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Paul Brown Biography

Home > Music > B > Brown, Paul > Biography

Born: 1908/09/07
Genres: Jazz

While Dooley is well-known for his Altman association, his most memorable work was arguably apart from that director, playing the beleaguered father of Dennis Christopher's Italy-obsessed cyclist in Peter Yates' touching drama "Breaking Away" (1979). Here the actor would best showcase his abilities, bringing added dimension to his character, a man at once cantankerous, affectionate, frustrating and funny. Dooley also proved himself in David Steinberg's comedy "Paternity" (1981) and Alan Rudolph's horror thriller "Endangered Species" (1982), and would become an icon to a new generation as Molly Ringwald's delightfully down-to-earth dad in the charming John Hughes comedy "Sixteen Candles" (1984). Frequent and notable turns on the big screen made Dooley an uncommonly recognizable, bringing a feeling of familiarity to all of his portrayals. Credits in films as divergent as "My Boyfriend's Back" (1993) and "Telling Lies in America" (1997) featured him in small roles that capitalized on his credibility, while a supporting turn as a likeable but troubled widower in 1999's "Runaway Bride" returned him to the feature foreground.

A performer with dozens of films to his credit, Dooley has also been very visible on TV, seeming a virtually constant presence with high-profile starring and supporting work in series, TV-movies and commercials. Dooley's earliest credits include the 1960s series "Get Smart" (NBC, CBS) and "The Dom DeLuise Show" (CBS, 1968), but it was 1988 when Dooley finally made his regular series debut, starring opposite Phyllis Newman as a reluctant retiree in the enjoyable sitcom "Coming of Age" (CBS, 1988-89). Sitcom guest roles were abundant for the actor before this series and after its demise, with significant parts on HBO's "Dream On" (as the hero's gay father) "The Golden Girls", "ALF" (both NBC) and "The Wonder Years" (ABC). The actor displayed his comic chops with odd roles on the comedy anthology series "The Ben Stiller Show" (Fox, 1992) and he subsequently had a three-season (1994-97) recurring role on ABC's "Grace Under Fire" as the oil refinery's preoccupied boss. Dooley similarly impressed in more dramatic fare including "thirtysomething" (ABC, 1990), "Chicago Hope" (CBS, 1994) and "ER" (NBC, 1995). In 1999, a five-episode recurring role on ABC's "The Practice" earned the veteran actor his second Emmy nomination (he was previously recognized for a 1993 episode of "Dream On"). His many TV movie and miniseries credits include featured roles in "The Murder of Mary Phagan" (NBC, 1988), "The Court-Martial of Jackie Robinson" (TNT, 1990), and NBC's dreadful 1991 effort "White Hot: The Mysterious Murder of Thelma Todd" (playing Hal Roach). Later in his career he was feature in the family-aimed TV productions "The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes" (ABC, 1995), "Angels in the Endzone" (ABC, 1997) and "Evolver" (Sci-Fi Channel, 1996).

While his work in front of the camera earned the most notice, Dooley has performed extensively on stage, including his turn as the titular baseball great the acclaimed one man play "The Amazing Casey Stengel" (1980-81) at the American Place Theatre. Another important feather in Dooley's cap was the groundbreaking children's series "The Electric Company", which he co-created and wrote. A 1970s program that enlivened educational TV for the post-"Sesame Street" set, "The Electric Company" featured such impressive regulars as Morgan Freeman and Rita Moreno, and would remain in the hearts of its target audience for decades after its last broadcast. Dooley also formed All Over Creations, a production company concerned with fortifying industrial films and commercials with clever comedic elements.