A veteran of stage, film and television with a variety of characters to his credit, Richard Portnow was named one of the “Actors We Love” by the actors’ trade newspaper Back Stage West. It said, “Portnow knows exactly how to hook an audience with every character.” This Brooklyn native has worked steadily for 20 years and has built a solid list of credits, appearing in some of the most highly regarded and successful films and television shows of the past two decades.
Richard is well known for his role on the Emmy-winning HBO series THE SOPRANOS as Uncle Junior’s attorney Hal “Mel” Melvoin. He began his professional career at the famed Cafe La Mama in New York City, appearing in plays by Tom Eyen, Leonard Melfi, Jeff Weiss, Megan Terry, Tom O’Horgan and Lanford Wilson. He won “The Best Newcomer of the Year” award from Show Business Magazine as a result of his early work off-off-Broadway. He continued his stage career with starring roles on Broadway in THE HOUSE OF BLUE LEAVES and A MONTH OF SUNDAYS. He was in the original cast of MOONCHILDREN at the prestigious Royal Court Theatre in London. He has also worked extensively at some of the most highly regarded regional theaters in the country, including The Long Wharf Theater, The Berkshire Theatre Festival for the brilliant director Josephine Abady, The Philadelphia Drama Guild, The Lowell Regional Theater and the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park. Neil Simon’s OSCAR AND FELIX at The Geffen Playhouse marked Richard’s Los Angeles stage debut. His has also appeared in Woody Allen’s WRITER’S BLOCK, which was directed by Allen at The Atlantic Theater Company in New York.
Richard has been fortunate and privileged to work with some of the best directors in film today. Among those who have had a profound influence on him are Barry Levinson, Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, David Fincher, Woody Allen, Sydney Pollack, James Foley, Jim Jarmusch, Heywood Gould, Cameron Crowe and Sidney Lumet. He has also appeared as a series regular on the critically acclaimed EZ STREETS and on the police drama RYAN CAULFIELD: YEAR ONE. He has had guest starring appearances on SEINFELD, MAD ABOUT YOU, GOING TO CALIFORNIA, SPIN CITY, NYPD BLUE, THE SHIELD, DAVE’S WORLD, CIVIL WARS, HOMEFRONT, DOUBLE RUSH, JAG, LOIS & CLARK: THE NEW ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN, THE NANNY, MIDDLE AGES, THE COMMISH WISEGUY and WALKER, TEXAS RANGER.
Richard has also starred in numerous movies of the week and mini series, most notably Neil Simon’s LAUGHTER ON THE 23RD FLOOR, DOUBLE BANG, BELLA MAFIA, A DEADLY SILENCE, ORIGINAL SIN, PETER GUNN, INDICTMENT: THE MCMARTIN TRIAL and THE LIFE AND TIMES OF ROBERT L. RIPLEY (2002), in which he played the title role.