Christian Clemenson

Active - 1986 - Present  |   Born - Mar 17, 1958 in Humboldt, Iowa, United States  |   Genres - Drama, Comedy, Comedy Drama, Fantasy, Thriller

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Biography by Nathan Southern

A native of rural Humboldt, IA, character actor Christian Clemenson left his home state when a scholarship that he netted as part of his paperboy route afforded him the opportunity to attend the prestigious Phillips Academy preparatory school in Andover, MA. That experience imparted Clemenson with a deep-seated love of theatrics, and he spent his Iowan summers during college acting in local stage productions. The upstart subsequently attended Harvard as an undergraduate and Yale Drama School as a grad student, then moved to Los Angeles in the mid-'80s, where he accepted a long series of bit parts and supporting roles in A-list features, typically cast as nebbishy professional types. Early films in which Clemenson appeared included Heartburn (1986), Legal Eagles (1986), Hannah and Her Sisters (1986), and Broadcast News (1987).

Beginning in the late '90s, Clemenson began placing a stronger emphasis on television work, with guest roles in series including Ally McBeal, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The West Wing, and NYPD Blue. He received critical kudos for his portrayal of ill-fated executive Thomas E. Burnett Jr., a victim of the September 11th terrorist attacks, in Paul Greengrass' feature United 93 (2006), then joined William Shatner, Candice Bergen, and James Spader of David E. Kelley's offbeat seriocomedy Boston Legal in a recurring capacity during the show's second season; on the program, Clemenson played Jerry "Hands" Espenson, a troubled lawyer plagued by Asperger's Syndrome. He went on to win Best Guest Actor in a Drama Series in 2006 for that role, and continued to appear on the show, later attaining regular status and staying with the series until it folded in 2009. Clemenson would continue to appear regularly on screen as the years went on, appearing on shows like CSI: Miami and Harry's Law.

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  • Developed an interest in acting during high school and started performing in community-theater productions.
  • Was a regular on the short-lived western series The Adventures of Brisco County Jr. from 1993 to '94.
  • Worked as a character actor in film and TV for 20 years before he became well-known for his award-winning role on the ABC series Boston Legal. He joined the show in a recurring role, but his performance earned him a permanent place in the cast in 2007.
  • Has had small roles in such films as Hannah and Her Sisters, Legal Eagles, Broadcast News, Apollo 13 and United 93.