Who is Peter MacNicol?
If you were a fan of the popular late ‘90s series “Ally McBeal”, you are certainly familiar with the character of John Cage, also known as Biscuit, an hilarious but genius lawyer, so you might be interested in getting to know more about the actor who portrayed him. His name is Peter MacNicol, and this role brought him the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series in 2001, having previously been nominated three times for this prestigious award.
Peter was born in Dallas, Texas USA on 10 April 1954, thus his zodiac sign is Aries and he’s 68 years old, holds American nationality, and his ethnicity is mixed of Jewish and Norwegian descent.
Early life, family, and education
He was raised in Dallas the youngest of five children, by his Jewish mother, Barbara Jean, who was a homemaker, and a Norwegian-American father John Wilbur Johnson, who was a corporate executive and later became an Episcopal priest.
Many people assume that the actress, Kristy McNichol is Peter’s sister, however, his sisters are Becky and Mary, and his brothers are Peter and Stephen, all four of whom live their lives away from the public eye.
Speaking about Peter’s educational background, he attended MacArthur High School, in Irving, Texas, and upon matriculating in 1972, enrolled at the University of Dallas, in Irving, then transferred to the University of Minnesota, in Minneapolis, from which he graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Theatre and Living Arts in 1976.
Peter then started performing at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, before in 1980 making his New York City debut in the off-Broadway play “Crimes of the Heart”, then when the play was premiered on Broadway, Peter won the Theatre World Award in 1981.
Roles in movies
After his Broadway debut, in the same year Peter made his big-screen debut portraying Galen in the two-times Oscar-nominated movie “Dragonslayer”, also starring Caitlin Clarke and Ralph Richardson; this action adventure fantasy had seven award nominations, including two Oscars for Best Effects, Visual Effects, and for Best Music, Original Score.
In the following year, Peter was cast to play Stingo in the Oscar-awarded romantic drama “Sophie’s Choice”, also starring Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline; the movie had 25 award nominations and won 13, including the Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role (Meryl Streep).
Peter was next seen in the TV movie “Johnny Bull” before his role as Cyrus Kinnick in “Heat”, both in 1986, and then three years later, Peter starred as Doctor Janosz Poha in the popular comedy fantasy action film “Ghostbusters II”, alongside Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray and Sigourney Weaver.
The early ‘90s saw Peter in “Hard Promises”, “HouseSitter”, and “Addams Family Values” in 1994, a fantasy comedy which was nominated for the Oscar-Best Art Direction-Set Direction.
Peter is an actor with over 80 credits to his name, and the list of his roles is too long to enumerate, so we will mention some of his most notables, such as his role in “Dracula: Dead and Loving It”, “Bean”, and “Baby Geniuses”, in 1999.
In the early 2000s, Peter starred in several TV movies, before his role as Phillip Gascon in “Breakin’ All the Rules”, in 2004, then in 2008, he was seen as Tom Lennox in “24: Redemption”, and four years later, Peter portrayed Rick Davis in “Game Change”.
It seems that Peter focused his career on acting in series, because he had no further movie roles until 2022, when he was cast to play Psycho Date in “Our Almost Completely True Story”, a romantic comedy released on 3 April 2022.
Roles in series
Peter made his first television appearance in 1984, portraying Martin in an episode of the series “Faerie Tale Theatre”, followed by his role in “The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd” in 1987, and then five years later, he was cast to play Bradley Grist in “The Powers That Be”, before he portrayed Alan Birch in “Chicago Hope” from 1994 until 1998.
The series had 108 award nominations and 24 wins, including seven Primetime Emmys, while Peter won the Viewers for Quality Television Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Quality Drama Series in 1995.
Concurrently with “Chicago Hope”, he was cast to play his most notable role as John Cage in “Ally McBeal”, alongside Calista Flockhart, Jane Krakowski and Greg Germann; the series broadcast from 1997 until 2002, and had 115 award nominations and 43 wins, including seven Primetime Emmys – as mentioned, Peter won the Primetime Emmy Award, while he was also nominated for the Online Film & Television Association Award, Golden Satellite, Screen Actors Guild, and Viewers for Quality Television Award, all for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series.
In the early 2000s, Peter starred in “This Just In”, and was heard as a voice actor in “Justice League Unlimited”, “Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law”, and “Danny Phantom” through 2007, when he was cast to play Tom Lennox in “24”, which brought him a nomination for Monte-Carlo TV Festival Golden Nymph Award Outstanding Actor-Drama Series.
In 2008, Peter was heard as the character Doctor Octopus in “The Spectacular Spider-Man”, and he portrayed Doctor Larry Fleinhardt in “Numb3rs”, while in 2011 he also had the recurring role of Doctor Robert Stark in “Grey’s Anatomy”.
In the following years, Peter starred in “Necessary Roughness” in 2013, “CSI: Cyber” in ’15, parallel with his role in “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D”, and voicing the character of Santa’s Elf in “American Dad!” in 2016, before he was cast to play Jeff Kane in “Veep”, a comedy drama which had 245 award nominations and 74 wins, including 17 Primetime Emmys.
In 2018, Peter guest-starred in “The Big Bang Theory”, while he was heard as Nigel in “Rapunzel’s Tangled Adventure”, followed by his role as Judge Albert Campbell in “All Rise”, from 2020 until 2021, which was his most recent television role.
Love life and relationships
Peter hasn’t been the subject of any rumors concerning his love life and sexual orientation – it’s widely known that he is a married man. The interesting fact about him and his wife is that they met on a blind date, and according to them, they both knew they are meant for each other. His wife is Martha Sue Cummings, an executive director of the 52nd Street Project, which is a theatre program for homeless children.
The two exchanged their wedding vows on 11 October 1986, and they are still together; they don’t have children.
What happened to Peter MacNicol?
As we all know, Peter starred in “Veep”, and for his portrayal of Jeff Kane, he won the Gold Derby TV Award for Comedy Guest Actor. It was announced that he was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award in 2019, but a month later, he was disqualified from his category ‘guest actor in a comedy series’, apparently because he’s not technically a guest star, according to The Academy, ‘while MacNicol qualified at the time his entry was submitted, he appeared in one more episode after that, which automatically disqualifies him.’
During his over 30-year-long acting career, Peter has appeared in over 60 movies and series, and according to sources, his monthly salary for acting in sitcoms is a minimum of $30,000, so as of April 2022, his net worth has been estimated at over $5 million.