Actor Michael Jeter was born 60 years ago today on August 26, 1952 in Lawrenceburg, TN. The diminutive, quirky, character actor originally wanted to become a doctor before discovering a love for acting. In addition to his stage performances in Once in a Lifetime (1978), The Boys Next Door (1987), and Grand Hotel (1989), Jeter worked extensively in film and television. Jeter made his film debut in the screen adaptation of Hair (1979), directed by Milos Forman and choreographed by Twyla Tharp. Jeter’s other film works include The Green Mile (1999) and The Polar Express (2004), which was released posthumously.
Jeter won the 1990 Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical for his portrayal of Otto Kringelein, an accountant “who wants to live before his unnamed fatal illness carries him off” (Green 281).
The following video features Jeter, Brent Barrett and the cast of Grand Hotel performing “We’ll Take a Glass Together.” Jeter’s excellence with pantomime and physical comedy is apparent in this clip. Towards the end of the video, Jeter delivers a particularly touching acceptance speech.
Jeter’s Broadway Credits
Grand Hotel (1989)
The Boys Next Door (1987) [off-Broadway]
Cloud 9 (1981)
G.R. Point (1979)
Once in a Lifetime (1978)
Selected Film/Tv Credits
The Polar Express (2004)
Jurassic Park III (2001)
Sesame Street (2000)
The Green Mile (1999)
Patch Adams (1998)
Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit (1993)
Gypsy (1993) [Tv Movie]
Green, Stanley, and Kay Green. Broadway Musicals, Show by Show. 6th ed. New York: Applause Theatre & Cinema, 2008. Print.
“Michael Jeter, Award-Winning Character Actor, Dies at 50.” The New York Times. N.p., 2 Apr. 2003. Web. 26 Aug. 2012. <http://www.nytimes.com/2003/04/02/obituaries/02JETE.html>.
“Michael Jeter.” The Internet Movie Database. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Aug. 2012. <http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0005052/>.
Oliver, Myrna. “Michael Jeter, 50; ‘Mr. Noodle’ on Sesame Street.” Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, 01 Apr. 2003. Web. 26 Aug. 2012. <http://articles.latimes.com/2003/apr/01/local/me-jeter1>.