Bradley Whitford

This article is about the actor. For the musician, see Brad Whitford.
Bradley Whitford

Bradley Whitford, 2006
Born (1959-10-10) October 10, 1959
Madison, Wisconsin, U.S.
Alma mater Wesleyan University (1981),
Juilliard School (1985)
Occupation Actor
Years active 1985–present
Spouse(s) Jane Kaczmarek (m. 1992; div. 2009)
Children 3

Bradley Whitford (born October 10, 1959) is an American film and television actor. He has played White House Deputy Chief of Staff Josh Lyman on the NBC television drama The West Wing, Danny Tripp on Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Dan Stark in the Fox police buddy-comedy The Good Guys, Timothy Carter, a character who was believed to be Red John in the CBS series The Mentalist, and antagonist Eric Gordon in the film Billy Madison.

Whitford was nominated for three consecutive Emmy Awards from 2001 to 2003 for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for his role on The West Wing, winning the award in 2001. This role has also garnered him three consecutive Golden Globe Award nominations for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role. He received a second Emmy Award in 2015 for his role in Transparent.

He was an occasional columnist for The Huffington Post, until November 2009.[1]

Early life

Whitford was born in Madison, Wisconsin, the son of Genevieve Louie (née Smith) and George Van Norman Whitford.[2] He graduated from Madison East High School in 1977.[3] He majored in English and Theater at Wesleyan University (B.A. 1981),[3] where his roommate was the younger brother of future castmate Richard Schiff. Whitford then attended the Juilliard School's Drama Division as a member of "Group 14" (1981–1985),[4] which also included actor Thomas Gibson.[5]


Whitford first appeared on television in 1985 in an episode of The Equalizer. His film debut was in the 1986 film Doorman. He made his Broadway theatre debut in 1990[6] playing Lt. Jack Ross (followed a few months later in the lead role of Lt. Daniel Kaffee), in the Aaron Sorkin written play A Few Good Men. This was the beginning of a recurring working relationship between Whitford and Sorkin. Whitford also made a guest appearance on ER in the Emmy award-winning March 1995 episode "Love's Labor Lost".

Whitford joined the cast of Sorkin's The West Wing as Josh Lyman with the show's premiere in 1999. For his role, he won an Emmy Award in 2001 for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series. Whitford also wrote two episodes of the series ("Faith Based Initiative" in the sixth season and "Internal Displacement" in the seventh). After The West Wing ended in May 2006, Whitford appeared in Aaron Sorkin's later series Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip playing the role of Danny Tripp.[7] He appeared in the British drama Burn Up on the BBC in July 2008.

He starred on Broadway in Boeing-Boeing which began in previews on April 19, 2008 and opened on May 4, 2008. He left the show in September 2008, and was succeeded in the role by Greg Germann. He co-starred in the Joss Whedon/Drew Goddard horror film The Cabin in the Woods,[8] filmed in 2009 but not released until April 2012. In 2010, Whitford starred as Dan Stark in the Fox TV comedy The Good Guys opposite Colin Hanks where he played an unorthodox, almost-out-of-control cop with a mustache.

In 2011, Whitford guest starred in In Plain Sight on USA Network as a man combatting paranoia. He appeared in the season three finale of The Mentalist as a minion of and decoy for the long-sought nemesis of Patrick Jane, Red John. He also appeared on Law & Order: Los Angeles as a lawyer. On September 15, 2011, the American Foundation for Equal Rights, in partnership with Broadway Impact, announced the complete cast—including Whitford—and roles for the one-night only staged reading of 8, a new play chronicling the historic trial in the federal legal challenge to California's Proposition 8.[9] In 2013, Whitford played Pete Harrison in the ABC comedy Trophy Wife which was canceled after one season and will guest star in the ABC drama Castle in early 2015. Most recently, Whitford appeared in the Amazon series Transparent in the first season in a recurring role as a cross-dressing businessman[10] and in the second season in a recurring role as Magnus Hirschfeld.

Personal life

Whitford was married to fellow Wisconsin native, actress Jane Kaczmarek, best known for her role as Lois on Malcolm in the Middle. They lived in San Marino, California with their three children, Frances Genevieve (b. October 31, 1997), George Edward (b. December 23, 1999) and Mary Louisa (b. November 25, 2002). In 2007, the family appeared in magazine advertisements for the 2008 Chrysler Town and Country van. On June 19, 2009, the couple announced that they were filing for divorce after 16 years of marriage.[11] One of the last times they were seen together publicly was in September 2008, at the opening of a Los Angeles production of The House of Blue Leaves,[12] in which Kaczmarek was starring.[13]

Whitford and his Transparent co-star Amy Landecker began dating in early 2015.[14]


Whitford is a political liberal and has appeared several times on Real Time with Bill Maher. He once co-hosted The Majority Report on Air America Radio alongside Janeane Garofalo, and made an appearance on the Al Franken Show Party Album.

During the run-up to the November 2004 general election, Whitford, who was then playing White House Deputy Chief of Staff Josh Lyman on the NBC TV drama series The West Wing, made a satirical video that purported to support then-President George W. Bush for re-election, but which actually lampooned Bush's tax cuts for the rich.[15]

On February 26, 2011, Whitford spoke at one of the many protests in Madison, Wisconsin (his birthplace) in opposition to Governor Scott Walker's controversial budget bill.[16]

During the run-up to the November 2012 general election, Whitford and Courage Campaign founder and chair, Rick Jacobs, appeared together in a video that explained "what's really going on and who's really behind California's Proposition 30 and Proposition 32."[17] The video encouraged viewers to vote "yes" on Prop 30 and "no" on Prop 32[18] Proposition 30 was approved by California voters by a margin of 54 to 46 percent. Proposition 32 was defeated by a margin of 56 to 44 percent.

During the run-up to the November 2014 Wisconsin gubernatorial election, Whitford visited multiple University of Wisconsin System campuses in support of the campaign for the Democratic nominee for governor Mary Burke.[19]

In September 2016 Whitford appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.[20] In reference to Hillary Clinton, he said "her motivation as long as I've known her is to get healthcare...get healthcare for children". He immediately added "the other guy has spent his life accumulating money on bankruptcies", in reference to Donald Trump.


In May 2007, Whitford was honored by Alliance for Justice, a nonprofit organization, as the 2007 Champion of Justice. He was the keynote speaker for Class Day at Princeton University in June 2007.[21] As of 2012, Whitford serves on the Board of Trustees of his alma mater, Wesleyan University.[22]



Year Title Role Notes
1986 Dead as a Doorman Terry Reilly
1987 Adventures in Babysitting Mike Todwell
1987 Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise Roger Latimer
1990 Vital Signs Dr. Donald Ballentine
1990 Presumed Innocent Jamie Kemp
1990 Young Guns II Charles Phalen Credited as Brad Whitford
1990 Awakenings Dr. Tyler
1992 Scent of a Woman Randy Slade
1993 RoboCop 3 Fleck
1993 My Life Paul Ivanovich
1993 A Perfect World Bobby Lee
1993 Philadelphia Jamey Collins
1993 The Silent Alarm Referee Dad Short film
1994 The Client Thomas Fink
1994 Cobb Process Server
1995 Billy Madison Eric Gordon
1995 The Desperate Trail Tommy Donnelly
1996 My Fellow Americans Carl Witnaur
1996 Wildly Available Professor
1997 Masterminds Miles Lawrence Credited as Brad Whitford
1997 Red Corner Bob Ghery
1997 The People Michael Leary
1997 The Spittin' Image N/A Short film
1999 The Muse Hal
1999 Bicentennial Man Lloyd Charney
2001 Kate & Leopold J.J. Camden
2005 The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants Al Lowell
2005 Little Manhattan Adam Burton
2007 An American Crime Prosecutor Leroy K. New
2008 Bottle Shock Professor Saunders
2012 The Spin Room: Newt Takes South Carolina N/A Short film
2012 The Cabin in the Woods Steve Hadley
2012 Man Up, Little Boy Walter Short film
2013 Decoding Annie Parker Marshall Parker
2013 Marvel One-Shot: Agent Carter Agent Flynn
2013 Savannah Jack Cay
2013 CBGB Nicky Gant
2013 Saving Mr. Banks Don DaGradi Nominated—Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Cast
2015 I Saw the Light[23] Fred Rose
2016 Other People Norman
2017 Megan Leavey Completed
2017 Get Out Dean In post-production
2017 Unicorn Store Filming


Year Title Role Notes
1985 The Equalizer Dillart Episode: "The Children's Song"
1986 C.A.T. Squad Leon Trepper Television movie
1987 The Betty Ford Story Jack Ford Television movie
1988 Tales from the Darkside Tom Dash Episode: "The Deal"
1993 Black Tie Affair Dave Brodsky 5 episodes
1994 NYPD Blue Norman Gardner 4 episodes
1994 Ellen Doug Episode: "The Fix-Up"
1994 The X-Files Daniel Trepkos Episode: "Firewalker"
1994 Web of Deception Larry Lake Television movie
1995 ER Sean O'Brien Episodes: "A Miracle Happens Here" and "Love's Labor Lost"
1995 Nothing But the Truth 'Mack' McCarthy Television movie
1996 Touched by an Angel Steven Thomas Bell Episode: "Out of the Darkness
1997 Tracey Takes On... Nik Episode: "Vegas"
1997 In the Line of Duty: Blaze of Glory Tom LaSalle Television movie
1997 Cloned Rick Weston Television movie
1998 The Secret Lives of Men Phil 13 episodes
1999–2006 The West Wing Josh Lyman 149 episodes
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series (2001–02)
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film (2001–03)
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (2002–03)
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series (2003–06)
Nominated—Viewers for Quality Television Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Quality Drama Series
1999 Felicity Tom Anderson Episode: "Happy Birthday" (uncredited)
1999 Behind the Mask Brian Shushan Television movie
Credited as Brad Whitford
1999 The Sky's on Fire John Morgan, KTML News Television movie
2002 Malcolm in the Middle Meg's Husband Episode: "Company Picnic: Part 2"
2002 Frasier Stu Episode: "Kissing Cousin"
2005 Fathers and Sons Anthony Television movie
2006–2007 Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip Danny Tripp 21 episodes
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Actor – Television Series Drama
2008 Burn Up Mack 2 episodes
Nominated—Gemini Award for Best Actor in a Dramatic Special or Miniseries
2009 Monk Dean Berry Episode: "Mr. Monk on Wheels"
2009 Off Duty Detective Glenn Falcon Television movie
2010 The Sarah Silverman Program Toby Grossnickel Episode: "Nightmayor"
2010 The Good Guys Detective Dan Stark 20 episodes
2010 Glenn Martin, DDS Gonzo Gonzales (voice) Episode: "Camp"
2011 In Plain Sight Adam Wilson/Adam Roston Episode: "Crazy Like a Witness"
2011 Law & Order: Los Angeles Attorney Miklin Episode: "Big Rock Mesa"
2011 The Mentalist Timothy Carter 2 episodes
2011 Have a Little Faith Mitch Television movie
2012 Parks and Recreation Councilman Pillner Episode: "Live Ammo"
2012 The Asset Leo Maxiell Television movie
2013 Shameless Abraham Paige Episodes: "Civil Wrongs" and "Frank the Plumber"
2013 Go On Huey Episode: "Ring and a Miss"
2013 Lauren Paul Milgram 6 episodes
2013 Drunk History William Jennings Bryan Episode: "Nashville"
2013–2014 Trophy Wife Pete Harrison 22 episodes
2014 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Frank Maddox Episode: "Reasonable Doubt"
2014–2015 Transparent Marcy / Magnus Hirshfield 7 episodes
Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Guest Performer in a Comedy Series
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series (2016)
2014 Alpha House Ned Episode: "The Retreat"
2015–2016 Brooklyn Nine-Nine Captain Roger Peralta Episodes: "Captain Peralta" and "Karen Peralta"
2015 Happyish Jonathan Cooke 10 episodes
2015 A Capitol Fourth Himself Host
2016 All the Way Hubert Humphrey Television movie
2016 Better Things Gary Episode: "Sam/Pilot"
2016 Years of Living Dangerously Himself Episode TBA


  1. Whitford, Bradley. "Bradley Whitford". Huffington Post.
  2. "'West Wing' Star Finally Took Flight At Age 40". Chicago Tribune. June 22, 2000.
  3. 1 2 "Bradley Whitford biography". All Movie Guide. The New York Times. Retrieved April 2, 2012.
  4. "Alumni News". The Juilliard School. March 2008. Archived from the original on 2011-11-11.
  5. "Alumni News". The Juilliard School. November 2007. Archived from the original on 2011-11-11.
  6. ""A Few Good Men" production replacements". IMDb. Retrieved March 22, 2011.
  7. The Hollywood Reporter Archived April 28, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  8. Kit, Borys; Jay A. Fernandez (January 21, 2009). "Two feel Joss Whedon's 'Cabin' pressure". The Hollywood Reporter. Nielsen Business Media. Archived from the original on January 24, 2009. Retrieved January 21, 2009.
  9. AFER & Broadway Impact Announce Full Casting for the World Premiere of... – NEW YORK, Sept. 15, 2011. Retrieved on 2011-09-23.
  10. Moylan, Brian (30 September 2014). "How to watch Amazon's Transparent all in one sitting".
  11. "Bradley Whitford, Jane Kaczmarek File for Divorce After Nearly 17 Years". Retrieved June 20, 2009.
  12. The House of Blue Leaves production. Retrieved on 2011-09-23.
  13. Kris Lorenz Kaczmarek and Whitford to divorce Archived March 24, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.. June 20, 2009. Retrieved on 2011-09-23.
  14. "Bradley Whitford Calls Relationship with Transparent Costar Amy Landecker 'Spectacular'". People. November 11, 2015. Retrieved November 30, 2015.
  15. "Bradley Whitford 2004 Mock Presidential Ad". Video on Youtube. Youtube. Retrieved 9 January 2013.
  16. West Wing's Bradley Whitford Rallies Wisconsin Workers on YouTube. Retrieved on 2011-09-23.
  17. "How Wealthy Billionaires are Trying to Destroy our Schools and Silence our Voices". The Courage Campaign. Retrieved 9 January 2013.
  18. "Pledge to Vote Yes on Prop 30, No on Prop 32". The Courage Campaign website. Retrieved 9 January 2013.
  19. "Actor Bradley Whitford Visits UW Campuses To Campaign For Mary Burke".
  20. "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert September 8, 2016.".
  21. Greenstein, Jennifer. (2007-06-04) Princeton University Class Day. Retrieved on 2011-09-23.
  22. "Board of Trustees 2012/2013". Wesleyan University. Retrieved 18 November 2012.
  23. Stephen L. Betts (7 November 2014). "Bradley Whitford, Cherry Jones Cast in Upcoming Hank Williams Movie". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 16 December 2014.
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