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Nathan Lane was born Joseph Lane on February 3, 1956 in Jersey City, New Jersey. He is a three-time Tony Award-winning Broadway veteran, who has also enjoyed a prolific career in film and television, with two Golden Globe and six Emmy Award nominations under his belt.
Lane attended various Catholic schools in the Jersey City area, including St. Peter's Preparatory High School, and would eventually receive a drama scholarship to study at St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia. However, on the first day of college, he realised that the scholarship would only cover a portion of the tuition fees and he was unable to afford the remainder. He decided to leave for New York City and pursue a career as an actor that same day. He was forced to change his name as Joseph Lane was already taken at Actors Equity and chose Nathan after the character of Nathan Detroit in Guys and Dolls.
After a brief foray into the world of stand-up comedy with partner, Patrick Stack, Lane embarked on an acclaimed stage career, making his Broadway debut as Roland Maule in the 1982 revival of Noël Coward's Present Laughter and earning a Drama Desk Award nomination. He has over twenty Broadway credits on his résumé including his Tony Award-winning performances as Prologus / Pseudolus in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum in 1996 and as Max Bialystock in The Producers in 2001.
He also earned Tony Award nominations for his performances as Walter Burns in The Front Page (2017), as Chauncey in The Nance (2013), and, fittingly, as Nathan Detroit in Guys and Dolls (1992). He also appeared in the 1983 Broadway premiere of Merlin, The Wind in the Willows in 1985, the 1990 Broadway premiere of Some Americans Abroad, the 1991 revival of On Borrowed Time, Laughter on the 23rd Floor in 1993, the 1995 Broadway premiere of Love! Valour! Compassion!, the 2000 revival of The Man Who Came to Dinner, the 2004 Broadway premiere of The Frogs, the 2005 revival of The Odd Couple, the 2006 revival of Butley, the 2008 Broadway premiere of November, Waiting for Godot in 2009, the 2010 Broadway premiere of The Addams Family, and the 2014 Broadway premiere of It's Only a Play. Lane made his West End debut in the London transfer of The Producers in 2004, eventually winning the Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical in 2005.
Lane has also been no stranger to the off-Broadway scene over the course of his career, appearing regularly for Manhattan Theatre Club - Claptrap (1987), The Lisbon Traviata (1989), Bad Habits (1990), Lips Together, Teeth Apart (1991), Love! Valour! Compassion! (1994), and Mizlansky/Zilinsky or "Schmucks" (1998). Other selected off-Broadway credits include Roundabout Theatre Company's 1984 production of She Stoops to Conquer, the 1985 Shakespeare in the Park production of Measure for Measure, the Second Stage Theatre productions of The Film Society (1988) and In a Pig's Valise (1989), the Westside Theatre's 2003 production of Trumbo: Red White and Blacklisted, and the 2005 Primary Stages production of Dedication or The Stuff of Dreams.
Film fans may recognise Lane from his Golden Globe-nominated roles as Max Bialystock in the 2005 film adaptation of The Producers and as Albert Goldman in 1996's The Birdcage. He also famously provided the voice of Timon in Disney's 1994 animated classic The Lion King. Other notable film roles include Mirror Mirror, Nicholas Nickelby, Austin Powers in Goldmember, and Love's Labour's Lost. His television appearances have earned him a total of six Emmy Award nominations - three for Modern Family in 2014, 2013 and 2011, and single nominations for The Good Wife (2013), Mad About You (1998), and for Frasier (1995). Other TV credits include American Crime Story, Charlie Lawrence, Sex and the City, Teacher's Pet, George and Martha, Encore! Encore!, and One of the Boys, among many others.
Lane returned to the London stage in 2017 to take on the role of Roy Cohn in the National Theatre production of Angels in America, which transfered to Broadway from February 23 through to July 15, 2018, and resulted in his third Tony Award win.
His most recent Broadway venture was the world premiere of Taylor Mac's new comedy Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus, playing the Booth Theatre from March 5. Previews finally began on March 11, following the last-minute departure of Lane's co-star, Andrea Martin, due to injury, but the production would close early on June 16, 2019.
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