Brian Baumgartner

Brian Baumgartner Headshot

Actor

Birth Date: November 29, 1972

Age: 51 years old

Birth Place: Atlanta, Georgia

Living out the character actor's arc, Brian Baumgartner enjoyed a life in the theater far from Hollywood, long before he slogged his way to success through bit parts on television. Playing a series of emotionally-charged characters on midwestern stages for years, the actor eventually found the onscreen role of a character actor's dreams - turning the tall, rumpled schlep Kevin Malone of NBC's American version of "The Office" (2005-13), into a front and center presence audiences and real-life office workers could not forget, but would probably very much like to ignore.

Born on Nov. 29, 1972, Baumgartner was raised in Atlanta, GA, where his parents held down busy careers as an office manager and a doctor, respectively. Baumgartner was drawn to acting, so in his third year of high school at Westminster Prep, he was ready to give himself fully to drama school Post graduation, he attended Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX, earning a Fine Arts degree in Acting in 1995. While in the school's department, he thrived by making memorable turns in varied roles such as The Player in an April 1994 production of Tom Stoppard's "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead."

After college, Baumgartner was enticed to move to Minneapolis, MN by college friend Jay Dysart, who along with Baumgartner and two other SMU graduates, co-founded and ran the Hidden Theatre. In 1995, the Hidden Theatre premiered its first offering - Athol Fugard's "People Are Living There" - a tale of loneliness in South Africa. A year later, the company was expanding its ambitions, tackling John Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men." Over the next four years, Baumgartner took on a series of challenging, complex roles for the Hidden Theatre in experimental originals like 1996's vignette piece "GASP: The Tarkovsky Project" and in full adaptations such as playwright and former SMU teacher Craig Lucas' "The Dying Gaul," in which Baumgartner expertly played the brutally seductive Hollywood executive, Jeffrey. In February of 1997, it was "The Crackwalker" - a dark tale of life's seedier side in Canada - followed in the spring with a role in Sam Shepard's, "Curse of the Starving Class."

Baumgartner gradually became a notable figure in the Twin Cities' theater reviews. In the summer of 1998, he began a run of "Rum and Vodka," a one-man show written by playwright Conor McPherson, about a young Irishman's weekend of debauchery. Baumgartner's spot-on performance impressed even one Irish-born critic who knew the playwright personally and had intended to gloat smugly over the American's failed attempt to get it right. On Dec. 4, 1999, he debuted in another one-man show; this time a comedy, playing the holiday elf of David Sedaris' "SantaLand Diaries" further demonstrating his ability to thrive in either comedy or drama and step outside of ensemble casts.

By the time 2000 had rolled around, Baumgartner was gambling on the theory that his skills would work for him in film and television roles. With the allure of the Los Angeles scene beckoning, he bid farewell to the Twin Cities and begun the next career odyssey with a small role in the independent romantic comedy feature, "Herman U.S.A." (2001). Baumgartner started a run of guest spots on network shows which kicked off with a filmed, but unaired, episode of NBC's legal drama starring Rob Lowe, "The Lyon's Den" (2003-04). In 2003, his October appearance on CBS' "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" (2000-15) did indeed make it to the air. Baumgartner worked sporadically, but the jobs came in only steadily. He followed his "CSI" stint with an appearance the following October on NBC's ill-fated airport drama, "LAX" (2004-05).

With a few roles under his belt, Baumgartner went from barely one appearance a year to series regular by the end of 2005. He began the year guesting on Fox's critically-lauded "Arrested Development" (2003-06) as a gun vendor, followed by a jaunt on ABC's "Jake in Progress" as Michael, the man who competes with Jake for the love of an old girlfriend. After getting a bit more serious on The WB's "Everwood" (2002-06) in May, he landed a series regular role on NBC's "The Office" (2005-13), the highly-anticipated American remake of the BBC original. Baumgartner originally went in to audition for the role of intelligent, cynical character Stanley, but had a feeling he would probably end up in the more obtuse role of Kevin. The show premiered in March of 2005, with Baumgartner onboard as Kevin. The rest was history as the show found its footing by the time of its first full-length season in the fall.

As the somewhat grating office worker with the slow-speaking manner and The Police cover band, Baumgartner gradually won over the fans and became an increased presence on "The Office." The industry echoed the fans' admiration, with Baumgartner and his castmates netting Screen Actors Guild Awards in 2007. The actor then, with his "Office" colleagues John Krasinski (as the film's lead), Angela Kinsey and Mindy Kaling, appeared together in Warner Brothers' marriage-minded comedy "License to Wed" (2007).

Credits

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Today

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