As a child actor, Tim Matheson was billed under his fuller family name of Matthieson. His first weekly TV co-starring assignment was opposite Robert Young in the 1961 "dramedy" Window on Main Street. The young actor's voice became familiar to a generation of cartoon fans via his "role" as the title character in Hanna-Barbera's Jonny Quest. The handsome Matheson appeared on-screen during his maturation years on such western series as The Virginian, Bonanza, and The Quest. He remained busy in films during this period, scoring his biggest 1970s success as party animal Otter in National Lampoon's Animal House (1978). Matheson also kept his hand in the voiceover business, providing the truculent mutterings of "Blood" the dog in Harlan Ellison's A Boy and His Dog (1975) and recording the narration for the 1985 revival of Disney's Fantasia. His adult TV appearances have included weekly stints on the TV series Tucker's Witch (1982), Just in Time, (1988) and Charlie Hoover (1991). Turning to directing in 1985, Matheson has been active in episodic television, music videos and direct-to-cassette movies. In 1989, he became CEO of the National Lampoon Company, though he still manages to find time for the occasional acting assignment, appearing in everything from the theatrical feature Drop Dead Fred to the live-action prologue for one of the "thrill rides" at Disneyworld.
Biography by Hal Erickson
- Enrolled in an acting class at age 10.
- At 13, made his TV debut playing Roddy Miller in the CBS series Windows on Main Street, then went on to appear in episodes of Leave It to Beaver and My Three Sons.
- Was the original voice of Johnny Quest on Hanna-Barbera's animated series The Adventures of Johnny Quest.
- In 1968, served in the United States Marine Corps Reserves.
- Joined the L.A. improv-comedy troupe the Groundlings in 1976.
- Breakout role was playing Eric "Otter" Stratton in National Lampoon's Animal House (1978).
- Made his directing debut in 1984 with an episode of NBC's St. Elsewhere.
- Was co-owner and chair of the humor magazine National Lampoon from 1989 to 1991.