneath the Lintel in the Duchess Theatre [2] in London, England, and appeared on BBC Radio Five Live and talked at length to Simon Mayo about his experiences acting in The West Wing and his new West End production. In 2007, he appeared as Philip Cowen in the season finale of Burn Notice. A radio version of Underneath the Lintel, performed by Schiff, was broadcast by BBC Radio 4 on January 5, 2008. Schiff starred in Lanford Wilson's Talley's Folly at the McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton, New Jersey in the fall of 2008, as accountant Matt Friedman, opposite Margot White as Sally Talley. Later that year Schiff co-starred in Last Chance Harvey with Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson and Another Harvest Moon with Ernest Borgnine and appeared in the season finale of Eli Stone.

Schiff portrayed Charles Fischer in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles in the Season 2 episode "Complications". The character was a collaborator of Skynet and a traitor to the resistance. He was sent back in time to the present as a reward for his service to Skynet. He played an Orthodox rabbi on an episode of In Plain Sight with former The West Wing co-star Mary McCormack. In 2009, he co-starred in the movies Imagine That, with Eddie Murphy, and Solitary Man, with Michael Douglas and Susan Sarandon. Later in 2009, he went back to London to shoot two other movies: The Infidel,[3] in which he starred opposite Omid Djalili, and Made in Dagenham, with Sally Hawkins and Bob Hoskins. Schiff also appeared as a hypnotist in one episode of Monk's seventh season.

He starred in Past Life. He also had a recurring role in Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior as FBI Director Jack Fickler. Schiff had a recurring role in The Cape.[4] He also has guest starred on Any Human Heart with Jim Broadbent playing the role of a psychiatrist and on White Collar's second season episode 15. He also played the role of an ex-CIA agent in a terrorist organization in Johnny English Reborn. In April 2011, Schiff returned to the London West End in the play Smash![5] He played opposite Rob Lowe in the drama Knife Fight, and starred opposite Josh Duhamel, Rosario Dawson and Bruce Willis in Fire with Fire. Schiff played an important plot character in three episodes of CBS's NCIS, bridging seasons 9 and 10, as Harper Dearing, the replacement of Osama bin Laden on the Most Wanted Wall "for attacks against the United States Navy".

Schiff has been cast to star in the new Showtime series House of Lies, starring Kristen Bell and Don Cheadle. He also stars in the TV movie Innocent with Bill Pullman. He has an recurring guest role in the TV series Once Upon A Time and has joined Helen Hunt and former West Wing star Bradley Whitford in the movie Decoding Annie Parker. Schiff stars in the political series Chasing The Hill.

He portrayed Erie Smith in a revival of the Eugene O'Neill play, "Hughie", at the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, D.C., February–March 2013.

He portrayed Dr. Emil Hamilton in Zack Snyder's 2013 Superman film, Man of Steel.

Schiff has joined Kill the Messenger, The Automatic Hate, Explosion, and Ted 2.

Currently, Schiff has a regular role on the TNT's newest crime drama Murder in the First as David Hertzberg. The show also stars Taye Diggs, Kathleen Robertson, and Tom Felton.

In September 2014, Schiff returned to the West End in a revival of Speed-the-Plow by David Mamet, co-starring Lindsay Lohan.

Personal life[edit]

Schiff met his wife Sheila Kelley during auditions for Antigone in 1993, and they married in 1996.[6] They have a son, Gus, and a daughter, Ruby.[7]

Schiff is a member of the Democratic Party; he supported Barack Obama in the 2008 US Presidential Election. Previously, he had endorsed Senator Joe Biden, before Biden dropped out.

His brother is film-producer Paul Schiff.

Selected Filmography[edit]

Year Film Role
1992 Malcolm X JFK Reporter
1992 The Bodyguard Skip Thomas
1994 The Hudsucker Proxy Mailroom Screamer
1994 Speed Train Driver
1995 Tank Girl Trooper in Trench
1995 Rough Magic Marvin Wiggins
1995 Se7en Mark Swarr
1996 City Hall Larry Schwartz
1996 The Arrival Calvin
1996 The Trigger Effect Gun Shop Clerk
1996 Michael Italian Waiter
1997 Touch Jerry
1997 The Lost World: Jurassic Park Eddie Carr
1998 Dr. Dolittle Dr. Gene Reiss
1998 Living Out Loud Phil
1998 "Deep Impact" Don Beiderman
2000 Gun Shy Elliot
2000 Whatever It Takes P.E. Teacher
2001 I Am Sam Mr. Turner
2002 People I Know Elliot Sharansky
2006 Civic Duty Tom Hilary
2009 Imagine That Carl Simons
2009 Solitary Man Steve Heller
2009 Another Harvest Moon Jeffery
2010 The Infidel Lenny Goldberg
2010 Made in Dagenham Robert Tooely
2011 Johnny English Reborn Titus Fisher
2013 Decoding Annie Parker Mr. Allen
2013 The Frozen Ground Roy Hazelwood
2013 Man of Steel Dr. Emil Hamilton
2014 Kill the Messenger Richard Zuckerman / Walter Pincus
2014 The Gambler Jeweler
2014 Before I Disappear Bruce
2015 The Automatic Hate Dr. Ronald Green
2015 Take Me to the River Don
2015 Entourage Director
2015 Ted 2 TBA



  1. ^ Richard Schiff Biography (1955-)
  2. ^ Caesar, Ed (8 February 2007). "Richard Schiff: Life after 'The West Wing'". The Independent (London). Retrieved 16 April 2011. 
  3. ^ "The film that changed my life: Richard Schiff". The Guardian (London). 25 April 2010. Retrieved 16 April 2011. 
  4. ^ What's Behind the Cape? on Parallel Universe on MSN: Features. Last accessed 28th November 2013
  5. ^ "Richard Schiff stars in the new West End play Smash!". BBC Website (BBC News: Entertainment and the Arts). April 13, 2011. Retrieved 16 April 2011. 
  6. ^ Lynch, Jason (23 April 2001). "First, Family - The West Wing, Richard Schiff". People Magazine. Retrieved 18 September 2014. 
  7. ^ Richard Schiff at the Internet Movie Database

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Schiff — Please support Wikipedia.
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Flick Filosopher

Charlotte Observer
Thu, 27 Nov 2014 00:03:45 -0800

"Curfew" earns a feature film treatment titled "Before I Disappear," with Christensen, his precocious co-star Fatima Ptacek, and a supporting cast that now includes Emmy Rossum, Ron Perlman and Richard Schiff. Expanded and fleshed-out, the short film ...
The Skanner
Wed, 26 Nov 2014 14:30:00 -0800

Horrible Bosses 2 (R for pervasive profanity and crude sexuality) Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Day reunite for revenge-fueled sequel as inept entrepreneurs-turned-kidnappers who hatch a cockamamie plan to hold the son (Chris Pine) of a ...


Wed, 13 Aug 2014 07:24:29 -0700

Screen star Richard Schiff and stage fave Nigel Lindsay will join the previously reported Lindsay Lohan in the West End's upcoming Speed-the Plow. The David Mamet play, directed by Lindsay Posner (that's three Lindsays, if you're keeping track,) will ...

Aquarian Weekly

Aquarian Weekly
Wed, 26 Nov 2014 04:33:45 -0800

Timing is everything, when it comes to comedy, and this sequel suffers from an acute case of terrible timing. First of all, with the Bill Cosby rape allegations figuring so prominently in the news nowadays, the last thing anybody wants to laugh at is a ...

Zap2it.com (blog)

Zap2it.com (blog)
Sun, 16 Nov 2014 21:31:58 -0800

The president of Equatorial Kundu pays a visit to the White House where Toby (Richard Schiff) and Josh (Bradley Whitford) try to help him negotiate with drug companies to get free or discounted HIV medication for his country's citizens. Later President ...


Wed, 19 Nov 2014 05:12:15 -0800

... original people probably felt at the time. The show also stars Daniel Stern, Olivia Williams, Mark Moses, and Richard Schiff. Nine-time Emmy winner Thomas Schlamme ("The West Wing") is one of the executive producers and directed the first two episodes.

The Guardian (blog)

The Guardian (blog)
Wed, 19 Nov 2014 04:52:49 -0800

Yes, The West Wing is a great show, filled with snappy dialogue, featuring indelible performances (most notably Allison Janney's CJ Cregg and Richard Schiff's Toby Ziegler) and capable of toggling between laugh-out-loud moments to episodes of genuine ...


Fri, 03 Oct 2014 08:18:09 -0700

... take a peek at pics from the opening-night festivities via our sister site, WhatsOnStage, here . Nigel Lindsay as Charlie Fox, Lindsay Lohan as Karen, and Richard Schiff as Bobby Gould in Lindsay Posner's West End revival of David Mamet's Speed-the ...

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