Ep 53: Emmy-Award Winner Richard Schiff, of The West Wing & The Good Doctor

Richard Schiff is possibly most famous for his Emmy Award-winning turn as White House Communications Director Toby Ziegler on "The West Wing" but he seems to be just about everywhere in film, TV and theater these days.  He's an Actor's actor.  Sitting down with him was a reminder of not only the intensity and intelligence required to portray characters so deeply, but the thirst for storytelling in multiple mediums, and the willingness to take risks, that leads to a career with such longevity. 

SHOW NOTES

Participating on The West Wing Weekly podcast, (7:28). Richard's premonition of, and fear of, The West Wing's success when he began shooting, (12:28).  Juggling 3 shows at a time (The Good Doctor, Ballers and Counterpart) as well as movies, (16:27).  How to negotiate having options as an actor, (18:04).  Odd jobs:  drove a cab, worked in a factory, dropped out of society and moved to Colorado, cleaned Greyhound buses, (22:38).  Dropping out of college and subsequent unique night school experience, (27:34). Feeling lost leads to living in a hippy house in Colorado, (30:03).  Moving back to NYC, sneaking back into City College, finding the performing arts program and eventually receiving a Doctorate of Humane Letters, alongside Bill Clinton, (31:06).  How Toby Ziegler (Richard's West Wing character) helped City College's plight years after Richard graduated, leading them to give Richard a post-graduate medal alongside some of his longtime heroes, (32:48).  Being fascinated by acting, but never quite getting it, (36:49).  Not knowing what the future would hold made it hard to think about a future, (38:22).  Falling into being an actor by acting in a directing class with the intent of improving his writing.  And finding Earle Gister as a mentor, (41:32).  Going from more of a director to being "discovered" as an actor after a girlfriend dragged him to an audition, (47:20).  Too intense for his own good and sustainability, (48:35). Drawn to students of William Esper, which led to being mentored by him and eventually encouraged to be an actor, (50:06).  Meeting his wife, Actress Sheila Kelley, (57:01).  A reputation as a caged animal, (58:52).  Working with, and loving, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson on HBO's Ballers, (1:11:43).  Set story about a manipulative actor and how Richard handled him, (1:17:24).  Writing for himself, (1:22:36).  How a young writer can lure Richard into their project, (1:25:23).     

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