Jon Robin Baitz
Nov. 4th, 1961
Los Angeles, California, USA
Jon Robin Baitz's Main TV Roles[no roles found]
Main Movie Roles1996 - One Fine Day
Jon Robin Baitz (born November 4, 1961) is an American playwright, screenwriter, television producer, and occasional actor. Baitz is currently a professor at Stony Brook Southampton, and The New School where he is Artistic Director of the BFA theatre program.
Baitz was born in Los Angeles, California, the son of Edward Baitz, an executive of the Carnation Company. Baitz was raised in Brazil and South Africa before the family returned to California, where he attended Beverly Hills High School. On speaking about the influence of his time growing up abroad on his life and work, Baitz states: "I think what happened was that I felt so foreign so often that I became very adept at observing. I learned a kind of short hand. Because you’re a foreigner, an alien really, you have to decode all of the customs and the manners, not just the language. So you begin to feel terribly detached which is not a good thing. And it had that effect upon my writing initially. You start this little dialogue with yourself about what things mean and then suddenly you’re 20-something-years-old and you’re continuing that dialogue on paper".
After graduation, he worked as a bookstore clerk and assistant to two producers, and the experiences became the basis for his first play, a one-acter entitled Mizlansky/Zilinsky. He drew on his own background for his first two-act play, The Film Society, about the staff of a prep school in South Africa. Its 1987 success in L.A. led to an off-Broadway production with 'Nathan Lane' the following year, which earned him a Drama Desk Award nomination for Outstanding New Play. This was followed by The End of the Day starring 'Roger Rees', and The Substance of Fire with 'Ron Rifkin' and 'Sarah Jessica Parker'.
In 1991, Baitz wrote and directed the two-character play Three Hotels, based on his parents, for a presentation of PBS's "American Playhouse", then reworked the material for the stage, earning another Drama Desk Award nomination for Outstanding New Play for his efforts. In 1993, he co-scripted (with Howard A. Rodman) The Frightening Frammis, which was directed by 'Tom Cruise' and aired as an episode of the Showtime anthology series Fallen Angels. Two years later, 'Henry Jaglom' cast him as a gay playwright who achieves success at an early age - a character inspired by Baitz himself - in the film Last Summer in the Hamptons; the following year he appeared as Michelle Pfeiffr's business associate in the screen comedy One Fine Day. In 1996, he was one of the three finalists for the Pulitzer Prize for his semi-autobiographical play A Fair Country.
Subsequent stage works include Mizlansky/Zilinsky or "Schmucks", a revised version of Mizlansky/Zilinsky, starring 'Nathan Lane', and directed by Baitz's then-partner 'Joe Mantello' (1998), a new adaptation of Henrik Ibsen's Hedda Gabler (first at L.A.'s Geffen Playhouse with 'Annette Bening' in 1999, then at Long Island's Bay Street Theater with 'Kate Burton' in 2000, followed by a Broadway production with the same star the following year), Ten Unknowns (2001), starring 'Donald Sutherland' and 'Julianna Margulies', and The Paris Letter (2005) with 'Ron Rifkin' and 'John Glover'. His screenplays include the adaptation of his own Substance of Fire (1996), with 'Tony Goldwyn' and 'Timothy Hutton' joining original cast members Rifkin and Parker, and People I Know (2003), which starred 'Al Pacino'.
Baitz's occasional work writing for such television series as The West Wing and Alias led to his position as creator and executive producer of the ABC TV drama Brothers & Sisters, which premiered in September 2006 and ran for five seasons, ending in May 2011.
Baitz was the New School for Drama's artist in residence for the 2009-2010 school year.
His play Other Desert Cities opened Off-Broadway at the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater (Lincoln Center) in New York on January 13, 2011, starring 'Stockard Channing', 'Linda Lavin', 'Stacy Keach', 'Thomas Sadoski' and 'Elizabeth Marvel'. The play was originally titled Love and Mercy. The production transferred to Broadway, opening at the Booth Theatre on November 3, 2011, with 'Judith Light' replacing Lavin and 'Rachel Griffiths' replacing Marvel.
From 1990 to 2002, Baitz was the romantic partner of actor and director 'Joe Mantello'. The Advocate wrote that the "couple's star quality lent the aura of a gay Lunt and Fontanne".
Baitz is Jewish.
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