An actor whose well-scrubbed Midwestern good looks have served him well in a wide variety of roles, Bradley Whitford was born in Madison, WI, on October 10, 1959. Whitford developed an interest in acting while in high school, and after graduating in 1977, he attended Wesleyan University, where he majored in English and Theater. After completing his studies at Wesleyan, he went on to receive a master's degree in Theater from the Juilliard Theater Center, and began pursuing an acting career in New York. Whitford made his screen debut in 1985 in a low-budget thriller called Dead As a Doorman, but received a good bit more attention for a supporting role in a 1986 TV movie, C.A.T. Squad, directed by William Friedkin. In 1987, Whitford appeared in both the New York and Los Angeles productions of Sam Shepard's drama Curse of the Starving Class; while in L.A. with the play, Whitford was cast as Jack Ford in the TV movie The Betty Ford Story. After returning to New York, Whitford continued to alternate stage roles with film assignments, and by the early '90s was appearing in a steady stream of supporting roles in such films as Presumed Innocent, A Perfect World, and Philadelphia. However, Whitford soon began scoring more substantial roles on television, including a recurring role as Norman Gardner on the series NYPD Blue and a memorable turn as a distraught father-to-be on the Emmy-award winning "Love's Labor's Lost" episode of E.R. In 1999, Whitford's finally scored the role that made him famous when he was cast as Deputy Chief of Staff Josh Lyman on the TV series The West Wing (created by Aaron Sorkin, whose play A Few Good Men had featured Whitford in its Broadway cast). Whitford's work on the series eventually earned him an Emmy Award in 2001; the same year, he was also recognized as part of the show's ensemble cast by the Screen Actor's Guild Awards (also honored with Whitford was John Spencer, who had appeared with him in the movie Presumed Innocent).
Whitford appeared in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants in 2005, as well as the critically acclaimed comedy drama Bottleshock in 2008. The actor enjoyed a resurgence in popularity in 2012 for his turn as a ruthless, yet oddly likable businessman in director Joss Whedon's popular horror comedy Cabin in the Woods.