Timothy Busfield

Timothy Busfield
Born (1957-06-12) June 12, 1957[1][2]
Lansing, Michigan, United States
Residence Howell, Michigan
Nationality American
Occupation Actor, director
Years active 1984–present
Spouse(s) Radha Delamarter (m. ????; div. 1986)
Jennifer Merwin
(m. 1988; div. 2007)

Melissa Gilbert
(m. 2013)
Children 3

Timothy Busfield (born June 12, 1957) is an American actor and director. He has played Elliot Weston on the television series thirtysomething; Mark, Kevin Costner's brother-in-law in Field of Dreams; and Danny Concannon on the television series The West Wing. In 1991 he received a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for thirtysomething. He is also the founder of the 501(c)(3) non-profit children's theatre Fantasy Theatre for Children and B Street Theatre.

Early life and education

Busfield was born in Lansing, Michigan, the son of drama professor Roger and secretary Jean Busfield.[2]


In 1981, Busfield had a small part in the hit comedy Stripes with Bill Murray and Harold Ramis. He plays a mortar gunner on the practice range.

In 1984, Busfield landed his first major film role as Arnold Poindexter in Revenge of the Nerds. He reprised the role in the 1987 sequel to that film, Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise.

Busfield's first television series was Trapper John, M.D., in which he played the physician son of the title character. Immediately prior to being cast on the 1980s series thirtysomething, he was still often playing teenagers and young adults, and the producers of the show asked him to grow his beard so he'd look old enough for the role. He would win an Emmy Award for this role. Later he was cast in the lead of other series, although none have lasted very long. Produced by Steven Spielberg, The Byrds of Paradise with Arlo Guthrie may be the most memorable for its setting in Hawaii and its offbeat characters.

In a 1987 episode of Matlock "The Rat Pack," he played a feature role. After appearing in Sneakers (1992) starring Robert Redford and Sidney Poitier, Busfield went to London in 1993 to make the television film Wall Of Silence, in which he played Ephraim Lipshitz, a Mossad agent infiltrating a community of Hasidic Jews. Also in that year, he starred in the film The Skateboard Kid.

In 1994, Busfield starred in the film Little Big League. Other film appearances include Sneakers (1992), Field of Dreams (1989) with Kevin Costner, and First Kid (1996) with comedian Sinbad.

In 1997, Busfield starred in the Canadian television film Trucks.

Recurring television roles include White House correspondent Danny Concannon on The West Wing; and the title character's incorrigible brother on the sitcom Ed, a show on which he was a co-executive producer and supervising producer.

Busfield also dabbles in directing television and has directed multiple episodes of thirtysomething, Without a Trace (on which he appeared as a divorce lawyer, in a wheelchair, for Jack Malone), and the Sorkin/Schlamme predecessor to The West Wing, Sports Night.

Beginning in September 2006, Busfield was a regular on the short lived Sorkin/Schlamme series, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, where he played Cal Shanley, the fictional show's director. He also directed 6 episodes. After Studio 60, he continued to direct episodes of Las Vegas. He has also appeared in various episodes of Entourage playing himself, directing the fictional series Five Towns.

He guest starred in the 2010 Law & Order episode, "Brilliant Disguise" and in the 2011 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit episode "Russian Brides".

Stage and theater

Busfield remains a stage actor and director whose Broadway credits include A Few Good Men and Brighton Beach Memoirs, where he was star Matthew Broderick's understudy. Off-Broadway, he worked with Circle Repertory Company in 1982. With elder brother Buck Busfield, he is co-founder of the B Street Theater in Sacramento, California,[3] where he has appeared in and directed numerous contemporary works. The Busfield brothers also established Fantasy Theater, a touring troupe that plays to children. Busfield writes children's plays for the Fantasy troupe.

Timothy Busfield Professional Theatre
  • 1979- Various roles, The Green Mountain Guild Theatre for Children (actor)
  • 1979- Thidwick The Big Hearted Moose, Actor’s Theatre of Louisville-ATL (act)
  • 1979- A Christmas Carol, ATL, (act)
  • 1979- Commencement (various roles), ATL (act)
  • 1980- They’re Coming To Make It Brighter, ATL Humana Festival (act)
  • 1980- The Green Mountain Guild Theatre For Children (act/director)
  • 1980- Getting Out, ATL International Tour w/Susan Kingsley (act)
  • 1980- Cyrano de Bergerac, ATL (act)
  • 1980- Shorts (various roles), ATL (act)
  • 1981- Park City Midnight, ATL Humana Festival (act)
  • 1981- Propinquity, ATL Humana Festival (act)
  • 1981- Spades, ATL Humana Festival (act)
  • 1981- A**hole Murder Case, ATL Humana Festival (act)
  • 1981- A Life, The Long Wharf Theatre (act)
  • 1981- A Tale Told, The Mark Taper Forum (act)
  • 1982- Richard II, Circle Repertory Company (act)
  • 1982- The First Annual Young Playwright’s Festival, Circle Rep (act, various roles)
  • 1982- The Holdup, Circle Rep (act)
  • 1982- Brighton Beach Memoirs, The Ahmanson
  • 1983- Brighton Beach Memoirs, The Curren (SF) And The Alvin (Broadway) (act)
  • 1986- Theatre for Children, Inc., (Fantasy Theatre) (Producing Director 1986-2001)
  • 1986- Fantasy Fables, (dir/co-writer)
  • 1987- Fantasy Classics, (dir/co-Writer)
  • 1987- Fantasy Americana, (dir/co-Writer)
  • 1988- Fantasy of Horrors, (co-writer)
  • 1988- Fantasy Festival II, (dir)
  • 1988- Fantasy of Franks, (dir/co-writer)
  • 1989- William Shakespeare V The Fantasy Theatre (dir/co-writer)
  • 1989- By George! (co-writer)
  • 1990- The Bark of Zorro the Musical (co-writer book)
  • 1990- A Few Good Men, Broadway (act)
  • 1992- B Street Theatre (Producing Director 1992-2001)
  • 1992- Mass Appeal (act), B St. Theatre
  • 1992- Hidden In This Picture w/Aaron Sorkin, (act/dir), B. St.
  • 1992- Talley’s Folly (act/dir), B. St
  • 1993- Fool For Love (act)
  • 1993- Private Wars (act)
  • 1994- A Couple of White Chicks (dir)
  • 1994- The Agent (act/dir)
  • 1994- The Holdup (dir)
  • 1994- Criminal Hearts (dir)
  • 1995- National Anthems (act/dir)
  • 1996- Below The Belt (act)
  • 1997- Vigil (act)
  • 1998- The Motor Trade (act/dir)
  • 1998- Vigil (act)
  • 1999- Boomtown (act/dir)
  • 2000- Escanaba in Da Moonlight (act)
  • 2008- Vigil (act), Westport Country Playhouse
  • 2012- Vigil (act, dir), Lansing Community College
  • 2017- 24 hour plays, Minneapolis

Personal life

Busfield was married to actress and director Radha Delamarter before divorcing in 1986. The couple had a son, Willy.[2] In 1988 he married fashion designer Jennifer Merwin, with whom he had children Daisy and Samuel.[2] They filed for divorce in 2007.[4]

A representative for Busfield said in January 2013 that Busfield had become engaged to actress Melissa Gilbert over the holiday season.[5] They were married April 24, 2013 in a private ceremony at San Ysidro Ranch in Santa Barbara, California.[6] Busfield and Gilbert now reside in Howell, Michigan.[7]



As actor
year title role notes
1984 Family Ties Doug Episode: "Little Man on Campus"
1984–1986 Trapper John, M.D. Dr. John 'J.T.' McIntyre, Jr., M.D. 39 episodes
1987–1991 Thirtysomething Elliot Weston 85 episodes
1991 Strays Paul Jarrett Television film
1993–1994 The Byrds of Paradise Sam Byrd 12 episodes
1995 The Outer Limits Dr. Jon Holland Episode: "Under the Bed"
1999–2006 The West Wing Danny Concannon 28 episodes
2006–2007 Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip Cal Shanley 22 episodes
2011 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Daniel Carter Episode: "Russian Brides"
2012 Blue Bloods Charles Bynes Episode: "Leap of Faith"
2014–2015 Sleepy Hollow Benjamin Franklin[8] 3 episodes
2015 Secrets and Lies John Garner 4 episodes
2018 Designated Survivor Dr. Adam Louden Episode: "Grief"
As director


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