Mike White

Active - 1996 - 2020  |   Born - Jun 28, 1970 in Pasadena, California, United States  |   Genres - Comedy, Comedy Drama, Drama

Share on

Biography by Rovi

Screenwriter and actor Mike White's best work has never been afraid to flaunt its sharp edges, and that was never more true than in his breakthrough film, Chuck & Buck, in which the darkly witty humor of his screenplay was matched by his disarmingly eccentric performance as a childlike but obsessive young man. Born in California in 1970, Mike White is the son of Reverend Mel White, a noted author, pastor, and gay rights activist. Mike White studied at Wesleyan University and after completing his education, he moved to Los Angeles and began pursuing a career as a writer. After a two-year stint collaborating with friend Zak Penn -- which resulted in no work that's been produced to date -- White struck out on his own, and scored a lucky break when he was hired as a writer and producer for the WB's teen drama series Dawson's Creek. Upon its debut in 1998, Dawson's Creek was a hit in the ratings, and that same year White received his first screenplay credit for the offbeat teen comedy Dead Man on Campus. After his success with Dawson's Creek, in 1999 White moved on to another teen-themed television show, the critically lauded Freaks and Geeks, where he again served as both producer and occasional writer. The following year, White briefly left teenagers behind with his screenplay for the edgy independent comedy-drama Chuck & Buck; White also co-starred as the childlike Buck O'Brien in what was only his second screen appearance (his first was in a supporting role in Star Maps, whose director, Miguel Arteta, was also behind the camera for Chuck & Buck). While White's performance as Buck earned him the Best Male Performance award at the 2000 Deauville Film Festival, and a nomination in the same category at the 2000 American Spirit Awards, he opted to focus on his screenwriting in the wake of Chuck & Buck's critical success. In 2001, he took another stab at TV as writer and producer of the edgy but short-lived prime-time soap opera Pasadena, and 2002 saw the release of two feature films scripted by White, Orange County and The Good Girl. White also played small supporting roles in both films.

If to this point it had been fairly difficult to pinpoint precisely where White excelled the most in the worlds of film and television, the multi-faceted entertainer would continue to keep fans contending the matter by writing the Jack Black hits School of Rock and Nacho Libre, and turning in a memorable performance as the put-upon teacher who finds his position hijacked by his hard rocking friend in the former. Supporting roles in the Hollywood misfire The Stepford Wives and opposite John C. Reilly in Artera's dramatic short Are You the Favorite Person of Anybody were quick to follow in 2004 and 2005 respectively, with a key role in Welcome to California finding White cast as a well-known composer attempting to salvage his crumbling marriage to his Hollywood actress wife. Back behind the scenes, White would continue to expand his horizions by writing and directing 2007's Year of the Dog - a comedy-drama feature starring former SNL alum Molly Shannon as an easygoing secretary whose stable life is thrown into a tailspin with the death of her beloved dog Pencil. In the years to come, White would remain active in entertainment, producing and appearing on the series Enlightened.

Movie Highlights

See Full Filmography


  • Was inspired to write by his second-grade teacher, the mother of playwright-actor Sam Shepard.
  • Won an Independent Spirit Award in 2002 for his Good Girl screenplay.
  • Wrote the screenplay for 2003's School of Rock with his friend and former neighbor Jack Black in mind for the lead.
  • Made his directorial debut in the 2007 comedy Year of the Dog.
  • Is a fan of reality TV and was a contestant on The Amazing Race alongside his father in 2009 and 2011.