Alexander Rae "Alec" Baldwin III (born April 3, 1958) is an American actor, film producer and comedian who has appeared on film, stage and television. As a member of the Baldwin family, he is the eldest of the four Baldwin brothers, all well-known actors.
Baldwin first gained recognition appearing on seasons 6 and 7 of the CBS television drama Knots Landing, in the role of Joshua Rush. He has since played both leading and supporting roles in films such as Beetlejuice (1988), The Hunt for Red October (1990), The Marrying Man (1991), The Shadow (1994), The Aviator (2004) and The Departed (2006).
His performance in the 2003 film The Cooler garnered him a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. From 2006 to 2013, he starred as Jack Donaghy on the NBC sitcom 30 Rock, receiving critical acclaim for his performance and winning two Emmy Awards, three Golden Globe Awards and seven Screen Actors Guild Awards for his work on the show, making him the male performer with the most SAG Awards. Baldwin is a columnist for The Huffington Post.
He was host of MSNBC's Up Late with Alec Baldwin, which lasted for five episodes until he was fired on November 26, 2013.
Early life and education
Baldwin was born in Amityville, Long Island, New York, and raised in nearby Massapequa, both on Long Island, the eldest son of Carol Newcomb (née Martineau) and Alexander Rae Baldwin, Jr. (October 26, 1927 – April 15, 1983), a high school history/social studies teacher and football coach. Alec and his siblings were raised as Roman Catholics. They are of English, Irish, Scottish, French, and German ancestry. He has three younger brothers, Daniel, William and Stephen, who also became actors. He also has two sisters, Beth and Jane.
Baldwin attended Alfred G. Berner High School in Massapequa and played football there under Coach Bob Reifsnyder, who is in the College Football Hall of Fame. In New York City, Baldwin worked as a busboy at the famous disco nightclub Studio 54. From 1976 to 1979, he attended George Washington University, afterwards transferring to New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, where he studied with, among others, Geoffrey Horne and Mira Rostova at the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute, and, later still, being accepted as a member of the Actors Studio. Baldwin eventually returned to NYU in 1994, graduating with a BFA in that year.
Baldwin made his Broadway debut in 1986, in a revival of Joe Orton's Loot alongside Zoë Wanamaker, Željko Ivanek, Joseph Maher and Charles Keating. This production closed after three months. His other Broadway credits include Caryl Churchill's Serious Money with Kate Nelligan and a revival of Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire, for which his performance as Stanley Kowalski garnered a Tony Award nomination for Best Actor. Baldwin also received an Emmy nomination for the 1995 television version of the production, in which both he and Jessica Lange reprised their roles, alongside John Goodman and Diane Lane. In 1998, Baldwin played the title role in Macbeth at The Public Theater alongside Angela Bassett and Liev Schreiber in a production directed by George C. Wolfe. In 2004, Baldwin starred in a revival of Twentieth Century with Anne Heche.
On June 9, 2005, he appeared in a concert version of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical South Pacific at Carnegie Hall. He starred as Luther Billis, alongside Reba McEntire as Nellie and Brian Stokes Mitchell as Emile. The production was taped and telecast by PBS on April 26, 2006. In 2006, Baldwin made theater news in Roundabout Theatre Company's Off-Broadway revival of Joe Orton's Entertaining Mr. Sloane. In 2010, Baldwin starred opposite Sam Underwood in a critically acclaimed revival of Peter Shaffer's Equus, directed by Tony Walton at Guild Hall in East Hampton, New York.
Baldwin has returned to Broadway as Harold in Orphans. The show, which opened April 18, 2013, was also to have starred Shia LaBeouf as Treat, but LaBoeuf left the production in rehearsals and was replaced by Ben Foster.
Baldwin's first acting role was as Billy Aldrich in the NBC daytime soap opera The Doctors from 1980 to 1982. In fall 1983, he starred in the short-lived television series Cutter to Houston. He went on to appear as the brother of Valene Ewing and son of Lilimae Clements (played by Joan Van Ark and Julie Harris, respectively) in Knots Landing from 1984–85. In 1986, Baldwin starred in Dress Gray, a four-hour made-for-television miniseries, as an honest cadet sergeant who tries to solve the mystery of a murdered gay classmate. In 1998, he became the third narrator and George Carlin's replacement for the fifth and sixth seasons of Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends. He left the series in 2003 on winning the role of Lawrence Quinn in The Cat in the Hat and was replaced by Michael Brandon.
In 2002, Baldwin appeared in two episodes of Friends as Phoebe Buffay's overly enthusiastic love interest, Parker. He also portrayed a recurring character in a number of episodes in seasons 7 and 8 of Will & Grace, in which he played Malcolm, a "top secret agent" and the lover of Karen Walker (Megan Mullally). He also guest-starred in the first live episode of the series. Baldwin wrote an episode of Law & Order entitled "Tabloid", which aired in 1998. He played Dr. Barrett Moore, a retired plastic surgeon, in the series Nip/Tuck. He starred as Jack Donaghy on NBC's 30 Rock, which first aired October 2006. He met his future co-stars Tina Fey and Tracy Morgan while appearing on Saturday Night Live, and is one of only two actors to whom Lorne Michaels has extended a standing offer to host the show should their schedules permit (the other being Christopher Walken). Since season 3, Baldwin was credited as producer of the show.
Baldwin has won two Emmy Awards, two Golden Globe awards and seven Screen Actors Guild Awards for his role. He received his second Emmy nomination for Best Actor in a Television Comedy or Musical as Jack Donaghy in 2008, marking his seventh Primetime Emmy nomination and first win. He won again in 2009.
Baldwin joined TCM's The Essentials Robert Osborne as co-host beginning in March 2009. In 2009, he appeared in a series of commercials for Hulu that premiered during the Super Bowl broadcast. In 2010, he made a five-second cameo appearance with comedian Andy Samberg in a musical video titled "Great Day" featured on the bonus DVD as part of Lonely Island's album Turtleneck & Chain.
Baldwin co-hosted the 82nd Academy Awards with Steve Martin in 2010. He has hosted Saturday Night Live 16 times through the season-37 premiere on September 24, 2011, and holds the record for most times hosting the show. Since 2010, he has appeared in a television campaign for Capital One Bank, the proceeds of which ($10.5 million) he has donated to various charities, mostly in the arts. On February 4, 2012, he hosted the 2011 NFL Honors awards show. He also hosted the second show on February 2, 2013.
In August 2013, it was announced that Baldwin was getting his own weekly show in MSNBC's primetime line-up. It was set to run on Friday at 10 p.m. ET. On September 5, 2013, MSNBC officially announced Baldwin's show would be called Up Late with Alec Baldwin. On November 26, 2013, the program was cancelled after only five episodes, due in part to a street tirade captured on video. TMZ claimed Baldwin's unintelligible insult toward the videographer was the curse words Although the video clearly shows Baldwin mumbling, which the second word in his insult is unclear. He was fired for this incident anyway. Baldwin, who denied that he used the word "fag", later cited this incident as a major turning point in his public life.
Baldwin made his film debut with a minor role in the 1987 film Forever, Lulu. In 1988, he appeared in Beetlejuice and Working Girl. He gained further recognition as a leading man with his role as Jack Ryan in The Hunt for Red October (1990).
Baldwin met his future wife Kim Basinger when they played lovers in the 1991 film The Marrying Man. Next, Baldwin played a ferocious sales executive in Glengarry Glen Ross (1992), a part added to the film version of David Mamet's Pulitzer Prize-winning stage play (including the monologue "Coffee's for closers"). Later that year, he starred in Prelude to a Kiss with Meg Ryan, which was based on the Broadway play. The film received a lukewarm reception by critics and grossed only $22 million worldwide. In 1993, he starred with Nicole Kidman in the thriller Malice. He appeared with Basinger again in The Getaway, a 1994 remake of the 1972 Steve McQueen film of the same name.
Also in 1994, Baldwin made a foray into pulp fiction-based movies with the role of the title character in The Shadow. The film made $48 million. In 1996 and 1997, he continued to work in several thrillers, including, Malice, The Edge, The Juror and Heaven's Prisoners.
Baldwin shifted towards character acting, beginning with Pearl Harbor in 2001. He played Lt. Col. James Doolittle in the film. With a worldwide box office of $449,220,945, this film remains the highest-grossing film Baldwin has appeared in during his acting career. Baldwin was nominated for an Academy Award, a Golden Globe, and the Screen Actors Guild Award for his performance in the 2003 gambling drama The Cooler. He appeared in Martin Scorsese's The Aviator (2004) and The Departed (2006). In 2006, he starred in the film Mini's First Time. He performed opposite Sarah Michelle Gellar in Suburban Girl (2007). Two years later, he co-starred in the hit romantic comedy It's Complicated with Meryl Streep and Steve Martin.
Baldwin directed and starred in The Devil and Daniel Webster with Anthony Hopkins, Jennifer Love Hewitt and Dan Aykroyd in 2001. The then-unreleased film became an asset in a federal bank fraud trial, when investor Jed Barron was convicted of bank fraud while the movie was in production. The film was eventually acquired by The Yari Group without Baldwin's involvement.
In 2007, the Yari Film Group announced that it would give the film, now titled Shortcut to Happiness, a theatrical release in the spring, and cable film network Starz! announced that it had acquired pay TV rights for the film. Shortcut to Happiness was finally released in 2008. Baldwin, displeased with the way the film had been cut in post-production, demanded that his directorial credit be changed to the pseudonym "Harry Kirkpatrick".
Baldwin is or was in talks to star on the fifth installment of the Mission: Impossible series that will be due out December 2015.
On January 12, 2009, Baldwin became the host of The New York Philharmonic This Week, the nationally broadcast radio series of the New York Philharmonic. He has recorded two nationally-distributed public service radio announcements on behalf of the Save the Manatee Club.
On October 24, 2011, WNYC public radio released the first episode of Baldwin's new podcast Here's the Thing, a series of interviews with public figures including artists, policy-makers and performers. The first two episodes featured actor Michael Douglas and political consultant Ed Rollins. Here's the Thing was developed for Alec Baldwin by Lu Olkowski, Trey Kay, Kathy Russo and Emily Botein.
- Baldwin is also from "Great Balls of Fire!" (1989; with Winona Ryder) and "The Hunt from Red October" (1990; with Jeffrey Jones).
- He started as Larry Quinn in The Cat in the Hat (2003 live-action movie), directed by Bo Welch (also the production designer of Beetlejuice).
In 1990, Baldwin met his future wife, actress Kim Basinger, when they played lovers in the film The Marrying Man. They married in 1993 and had a daughter, Ireland, in 1995.
On January 12, 2001, Basinger filed for a divorce, which was finalized in 2002.
In summer 2011, Baldwin began dating Hilaria Thomas, a Spanish instructor with Yoga Vida in Manhattan. Baldwin and Thomas moved from the Upper West Side to Greenwich Village that August. The couple became engaged in April 2012 and married on June 30, 2012, at St. Patrick's Old Cathedral in New York City. They have one daughter together, Carmen, who was born in August 23, 2013.
1995 Photographer incident
In October 1995, Baldwin allegedly assaulted a photographer for videotaping his wife, Kim Basinger, and their 3-day-old daughter. The couple were returning from the hospital and were confronted by the photographer outside their Los Angeles home. Whoopi Goldberg praised Baldwin for his actions during her opening monologue while hosting the 68th Academy Awards.
In December 2011, Baldwin was on an American Airlines flight at Los Angeles airport, playing Words with Friends on his phone while waiting for takeoff. When instructed to put away the "electronic device" by the flight attendant, he reportedly became belligerent and was eventually removed from the plane. He later publicly apologized to the passengers who were delayed, but not to the airline or federal regulators.
A 2012 commercial for Capital One credit cards, for which Baldwin is a spokesperson, makes humorous reference to the event: a Viking character from the ad series asks about the phone Baldwin is using, to which Baldwin facetiously replies that it is not to be used on the runway, ending with a chiding "No!" A commercial for Best Buy also humorously referenced the event: Words With Friends co-creators Paul Bettner and David Bettner are on a plane and are interrupted by a flight attendant looking down at them, clearing her throat and signaling them to put their phones away.
Baldwin also made a guest appearance on Saturday Night Live's Weekend Update segment, posing as the captain of the plane from which he was removed.
A Promise to Ourselves
In 2008, Baldwin and Mark Tabb published their book A Promise to Ourselves: A Journey Through Fatherhood and Divorce, which chronicles Baldwin's seven-year battle to remain a part of his daughter's life.
Baldwin contends that after their separation in December 2000, his former wife, Kim Basinger, endeavored to deny him access to his daughter by refusing to discuss parenting, blocking visitation, not providing telephone access, not following court orders, not dropping their daughter off for reasons of convenience, and directly lobbying the child. He contends that she spent over $1.5 million in the effort. Baldwin called this parental alienation syndrome.
Baldwin has called the attorneys in the case "opportunists", and has characterized Basinger's psychologists as part of the "divorce industry". He has faulted them more than Basinger, and writes, "In fact, I blame my ex-wife least of all for what has transpired. She is a person, like many of us, doing the best she can with what she has. She is a litigant, and therefore, one who walks into a courtroom and is never offered anything other than what is served there. Nothing off the menu, ever."
Baldwin wrote that he has spent over a million dollars, has had to put time aside from his career, has had to travel extensively, and needed to find a house in California (he lived in New York), so that he could stay in his daughter's life.
Baldwin contended that after seven years of these issues, he hit a breaking point, and on April 11, 2007, left an angry voicemail message in response to another unanswered arranged call, in which Baldwin called his daughter a "rude, thoughtless little pig". He contends that the tape was sold to TMZ which released the recording, despite laws against publishing media related to a minor without the permission of both parents. Baldwin admitted that he made a mistake, but asked not to be judged as a parent based on a bad moment. He later admitted to Playboy in June 2009 that he contemplated suicide over the voicemail that leaked to the public. Of the incident he said, "I spoke to a lot of professionals, who helped me. If I committed suicide, [ex-wife Kim Basinger's side] would have considered that a victory. Destroying me was their avowed goal."
During the autumn of 2008, Baldwin toured in support of the book, speaking about his experiences related in it.
On May 12, 2010, he gave a commencement address at New York University and was awarded a Doctor of Fine Arts degree, honoris causa.
On April 8, 2012, a 40-year-old French-Canadian actress, Genevieve Sabourin, was arrested outside Baldwin and his wife's Greenwich Village apartment house and charged with aggravated harassment and stalking. She was released without bail and told not to contact Baldwin. Prosecutors said she and Baldwin had met on a film set more than 10 years earlier, and that beginning in 2011 she began sending him multiple unwanted emails and texts.
In 2013, Manhattan prosecutors filed nearly two dozen harassment and stalking charges against her, saying she had continued her unwanted advances. On April 8, she rejected a plea bargain, and a trial date was set for May 13. On November 8, at the end of a non-jury trial, Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Robert Mandelbaum found Sabourin, by then 41, guilty on all counts and sentenced her to 180 days in jail for stalking, attempted aggravated harassment, and harassment, plus 30 days for attempted contempt of court. She was released from New York City's Rikers Island jail on March 28, 2014.
Baldwin serves on the board of People for the American Way. He is an animal rights activist and a strong supporter of PETA, for which he has done work that includes narrating the video entitled Meet Your Meat. His wife has joined the cause, fronting for PETA's Cruelty-Free Shopping Guide. Baldwin also lent his support to the Save the Manatee Club by donating his time to record several public service announcements for the group, which had contacted him following his role in "Bonfire of the Manatees", an episode of The Simpsons in which he was the voice of a biologist working to save the endangered mammals.
During his appearance on the comedy late night show Late Night with Conan O'Brien on December 12, 1998, eight days before President Bill Clinton was to be impeached, Baldwin said, "If we were in another country ... we would stone Henry Hyde to death and we would go to their homes and kill their wives and their children. We would kill their families, for what they're doing to this country." Baldwin later apologized for the remarks, and the network explained that it was meant as a joke and promised not to re-run it.
Baldwin said in a 2006 interview with The New York Times that if he did become involved in electoral politics, he would prefer to run for Governor of New York. When asked if he was qualified for the office, Baldwin responded that he considered himself more qualified than California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. In June 2011, The Daily reported that Baldwin was mulling over a 2013 run for Mayor of New York City in the wake of a potential early race shake-up after candidate Congressman Anthony Weiner's sexting scandal. However, on December 21, 2011, Baldwin said he was abandoning plans to run for the office and would instead continue in his role on 30 Rock.
In February 2009, Baldwin spoke out to encourage state leaders to renew New York's tax break for the film and television industry, stating that if the "tax breaks are not reinstated into the budget, film production in this town is going to collapse and television production is going to collapse and it's all going to go to California".
During the 2011 Emmy Awards, Baldwin was slated to appear in a taped skit. However, the producers of the show cut a portion of the skit containing a reference to Rupert Murdoch and the News International phone hacking scandal. Baldwin told Access Hollywood Live that he asked them not to air his performance. Producers complied and he was replaced with Leonard Nimoy.
Despite demonstrating strong political beliefs throughout his career, in October 2013 Baldwin announced that he would not donate money to political candidates while hosting his talk show Up Late with Alec Baldwin on MSNBC, in accordance with the company's policy. On November 26, 2013, Baldwin's talk show was cancelled due to his alleged use of an offensive anti-gay epithet to describe a reporter, and for his alleged abuse of colleagues at NBC's headquarters.