New York native Ron Rifkin made his Broadway debut in the original 1960 production of Neil Simon's Come Blow Your Horn. He made his film debut in the chain-gang adventure film The Devil's 8 in 1969, followed by the sci-fi actioner Silent Running (1971). Rifkin was much more prolific on the stage throughout his career, in some cases leading to film adaptations (as in The Sunshine Boys ). But he sure had a knack for showing up on television's most popular shows over a period of three decades. During the '70s, he appeared on Soap, The Bob Newhart Show, and Mary Tyler Moore. During the '80s, he appeared on Falcon Crest, Knots Landing, and Hill Street Blues. During the '90s, he appeared on ER, Law & Order, and The Outer Limits. He also had parts in the Woody Allen films Husbands and Wives and Manhattan Murder Mystery. After winning an Obie and Drama Desk award for his portrayal of Holocaust survivor Issac Geldhart in the Jon Robin Baitz play Substance of Fire, Rifkin reprised his role in the 1996 feature film version. The next year, he earned a starring role on the short-lived ABC drama Leaving L.A. On the big screen, he appeared in Curtis Hanson's crime drama L.A. Confidential followed by F. Gary Gray's action thriller The Negotiator. In 1998, he earned his first Tony award for Best Supporting Actor in the Broadway revival of Cabaret. Some of his TV movies from this time include Norma Jean and Marilyn and Flowers for Algernon. In 2001, Rifkin was cast on the ABC spy drama Alias as the calculating and sinister commanding officer Arvin Sloane. Transitioning to the Emmy-winning ABC crama series Brothers and Sisters after Alias went off the air in 2006, Rifkin stuck with the show for 5 years, and later landed a recurring role on NBC in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
Biography by Andrea LeVasseur
- Made Broadway debut in Neil Simon's Come Blow Your Horn in 1961.
- Frustrated with acting, he quit the business in the mid-1980s and went into the fashion industry with his wife. The coats they designed, under the Carole Little label, were sold in stores including Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale's and Bergdorf Goodman. He returned to acting a few years later.
- Frequently works with playwright Jon Robin Baitz, including the plays The Substance of Fire, Ten Unknowns and The Paris Letter.
- Narrates a number of audio books, including Lois Lowry's The Giver, Phyllis Reynolds Naylor's Sang Spell and Jerry Spinelli's Milkweed.
- A former marathon runner, he was forced to quit running due to bad knees.