Birth Date: May 27, 1955 / Age: 61
Birth Place: Bethesda, Maryland, USA
Biography: Richard Schiff (born May 27, 1955 in Bethesda, Maryland) currently plays Toby Ziegler in the television drama The West Wing. He won an Emmy Award for this role. Schiff made his directorial debut with The West Wing, directing an episode entitled "Talking Points."
Richard Schiff was the middle of three sons born to a real estate lawyer and a cable TV and publishing executive. His parents divorced when he was twelve. He dropped out of high school, but obtained an equivalency diploma. He tried studying at CCNY in 1973, but had no interest. After not bothering to show up for finals, he headed to Colorado where he cut firewood and lived a hippie life. He returned to New York in 1975 and started studying acting at CCNY and eventually was accepted into their theater program. He initially disliked acting and studied to be a director. He directed several off-Broadway plays, including "Antigone" with a then just-graduated Angela Bassett in 1983. He met present wife, Sheila Kelley, during auditions for this play. The two married in 1996.
In the mid-1980s, Richard says he conquered his fears and decided to take a stab at acting. He got several TV roles, but he was seen by Steven Spielberg in an episode of the TV drama "High Incident". Spielberg the cast him in The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1993) and his career has been on an upward climb ever since that has lead to his co-starring role in The West Wing.
Schiff was also in the 1998 movie blockbuster Deep Impact, where he played Don Beiderman.
In 2004, Schiff appeared in Ray as famed musician Ray Charles's producer, Jerry Wexler. Jamie Foxx, who played the title character, received an Oscar Award for Best Actor for his work in this film.