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Ellen Pompeo


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Vincent D'Onofrio


Nathan Lane

T.R. Knight Biography


Home > Actors > K > Knight, T.R. > Biography


Birth Name: T.R. Knight
Born: 03/26/1973
Birth Place: Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA


Born Theodore Raymond Knight on March 26, 1973 in Minneapolis, MN, the youngster developed a passion for acting as a child growing up in one half of the Twin Cities. Nicknamed T.R. as a young child, he made his acting debut at the age of five as Tiny Tim in a Guthrie Theater production of "A Christmas Carol." Foregoing college to pursue acting, Knight appeared in regional theater productions in Minneapolis, joining the Guthrie Theater's acting company for two years before moving to New York City to pursue a career on Broadway. Knight quickly landed a number of roles in off-Broadway productions of "Macbeth," "This Lime Tree Bower" and "The Hologram Theory." Though living in the Big Apple, Knight returned to Minneapolis periodically to appear in productions of "Ah, Wilderness" and "Amadeus," in which he starred in the title role.

Back in Manhattan, Knight appeared on Broadway in the 2001 revival of "Noises Off," opposite stage legend Patti LuPone and Peter Gallagher. Making his film debut in 2002, Knight landed a small role in the fashion industry satire "Garmento." The following year, he went on to perform in the Broadway revival of "Tartuffe," and appeared off-Broadway as Brendan Hilliard in "Scattergood," which earned Knight a 2003 Drama Desk nomination for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play. Branching out from theater, Knight went on to make his television debut as office intern Ryan Lemming on the short-lived sitcom, "Charlie Lawrence" (CBS, 2003) opposite Nathan Lane; pulled after only two episodes, the series introduced Knight to the harsh reality of television programming. Knight quickly landed a number of other guest-starring roles in television, however, appearing in episodes of "Frasier" (NBC, 1993-2004) in 2003, "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" (NBC, 2001-2011) in 2004, and "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" (CBS, 2000- ), also in 2004. Tired of the audition grind for TV guest spots, he returned to his first love of theater, starring in the off-Broadway production of "Boy" later that year.

Though relatively new to television and only three years after his first film role, Knight went on to land a career-breaking role in 2005 when he landed the part of self-deprecating, somewhat awkward surgical intern George O'Malley on the ABC mid-season drama, "Grey's Anatomy" (2005- ), rounding out an ensemble cast including Ellen Pompeo, Patrick Dempsey and Sandra Oh. Positioned as the dazed Everyman amid the frenetic brilliance of his peers, Knight nervously bumbled his way through some patients and shined with others, eventually securing the trust of his fellow interns and the respect of his superiors. His character most notably caught syphilis in the first few episodes. Performing well in its Sunday night time slot, "Grey's" went on to receive critical praise and a number of Emmy nominations in 2006.

Not long into the series' third season, during which was moved to Thursday evenings to go head-to-head with television's number one show, "C.S.I.: Crime Scene Investigation" (CBS, 2000), Knight made news for more than just his affable role when he came out publicly, announcing that he was gay in a statement to People magazine in October of 2006. News reports had surfaced that an on-set altercation between series stars Dempsey and Isaiah Washington was allegedly the result of Washington using an anti-gay slur directed at Knight. Knowing it was only so long before the press learned just who the anti-gay slur was directed toward, a seemingly unfazed Knight confronted the topic publicly and continued with the series.

All of this was disrupted, however, on what should have been a celebratory evening. At the January 2007 Golden Globes ceremony, "Grey's" took home Best Drama prize. When the entire cast convened backstage to greet the press, Washington grabbed the mic after being questioned by the press about the previous fall's on set incident, and declared that he "did not call T.R. a faggot." The casual use of the word stunned the press corps and by all reports, visibly rattled the cast who left the stage uncomfortably. Katherine Heigl went so far as to vent to "Access Hollywood" (syndicated, 1996- ) moments later that she would "throw down" with anyone who hurt her best friend, Knight, and that Washington "should never speak in public again." For his part, Washington denied ever using the anti-gay slur to reporters backstage, who smelled a renewed scandal brewing in their midst.

Only days later, Knight - who had remained quiet since initially coming out of the closet the previous fall - felt the need to address Washington's denial of using the hurtful word by going on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" (syndicated, 2003- ) to finally voice his side of the story. He did confirm that Washington called him a "faggot" during the throes of a fight with Dempsey and expressed confusion at why he (Washington) would deny it now. While Knight kept it classy, internet bloggers and television columnists called for Washington's head on a platter, courtesy of ABC, which was receiving boycott threats from people outraged over the alleged behavior. The incident became a thing of the past, however, after Washington was fired from the show. Knight received even more good news on July 19, 2007 when he learned that he was nominated for his first-ever Emmy award, getting the nod for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series.

The following year, however, Knight caused a bit of a stir when it became known that his character was being written off the show after he was released from his contract. The actor publicly stated that he quit "Grey's Anatomy" because he had trust issues with creator Shonda Rhimes, a charge she steadfastly denied. Meanwhile, after five seasons on the popular series, Knight's Dr. George O'Malley was killed off in a touching episode where he is brought into Seattle Grace as a horribly disfigured John Doe following a horrific bus accident, only to be identified by Meredith (Ellen Pompeo). In 2009, Knight returned to the stage to play Leo Frank in a Los Angeles production of "Parade," while the following year, he appeared on Broadway in David Mamet's "A Life in the Theatre" (2010) opposite Patrick Stewart. Back on television, he went against type and delivered a memorable guest starring turn as an alleged serial rapist on "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (NBC, 1999- ).