Lee Tergesen

Lee Tergesen Headshot

Actor • Singer

Birth Date: July 8, 1965

Age: 58 years old

Birth Place: Ivoryton, Connecticut

A brown-haired actor of medium build with malleable good looks that lent credence to portrayals of all-American charmers as well as sinister psychopaths, Lee Tergesen has enjoyed a varied career, snagging roles he has certainly made the most of since his debut in the early 1990s, not the least of which was his shockingly candid turn on the HBO series "Oz" (1997-2003). A graduate of Manhattan's American Musical and Dramatic Academy, this Connecticut native acted on the NYC stage and waited tables in the city in the late 1980s, where and when he was spotted by writer-producer Tom Fontana.

With a 1990 episode of NBC's "Law & Order" to his credit, Tergesen relocated to Los Angeles for a Fontana-aided role in the surfers-as-bank-robbers action flick "Point Break" (1991) and proceeded to get parts in television-premiered projects including Lifetime's "The Killing Mind" and the HBO-screened thriller "Cast a Deadly Spell."

1992 saw the actor take on a particularly iconic role, playing a sidekick in the "Saturday Night Live" spin-off feature "Wayne's World." As head-banging head case Terry, Tergesen gave a high-energy performance, and introduced the quickly-overused catchphrase "I love you, man!" into the pop culture lexicon. Tergesen reprised the role in the 1993 sequel, but didn't rest on the success of the film, instead doing Los Angeles theater and starring in a recurring capacity on several 1993 episodes of "Homicide: Life on the Street" (NBC).

A Tom Fontana-created series, "Homicide" was a good starting ground for Tergesen, who found his feet playing a police officer who is blinded by a shot taken in the line of duty. The character's wife on the series was played by Edie Falco, another Fontana vet who would also work as a regular on "Oz."

A role as the sadistic and stupid older brother Chett on the USA Network/Sci-Fi Channel series "Weird Science" was an unfortunately little-seen opportunity for the actor to really stretch the bounds of malice and comedy, though nothing would come close to the depths of horror, fear, shame and love he would plumb as Tobias Beecher on "Oz," an alcoholic lawyer who goes to prison on a vehicular manslaughter charge and is, like most inmates, monumentally failed by the system.

A series of violations and humiliations at the hands of Aryan leader Schillinger (J.K. Simmons) led to Beecher's downward spiral, while finding his own strength, forgiveness, and an unlikely love in Chris Keller (Christopher Meloni) started his slow uphill climb. Tergesen gave a courageous, unforgettable performance, breathing real life into Beecher and fleshing out the character's many dimensions and quirks.

"Oz" continued for season after season though it was surely too brutal to lure a solid mainstream audience. Tergesen kept busy with film roles in such independents as "The Shot" (1994), "George B" (1996) and "Diamonds" (1999) and a regular part in the very short-lived UPN police drama "The Beat." Another Fontana project, "The Beat" featured Tergesen as a firefighter with a police officer younger brother.

The actor saw in the new millennium by adding to his resume with supporting turns in the cable-screened "Shot in the Heart" (lensed 2001 for HBO) and "Black Iris" (Showtime, 2001). The eclectic cast of the 2001 Sundance premiered improvisational parody "Perfume" included Tergesen alongside such varied performers as Paul Sorvino, Coolio and Sonia Braga.

Credits

Cabin Girl

Actor
Sheriff Mason
Movie
2023

East New YorkStream

Guest Star
US Marshal David Westlake
Series
2022
88%

New AmsterdamStream

Guest Star
Robert Wilkinson
Series
2018

The PurgeStream

Actor
Joe
Series
2018
42%

DoubtStream

Guest Star
Series
2017
55%

The Yellow BirdsStream

Actor
Jim Murphy
Movie
2017
44%

The Parable of the Disappearing Recliner

Actor
Frank
Movie
2017

BullStream

Guest Star
ADA Lawrence Charles
Series
2016

High MaintenanceStream

Guest Star
Leo
Series
2016
98%

Equity

Actor
Randall
Movie
2016

Tooken

Actor
Brian Millers
Movie
2015

American Horror Story: Freak Show

Guest Star
Vince
Show
2014

NCIS: New OrleansStream

Guest Star
Series
2014

ForeverStream

Guest Star
Series
2014
57%

Madam SecretaryStream

Guest Star
Governor Richard Barker
Series
2014

PowerStream

Guest Star
Bailey Markham
Series
2014
81%

Chicago P.D.Stream

Guest Star
Richard Beck
Series
2014

Desert Cathedral

Actor
Peter Collins
Movie
2014

Into the Dark

Actor
33963
Movie
2014

The BlacklistStream

Guest Star
Frank Hyland
Series
2013
91%

DefianceStream

Actor
Rahm Tak
Series
2013
77%

Red WidowStream

Actor
Mike Tomlin
Series
2013
24%

The AmericansStream

Guest Star
Andrew Larrick
Series
2013
96%

The FollowingStream

Guest Star
Series
2013
58%

ElementaryStream

Guest Star
Series
2012
95%

CopperStream

Guest Star
Series
2012
81%

LongmireStream

Guest Star
Ed Gorski
Series
2012
88%

The RiverStream

Guest Star
Russ Landry
Series
2012
63%

Red TailsStream

Actor
Maj. Col. Jack Tomilson
Movie
2012
40%

The Collection

Actor
Lucello
Movie
2012

No One Lives

Actor
Hoag
Movie
2012

A Gifted ManStream

Guest Star
Paul Curtis
Series
2011
66%

Silver Tongues

Actor
Gerry
Movie
2011

2nd Take

Actor
Bobby
Movie
2011

Hawaii Five-0Stream

Guest Star
Series
2010

Helena From the Wedding

Actor
Alex
Movie
2010

Drop Dead DivaStream

Guest Star
Sid Penar
Series
2009
78%

Royal PainsStream

Guest Star
Zack Kingsley
Series
2009

Cupid

Guest Star
Clint
Show
2009

KingsStream

Guest Star
Series
2009

CastleStream

Guest Star
Marcus Gates
Series
2009
82%

Lie to MeStream

Guest Star
Gordon Cook
Series
2009

Life on MarsStream

Guest Star
Series
2008

Generation KillStream

Actor
Evan "Scribe" Wright
Miniseries
2008
86%

Cane

Guest Star
Show
2007

Army WivesStream

Guest Star
Officer Boone
Series
2007

The New Adventures of Old ChristineStream

Guest Star
Series
2006

The UnitStream

Guest Star
Series
2006
84%

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning

Actor
Holden
Movie
2006

Masters of HorrorStream

Actor
Series
2005

Criminal MindsStream

Guest Star
Series
2005

Wanted

Actor
U.S. Marshall Eddie Drake
Show
2005

The CloserStream

Guest Star
Detective Nick Carey
Series
2005
83%

HouseStream

Guest Star
Roy
Series
2004
90%

Desperate HousewivesStream

Guest Star
Peter McMillan
Series
2004
72%

Extreme Dating

Actor
Hack
Movie
2004

The Handler

Guest Star
Show
2003

Queens Supreme

Guest Star
Show
2003

MonsterStream

Actor
Vincent Corey
Movie
2003
82%

Hack

Guest Star
Show
2002

Bark!

Actor
Peter
Movie
2002

Law & Order: Criminal IntentStream

Guest Star
Series
2001

Mergers & Acquisitions

Actor
Movie
2001

Szaleństwa Iris

Actor
Movie
2001

Shot in the Heart

Actor
Frank Gilmore Jr.
Movie
2001

Wild Iris

Actor
Lud van Eppy
Movie
2001

The Boys of Sunset Ridge

Actor
Ben Thorpe at age 33
Movie
2001

CSI: Crime Scene InvestigationStream

Guest Star
Series
2000

The BeatStream

Guest Star
Series
2000
92%

ShaftStream

Actor
Luger
Movie
2000
67%

Law & Order: Special Victims UnitStream

Guest Star
Counselor Erik Garrison
Series
1999
78%

OzStream

Actor
Tobias "Toby" Beecher
Series
1997
93%

OzStream

Guest Star
Tobias "Toby" Beecher
Series
1997
93%

George B.

Actor
Frank
Movie
1997

The Shot

Actor
Movie
1996

JAGStream

Guest Star
Series
1995

Hudson Street

Guest Star
Show
1995

Touched by an AngelStream

Guest Star
Series
1994

ERStream

Guest Star
Demerol Junkie
Series
1994

Weird ScienceStream

Actor
Chett Donnelly
Series
1994

Homicide: Life on the Street

Guest Star
Series
1993
91%

Darkness Before Dawn

Actor
Movie
1993

Wayne's WorldStream

Actor
Terry
Movie
1992
79%

Session Man

Actor
Neal
Movie
1991

The Killing Mind

Actor
Ron Donoho
Movie
1991

Law & OrderStream

Guest Star
Series
1990

Alien High

Actor
Crash Hopkins
Movie
1989

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