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Bob Balaban last directed the telefilm Georgia O’Keeffe, starring Joan Allen and Jeremy Irons, which was nominated for three Golden Globe Awards and nine Emmy Awards, with Mr. Balaban receiving his second Emmy nomination for Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries, Movie, or a Dramatic Special; the first came for Bernard and Doris, which he also produced. The latter feature, starring Susan Sarandon and Ralph Fiennes, received ten Emmy Award nominations overall, as well as three Golden Globe Award nominations. He also earned Directors Guild of America Award nominations for his helming of both features.
Mr. Balaban was an Academy Award and Golden Globe Award nominee as producer of Robert Altman’s Best Picture nominee Gosford Park, which brought Mr. Altman the Golden Globe Award for Best Director and Julian Fellowes the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, based on an idea by Mr. Altman and Mr. Balaban. With his fellow actors from the movie, Mr. Balaban shared the Screen Actors Guild Award’s top prize, for Outstanding Performance by the Cast of a Theatrical Motion Picture. With his fellow producers from the movie, he shared BAFTA’s Alexander Korda Award for Best British Film.
He produced, directed, and co-wrote The Last Good Time, starring Armin Mueller-Stahl and Olivia d’Abo; and directed Parents, starring Randy Quaid, Sandy Dennis, and Mary Beth Hurt. He created, wrote, and produced the animated television series Hopeless Pictures; and executive-produced the game show Celebrity Charades.
In 2002, Mr. Balaban produced and directed Erik Jensen and Jessica Blank’s hit Off-Broadway play The Exonerated, starring Richard Dreyfuss and Jill Clayburgh, which won the Drama Desk Award and the Outer Critics Circle Award; and then produced and directed the show’s touring version. He subsequently directed the telefilm version, adapted by the playwrights, which starred Susan Sarandon, Danny Glover, Aidan Quinn, Delroy Lindo, and Brian Dennehy.
As actor, he has appeared in over fifty movies, including such classics as John Schlesinger’s Midnight Cowboy, Mike Nichols’ Catch-22, Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and Bennett Miller’s Capote. He has starred in his friend Christopher Guest’s films Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show, A Mighty Wind, and For Your Consideration. His many other movies as actor include Woody Allen’s Alice and Deconstructing Harry; Tim Robbins’ Bob Roberts and Cradle Will Rock; and Jill and Karen Sprecher’s Clockwatchers and Thin Ice.
He has starred on Broadway in such shows as Plaza Suite, Speed-the-Plow, and The Inspector General, for which he was a Tony Award nominee. He has starred off-Broadway in You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, and Marie and Bruce, among other shows. His next stage work is directing the July 2012 Williamstown Theater Festival production of Lucy Boyle’s play The Blue Deep, starring Blythe Danner.
Mr. Balaban writes the best-selling McGrowl series of children’s books for Scholastic, and has begun a second series entitled The Creature from the Seventh Grade.
A Chicago native, his roots are in the entertainment world; his uncle was a longtime president of Paramount Pictures and his grandfather headed production at MGM for many years.