Birthday: August 30, 1954 Birth
Place: Oceanside, Long Island, New York, USA Height: 5' 7"
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One of modern TV and moviedom's most sturdy and reliable character actors, David Paymer dreamed of being an actor from early childhood. Although he came from a traditional middle class Jewish family that urged him to become a doctor or lawyer, Paymer felt more at home in the world of the thespian. At 14, he used a fake I.D. to see The Graduate (1967), which starred a young Dustin Hoffman. He grew up in Oceanside, New Jersey, where his father was in the scrap metal business. His mother, a homemaker, had fled Belgium with her family to escape the Nazis. When his father quit the scrap metal business to pursue music, it inspired young Paymer to give his acting dream a try. His aborted big break came when he was cast in the TV series St. Elsewhere (1982) as Dr. Wayne Fiscus - then promptly dumped and replaced by 'Howie Mandel' . Luckily, his real big break was destined to be on the big screen, as Ira Shalowitz is the Billy Crystal vehicle City Slickers (1991). Crystal was so pleased with Paymer's work that he wrote the part of Stan Yankelman beleaguered brother of the titular character in the movie Mr. Saturday Night (1992), especially for Paymer. The part earned Paymer an Oscar nomination in 1993.
Education: Lee Strasberg Theater Institute; Professional Performing Arts School
Brother of Steve Paymer
After filming the original pilot for "St. Elsewhere," was replaced in the role of Dr. Wayne Fiscus by Howie Mandel.
Son of composer/pianist Marvin Paymer.
Billy Crystal was so impressed with his work in the film City Slickers that he immediately cast him in his next vehicle, Mr. Saturday Night, as Crystal's long- suffering brother who ages from 20-75. Paymer earned a supporting Oscar nomination for his efforts.
Majored in acting and psychology at University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, Michigan).
Taught acting classes at the Film Actor's Workshop.
Got his first big break playing the role of "Sonny" in both the national tour and the Broadway production of "Grease" in the 70s.
Wrote and performed stand-up comedy teaming with his older brother Steve at the Improv and Comedy Store venues in Los Angeles. The two later corroborated on the movie Candor City Hospital with David directing/acting and Steve writing.
Has worked opposite Sir Anthony Hopkins twice; first in Nixon, and then in Amistad. In both films, Hopkins plays a former U.S. President.
Played Dick Goodwin in the made-for-TV movie "RFK," the same person who sought out to expose the fixed game show his character produced for NBC in the movie "Quiz Show."
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