Elliott Gould

Elliott Gould (born Elliott Goldstein; August 29, 1938) is an American actor. He began acting in Hollywood films during the 1960s. In addition to his performance in the comedy Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969), for which he received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, Gould is perhaps best known for his significant leading roles in Robert Altman films, starring in M*A*S*H (1970), The Long Goodbye (1973) and California Split (1974).

Elliott Gould
Gould in 1986
Elliott Goldstein

(1938-08-29) August 29, 1938
Years active1964–present
Barbra Streisand
(m. 1963; div. 1971)

Jennifer Bogart
(m. 1973; div. 1975)
(m. 1978; div. 1979)
Children3, including Jason Gould

He gained recognition for his recurring role as Jack Geller on the television sitcom Friends (1994–2004), as Reuben Tishkoff in the Ocean's film series (2001–2007, 2018) and as Ezra Goldman on the television series Ray Donovan (2013–2016).

Early life

Gould was born in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn,[1] New York. His mother, Lucille (née Raver), sold artificial flowers to beauty shops, and his father, Bernard Goldstein, worked in the garment business as a textiles buyer.[2][3] His family was Jewish, and his grandparents were emigrants from Ukraine, Poland, and Russia.[4][5][6] He graduated from the Professional Children's School.



Gould began acting in the Broadway theatre in the late 1950s, making his Broadway debut in Rumple (1957).[7] He had a number of small parts in the successful musicals Irma La Douce (1960–61) and Say, Darling.

In 1962 he had a starring role in I Can Get It for You Wholesale, which ran for 300 performances and where he met future wife Barbra Streisand. Following that he landed prominent roles in 1965's Drat! The Cat! and, in 1967, Little Murders.[8]

He was cast in a Broadway play, A Way of Life by Murray Schisgal, but walked out prior to the play making it to Broadway.[9]

Early films

Following his film debut in 1964's Quick, Let's Get Married he appeared in his first notable screen role in William Friedkin's The Night They Raided Minsky's. In January 1969, Gould announced he had formed his own film production company with Jack Brodsky, Brodsky-Gould Productions. The company would make two films: The Assistant, based on a novel by Bernard Malamud, and Little Murders.[9] (The Assistant was never produced.)

In March 1969, Gould signed a non-exclusive, four-picture contract with 20th Century Fox, the first of which was to be M*A*S*H and the second Move.[10] "I'm the hottest thing in Hollywood right now," he said in October 1969.[11]

Film stardom

He gained recognition that year, playing one of the four leads in Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, released in September 1969. He earned a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance.[12]

Gould appeared in four films released in 1970 alone, and appeared on the cover of Time magazine that year, where he was described as a "star for an uptight age".[13]

His first film released after Bob & Carol was M*A*S*H, directed by Robert Altman, where Gould played Trapper John McIntyre. It was a huge hit at the box office.[14] His third film as star was 1970's Getting Straight, where he played a Vietnam veteran who gets involved in student protests. Not as popular as the other two movies, it was nonetheless still considered a success – the only student protest film to make money – and cemented Gould's place as one of the biggest film stars in the country.[15]

In April of 1970 Brodsky and Gould announced plans to make The Dick, from the novel by Bruce Jay Friedman,[16] but it was never made.

Gould's next film, Move, co-starring Paula Prentiss, was also his first critical and commercial flop.[17] Also unsuccessful was I Love My Wife, with Brenda Vaccaro, for which Gould had turned down a reunion with Altman on McCabe & Mrs. Miller.[17]

Following his starring role in the stage version, Gould bought the rights for Little Murders with an eye to producing and reprising his lead role in a film adaptation. Directed by Alan Arkin, and released in 1971, it was another commercial disappointment, but has since earned a cult following.[18]

Gould went to Sweden to play the lead role in Ingmar Bergman's English-language debut The Touch (1971). He was the first Hollywood star to appear in a Bergman film. However the movie was a critical and commercial disappointment.[17][19]

A Glimpse of Tiger and two-year sabbatical

Gould continued developing projects in a behind-the-scenes capacity, including a failed adaptation of the novel A Glimpse of Tiger. Filming was abandoned after four days of shooting, following rumours that Gould was addicted to drugs, something the actor has strenuously denied.[20][21]

Gould and his producing partner helped make Woody Allen's Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask), later selling it to United Artists. He was reportedly offered the lead role in Pocket Money, but turned it down because he did not want to work with director Stuart Rosenberg again after his experience making Move.[21]


Gould's comeback came in 1973's The Long Goodbye,[22] Robert Altman's adaptation of Raymond Chandler's novel. Gould starred as detective Philip Marlowe, a role which had previously been played by Humphrey Bogart and Dick Powell. By comparison, Gould's performance was more naturalistic, with the screenplay by Leigh Brackett (who had previously adapted The Big Sleep for Howard Hawks and Bogart) updating the setting to contemporary Los Angeles. Although not a major hit, the film was later regarded as one of Gould's best.

He followed it with another with Altman, California Split (1974), co-starring George Segal. He went straight into two more films, both "buddy" movies: Busting (1974), a cop movie with Robert Blake, directed by Peter Hyams; and S*P*Y*S (1975), a spy spoof which reunited him with Sutherland. Neither were particularly popular.[23]

Gould made a brief cameo appearance as himself in the Altman film Nashville in 1975, and had a similarly fleeting role in 1976's Mean Johnny Barrows.

Returning to comedy, he played the lead in two films for Brut Productions, both comedies: Whiffs (1975) and then opposite Diane Keaton in I Will, I Will... for Now (1976). He and Keaton also starred in Harry and Walter Go to New York (1976) with James Caan and Michael Caine. All flopped at the box office.[24]

He joined the ensemble cast of A Bridge Too Far in 1977 and played the lead in boxing kangaroo comedy Matilda the year after.

During this period Gould hosted Saturday Night Live six times, his final time being the first episode of the disastrous Jean Doumanian season (season 6) in November 1980, where he was shocked to find that the original cast and producer had left and a new cast and producer had taken their place. Although he never hosted again, he did appear in a season 16 (1990–1991) episode hosted by Tom Hanks where Hanks is welcomed into the Five-Timers club, a society for celebrities who have hosted the show five times.

Gould returned to mainstream success with Capricorn One (1978), directed by Peter Hyams.[25] The film was financed by producer Lew Grade, who later arranged Gould's guest appearances in The Muppets and its movie spin-offs. After making Capricorn One Gould was announced to direct A New Life from a novel by Bernard Malamud with Robert Altman producing but the film was not made.[26]

Gould went to Canada to star in the highly regarded thriller The Silent Partner in 1978, before working again with Grade on Escape to Athena (1978).

In England he appeared in the much-maligned remake of The Lady Vanishes.


Another flop came in the form of 1980's Falling in Love Again with Susannah York.

He followed it up with two films for Disney, The Last Flight of Noah's Ark and The Devil and Max Devlin. He made his return to Broadway with The Guys in the Truck in 1983, another critical and commercial failure.

In 1984 he made the transition to television acting with the sitcom called E/R in 1984–1985, followed by roles in the TV movies Conspiracy: The Trial of the Chicago 8 (1987) and Frog (1988), and the Australian miniseries Act of Betrayal. In the same period he had the lead in Inside Out and went to Italy for My First Forty Years. After supporting Whoopi Goldberg in The Telephone in 1988 he had the lead in Dangerous Love.

Later career

Over time Gould became more of a supporting actor. In 1989 alone he could be seen in smaller roles in Night Visitor, The Big Picture, Massacre Play and The Lemon Sisters, with a rare return to a lead role in 1991's Dead Men Don't Die. He received critical praise for his performance as an aging mobster in Warren Beatty's 1991 film Bugsy and once again performed as cameo as "himself" in Robert Altman's The Player. He returned to Australia for Exchange Lifeguards.

He became known to a new generation of viewers thanks to a semi-recurring role as Jack Geller, the father of Courteney Cox and David Schwimmer's characters Monica and Ross on the hit NBC sitcom Friends. Around the same time he took a more dramatic role, as the boyfriend of the protagonist's mother, in the controversial drama American History X. He co-starred in Steven Soderbergh's Ocean's Eleven, a 2001 remake of the classic Rat Pack caper film. He reprised the role for its sequels, Ocean's Twelve in 2004 and Ocean's Thirteen in 2007. He had another supporting turn in Soderbergh's Contagion, followed by Ruby Sparks in 2012.

In 2005 he guest starred in a feature-length episode of the UK TV series Poirot,[27] subsequently appearing in similar one-off or small roles in television series including Law & Order and CSI, and a more significant role in Showtime's Ray Donovan from 2013 to 2016. He has loaned his voice to several animated series, including the Disney Channel animated series Kim Possible, and the 2006 video game Scarface: The World Is Yours.

Personal life

Gould has said that he has a "very deep Jewish identity".[28] He has been married three times, twice to the same woman:

  • Barbra Streisand (March 21, 1963 – July 9, 1971; divorced; one child, actor Jason Gould)
  • Jennifer Bogart (December 8, 1973 – 1975; June 9, 1978 – 1982). They were divorced twice. The couple had two children. Jennifer's father was director Paul Bogart.

Gould currently serves on the Screen Actors Guild National Board of Directors. He became one of the many celebrity producers of The 1 Second Film collaboration in June 2009 and is known for his association to charitable causes such as Save Ellis Island.



Year Title Role Notes
1964 Quick, Let's Get Married The Mute
1968 The Night They Raided Minsky's Billy Minsky
1969 Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice Ted Henderson Nominated—Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated—BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
Nominated—Laurel Awards for Male New Face
Nominated—New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor
1970 MASH Capt. "Trapper" John Francis Xavier McIntyre Laurel Awards for Comedy Performance, Male
Nominated—BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Getting Straight Harry Bailey
Move Hiram Jaffe
I Love My Wife Richard Burrows
1971 Little Murders Alfred Chamberlain
The Touch David Kovac
1973 The Long Goodbye Philip Marlowe
1974 Busting Vice Detective Michael Keneely
Who? Sean Rogers
S*P*Y*S Griff
California Split Charlie Waters
1975 Nashville Himself Cameo
Whiffs Dudley Frapper
Mean Johnny Barrows The Professor
1976 I Will, I Will... for Now Les Bingham
Harry and Walter Go to New York Walter Hill
1977 A Bridge Too Far Col. Bobby Stout
Capricorn One Robert Caulfield
1978 Matilda Bernie Bonnelli
The Silent Partner Miles Cullen
1979 Escape to Athena Charlie Dane
The Muppet Movie Beauty Contest Compere Cameo
The Lady Vanishes Robert Condon
1980 The Last Flight of Noah's Ark Noah Dugan
Falling in Love Again Harry Lewis
1981 The Devil and Max Devlin Max Devlin
Dirty Tricks Prof. Colin Chandler
1983 Tramps Willie Zobel
1984 Over the Brooklyn Bridge Alby Sherman
The Naked Face Angeli
The Muppets Take Manhattan Cop in Pete's Cameo
1986 Inside Out Jimmy Morgan
1987 Lethal Obsession Serge Gart
My First Forty Years Nino Ranuzzi
1988 The Telephone Rodney
Dangerous Love Rick
1989 The Big Picture Lawyer Uncredited cameo
Night Visitor Ron Devereaux
The Lemon Sisters Fred Frank
Massacre Play Theo Steiner
Secret Scandal Film director
1990 I'll Be Going Now Alcide
1991 Dead Men Don't Die Barry Barron
Bugsy Harry Greenberg Nominated—National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor
1992 The Player Himself Cameo
Beyond Justice Red Murchison
Judgement Judge Callow Direct-to-video
Wet and Wild Summer! Mike McCain
1993 Amore! George Levine
Hoffman's Hunger Felix Hoffman
1994 Naked Gun 33⅓: The Final Insult Himself Uncredited cameo
The Glass Shield Greenspan
Bleeding Hearts Mr. Baum
1995 A Boy Called Hate Richard
Kicking and Screaming Grover's Dad
Cover Me Capt. Richards
The Dangerous Levine
The Feminine Touch Kahn Direct-to-video
1996 johns Manny Gold
1997 Inside Out Aaron's Father Short Film
City of Industry Gangster Uncredited cameo
Busted TV Show Host Direct-to-video
Camp Stories Older David Katz
1998 Michael Kael vs. the World News Company Coogan
The Big Hit Morton Shulman
Caminho dos Sonhos Samuel Stern
Getting Personal Jack Kacmarczyk
American History X Murray
2000 Playing Mona Lisa Bernie Goldstein
Picking Up the Pieces Father LaCage
Boys Life 3 Aaron's Father Segment: "Inside Out"
2001 Ocean's Eleven Reuben Tishkoff
The Experience Box Dr. Keith Huber Also producer
2002 Puckoon Dr. Goldstein
2003 The Cat Returns Toto English dub
2004 Ocean's Twelve Reuben Tishkoff
2006 Open Window John
2007 Ocean's Thirteen Reuben Tishkoff
Saving Sarah Cain Bill
The Ten Commandments God Voice
2008 The Deal Rabbi Seth Gutterman
The Caller Frank Turlotte
2009 Little Hercules in 3-D Socrates
2010 Expecting Mary Horace Weitzel
Morning Male Doctor Goodman
2011 The Encore of Tony Duran Jerry Braill
Contagion Dr. Ian Sussman
Dorfman Burt Dorfman
Art & Sex Therapist Also executive producer
2012 Switchmas Sam Finkelstein
Noah's Ark: The New Beginning God Voice
Fred Won't Move Out Fred
Ruby Sparks Dr. Rosenthal
Divorce Invitation Paul Lipnicks
2013 Live at the Foxes Den Paul Munchak
2014 Yellowbird The Owl Voice
2016 The History of Love Bruno Leibovitch
2017 Humor Me Bob Kroll
2018 Ocean's 8 Reuben Tishkoff
Romancing Brazil Samuel Stern
TBA Windfall Post-production


Year Title Role Notes
1964 Once Upon a Mattress Jester Television film
1972 The Special London Bridge Special The Villain Television special
1975–1980 Saturday Night Live Himself (host) 6 episodes
1982 The Rules of Marriage Michael Hagen Television film
1983 Faerie Tale Theatre The Giant Episode: "Jack and the Beanstalk"
1984–1985 E/R Dr. Howard Sheinfeld 23 episodes
1986 Vanishing Act Lieutenant Rudameyer Television film
1986 The Twilight Zone Harry Folger Episode: "The Misfortune Cookie"
1986 Tall Tales & Legends Casey Episode: "Casey at the Bat"
1986 Together We Stand David Randall 6 episodes
1987 Conspiracy: The Trial of the Chicago 8 Leonard Weinglass Television film
1987 Frog Bill Anderson Television film
1988 Act of Betrayal Callaghan Television film
1989 Murder, She Wrote Lt. J. T. Hanna Episode: "The Error of Her Ways"
1990 Stolen: One Husband Martin Slade Television film
1991 The Hitchhiker Augie Benson Episode: "A Whole New You"
1991 Beyond Justice Red Murchison 3 episodes
1992 The Ray Bradbury Theatre Leo Auffmann Episode: "The Happiness Machine"
1992 Somebody's Daughter Hindeman Television film
1993 Frogs! Bill Anderson Television film
1993 Bloodlines: Murder in the Family Stewart Woodman Television film
1993 L.A. Law Ed Morrison 3 episodes
1993 Moon Over Miami Gavin Mills Episode: "In a Safe Place"
1994 Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman Vincent Winninger Episode: "Witness"
1994 Burke's Law Harry Waters Episode: "Who Killed the Host at the Roast?"
1994 Screen One Joe Warren Episode: "Doggin' Around"
1994–2003 Friends Jack Geller 20 episodes
1995 The Magic School Bus Mr. Perlstein Voice
Episode: "Going Batty"
1995 Cybill Himself Uncredited
Episode: "The Last Temptation of Cybill"
1995 P.C.H Randy's Father Television film
1996 Touched by an Angel Max Episode: "Dear God"
1997 The Shining Stuart Ullman Episode #1.1
1997 Shanghai 1937 Hutchinson 2 episodes
1997–1998 Hey Arnold! Rabbi Goldberg Voice
2 episodes
1998 Diagnosis: Murder Peyton Cartwright Episode: "Drill for Death"
1998 Mentors Albert Einstein Episode: "The Genius"
1998 Getting Personal Jack Kacmarczyk 17 episodes
1999 It's Like, You Know... Himself 3 episodes
2000 Just Shoot Me! Himself Uncredited
Episode: "Hot Nights in Paris"
2001 Life with David J Pilot
2002–2003 Baby Bob Sam Spencer 14 episodes
2003 The Simpsons Himself Voice
Episode: "The Dad Who Knew Too Little"
2003 Vegas Dick Clay Pilot
2003 Las Vegas The Professor Episode: "Jokers and Fools"
2003 K Street Bergstrom 3 episodes
2003, 2007 Kim Possible Mr. Stoppable Voice
7 episodes
2003 Kim Possible: A Sitch in Time Mr. Stoppable Voice
Television film
2004 Bad Apple Buddha Stanzione Television film
2005 Crumbs Frank Bergman 2 episodes
2005 Agatha Christie's Poirot Rufus Van Aldin Episode: "The Mystery of the Blue Train"
2006 Masters of Horror Barney Episode: "The Screwfly Solution"
2007 St. Urbain's Horseman Uncle Abe 2 episodes
2007 American Dad! Russell Rothberg Voice
Episode: An Apocalypse to Remember
2008 WordGirl Masked Meat Marauder Voice
Episode: "The Masked Meat Marauder"
2009 Drop Dead Diva Larry Baxter Episode: "Second Chances"
2009 Law & Order Stan Harkavy Episode: "Shotgun"
2009 Uncorked Paul Browning Television film
2010 The Life & Times of Tim Dr. Fishman Voice
Episode: "Personality Disorder"
2010 CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Earnest Boozell Episode: "Pool Shark"
2011 The Cape Samuel 2 episodes
2012 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Walter Thompkins Episode: "Lessons Learned"
2012 I'm Not Dead Yet Irv Television film
2012 Listen to Grandpa, Andy Ling Grandpa 3 episodes
2013–2016 Ray Donovan Ezra Goldman 19 episodes
2013 Back in the Game Louie Episode: "I'll Slide Home for Christmas"
2014 Sensitive Skin Dr. H. Cass 3 episodes
2014 The Michaels Max Barnworth Television film
2014–2015 Mulaney Oscar 13 episodes
2015 Maron Himself Episode: "Stroke of Luck"
2015 Oscar's Hotel for Fantastical Creatures Sir Loin Voice
Episode: "Hunger Pains"
2016 Hawaii Five-0 Leo Hirsch Episode: "Pilina Koko"
2017 Doubt Isaiah Roth 13 episodes
2017–2018 9JKL Harry 16 episodes
2018 The Kominsky Method Himself Episode: "An Agent Crowns"


  1. Stamelman, Peter (June 2, 2016). "Elliott Gould: Son of Brooklyn, lion in winter". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Retrieved 24 February 2019.
  2. "Show Business: Elliott Gould: The Urban Don Quixote". Time. September 7, 1970. Retrieved May 1, 2010.
  3. James Mottram (2012-07-22). "Elliott Gould: 'I didn't have a drug problem. I had a problem with reality' – Profiles – People". The Independent. Retrieved 2012-10-17.
  4. Elliott Gould: Reel to real
  5. "Elliott Gould Biography – Yahoo! Movies". Movies.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2012-10-17.
  6. "Gould, 'centered and grateful,' to accept award at festival | j. the Jewish news weekly of Northern California". Jweekly.com. 2012-07-19. Retrieved 2012-10-17.
  7. "Rumple – Broadway Musical – Original". Internet Broadway Database. The Boradway League. Retrieved 5 April 2019.
  8. 'I'm all smiles' Latest little Gould rules roost By June Carroll Special to The Christian Science Monitor. The Christian Science Monitor 28 Mar 1967: 4.
  9. Gould Striving for Super Status Haber, Joyce. Los Angeles Times (8 Jan 1969: k13.
  10. CALL SHEET: Heston to Return to 'Planet' Martin, Betty. Los Angeles Times 18 Mar 1969: g12.
  11. KLEMESRUD. JUDY. "Now Who's the Greatest Star?", New York Times 5 Oct 1969: D15.
  12. Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences https://www.oscars.org/oscars/ceremonies/1970. Retrieved 6 August 2019. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  13. Walters, Ben (12 August 2008). "It's okay by him". Guardian. Retrieved 21 July 2012. In 1970, Time magazine put Gould on its cover, declaring him a "Star for an Uptight Age"....
  14. Block, Alex Ben; Wilson, Lucy Autrey, eds. (2010). George Lucas's Blockbusting: A Decade-By-Decade Survey of Timeless Movies Including Untold Secrets of Their Financial and Cultural Success. HarperCollins. ISBN 9780061778896.
    • M*A*S*H: p.527. $67.3 million (Initial Release Domestic Box office)
  15. Farber, Stephen. "Movies from Behind the Barricades," Film Quarterly (ARCHIVE); Berkeley Vol. 24, Iss. 2, (Winter 1970/1971): 24-33.
  16. WEILER, A.H. "Bruce Jay Friedman Novel Sold As Film Before It Is Published," New York Times 15 Apr 1970: 52.
  17. "The Lesser Known (or Less Celebrated) Films of Elliott Gould (Part 1)". 24 July 2013. Retrieved 1 October 2017.
  18. Servi, Vera. "Shame-Faced Friend's Early Advice to Elliott Gould: Get Out of Acting," Chicago Tribune 10 Jan 1971: n4.
  19. "ABC's 5 Years of Film Production Profits & Losses". Variety. 31 May 1973. p. 3.
  20. James Mottram "Elliott Gould: 'I didn't have a drug problem. I had a problem with reality' ", The Independent 22 July 2012 accessed 12 May 2012
  21. "The Little Movie That Couldn't: An Oral History of Elliott Gould's Never-Completed "A Glimpse of Tiger"". 10 November 2014. Retrieved 1 October 2017.
  22. ELLIOTT GOULD: HIS GOODBYE WAS LONGER THAN HE PLANNED, Movie Crazed accessed 12 May 2013
  23. Flip-Flop Life of Elliott Gould: Gould's Flip-Flop Life Blume, Mary. Los Angeles Times 9 Dec 1973: c26.
  24. 'I just wanted people to listen to me ...': Positive talkathon Different directors By David Sterritt. The Christian Science Monitor 24 June 1976: 30.
  25. After plenty of turbulence, it's clear skies for Gould Dangaard, Colin. Chicago Tribune 13 Feb 1977: e14.
  26. FILM CLIPS: Basketball Soothes Gould's Soul Lee, Grant. Los Angeles Times 8 June 1977: g9.
  27. "The Mystery of the Blue Train". 11 December 2005. Retrieved 1 October 2017 via www.imdb.com.
  28. "Elliott Gould: An Actor's Life". Aish.com. Retrieved 2012-10-17.
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