Richard Schiff

Richard Schiff
Schiff at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival premiere of Knife Fight
Born (1955-05-27) May 27, 1955
Bethesda, Maryland, U.S.
Nationality American
Alma mater City College of New York
Occupation Actor, comedian
Years active 1983–present
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Sheila Kelley (1996–present)
Children Gus Schiff
Ruby Schiff

Richard Schiff (born May 27, 1955) is an American actor and comedian. He is best known for playing Toby Ziegler on The West Wing, a role for which he received an Emmy Award. Schiff made his directorial debut with The West Wing, directing an episode entitled "Talking Points". He is on the National Advisory Board of the Council for a Livable World.[1] He currently has a recurring role on the HBO series Ballers. Since September 2017, he has had a leading role in ABC's medical drama The Good Doctor, as Dr. Glassman, president of a fictional teaching hospital in San Jose, California.[2]

Early life

Schiff was born on May 27, 1955, in Bethesda, Maryland, and was raised there, the second of three sons of Charlotte, a television and publishing executive, and Edward Schiff, a real estate lawyer.[3]

Schiff dropped out of high school, but later obtained an equivalency diploma. In 1973, he studied briefly at The City College of New York (CCNY) but did not graduate. He moved to Colorado, where he found employment cutting firewood. Returning to New York in 1975, he began to study acting at CCNY and was accepted into their theater program.

Schiff and his family are Jewish.[4][5]


Schiff initially studied directing. He directed several off-Broadway plays, including Antigone in 1983 with a just-graduated Angela Bassett. In the mid-1980s Schiff decided to try his hand at acting and landed several TV roles. He was seen by Steven Spielberg in an episode of the TV drama High Incident and was cast in The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997) which led to being cast in more frequently and eventually to the role as White House Communications Director Toby Ziegler in the Aaron Sorkin television series The West Wing. Schiff became known for his reclusive and intense approach to his craft as well as his low-key delivery style.[6]

In 1995, Schiff portrayed a lawyer in Se7en. In 1996, he guest starred on the TV series ER (Season 2 - Episode 17), and appeared in NYPD Blue the following year. In 1996, he portrayed a corrupt probation officer in City Hall along with Al Pacino and John Cusack. Schiff portrayed a doctor alongside Eddie Murphy in the 1998 Dr. Dolittle remake. He also portrayed Col./Brig. Gen. Robert Laurel Smith in the 1998 HBO TV movie The Pentagon Wars, based on the real-life development of the US Army's Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle. That same year, Schiff appeared in the movie Deep Impact, in which he played Don Beiderman. Schiff appeared in one episode of Becker during its first season. In 2001, he acted in the movie What's the Worst That Could Happen? starring Martin Lawrence and Danny DeVito. He played the part of the tough Mr. Turner in I Am Sam opposite Sean Penn and Michelle Pfeiffer and co-starred in People I Know with Al Pacino.

Schiff appeared in Ray as Jerry Wexler, shaving his beard for the role. After working on The West Wing for 6 seasons, Schiff chose to leave the series, fulfilling his contractual obligations by appearing in half of the following season's episodes. When NBC chose to end the series, Schiff continued his appearances until the end of the show's run in May 2006, though he appeared only briefly in the series finale. That same year, he starred alongside Peter Krause in Civic Duty.

Schiff had a cameo appearance as himself in the second-season finale of the series Entourage. The scene has Schiff at lunch with his agent Ari Gold, where he declares a desire to act in action movies. He appeared again as a fictionalised version of himself in Entourage (2015). In early 2006, Schiff returned to his stage roots, starring in the premiere run of Underneath the Lintel, a one-act, single-character play by Glen Berger, at the George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick, New Jersey. In February 2007, he appeared in the West End production of Underneath the Lintel in the Duchess Theatre[7] in London, England, and appeared on BBC Radio Five Live and talked at length to Simon Mayo about his experiences acting in The West Wing and his new West End production. In 2007, he appeared as Philip Cowen in the season finale of Burn Notice. A radio version of Underneath the Lintel, performed by Schiff, was broadcast by BBC Radio 4 on January 5, 2008. Schiff starred in Lanford Wilson's Talley's Folly at the McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton, New Jersey in the fall of 2008, as accountant Matt Friedman, opposite Margot White as Sally Talley. Later that year Schiff co-starred in Last Chance Harvey with Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson and Another Harvest Moon with Ernest Borgnine and appeared in the season finale of Eli Stone.

Schiff portrayed Charles Fischer in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles in the Season 2 episode "Complications". The character was a collaborator of Skynet and a traitor to the resistance. He was sent back in time to the present as a reward for his service to Skynet. He played an Orthodox rabbi on an episode of In Plain Sight with former The West Wing co-star Mary McCormack. In 2009, he co-starred in the movies Imagine That, with Eddie Murphy, and Solitary Man, with Michael Douglas and Susan Sarandon. Later in 2009, he went back to London to shoot two other movies: The Infidel,[8] in which he starred opposite Omid Djalili, and Made in Dagenham, with Sally Hawkins and Bob Hoskins. Schiff also appeared as a hypnotist in one episode of Monk's seventh season.

He starred in Past Life. He also had a recurring role in Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior as FBI Director Jack Fickler. Schiff had a recurring role in The Cape.[9] He also has guest starred on Any Human Heart with Jim Broadbent playing the role of a psychiatrist and on White Collar's second season episode 15. He also played the role of an ex-CIA agent in a terrorist organization in Johnny English Reborn. In April 2011, Schiff returned to the London West End in the play Smash![10] He played opposite Rob Lowe in the drama Knife Fight, and starred opposite Josh Duhamel, Rosario Dawson and Bruce Willis in Fire with Fire. Schiff played an important plot character in three episodes of CBS's NCIS, bridging seasons 9 and 10, as Harper Dearing, the replacement of Osama bin Laden on the Most Wanted Wall "for attacks against the United States Navy".

Schiff has been cast to star in the new Showtime series House of Lies, starring Kristen Bell and Don Cheadle. He also stars in the TV movie Innocent with Bill Pullman. He has a recurring guest role in the TV series Once Upon A Time and has joined Helen Hunt and former West Wing star Bradley Whitford in the movie Decoding Annie Parker. Schiff stars in the political series Chasing The Hill.

In late 2012 and early 2013 he portrayed George Aaronow in a Broadway revival of Glengarry Glen Ross. He portrayed Erie Smith in a revival of the Eugene O'Neill play, Hughie, at the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, D.C., February–March 2013, and Dr. Emil Hamilton in Zack Snyder's 2013 Superman film, Man of Steel. In September 2014, Schiff returned to the West End in a revival of Speed-the-Plow by David Mamet, co-starring Lindsay Lohan. In 2015, Schiff appeared as Dwayne Johnson's character's boss on HBO's Ballers. Around the same time, he also had roles in the films Kill the Messenger, The Automatic Hate, and Take Me to the River.

Schiff had a regular role on the TNT's newest crime drama Murder in the First as David Hertzberg. The show also starred Taye Diggs, Kathleen Robertson, and Tom Felton.

Personal life

Schiff met his wife Sheila Kelley during auditions for Antigone in 1983, and they married in 1996.[11] They have a son, Gus, and a daughter, Ruby.[12]

Schiff is a member of the Democratic Party; he supported Barack Obama in the 2008 U.S. presidential election. Previously, he had endorsed then-Senator Joe Biden, before Biden dropped out. In 2016, Schiff supported Senator Bernie Sanders during the Democratic primaries.[13] He endorsed Cynthia Nixon's bid for Governor of New York in the 2018 election.[14]

In February 2017, Schiff was instrumental in popularizing the moniker "President Bawbag" in relation to President Donald Trump. The term bawbag is Scottish in origin and refers to the scrotum. #PresidentBawbag went viral across social networks after Schiff tweeted several times, encouraging the use of the hashtag.[15]

His brother is film producer Paul Schiff. He is not related to Congressman Adam Schiff, the U.S. Representative for California's 28th congressional district.[16]



1992Malcolm XJFK Reporter
1992The BodyguardSkip Thomas
1992HoffaGovernment Attorney
1994The Hudsucker ProxyMailroom Screamer
1994SpeedTrain Driver
1994Major League IICommercial Director
1995Tank GirlTrooper in Trench
1995Rough MagicMarvin Wiggins
1995Se7enMark Swarr
1996City HallLarry Schwartz
1996The ArrivalCalvin
1996The Trigger EffectGun Shop Clerk
1996MichaelItalian Waiter
1997The Lost World: Jurassic ParkEddie Carr
1998Dr. DolittleGene Reiss
1998Living Out LoudPhil
1998Deep ImpactDon Beiderman
1999Forces of NatureJoe
1999Crazy in AlabamaNorman
2000Gun ShyElliot
2000Whatever It TakesP.E. Teacher
2001I Am SamMr Turner
2001What's the Worst That Could Happen?Walter Greenbaum
2002People I KnowElliot Sharansky
2004RayJerry Wexler
2004With ItVirgil LaRoccaShort film
2006Civic DutyTom Hilary
2007WaitingJohnShort film
2007Martian ChildMr Lefkowitz
2009Imagine ThatCarl Simons
2009Solitary ManSteve Heller
2009Another Harvest MoonJeffery
2010The InfidelLenny Goldberg
2010Made in DagenhamRobert Tooley
2011Johnny English RebornTitus Fisher
2012Knife FightDimitris Vargas
2013Decoding Annie ParkerMr Allen
2013The Frozen GroundRoy Hazelwood
2013Man of SteelEmil Hamilton
2014Kill the MessengerRichard Zuckerman/Walter Pincus
2014The GamblerJeweler
2014Before I DisappearBruce Warham
2015The Automatic HateRonald Green
2015Take Me to the RiverDon
2016American FableJonathan
2017The MenMiles Driskoll
2017Shock and AweThe Usual
2017GeostormSenator Thomas Cross


1988CheersTouristEpisode: "One Happy Chappy in a Snappy Serape"
1990Tales from the CryptLester MiddletonEpisode: "Korman's Kalamity"
1992Picket FencesJoey FeroEpisode: "Pilot"
1992L.A. LawDog Pound OperatorEpisode: "Helter Shelter"
1993South of SunsetBobby BruckEpisode: "Dream Girl"
1993Doogie Howser, M. D.Billy TishlerEpisode: "What Makes Doogie Run"
1994The John Larroquette ShowWilsonEpisode: "Don't Drink and Drive Nuclear Waste"
1994Murphy BrownMel WoodworthyEpisode: "Anything but Cured"
1994Thunder AlleyPat PerkinsEpisode: "Blood Suckers"
1994Love & WarLester MichaelsEpisode: "The Bum"
1995Maybe This TimePearlmanEpisode: "Snitch Doggy-Dogg"
1995NYPD BlueVartan IlliescuEpisode: "Bombs Away"
1995Murder OneProf. Stanley FletcherEpisode: "Chapter Nine"
1996ERMr. BartoliEpisode: "The Match Game"
1996Chicago HopeMark SarisonEpisode: "Quiet Riot"
1996Special Report: Journey to MarsEric AltmanTelevision movie
1996–1997RelativityBarry Roth17 episodes
1997NYPD BlueSteve CameronEpisode: "Is Paris Burning?"
1998The PracticeBob ShowEpisode: "Trees in the Forest"
1998Brooklyn SouthChris McIntrickEpisode: "Cinnamon Buns"
1998Ally McBealBernie GilsonEpisode: "These Are the Days"
1998The Pentagon WarsLt. Colonel/Brigadier General Robert Laurel SmithTelevision movie
1998The Taking of Pelham One Two ThreeMr. GreenTelevision movie
1999–2006The West WingToby Ziegler141 episodes
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (2000)
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series (2001–02)
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (2001–02)
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series (2003–06)
1999BeckerBarryEpisode: "Truth and Consequences"
1999RoswellAgent Stevens3 episodes
2005EntourageRichard SchiffEpisode: "The Abyss"
2007Burn NoticePhillip Cowan2 episodes
2008Eli StoneDavid GreenEpisode: "Soul Free"
2008MonkDr. Lawrence ClimanEpisode: "Mr. Monk Gets Hypnotized"
2008Terminator: The Sarah Connor ChroniclesCharles FischerEpisode: "Complications"
2009In Plain SightSamuel GarfinkelEpisode: "Aguna Matatala"
2010Past LifeDr. Malachi Talmadge9 episodes
2010SvetlanaDr. LawrenceEpisode: "Eco-Shlong"
2010Any Human HeartDr. Byrne2 episodes
2011The CapePatrick Portman3 episodes
2011White CollarAndrew StanzlerEpisode: "Power Play"
2011Criminal Minds: Suspect BehaviorJack Fickler4 episodes
2011Up All NightDr. Dean ChafinEpisode: "Parents"
2012–2016House of LiesHarrison 'Skip' Galweather9 episodes
2012Once Upon a TimeKing Leopold2 episodes
2012The Mindy ProjectDoctorEpisode: "Pilot"
2012NCISHarper Dearing3 episodes
2013BonesProfessor Leon WattersEpisode: "The Spark in the Park"
2014Murder in the FirstDavid Hertzberg10 episodes
2014–2015ManhattanOccam9 episodes
2014Key and PeeleAmbassadorEpisode: "Sex Addict Wendell"
2015–2017RogueMarty Stein22 episodes
2015–2017BallersMr. Anderson19 episodes
2015Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of CampDean FairchildEpisode: "Auditions"
2015The AffairJon Gottlief11 episodes
2016The GrinderGordon Stutz2 episodes
2016MomRobertEpisode: "Pure Evil and a Free Piece of Cheesecake"
2016Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective AgencyZimmerfield5 episodes
2017When We RiseJudge Vaughn Walker2 episodes
2017Chicago JusticeFrank LindenEpisode: "Tycoon"
2017–presentThe Good DoctorDr. Aaron GlassmanMain cast
2017Jean-Claude Van JohnsonAlan Morris2 episodes
2018CounterpartRoland Fancher
2018Castle RockWarden Porter's superiorEpisode: "Harvest"


  1. "Board". Council for a Livable World. Council for a Livable World.
  2. Denise Petski (March 13, 2017). "'The Good Doctor': Richard Schiff Cast In ABC Medical Drama Pilot". Retrieved September 20, 2017.
  3. Richard Schiff Biography (1955-)
  4. ״Infidel actor Richard discovered drama in his family's history". The Jewish Telegraph. Published 2010. Accessed February 12, 2016.
  5. "Celebrities: Richard Schiff". Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago. Accessed February 12, 2016.
  6. Schiff, Richard. "Richard Schiff bio". Retrieved 7 July 2016.
  7. Caesar, Ed (8 February 2007). "Richard Schiff: Life after 'The West Wing'". The Independent. London. Retrieved 16 April 2011.
  8. "The film that changed my life: Richard Schiff". The Guardian. London. 25 April 2010. Retrieved 16 April 2011.
  9. What's Behind the Cape? on Parallel Universe on MSN: Features. Last accessed 28th November 2013
  10. "Richard Schiff stars in the new West End play Smash!". BBC Website. BBC News: Entertainment and the Arts. April 13, 2011. Retrieved 16 April 2011.
  11. Lynch, Jason (23 April 2001). "First, Family - The West Wing, Richard Schiff". People Magazine. Retrieved 18 September 2014.
  12. Richard Schiff on IMDb
  13. "'West Wing' Actor Richard Schiff Stresses Importance of Voting for Hillary Clinton: "This Is the Last Battle of the Civil War"". The Hollywood Reporter. November 7, 2016. Retrieved July 27, 2018.
  14. "Richard Schiff on Twitter". Twitter. August 12, 2018.
  15. "West Wing Actor Richard Schiff Got #PresidentBawbag Trending And It Was Amazing". The Huffington Post. 2017-02-12. Retrieved 2017-02-16.
  16. Schiff, Adam (18 October 2015). "Adam Schiff Facebook Post". Facebook. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
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