This story originally appeared in TheWrap magazine: Emmy Race Begins.
Before his revelatory turn in “Transparent,” Jeffrey Tambor was best known for his Emmy nominated performances as unctuous sidekick Hank Kingsley in faux talk show “The Larry Sanders Show” and “Arrested Development” patriarch George Bluth.
But the 70-year-old actor with the distinctive bald pate and patented hang-dog expression has credits that stretch decades earlier to include roles on Broadway, “Three’s Company” spinoff “The Ropers,” plus “…And Justice for All” with Al Pacino.
These diverse roles prepared him for an unlikely leading role in “Transparent.” He considers it the part of a lifetime, but here’s a quick look at five standout earlier roles, ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous, followed by a handful of Tambor’s many credits over the years.
“The Larry Sanders Show” (1992-8): Nearly two decades after the show ended, strangers still greet Tambor with his distinctive, “Hey now” catchphrase as Garry Shandling’s needy sidekick (above center).
“Arrested Development” (2003-6, 2013): Tambor does double duty in this quirky comedy recently revived by Netflix, playing George Bluth Sr. (above left) and twin brother Oscar. Oscar’s scraggly ‘do foreshadowed the longer locks Mort/Maura wears in “Transparent.”
“Glengarry Glen Ross” (2005): Nearly three decades after his 1976 Broadway debut in “Sly Fox,” Tambor returned (above left) to the Great White Way in the Tony-winning revival of David Mamet‘s play about real estate.
“The Ropers” (1979-80): Tambor was a snobby neighbor to Stanley (Norman Fell) and Helen (Audra Lindley) Roper in this short-lived spinoff to “Three’s Company,” also guest starring on that show.
Plus: Over the course of his career, Tambor has also appeared in all three Hangover movies; a failed TV adaptation of “Nine to Five” in 1982; “Meet Joe Black” in 1998; “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (2000), “Max Headroom” (1987-8); “Mr. Sunshine” (1986); and recurring roles on “Hill Street Blues,” “The Good Wife” and “Archer.”