Aug. 16th, 1945
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Bob Balaban's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles
Guest TV Roles[none found]
- Played the head of NBC in both _"Seinfeld" (1990)_ (qv) and _The Late Shift (1996) (TV)_ (qv).
- Was nominated for Broadway's 1979 Tony Award as Best Actor (Featured Role - Play) for "The Inspector General."
- Published a diary of his experiences working on the film _Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)_ (qv).
- Uncles Barney and A. J. Balaban owned ornate movie theaters with Sam Katz, the Balaban & Katz theater chain. Renamed Publix Theaters in 1925, it was acquired by Paramount Pictures. The theater chain became so important to Paramount's fortunes that the company name was changed to Paramount-Publix in 1930. Paramount-Publix went bankrupt in 1933, and was reorganized as Paramount Pictures, Inc. Sam Katz forced co-founder Adolph Zukor to resign, but after Barney Balaban became Paramount president in 1936, he appointed Zukor chairman of the board. Barney Balaban was president of Paramount through the tumultuous years following the 1949 Supreme Court-mandated divestiture of movie production companies from their theater chains. President of Paramount for 28 years, Barney coined "Balaban's Law," which held that a film had to gross three times its negative cost to break even. After the failure of Samuel Bronston's "Fall of the Roman Empire" (1964), which cost $20 million (approximately $115 million in 2003 dollars), Balaban was eased out of Paramount.
- Uncle Barney Balaban, president of Paramount Pictures from 1936 to 1964,was one of the movie magnates who attended the Waldorf Conference in 1946, in which the blacklist against communists was implemented. A deeply religious man, when asked by his daughter about his complicity with the blacklist, Balaban told her, "I don't think it's okay. There's something about it that's okay, but there's something about it that's terrible, and I don't quite understand it all yet."
- Son of Elmer Balaban (1909-2001) who was last surviving of seven Balaban brothers who dominated the theater business in Chicago and much of the Midwest. The Balaban boys, sons of immigrant Jewish grocery-store owners in Chicago, built city's first "supercolossal" theaters, the 700-seat Circle and the 2,000-seat Central Park. Bob's Uncle Barney became chairman of Paramount Pictures in Hollywood and wanted to pass the torch to Elmer, but he declined. Elmer has been credited with devising an early version of pay TV, based on a set-top box that would show first-run movies at home by accepting quarters.
- Cousin of director 'Burt Balaban' (qv) and nephew of Barney Balaban.
- Was listed as a potential nominee on the 2007 Razzie Award nominating ballot. He was suggested in the Worst Supporting Actor category for his performance in the film _Lady in the Water (2006)_ (qv), he failed to receive a nomination however.