20 September 1956, Park Ridge, Illinois, USA
Gary Michael Cole
Gary Cole was born on September 20, 1956 in Park Ridge, Illinois, USA as Gary Michael Cole. He is known for his work on Pineapple Express (2008), Office Space (1999) and Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006). He has been married to Teddi Siddall since March 8, 1992. They have one child.
(On landing To Live and Die in L.A. (1985)) [William] Petersen is an old friend of mine from a long time ago. We started a theater company i...
(On landing To Live and Die in L.A. (1985)) [William] Petersen is an old friend of mine from a long time ago. We started a theater company in Chicago, and he's the one that got me on that. I was out here in Los Angeles. Billy was renting a big house while he was doing the movie, and there were other Chicago actors out here migrating, mooching off of him while we were out in L.A. auditioning for stuff. And there were some roles in it, and he mentioned me to William Friedkin, so I just got this role as one of a bunch of bad guys that Billy hunted down. (While filming it) I never ran so much in a day in my life. It was somewhere out in a railyard outside of downtown near a bridge, like a train trestle. And it was running there, it was running across the bridge, and it was running through the industrial park, and finally Billy tackles me and roughs me up. But we ran all day long.
(On his role in Fatal Vision (1984)) I was still really in Chicago. I don't even think I made any pilgrimages out here. I was doing theater ...
(On his role in Fatal Vision (1984)) I was still really in Chicago. I don't even think I made any pilgrimages out here. I was doing theater in Chicago, and I had a couple plays in New York, which is really what led me to do it. There was a guy by the name of Joel Thurm, who was vice-president at NBC at the time, and he had seen a production of "True West" that I was in, in New York. And I think maybe a year before that or less, I had read for Miami Vice (1984) and did a network screen test for that. Obviously I didn't get that, but [Thurm] still had a memory of me. They had offered the MacDonald role to a few people who had turned it down, and the time for shooting it was approaching. And the casting director in Chicago, who I had known for a long time, suggested me to Joel Thurm. He remembered the play, and then I flew out and auditioned for it, and it became a reality. But it was one of those right-timing things, because they were getting down to the wire, and they were probably less than two weeks from shooting this thing. They already had Karl Malden and Eva Marie Saint and Andy Griffith. It wasn't a question of getting someone that was known, although nowadays I don't know that they'd cast an unknown in that role. It was massive, the role was massive. It was a four-hour miniseries, and I was basically in every scene in the movie. It was an eight- or nine-week shoot out here in L.A.. It was a whole change of life for me, so I was looking at that, too. I read it and re-read the book, and it seemed to me that their take on it was pretty one-sided, and they were pretty convinced that he was guilty. But I didn't disagree with that. That seemed to be the case, although I didn't want to play him like that, because I thought it would be better to play him if he was innocent. It would make him more convincing, which he was to a lot of people-a lot of people were convinced he was innocent.
(On his guest appearance on Miami Vice (1984)) I think the show was in its third season, so it was pretty popular at that point. It was a go...
(On his guest appearance on Miami Vice (1984)) I think the show was in its third season, so it was pretty popular at that point. It was a good experience for me. I was only there five or six days. There was a great actor in that episode who's now a director, Perry Lang. We were kind of partner bad guys, a couple of rich kids who became drug smugglers. I just remember having a decent time in Miami for 10 days...Miami Vice was very stylized, in a weird way. It was kind of like the old Batman (1966). Sometimes the villains were very... I wouldn't say they were cartoony, but they were themed. They were very strong characters. This was not NYPD Blue (1993). It wasn't trying to be hardcore authentic all the time.
In the Line of Fire (1993) wasn't technically the first feature I was in, but I'm going to say that it was, because the first one I did, I w...
In the Line of Fire (1993) wasn't technically the first feature I was in, but I'm going to say that it was, because the first one I did, I was basically invisible. I was in a movie called Lucas (1986) with Corey Haim in 1986. I played an assistant football coach who had one line, which was looped, and I realized it wasn't even my voice when I saw it. It was me saying the line on-screen, but it was someone else's voice. They lost my phone number, I guess. But yeah, In the Line of Fire (1993) was in '93, and that was an audition on tape, because that's the way [director] Wolfgang [Petersen] did it. He didn't usually meet people, and I believe Mr. Malkovich was responsible for getting me the part. I know John from college. I read for it and didn't hear anything for a long time and, in the meantime, I saw John, and he had been set in it for a while as this a villain, and I just mentioned I read for it, and he said, "Well, I wish I would've known about that". Then, a week or so later, I got a call that I was cast in it. So I think John put in a good word for me.
(On landing The Brady Bunch Movie (1995)) I had done virtually no comedy at all until then. All the television I had done was either disease...
(On landing The Brady Bunch Movie (1995)) I had done virtually no comedy at all until then. All the television I had done was either disease-of-the-week movies or Fatal Vision (1984) or a television series called Midnight Caller (1988). But Betty Thomas, who had actually directed an episode of Midnight Caller (1988), she was the director. I had worked with her, I had also met her years ago in New York. She was a friend of Jim Belushi's, and I was doing "True West" with Jim Belushi, so I met her and knew her, liked her a lot. Thought she was very funny, very salty, and I went into the read thinking really that it just didn't make sense that I would get this part. But I thought since it was Betty, I'd go in and say hi, do my thing, have fun, walk away. And so I went in, and it seemed to go okay. I went in and did my best Robert Reed impersonation, and it seemed to go fine. And a lot of time went by, more than six or seven weeks, it seemed. So I didn't think any more about it. It was like most auditions. You walk in, and 90 percent of them are dead. And then I got a call back and went in, and [Betty] said, "I just want to see if this was as good as I thought it was". So I did it again, and no one was laughing. She was just looking at me like an animal in the zoo. And then the third time I went in, they had already cast Shelley Long, so they wanted to see me with "Shelley Long", and they put us on tape. They gave me some bad wig. I looked like "Buckwheat" from "The Little Rascals", and they put me in some bad polyester shirt, and it was just really odd, because I looked so stupid. I left and didn't think anything about it, and then it still went on and on. It was on and it was off, and it was on and it was off, and then finally I got a call from her and she said, "I really want you to do it". And then she went to bat for me at the studio, because I don't think the studio wanted me. It didn't make sense for the studio; I'm sure they were going through their list of stand-up comedians and other comic actors that had done those movies. And nobody wanted to do it. They'd keep passing on it. And the time was coming, they had to make it, and so I was slipped in.
(On A Simple Plan (1998)) I got that role because of Sam Raimi, who had produced American Gothic (1995), and I just got a phone call, and th...
(On A Simple Plan (1998)) I got that role because of Sam Raimi, who had produced American Gothic (1995), and I just got a phone call, and that was nice. We didn't really meet on A Simple Plan (1998), but there was a role they needed someone for, and he figured I wouldn't screw it up too badly. Sam was great that way. I did two films for Sam. And even though I only had a small role in the movie, I think it's maybe one of the best films I've been in from top to bottom, in terms of everything working-the story, the way it looked, the kind of impact it had. It wasn't a huge financial success, but I don't really think it was a flop, either, because it didn't really cost that much to make. I think it's a good film. Even though it's a small role, it's pretty pivotal, because it's one of those things where we don't know who this guy is, but either way, it's trouble. Because if he's really the law, he's trouble for these guys. And if he's not, if he's the guy coming back to get revenge, then he's even more trouble, which is what he turned out to be.
(On the cult status of Office Space (1999)) It was like a lot of movies. You do the movie and then you walk away. It lasted maybe five weeks...
(On the cult status of Office Space (1999)) It was like a lot of movies. You do the movie and then you walk away. It lasted maybe five weeks in theaters, if that. The first time I got a sense of it was probably a year later. I was doing a play in Chicago in the summer of 2000, because here [in L.A.], you don't spend a lot of time on the street. You're always driving. But in Chicago, I lived next door to the theatre, so I was always walking up and down this big boulevard in Chicago, Halsted Street, and going to restaurants and just down the street a lot. And people started coming up to me, doing Lumbergh's dialogue. And this is a year and a half later, and I was really surprised, because I thought the movie was a flop. I didn't know that it had gained an audience on video. And it happened consistently. I started going to restaurants and people would be like, "Hey Lumbergh!" I went to the ballpark at Wrigley Field, people were shouting out Lumbergh's name. I thought, "My God, somebody's actually watching this thing". So that's the first time, but then you kind of realize that in this day and age, a movie doesn't have to be successful in the theater, necessarily. I mean, it helps, but it doesn't have to die a death in the theater and never be seen again. You get a second chance if word of mouth helps you out, and that was the case of Office Space (1999).
(On landing The West Wing (1999) My manager had a connection to the show, which I think was helpful. She represents Stockard Channing. So, s...
(On landing The West Wing (1999) My manager had a connection to the show, which I think was helpful. She represents Stockard Channing. So, she was familiar with everybody over there, and that was pretty traditional. I had read for [producer] John Wells on a show called Third Watch (1999). I read for probably a couple other pilots, too. Didn't get any of them, but a couple of those auditions went fairly well. And I went in to read before the beginning of the fifth season, which was a scene that turned out to be with Martin Sheen. It was actually the first scene I shot, and it went well. It was fairly traditional. But I think the fact my manager had been plugged into the show for a few years because of Stockard probably helped.
Gary Cole's FILMOGRAPHY
Example Example Example
Gary Cole'S roles
Dr. Ethan Hart
Mayor Fred Jones Sr.
Defense Attorney Solomon Tager
Vice President Bob Russell
Special Agent Hawley
Dr. James Timothy Possible
J. Allen Carter
Commander Cameron Lutz
Mayor Fred Jones Sr., Black Knight, Foreman, Guard #2, Miner, Motorcycle Cop, Paramedic #2