Biography

One of those screen performers whose genial off-center quality practically predestined him to a career as a character actor, Michael Panes graduated from Brown University with a music degree before moving into film. He made one of his earliest impressions as Levi, a violin-toting, self-professed doppelgänger of Peter Sellers (with horn-rimmed glasses) who turns up for a Hollywood get-together in the star-studded ensemble comedy The Anniversary Party (2001). The performer then shifted genres ad extremis to play an oddball analyst -- and the object of a sick patient's delusions -- in Ari Kirschenbaum's mind-bending psycho thriller Fabled. Panes further unveiled his proclivity for offbeat assignments with a seriocomic portrayal of a dorky loser who graduates to the jet set after winning a pile of money on a reality game show, in indie helmer Greg Pritikin's Surviving Eden (2004) (a film he also co-produced), and evoked an early Gore Vidal in Douglas McGrath's Truman Capote biopic Infamous (2005) before re-teaming with that film's co-star, Peter Bogdanovich, for a small supporting turn in the Zoe Cassavetes-directed romantic comedy Broken English (2007). ~ Nathan Southern, Rovi