The grandson of movie mogul Samuel Goldwyn, actor Tony Goldwyn favored his grandmother's side of the family (she was film actress Frances Howard) by pursuing an acting rather than an executive career. Goldwyn's first major film was 1987's Gaby: A True Story, in which he was eighth-billed. His breakthrough feature was 1990's Ghost, in which he played Carl, the "lying snake" who sets up the murder of his best friend (Patrick Swayze) and then callously moves in on the dead man's grieving girlfriend (Demi Moore). A master at playing charming-but-shallow yuppies, Goldwyn went on to appear in films ranging from The Pelican Brief (1994) to Nixon (1995) to the thriller Kiss the Girls (1997). In 1998, Goldwyn played astronaut Neil Armstrong in the made-for-TV docudrama series From the Earth to the Moon; the following year he made his directorial debut with the similarly-titled A Walk on the Moon. Starring Diane Lane as a dissatisfied housewife who finds physical and emotional enlightenment with a blouse salesman (Viggo Mortensen) in 1969 upstate New York, the film enjoyed an overwhelmingly favorable reception. Also in 1999, Goldwyn earned additional kudos for voicing the title character of Disney's animated Tarzan. Audiences were able to see more of the actor in 2000, when he appeared in Don Roos' romantic drama Bounce and in the Arnold Schwarzenegger sci-fi thriller The 6th Day. When his sophomore effort as a director, the romantic comedy Someone Like You..., failed to generate much interest, Goldwyn would turn toward television to helm episodes of The L Word, Without a Trace, Grey's Anatomy, and Law & Order (many of which he also appeared in as an actor) while racking up an impressive list of credits in such efforts as the Christian-themed drama Joshua, The Last Samurai, and as a haunted writer whose attempt to clean the skeletons out of the family closet lead to tragedy in Ghosts Never Sleep. A 2005 performance as a cop whose life is profoundly affected by a firearm in American Gun found Goldwyn as strong as ever in front of the camera, and the following year it was time once again to take the reins for the romantic comedy drama re-make The Last Kiss; a contemporary tale of love and anxiety starring Scrubs and Garden State actor Zach Braff. .
Biography by Hal Erickson
- The grandson of Hollywood pioneer Samuel Goldwyn, actresses Frances Howard and Clare Eames, and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Sidney Coe Howard, who also won an Academy Award for his screenplay for Gone With the Wind.
- Began acting career on-stage in 1985; won an Obie award in 1991 for The Sum of Us.
- In one of his first TV roles, played a young man dying of AIDS on a 1987 Designing Women episode that received two Emmy nominations.
- Appeared in the 2010 Broadway revival production of Promises, Promises, opposite Kristin Chenoweth and Sean Hayes.