Richard Jenkins

For other people named Richard Jenkins, see Richard Jenkins (disambiguation).
Richard Jenkins

Jenkins at the 81st Academy Awards in February 2009
Born Richard Dale Jenkins
(1947-05-04) May 4, 1947
DeKalb, Illinois, U.S.
Nationality American
Alma mater Illinois Wesleyan University
Occupation Actor
Years active 1974–present
Television Nathaniel Fisher on Six Feet Under
Spouse(s) Sharon R. Friedrick (m. 1969)
Children 2

Richard Dale Jenkins (born May 4, 1947) is an American actor. Jenkins began his acting career in theatre at the Trinity Repertory Company and later made his film debut in 1974. He has appeared in supporting roles in many films produced during the 1980s and the 1990s. His breakthrough did not come until the early 2000s, in which he played the deceased patriarch Nathaniel Fisher on the HBO funeral drama series Six Feet Under. Jenkins was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor for The Visitor[1] and won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie for Olive Kitteridge.

Early life

Jenkins was born and raised in DeKalb, Illinois. His mother, Mary Elizabeth (née Wheeler; 1914-2003), was a housewife, and his father, Dale Stevens Jenkins (1916-1997), was a dentist.[2][3] He attended DeKalb High School. Before he was an actor, Jenkins drove a linen truck (his boss was actor John C. Reilly's father).[4][5] Jenkins earned a degree in drama from Illinois Wesleyan University before relocating to Rhode Island.



Jenkins worked with the Trinity Repertory Company in Providence, Rhode Island, while breaking into film with a bit part in Feasting with Panthers (1974), a television film about Oscar Wilde. Jenkins was given the option of joining the Screen Actors Guild. Knowing that it was not that easy to join, Jenkins immediately accepted the offer.[6] He continued as a member of Trinity's resident acting company and served as its artistic director from 1990-94.


Since his film debut in the television movie Feasting with Panthers (1974), Jenkins has been working steadily in film. His earlier film credits include Hannah and Her Sisters (1986), The Witches of Eastwick (1987), Sea of Love (1989), How to Make an American Quilt (1995), and Snow Falling On Cedars (1999).

He has worked with the director siblings the Farrelly brothers in There's Something About Mary (1998), Outside Providence (1999), Me, Myself, & Irene (2000), Say It Isn't So (2001), Hall Pass (2011) and the 2012 Three Stooges remake. He has also appeared in three Coen Brothers movies: The Man Who Wasn't There (2001), Intolerable Cruelty (2003), and Burn After Reading (2008). He is in North Country (2005), has three memorable scenes as FBI Director James (Robert) Grace in The Kingdom (2007), and Step Brothers (2008).

Although primarily known for supporting parts, Jenkins had a lead role in The Visitor (2008) for which he was nominated for the Independent Spirit Award and an Academy Award for Best Actor.[7] Jenkins won the International Press Academy's Satellite Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture.

Jenkins in April 2011

Jenkins costarred in Dear John, as the father of John Tyree (Channing Tatum), and in Joss Whedon/Drew Goddard's horror film The Cabin in the Woods (2012). Jenkins also co-starred with Julia Roberts and Javier Bardem in Eat, Pray, Love.


Jenkins is perhaps best known for playing Nathaniel Fisher in the HBO drama series Six Feet Under. His character is the deceased patriarch of the Fisher family, and regularly appears to his family as a ghost or in dreams. He played the role for the show's entire run. He and his castmates received a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series in 2002. Jenkins portrayed a DEA agent in one episode of Miami Vice and a mob boss in a later episode. In 2015, Jenkins won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie for his performance as Henry Kitteridge in the HBO miniseries Olive Kitteridge.[8]

Personal life

Jenkins and his wife Sharon R. Friedrick were married on August 23, 1969, and have two children: son Andrew Dale and daughter Sarah Pamela. They reside in Cumberland, RI.[3]

Awards and honors

In 2014, Jenkins and his wife Sharon received the Pell Award for Lifetime Achievement from Trinity Repertory Company in Providence.[9][10]


Film and television credits
Title Year Role Notes
Silverado 1985 Kelly
Hannah and Her Sisters 1986 Dr. Wilkes
The Manhattan Project 1986 Radiation Controls Officer - Medatomics Lab
On Valentine's Day 1986 Bobby Pate
The Little Sister 1986 Roger Davis TV movie
Rachel River 1987 Cordell
The Witches of Eastwick 1987 Clyde Alden
In the Line of Duty: The F.B.I. Murders 1988 Detective
Little Nikita 1988 Richard Grant
Stealing Home 1988 Hank Chandler
Sea of Love 1989 Gruber
Blaze 1989 Picayune
How I Got Into College 1989 Bill Browne
When You Remember Me 1990 Vaughan TV movie
Challenger 1990 Gregory Jarvis TV movie
Blue Steel 1990 Attorney Mel Dawson
Doublecrossed 1991 TV movie
Undercover Blues 1993 Frank
Alex Haley's Queen 1993 Mr. Benson Miniseries
And the Band Played On 1993 Dr. Marc Conant TV movie
It Could Happen to You 1994 C. Vernon Hale
Trapped in Paradise 1994 Agent Shaddus Peyser
Wolf 1994 Detective Bridger
How to Make an American Quilt 1995 Howell Saunders
The Indian in the Cupboard 1995 Victor
Flirting with Disaster 1996 Paul Harmon Nominated—Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Male
A Couch in New York 1996 Campton
The Boys Next Door 1996 Bob Klemper TV movie
Eddie 1996 Carl Zimmer
Eye of God 1997 Willard Sprague
Absolute Power 1997 Michael McCarty
There's Something About Mary 1998 Psychiatrist Uncredited
The Impostors 1998 Johnny Leguard
Random Hearts 1999 Truman Trainor
Snow Falling on Cedars 1999 Sheriff Art Moran
Mod Squad, TheThe Mod Squad 1999 Det. Bob Mothershed
Outside Providence 1999 Barney
Confession, TheThe Confession 1999 Cass O'Donnell
What Planet Are You From? 2000 Don Fisk
Me, Myself & Irene 2000 Agent Boshane
Say It Isn't So 2001 Walter Wingfield
Man Who Wasn't There, TheThe Man Who Wasn't There 2001 Walter Abundas
One Night at McCool's 2001 Father Jimmy
Stealing Harvard 2002 Honorable Emmett Cook
Changing Lanes 2002 Walter Arnell
Sins of the Father 2002 Bobby Frank Cherry TV movie
Cheaper by the Dozen 2003 Shake
Intolerable Cruelty 2003 Freddy Bender
Core, TheThe Core 2003 Gen. Thomas Purcell
Mudge Boy, TheThe Mudge Boy 2003 Edgar Mudge
Shall We Dance 2004 Devine
I ♥ Huckabees 2004 Mr. Hooten Uncredited
Fun with Dick and Jane 2005 Frank Bascombe
Rumor Has It… 2005 Earl Huttinger
North Country 2005 Hank Aimes
Kingdom, TheThe Kingdom 2007 Robert Grace
Visitor, TheThe Visitor 2008 Professor Walter Vale
Broken, TheThe Broken 2008 John McVey
Step Brothers 2008 Dr. Robert Doback San Diego Film Critics Society — Special Award
Burn After Reading 2008 Ted Treffon San Diego Film Critics Society — Special Award
Tale of Despereaux, TheThe Tale of Despereaux 2008 Principal voice
San Diego Film Critics Society — Special Award
Waiting for Forever 2009 Richard Twist
happythankyoumoreplease 2010 Paul Gertmanian
Dear John 2010 Bill Tyree
Eat Pray Love 2010 Richard
Norman 2010 Doug Long Breckenridge Festival of Film for Best Ensemble Cast
Let Me In 2010 The Father Fangoria Chainsaw Awards for Best Supporting Actor
Friends with Benefits 2011 Mr. Harper
Rum Diary, TheThe Rum Diary 2011 Edward J. Lotterman
Hall Pass 2011 Coakley
Liberal Arts 2012 Professor Peter Hoberg
Darling Companion 2012 Russell
Cabin in the Woods, TheThe Cabin in the Woods 2012 Gary Sitterson
Killing Them Softly 2012 Driver
Jack Reacher 2012 Alex Rodin
The Company You Keep 2012 Jed Lewis
White House Down 2013 Speaker Eli Raphelson
Turbo 2013 Bobby Voice
A.C.O.D. 2013 Hugh
God's Pocket 2014 Richard Shelburn
Olive Kitteridge 2014 Henry Kitteridge TV miniseries
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie
Nominated—Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Actor in a Movie/Miniseries
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie
Lullaby 2014 Robert
Bone Tomahawk 2015 Chicory Nominated—Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Male
Spotlight 2015 Richard Sipe Voice (uncredited)
The Hollars 2016 Don Hollar
LBJ 2016 Senator Richard Russell Filming
Berlin Station 2016 Steven Frost Filming
The Shape of Water 2017 Filming

Six Feet Under episodes

Appearances in Six Feet Under by release season
Season Year Episode titles Notes
Season 1 2001 "Pilot", "The Will", "The Foot", "The Room", "Life's Too Short", "Knock, Knock"
Season 2 2002 "In the Game", "The Plan", "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year", "Somebody Else's Eyes", "I'll Take You, The Secret" Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
Season 3 2003 "Perfect Circles", "Nobody Sleeps", "I'm Sorry, I'm Lost"
Season 4 2004 "In Case of Rapture", "Grinding the Corn", "Untitled"
Season 5 2005 "Time Flies", "Ecotone", "All Alone", "Everyone's Waiting"


  1. "Just Visiting".
  2. Benjamin Secher (2008-06-28). "Richard Jenkins: bald, 61 years old - and a star at last". Retrieved 2010-10-13.
  3. 1 2 "Richard Jenkins profile". Retrieved 2010-10-13.
  4. "Reilly + Movie Dad Met When He Was Four". 2008-06-29. Retrieved 2010-10-13.
  5. Stated on the Late Show with David Letterman, February 3, 2009.
  6. Moynihan, Rob (January 19, 2015). "How I Got My SAG-AFTRA Card", TV Guide. p. 8
  7. Maxwell, Erin and Michael Jones. Variety "Film trio feel the Spirit." December 2, 2008
  8. Boedeker, Hal (September 20, 2015). "Emmys: Viola Davis makes history; HBO scores". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved October 18, 2015.
  9. "Richard and Sharon Jenkins to Receive Trinity Rep's 2014 Pell Award for Lifetime Achievement; Ceremony Set for 6/9". Broadway World. April 8, 2014. Retrieved June 10, 2014.
  10. Gray, Channing (June 9, 2014). "Pell Awards salute the best of R.I. arts". The Providence Journal. Retrieved June 10, 2014.
  11. "30th Moscow International Film Festival (2008)". MIFF. Retrieved 2013-06-02.
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