University of Buffalo graduate, former Bella Abzug campaign worker, and onetime schoolteacher Peter Riegert finessed an early flair for comedy into appearing with an improv troupe called the War Babies. This led to Riegert's Broadway bow in 1975, then to his being hired by the National Lampoon people for several projects, the first of which was Animal House (1978), in which the actor portrayed Donald "Boon" Schoenstein. He went on to play such roles as the feckless corporate-flunky good guy in Local Hero (1983) and the unhitched pickle vendor Amy Irving would never marry in a million years but does anyway in Crossing Delancey (1989). Usually bypassed by the gossip columnists (which he doesn't seem to mind at all), Riegert raised journalistic eyebrows when he was cast opposite his onetime lady friend Bette Midler in the 1993 TV version of Gypsy. In the years to come, Riegert would venture behind the camera as a director, in addition to continued roles on screen, including regular appearances on One Tree Hill and The Good Wife.
Biography by Hal Erickson
- Worked as a teacher and a social worker before pursuing an acting career.
- Made his Broadway debut in a production of Dance With Me in 1975.
- Starred in a 1997 Broadway performance of The Old Neighborhood by David Mamet.
- Powered the shoot for his 2000 short film By Courier using a generator, as the shooting location of Rhinebeck, New York, had lost electricity due to a recent tornado.
- Narrated the audio version of The Voyage of the Narwhal by Andrea Barrett.