While he rose to fame as a talk show sidekick, Andy Richter has since developed a reputation as a talented and likable comic actor with roles on a number of feature films and television series. Born in Grand Rapids, MI, in 1966, Andy Richter spent most of his childhood in Yorkville, IL. After graduating from high school (where he was voted Prom King in his senior year), Richter attended the University of Illinois, Urbana/Champaign; he later studied film and video production at Columbia College. Richter began pursuing a career as a performer in Chicago, where he studied improvisational theater with Del Close and worked with a number of improv comedy groups, including the Annoyance Theater, ImprovOlympia, and Comedy Underground. Richter's first notable success as a performer came in 1992 when he landed the role of Mike Brady in the off-Broadway stage success The Real Live Brady Bunch, a stage adaptation of the perennially popular TV sitcom; Richter was a member of the original New York cast, and moved with the show to Los Angeles later that year. While in L.A., Richter scored his first film role, a small but showy part in the Chris Elliott-vehicle Cabin Boy, but his biggest stroke of luck came when he was hired as a writer for a new talk show being hosted by former Simpsons and Late Night With David Letterman writer Conan O'Brien. Richter and O'Brien soon discovered they had a natural comic rapport, and by the time Late Night With Conan O'Brien debuted in the fall of 1993, Richter had become O'Brien's on-air sidekick, exchanging banter with the host and participating in a variety of comic sketches. The show's five-airings-a-week schedule kept Richter busy, but also allowed him to develop a strong fan following of his own, and he occasionally found time for outside projects, including appearing in an off-Broadway play written by David Sedaris and his sister, Amy Sedaris, Incident at Cobbler's Knob. In the summer of 1999, Richter announced he would be leaving Late Night in May of 2000 to devote himself to other projects, and he soon began appearing in a variety of film roles, among them one of Richard Gere's hunting buddies in Dr. T and the Women, Eugene in Dr. Dolittle 2, and Father Harris in Scary Movie 2; he also made occasional guest spots on television series, including Just Shoot Me.
In 2002, he headlined the quirky cult sitcom Andy Richter Controls the Universe, which was prematurely axed. Two years later, he went on to helm another unsuccessful sitcom, Quintuplets, which also ended after failing to gain an audience. He then stuck to being a guest star on established shows like Will & Grace, Malcolm in the Middle, Monk, and The New Adventures of Old Christine. He also kept busy on the silver screen by taking small roles in a number of offbeat comedies including Elf (2003), Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006), and Semi-Pro (2008). Another attempt to headline a sitcom, Andy Barker, P.I., managed to charm critics but didn't have staying power and lasted only seven episodes in 2007. He maintained career momentum with guest starring TV roles and a number of small parts in movies. He also did well behind the scenes, voicing a character in the animated features Madagascar (2005)and Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (2008), which led to more voice work in the Nickelodeon animated series Penguins of Madagascar and Mighty B. In 2009, he returned to Conan O'Brien's side when The Tonight Show With Conan O'Brien launched on NBC. The gig ended when NBC infamously returned The Tonight Show to Jay Leno, and Richter quickly joined O'Brien's subsequent Legally Prohibited From Being Funny On Television stand-up tour.
In his private life, Richter married actress Sarah Thyre -- who played Marcia alongside Richter in The Real Live Brady Bunch -- in 1994; the couple has one son. Richter also has the distinction of being one of the highest-scoring celebrity contestants in the history of the popular game show Jeopardy, winning over 29,000 dollars for charity.