Richard Portnow

Biography

Date of Birth 26 January 1947, Brooklyn, New York, USA Height 6' (1.83 m) Mini Biography A veteran of stage, film and television with a variety of characters to his credit, Richard Portnow was recently named one of the "Actors We Love" from the actors' trade newspaper Back Stage West. It said, "Portnow knows exactly how to hook an audience with every character." This Brooklyn native has worked steadily for 20 years and has built a solid list of credits, appearing in some of the most highly regarded and successful films and television shows of the past two decades. His entire family hails from Brooklyn, New York. His folks, Al and Flo, are gone, but he has a brother (Jay), a sister (Gayle), two nephews (John and Sam) and three nieces (Samara, Ilana and Maia). He graduated with a BA degree as a speech and theater major from Brooklyn College. He did not shine while in college, and was discouraged from continuing as an actor with the critique that he was "hopeless and without any ability or talent" (he continues to wonder if the faculty was right). He has been a bartender, an antique dealer, a boxer, an international drug trafficker, a fifth-grade teacher in the NYC public school system, a competitive body builder, a truck driver, a bouncer, a bagel maker, a short-order cook, a marathon runner, a designer, a competitive gymnast, a background extra, a disco dancer at the famed "Arthur" discotheque, and a confused and aimless layabout. Richard is 6'0", weighs in at a trim 180 lb. and continues to box. He has excellent defensive skills and his ability to stop punches with his face has made him a local favorite. Currently, Portnow assays the role of attorney Hal "Mel" Melvoin on the Emmy-winning HBO series "The Sopranos" (1999), the lawyer for Uncle Junior, whom he singlehandedly to keep out of prison and managed to get placed under house arrest instead. His rates for defending Corrado Soprano (Uncle Juniors's full name) are astronomical, but as Uncle June has said, "Mel, you're worth every penny". He has held this role since the show's inception in 1999. Richard began his professional career at the famed Cafe La Mama in New York City, appearing in plays by Tom Eyen, Leonard Melfi, Jeff Weiss, Megan Terry, Tom O'Horgan and Lanford Wilson. He won "The Best Newcomer of the Year" award from Show Business Magazine as a result of his early work off-off-Broadway. He continued his stage career with starring roles on Broadway in "The House of Blue Leaves" and "A Month of Sundays". He was in the original cast of "Moonchildren" at the prestigious Royal Court Theatre in London. He has also worked extensively at some of the most highly regarded regional theaters in the country, including The Long Wharf Theater, The Berkshire Theatre Festival for the brilliant director Josephine Abady, The Philadelphia Drama Guild, The Lowell Regional Theater and the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park. Neil Simon's "Oscar and Felix" at The Geffen Playhouse marked Richard's Los Angeles stage debut. His most recent stage appearance was in Woody Allen's "Writer's Block:, which was directed by Allen at The Atlantic Theater Company in New York. Richard has been fortunate and privileged to work with some of the best directors working in film today. Among those who have had a profound influence on him are Barry Levinson, The Coen Brothers, David Fincher, Woody Allen, Sydney Pollack, James Foley, Jim Jarmusch, Heywood Gould, Cameron Crowe and Sidney Lumet. He has also appeared as a series regular on the critically acclaimed "EZ Streets" (1996) and on the police drama "Ryan Caulfield: Year One" (1999). He has had guest starring appearances on "Seinfeld" (1990), "Mad About You" (1992), "Going to California" (2001), "Spin City" (1996), "NYPD Blue" (1993), "The Shield" (2002), "Dave's World" (1993), "Civil Wars" (1991), "Homefront" (1991), "Double Rush" (1995), "JAG" (1995), "Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman" (1993), "The Nanny" (1993), "Middle Ages" (1992), "The Commish" (1991) "Wiseguy" (1987) and "Walker, Texas Ranger" (1993). Richard has also starred in numerous movies of the week and mini series, most notably Neil Simon's Laughter on the 23rd Floor (2001) (TV), Double Bang (2001), Bella Mafia (1997) (TV), A Deadly Silence (1989) (TV), Original Sin (1997) (TV), Peter Gunn (1989) (TV), Indictment: The McMartin Trial (1995) (TV) and Life and Times of Robert L. Ripley, The (2002) in which he played the title role. Richard resides in New York and Los Angeles with his feisty English Cocker Spaniel "HeyBoy" and his Chow/German Shepherd "Sweetie". He is an avid collector of Americana from the 1940s and 1950s, with special focus on the original oil paintings created for the "pulp magazine" covers of the 1930s and 1940s.

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Birth Name

Richard Portnow

Birth Place

Brooklyn, New York, USA

Birth Date

1/26/1947
Known For
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Perfect Stranger

Narron

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The Spirit

Donenfeld

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Meet the Mobsters

Jerry Kaminski

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Meet the Hollowheads

Mr. Crabneck

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Milo

Lieutenant Parker

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Underdogs

John Handon II

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The 4th Noble Truth

Aaron's Lawyer

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Under New Management

Carmello Conforte

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Good Time Max

Head Administrator

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Road Kill

Charboneau

Starring In
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Athena Saves Christmas

Oscar Golden

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Roe v. Wade

Justice Douglas

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Duke

Carroll Green

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Higher Power

Charles Margrey

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Andover

Shamus Trout

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Swing State

Shoe Montgomery

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Café Society

Walt

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Soy Nero

Murray - the Garage Owner

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Trumbo

Louis B. Mayer

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Nanny Cam

Detective Jones

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Seasons of Love

Pop

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The 4th Noble Truth

Aaron's Lawyer

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Underdogs

John Handon II

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Oldboy

Bernie Sharkey

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In the Dark

Detective Archer

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Slightly Single in L.A.

Older Bar Guy

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Hitchcock

Barney Balaban

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Two Jacks

Lorenzo

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Imaginary Friend

Dan

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The Christmas Pageant

Leo Brenner

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Killer by Nature

Walter

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Law Abiding Citizen

Bill Reynolds

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Under New Management

Carmello Conforte

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The Spirit

Donenfeld

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Tinker Bell

Minister of Autumn (voice)

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The Minis

Jack

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Perfect Stranger

Narron

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Good Time Max

Head Administrator

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Find Me Guilty

Max Novardis

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Meet the Mobsters

Jerry Kaminski

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Poolhall Junkies

Toupee Jay

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Double Bang

Lieutenant Shatkin

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Laughter on the 23rd Floor

Harry Prince

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Happy Accidents

Trip

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The Unscarred

Tommy Matolla

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The Ghost of Spoon River

Agent Cicarelli

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Witness Protection

Niko (uncredited)

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The Substitute 3: Winner Takes All

Vincent Lo Russo

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Ghost Dog

Handsome Frank

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Road Kill

Charboneau

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Lured Innocence

Jack Shelby

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Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Wine Colored Tuxedo

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Shadow of Doubt

Marvin Helm

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Desert Thunder

Adm. Le Clair

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Milo

Lieutenant Parker

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My Giant

Producer

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Reptile Man

Sid Higgins

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Mad City

Marty, Brackett's Agent

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Private Parts

Ben Stern

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Bella Mafia

Anthony Moreno

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Bogus

M. Clay Thrasher

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Guy

Al

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Se7en

Dr. Beardsley

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Man of the House

Joey Renda, Frank's Son

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Indictment: The McMartin Trial

Judge George

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S.F.W.

Gerald Parsley

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Ed McBain's 87th Precinct (a.k.a. Ed McBain's 87th Precinct: Lightning/ Allumination FilmWorks)

Monaghan

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Dragstrip Girl

Det. Dryden

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Trial by Jury

Leo Greco

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Heart and Souls

Max Marco

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Night Eyes Three

Kaplan

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Sister Act

Willy

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Beethoven

Man with Gun in Briefcase (uncredited)

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There Goes the Neighborhood

Marty Rollins

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For the Boys

Milt, Recording Studio

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Father of the Bride

Al

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Barton Fink

Detective Mastrionotti

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Kindergarten Cop

Captain Salazar

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Havana

Mike MacClaney

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Havana

Mike MacClaney

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Tune In Tomorrow

Uncle Luke

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Say Anything...

IRS Agent Stewart

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Meet the Hollowheads

Mr. Crabneck

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chattahoochee

Dr. Debner

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Twins

Chop Shop Owner

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Peter Gunn

Spiros

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In Dangerous Company

Kellog

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Hiding Out

Mr. Lessig

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Good Morning, Vietnam

Dan 'The Man' Levitan

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Almost Partners

Nicky

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Radio Days

Sy

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The Squeeze

Ruben

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Tin Men

Carly

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Weeds

Guard

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Desperately Seeking Susan

Party Guest

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The Equalizer - Season One

Police Lieutenant / ... (3 episodes, 1985-1986)

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Roadie

First New York Wino

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