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Steve Zahn

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Title: Steve Zahn  
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Subject: Management (film), Calvin Marshall, Joy Ride (2001 film), Diary of a Wimpy Kid (film series), Chain of Fools (film)
Collection: 1967 Births, 20Th-Century American Male Actors, 21St-Century American Male Actors, American Lutherans, American Male Comedians, American Male Film Actors, American Male Television Actors, American Male Voice Actors, American People of German Descent, American People of Swedish Descent, Gustavus Adolphus College Alumni, Harvard University Alumni, Independent Spirit Award Winners, Living People, Male Actors from Minnesota, Northern Kentucky University Alumni, People from Georgetown, Kentucky, People from Lyon County, Minnesota, People from Marshall, Minnesota
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Steve Zahn

Steve Zahn
Zahn in 2008
Born Steven James Zahn
(1967-11-13) November 13, 1967 [1]
Marshall, Minnesota, United States
Occupation Actor, comedian
Years active 1990–present
Spouse(s) Robyn Peterman (m. 1994)
Children 2

Steven James "Steve" Zahn (; born November 13, 1967) is an American actor and comedian.


  • Early life 1
  • Career 2
  • Personal life 3
  • Filmography 4
    • Film 4.1
    • Television 4.2
    • Miscellaneous 4.3
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Early life

Zahn was born in Marshall, Minnesota, the son of Zelda, who worked for the YMCA, and Carleton Edward Zahn, a retired Missouri Synod Lutheran pastor.[2][3][4] His father is of German and Swedish descent, and his mother is of German ancestry.[5] Zahn spent part of his childhood in Mankato, Minnesota, attending Kennedy Elementary School, and later moved to the suburbs of Minneapolis. After attending Robbinsdale Cooper High School, Gustavus Adolphus College, and the Institute for Advanced Theater Training at American Repertory Theater at Harvard University, his first professional acting role was in Biloxi Blues, a Minnesota production at the Old Log Theater; but his first big break came in 1994, when he was noticed by actor/director Ben Stiller, who cast him in his picture, Reality Bites.


Zahn with Jennifer Aniston at the premiere of the movie Management, in which they both starred, 2008.

Zahn's early roles were split between movies, touring companies of Broadway shows, and TV shows. From 1992 to 1993, he toured as Hugo with the Barry Weissler production of Bye Bye Birdie with Tommy Tune, Ann Reinking, and Marc Kudisch. He played Phoebe Buffay's husband Duncan in a 1995 episode of Friends. Zahn appeared in several films in the mid-1990s, including Tom Hanks' That Thing You Do! (1996), Nora Ephron's You've Got Mail (1998), and Steven Soderbergh's Out of Sight (1998). These films garnered him enough respect that he was offered the starring role in the critically acclaimed indie film Happy, Texas (1999). Some of Zahn's most popular movies have been his later ones, including National Security (2003), Daddy Day Care (2003) and Sahara (2005). Zahn received his strongest critical acclaim for his performance in Riding in Cars with Boys, in which he co-starred with Drew Barrymore as her dim-witted, drug addicted husband. Roger Ebert, Richard Roeper and the BBC stated that the performance was deserving of an Oscar nomination. He also gave dramatic performances in Rescue Dawn and the television mini-series Comanche Moon.

Typically typecast into comic relief sidekick roles, Zahn was asked if he minded, his reply was that it was a "pleasure" and a "privilege," saying: "to be typecast and make money and make people happy and people dig what you do, what a great thing, man."[1]

Zahn also plays the character of Davis McAlary in HBO's Christian Slater in ABC's sitcom Mind Games.[6]

Personal life

On July 16, 1994, Zahn married Robyn Peterman, an actress and the daughter of entrepreneur John Peterman, whom Zahn met on a touring production of Bye Bye Birdie. They have a son, Henry James Zahn, born on April 3, 2000, and a daughter, Audrey Clair Zahn, born on April 25, 2002. On May 4, 2007, he was conferred an honorary Ph.D. in fine arts, from Northern Kentucky University.

Zahn is also a University of Kentucky sports fan, often seen at games and events.[7]



Year Title Role Director Notes
1992 Rain Without Thunder Jeremy Tanner Gary Bennett
1994 Reality Bites Sammy Gray Ben Stiller
1995 Crimson Tide William Barnes Tony Scott
1996 Race the Sun Hans Kooiman Charles T. Kanganis
SubUrbia Buff Richard Linklater
That Thing You Do! Lenny Haise Tom Hanks
1998 The Object of My Affection Frank Hanson Nicholas Hytner
Out of Sight Glenn Michaels Steven Soderbergh
Safe Men Eddie John Hamburg
You've Got Mail George Pappas Nora Ephron
1999 Forces of Nature Alan Bronwen Hughes Nominated — Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Supporting Actor - Comedy/Romance
Freak Talks About Sex Freak Paul Todisco
Happy, Texas Wayne Wayne Wayne Jr., aka David Mark Illsey Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Male
Special Dramatic Jury Prize for Best Comedic Performance
Nominated — Satellite Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical
Stuart Little Monty Rob Minkoff Voice
2000 Chain of Fools Thomas Kresk Pontus Löwenhielm
Patrick von Krusenstjerna
Hamlet Rosencrantz Michael Almereyda
2001 Chelsea Walls Ross Ethan Hawke
Dr. Dolittle 2 Archie Steve Carr Voice
Joy Ride Fuller Thomas John Dahl
Riding in Cars with Boys Ray Hasek Penny Marshall
Saving Silverman Wayne Dennis Dugan
2002 Stuart Little 2 Monty Rob Minkoff Voice
2003 Daddy Day Care Marvin Steve Carr
National Security Hank Rafferty Dennis Dugan
Shattered Glass Adam Penenberg Billy Ray
2004 Employee of the Month Jack Mitch Rouse
Speak Mr. Freeman Jessica Sharzer
2005 Chicken Little Runt of the Litter Mark Dindal Voice
Sahara Al Giordino Breck Eisner
2006 Bandidas Quentin Cooke Joachim Rønning
Espen Sandberg
2007 Rescue Dawn Duane Werner Herzog Nominated — Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Male
2008 The Great Buck Howard Kenny Sean McGinly
Management Mike Flux Stephen Belber
Strange Wilderness Peter Gaulke Fred Wolf
Sunshine Cleaning Mac Christine Jeffs
Unstable Fables: 3 Pigs and a Baby Sandy Pig Howard E. Baker
Arish Fyzee
2009 Night Train Pete Dobbs Brian King
A Perfect Getaway Cliff Anderson David Twohy
2010 Calvin Marshall Coach Little Gary Lundgren
Diary of a Wimpy Kid Frank Heffley Thor Freudenthal
Salesmen Marvin Raul Inglis
Lego: The Adventures of Clutch Powers 2 Policeman Voice
2011 Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules Frank Heffley David Bowers
2012 Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days Frank Heffley David Bowers
The Knights of Badassdom Eric Joe Lynch
2013 Escape from Planet Earth Hawk Cal Brunker Voice
Dallas Buyers Club Tucker Jean-Marc Vallée Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
2015 The Good Dinosaur Thunderclap Peter Sohn Voice
The Ridiculous 6 Clem Frank Coraci
2017 War for the Planet of the Apes Matt Reeves Voice


Year Title Role Notes
1990 All My Children Spence Episode #5303
1993 South Beach Lane Bailey Episode: "Pirates of the Caribbean"
1995 Friends Duncan "The One with Phoebe's Husband"
Mike & Spike Nick Pickles (voice) Episode: "Person to Clothes"
Picture Windows Crook Episode: "Armed Response"
1997 Liberty! The American Revolution American Sergeant 4 episodes
1998 From the Earth to the Moon Astronaut Elliot See Miniseries
Episode: "Can We Do This?"
2008 Comanche Moon Augustus "Gus" McCrae 3 episodes
2008 – 2013 Phineas and Ferb Swampy/Sherman Voice
Episode: "Dude, We're Gettin' the Band Back Together!"
2009 Monk Jack Monk, Jr. Episode: "Mr. Monk's Other Brother"
WWII in HD Nolen Marbrey Voice
2010 – 2013 Treme Davis McAlary Regular, 31 episodes
2014 Mind Games Clark Edwards Regular
2014–present Modern Family Ronnie La Fontaine Recurring Role: New Neighbor



  1. ^ a b
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ Steve Zahn at the Internet Movie Database
  6. ^
  7. ^

External links

  • Steve Zahn at the Internet Movie Database
  • BBC film critic BBC review of 'Riding in Cars with Boys', suggests Academy Award nomination for Zahn
  • Video interview with Steve Zahn on Rescue Dawn
  • Steve Zahn Interview (Rescue Dawn)
  • Onion A.V. Club Interview
  • Steve Zahn at FEARnet
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