Bradley Whitford

Bradley Whitford (born October 10, 1959)[1] is an American actor and political activist. He garnered attention for his portrayal of White House Deputy Chief of Staff Josh Lyman in the NBC television political drama The West Wing (1999-2006), for which he was nominated for three consecutive Primetime Emmy Awards from 2001 to 2003, winning in 2001. This role also earned him three consecutive Golden Globe Award nominations.

Bradley Whitford
Whitford in 2006
Born (1959-10-10) October 10, 1959
Other namesBrad Whitford
Alma materWesleyan University (BFA), Juilliard School (GrDip)
Years active1985–present
Jane Kaczmarek
(m. 1992; div. 2010)

Amy Landecker (m. 2019)

Following The West Wing, Whitford also played Danny Tripp in Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip; Dan Stark in the Fox police buddy-comedy The Good Guys; Timothy Carter, a character who was believed to be Red John, in the CBS series The Mentalist; antagonist Eric Gordon in the film Billy Madison; Arthur Parsons in The Post, Dean Armitage in the horror film Get Out; and Roger Peralta in Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

In 2015 he won a second Primetime Emmy Award for his role as Marcy in Transparent and later garnered a fifth Primetime Emmy Award nomination for portraying Magnus Hirschfeld in the same series. Since 2018, Whitford has portrayed Commander Joseph Lawrence in Hulu dystopian drama The Handmaid's Tale, for which he won his third Primetime Emmy Award in 2019. He was an occasional columnist for The Huffington Post until November 2009[2] and is noted for his politically liberal activism.

Early life

Whitford was born in Madison, Wisconsin,[1] the son of Genevieve Louie (née Smith; 1915-2011) [3] and George Van Norman Whitford (1915-1999).[4][5] Between the ages of three and 14, he lived in Wayne, Pennsylvania. His mother, a poet, later resided in Chestnut Hill, Pennsylvania.[4] He grew up in a Quaker household.[6] Whitford graduated from Madison East High School in 1977.[7] He majored in English and theatre at Wesleyan University, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in 1981,[7] where he was a roommate of producer Paul Schiff. Whitford then attended the Juilliard School for drama, where he was a member of "Group 14",[8] alongside Thomas Gibson.[9]


Whitford first appeared on television in 1985 in an episode of The Equalizer. His film debut was in the 1986 film Dead as a Doorman. He made his Broadway theatre debut in 1990[10] playing Lt. Jack Ross (followed a few months later in the lead role of Lt. Daniel Kaffee), in the Aaron Sorkin written play A Few Good Men. This was the beginning of a recurring working relationship between Whitford and Sorkin. Whitford also made a guest appearance on ER in the Emmy award-winning March 1995 episode "Love's Labor Lost".

Whitford joined the cast of Sorkin's The West Wing as Josh Lyman with the show's premiere in 1999. For his role, he won an Emmy Award in 2001 for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series. Whitford also wrote two episodes of the series ("Faith Based Initiative" in the sixth season and "Internal Displacement" in the seventh). After The West Wing ended in May 2006, Whitford appeared in Sorkin's later series Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip playing the role of Danny Tripp.[11] He appeared in the British drama Burn Up on the BBC in July 2008.

He starred on Broadway in Boeing-Boeing which began in previews on April 19, 2008, and opened on May 4, 2008. He left the show in September 2008, and was succeeded in the role by Greg Germann. He co-starred in the Joss Whedon/Drew Goddard horror film The Cabin in the Woods,[12] filmed in 2009 but not released until April 2012. In 2010, Whitford starred as Dan Stark in the Fox TV comedy The Good Guys opposite Colin Hanks.

In 2011, Whitford guest starred in In Plain Sight on USA Network as a man combatting paranoia. He appeared in the season three finale of The Mentalist as a minion of and decoy for "Red John", the long-sought nemesis of the show's protagonist Patrick Jane. Whitford also appeared on Law & Order: Los Angeles as a lawyer. On September 15, 2011, the American Foundation for Equal Rights, in partnership with Broadway Impact, announced the complete cast—including Whitford—and roles for the one-night only staged reading of 8, a new play chronicling the historic trial in the federal legal challenge to California's Proposition 8.[13]

In 2013 Whitford played Pete Harrison in the ABC comedy Trophy Wife, which was canceled after one season. Most recently, Whitford appeared in the Amazon series Transparent in the first season in a recurring role as a cross-dressing businessman[14] and in the second season in a recurring role as Magnus Hirschfeld.

Since 2015 Whitford has had a recurring role on Brooklyn Nine-Nine as Roger Peralta, father of lead character Det. Jake Peralta (Andy Samberg).

In 2017 Whitford played Dean Armitage, a father and neurosurgeon, in the racially themed horror film Get Out.[15]

In 2018 he joined the cast of The Handmaid's Tale on Hulu as Commander Joseph Lawrence. Whitford guest starred in the final two episodes of the second season and reprised his role in the third season airing in 2019.[16]

Personal life

Whitford married actress Jane Kaczmarek in August 1992.[17] They had three children together, Frances Genevieve (born October 1997), George Edward (born December 1999), and Mary Louisa (born November 2002).[18][19] In June 2009, the couple announced that they were divorcing after 16 years of marriage,[20] and the divorce was finalized in October 2010.[21]

Whitford began dating his Transparent co-star Amy Landecker in 2015. They announced their engagement in March 2018.[22] Whitford and Landecker eloped on July 17, 2019.[23]

Political activism

Whitford is a political liberal and has appeared several times on Real Time with Bill Maher. He once co-hosted The Majority Report on Air America Radio alongside Janeane Garofalo, and made an appearance on the Al Franken Show Party Album. During the run-up to the November 2004 general election, Whitford, who was then playing White House Deputy Chief of Staff Josh Lyman on the NBC TV drama series The West Wing, made a satirical video that purported to support then-President George W. Bush for re-election, but which actually lampooned Bush, who went on to win re-election.[24]

On February 26, 2011, Whitford spoke at one of the many protests in his native Madison, Wisconsin in opposition to Governor Scott Walker's budget repair bill.[25] The budget repair bill ultimately became law. During the run-up to the November 2012 general election, Whitford and Courage Campaign founder/chair, Rick Jacobs, appeared together in a video that explained "what's really going on and who's really behind California's Proposition 30 and Proposition 32".[26] The video encouraged viewers to vote "yes" on Prop 30 and "no" on Prop 32.[27] Proposition 30 was approved by California voters by a margin of 54% to 46%. Proposition 32 was defeated by a margin of 56% to 44%.

During the run-up to the November 2014 Wisconsin gubernatorial election, Whitford visited multiple University of Wisconsin System campuses in support of the campaign for the Democratic nominee for governor Mary Burke, who was running against incumbent Republican Governor Scott Walker; Burke lost.[28] In September 2016, he appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, where he expressed his support for Hillary Clinton.[29]

On November 25, 2017, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders posted on Twitter, comparing herself to the character C. J. Cregg from The West Wing on an incident involving a situation where the White House was receiving one of the White House Thanksgiving turkeys set to be pardoned by President Donald Trump. After this tweet, Whitford, who portrayed White House Deputy Chief of Staff Josh Lyman on the show, replied saying, "I know C. J. Cregg. C. J. Cregg is a friend of mine. You're no C. J. Cregg", an homage to the famed "Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy" debate quote. Actress Allison Janney, who played C.J. in the series, also replied, thanking Whitford for his sentiment.[30]

He currently serves on the Board of Advisors of Let America Vote, an organization founded by former Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander that aims to end voter suppression.[31]

In 2019, he and Gwyneth Paltrow hosted a fundraiser for Democratic Presidential candidate Mayor Pete Buttigieg.[32]


In May 2007, Whitford was honored by Alliance for Justice, a nonprofit organization, as the 2007 Champion of Justice. He was the keynote speaker for Class Day at Princeton University in June 2007.[33] As of 2012, Whitford serves on the Board of Trustees of his alma mater, Wesleyan University.[34]



Year Title Role Notes
1986 Dead as a Doorman Terry Reilly
1987 Adventures in Babysitting Mike Todwell
Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise Roger Latimer
1990 Vital Signs Dr. Donald Ballentine
Presumed Innocent Jamie Kemp
Young Guns II Charles Phalen Credited as Brad Whitford
Awakenings Dr. Tyler
1992 Scent of a Woman Randy Slade
1993 RoboCop 3 Jeffrey Fleck
My Life Paul Ivanovich
A Perfect World Bobby Lee
Philadelphia Jamey Collins
The Silent Alarm Referee Dad Short film
1994 The Client Thomas Fink
Cobb Process Server
1995 Billy Madison Eric Gordon
The Desperate Trail Tommy Donnelly
1996 My Fellow Americans Carl Witnaur
Wildly Available Professor
1997 Masterminds Miles Lawrence Credited as Brad Whitford
Red Corner Bob Ghery
The People Michael Leary
1999 The Muse Hal
Bicentennial Man Lloyd Charney
2001 Kate & Leopold J.J. Camden
2005 The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants Al Lowell
Little Manhattan Adam Burton
2007 An American Crime Prosecutor Leroy K. New
2008 Bottle Shock Professor Saunders
2012 The Cabin in the Woods Steve Hadley
Man Up, Little Boy Walter Short film
2013 Savannah Jack Cay
Decoding Annie Parker Marshall Parker
Marvel One-Shot: Agent Carter Agent John Flynn Short film
CBGB Nicky Gant
Saving Mr. Banks Don DaGradi Nominated – Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Cast
2015 I Saw the Light[35] Fred Rose
2016 Other People Norman Mulcahey
2017 Get Out Dean Armitage Seattle Film Critics Society Award for Best Ensemble
National Board of Review Award for Best Cast
Nominated – San Diego Film Critics Society Award for Best Performance by an Ensemble
Nominated – Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
A Happening of Monumental Proportions Arthur Schneedy
Megan Leavey Bob Leavey
Unicorn Store Gene
Three Christs Clyde
The Post Arthur Parsons
2018 The Darkest Minds President Gray
Destroyer DiFranco
2019 Godzilla: King of the Monsters Dr. Rick Stanton
2020 The Last Full Measure Carlton Stanton Post-production
The Call of the Wild Judge Miller Post-production
TBA Sergio Paul Bremer Post-production


Year Title Role Notes
1985 The Equalizer Dillart Episode: "The Children's Song"
1986 C.A.T. Squad Leon Trepper Television film
1987 The Betty Ford Story Jack Ford Television film
1988 Tales from the Darkside Tom Dash Episode: "The Deal"
1993 Black Tie Affair Dave Brodsky 5 episodes
1994 NYPD Blue Norman Gardner 4 episodes
Ellen Doug Episode: "The Fix-Up"
The X-Files Daniel Trepkos Episode: "Firewalker"
Web of Deception Larry Lake Television film
1995 ER Sean O'Brien 2 episodes
Nothing But the Truth Lt. Thomas "Mack" McCarthy Television film
1996 Touched by an Angel Steven Thomas Bell Episode: "Out of the Darkness
1997 Tracey Takes On... Nik Episode: "Vegas"
In the Line of Duty: Blaze of Glory Tom LaSalle Television film
Cloned Rick Weston Television film
High Incident Deputy Carl Engler Episode: "Black & Blue"
1998 The Secret Lives of Men Phil 13 episodes
1999–2006 The West Wing Josh Lyman 149 episodes
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (2001)
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series (2001–02)
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film (2001–03)
Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (2002–03)
Nominated – Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series (2003–06)
Nominated – Viewers for Quality Television Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Quality Drama Series (2000)
1999 Felicity Tom Anderson Episode: "Happy Birthday" (uncredited)
Behind the Mask Brian Shushan Television film
Credited as Brad Whitford
The Sky's On Fire John Morgan Television film
2002 Malcolm in the Middle Meg's Husband Episode: "Company Picnic: Part 2"
Frasier Stu Voice; Episode: "Kissing Cousin"
2005 Fathers and Sons Anthony Television film
2006–07 Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip Danny Tripp 21 episodes
Nominated – Satellite Award for Best Actor – Television Series Drama
2008 Burn Up James Mackintosh 2 episodes
Nominated – Gemini Award for Best Actor in a Dramatic Special or Miniseries
2009 Monk Dean Berry Episode: "Mr. Monk on Wheels"
Off Duty Det. Glenn Falcon Television film
2010 The Sarah Silverman Program Toby Grossnickel Episode: "Nightmayor"
The Good Guys Det. Dan Stark 20 episodes
Glenn Martin, DDS Gonzo Gonzales Voice; Episode: "Camp"
2011 In Plain Sight Adam Wilson / Adam Roston Episode: "Crazy Like a Witness"
Law & Order: Los Angeles Attorney Miklin Episode: "Big Rock Mesa"
The Mentalist Timothy Carter 2 episodes
Have a Little Faith Mitch Albom Television film
2012 Parks and Recreation Councilman Pillner Episode: "Live Ammo"
The Asset Leo Maxiell Television film
2013 Shameless Abraham Paige 2 episodes
Go On Huey Episode: "Ring and a Miss"
Lauren Paul Milgram 6 episodes
Drunk History William Jennings Bryan Episode: "Nashville"
2013–14 Trophy Wife Pete Harrison 22 episodes
2014 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Frank Maddox Episode: "Reasonable Doubt"
2014–19 Transparent Marcy / Magnus Hirschfeld 8 episodes
Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Guest Performer in a Comedy Series (2015)
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series (2015)
Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series (2016)
2014 Alpha House Senator Ned Episode: "The Retreat"
2015–17 Brooklyn Nine-Nine Captain Roger Peralta 3 episodes
2015 Happyish Jonathan Cooke 10 episodes
2016 All the Way Hubert Humphrey Television film
Better Things Gary Episode: "Sam/Pilot"
2017, 2019 Mom Mitch 2 episodes
2017 Chicago Justice Albert Forest Episode: "Fake"
2017–19 Tangled: The Series King Trevor Voice; 2 episodes
2018–present The Handmaid's Tale Commander Joseph Lawrence 15 episodes
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series (2019)
2019 Valley of the Boom James L. Barksdale 6 episodes
Flack Calvin Cooper Episode: "Rodney"
Infinity Train Agent Sieve Voice; Episode: "The Chrome Car"
Perfect Harmony Arthur Cochran


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  2. Whitford, Bradley. "Bradley Whitford profile". HuffPost. Retrieved April 3, 2017.
  4. Shister, Gail (June 22, 2000). "'West Wing' Star Finally Took Flight At Age 40". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved February 2, 2017.
  5. "Genevieve Smith Whitford's Obituary on Main Line Media News". Retrieved April 3, 2017.
  6. Knutzen, Eirik (October 17, 1999). "'West Wing' Costar Enjoys Political Role". Chicago Tribune.
  7. "Bradley Whitford biography". All Movie Guide The New York Times. Retrieved April 2, 2012.
  8. "Alumni News". The Juilliard School. March 2008. Archived from the original on November 11, 2011.
  9. "Alumni News". The Juilliard School. November 2007. Archived from the original on November 11, 2011.
  10. ""A Few Good Men" production replacements". Internet Broadway Database. Archived from the original on October 24, 2012. Retrieved March 22, 2011.
  11. "Spate of pilot castings, pickups". The Hollywood Reporter. February 28, 2006. Archived from the original on April 28, 2006.
  12. Kit, Borys; Jay A. Fernandez (January 21, 2009). "Two feel Joss Whedon's 'Cabin' pressure". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on January 24, 2009. Retrieved January 21, 2009.
  13. "AFER & Broadway Impact Announce Full Casting for the World Premiere of Dustin Lance Black's New Play "8"" (Press release). American Foundation for Equal Rights. September 15, 2011. Retrieved 2017-12-27 via PR Newswire.
  14. Moylan, Brian (September 30, 2014). "How to watch Amazon's Transparent all in one sitting". The Guardian. Manchester.
  15. Rios, Edwin (February 24, 2017). ""Get Out" is the horror flick America needs right now". Mother Jones. Retrieved 2017-06-25.
  16. Bradley, Laura (July 11, 2018). "Handmaid's Tale Show-Runner Explains June's Shocking Decision". Vanity Fair. Retrieved July 12, 2018.
  17. Jordan, Julie (June 19, 2009). "Bradley Whitford and Jane Kaczmarek File for Divorce". People. Retrieved December 14, 2017.
  18. "Jane Kaczmarek, babies at age 41, 44 and 46". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved December 14, 2017.
  19. Jordan, Julie (June 19, 2009). "Bradley Whitford and Jane Kaczmarek File for Divorce". People. Retrieved December 14, 2017.
  20. "Bradley Whitford, Jane Kaczmarek File for Divorce After Nearly 17 Years". TV Guide. Retrieved June 20, 2009.
  21. "Whitford and Kaczmarek -- Divvying Up the Goodies". TMZ. October 22, 2010.
  22. "Bradley Whitford Calls Relationship with Transparent Costar Amy Landecker 'Spectacular'". People. November 11, 2015. Retrieved November 30, 2015.
  23. Whitford, Bradley (2019-07-17). "In a shocking, totally unearned plot twist, Commander Lawrence married Mrs. McKenzie today in Santa Barbara. The shark may have been jumped, but the couple is thrilled". Twitter. Retrieved 2019-09-29.
  24. "Bradley Whitford 2004 Mock Presidential Ad". Video on Youtube. Youtube. Retrieved January 9, 2013.
  25. West Wing's Bradley Whitford Rallies Wisconsin Workers on YouTube; retrieved September 23, 2011.
  26. "How Wealthy Billionaires are Trying to Destroy our Schools and Silence our Voices". The Courage Campaign. Archived from the original on December 28, 2012. Retrieved January 9, 2013.
  27. "Pledge to Vote Yes on Prop 30, No on Prop 32". The Courage Campaign website. Archived from the original on September 22, 2015. Retrieved January 9, 2013.
  28. "Actor Bradley Whitford Visits UW Campuses To Campaign For Mary Burke". Wisconsin Public Radio. Retrieved April 3, 2017.
  29. "Bradley Whitford: "This is an Astonishing Election"". YouTube. The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. September 8, 2016. Retrieved May 6, 2018.
  30. Harriet Sinclair (November 25, 2017). "West Wing Cast Hits Out At Sarah Huckabee Sanders: 'You're no C.J. Cregg'". Newsweek. Retrieved 2017-11-25.
  31. "Advisors". Let America Vote. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
  32. CNN, Dan Merica and Kate Sullivan. "Gwyneth Paltrow and Bradley Whitford will host fundraiser for Buttigieg". CNN. Retrieved 2019-08-18.
  33. Greenstein, Jennifer. (2007-06-04) Princeton University Class Day,; retrieved September 23, 2011.
  34. "Board of Trustees 2012/2013". Wesleyan University. Archived from the original on December 26, 2011. Retrieved November 18, 2012.
  35. Betts, Stephen L. (November 7, 2014). "Bradley Whitford, Cherry Jones Cast in Upcoming Hank Williams Movie". Rolling Stone. Retrieved December 16, 2014.
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