Jeff Garlin

Jeffrey Todd Garlin (born June 5, 1962) is an American comedian and actor. He played Jeff Greene on the HBO show Curb Your Enthusiasm, Mort Meyers on Arrested Development for Fox and Netflix and Murray Goldberg, the patriarch of the eponymous family in the ABC sitcom The Goldbergs.

Jeff Garlin
Garlin in 2008
Birth nameJeffrey Todd Garlin[1]
Born (1962-06-05) June 5, 1962
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
MediumFilm, television, stand-up
EducationUniversity of Miami
Years active1983–present
GenresObservational comedy, black comedy, surreal humor, satire
Marla Beth Cahan (m. 19942018)

He has also appeared in ParaNorman, Wall-E, Toy Story 3 and Safety Not Guaranteed, among other films and has hosted his own podcast on Earwolf since 2013.

Early life

Garlin was born in Chicago, Illinois, to Gene[3] and Carole (née Crafton) Garlin. He grew up in Morton Grove, Illinois,[4] where his father had a family plumbing supply business called Bilko and his mother was active in community theater. He has a younger brother, Michael.[5] Garlin is Jewish[6] and attended Hebrew school.[7][8]

Garlin says he has wanted to be a comedian since the age of eight, when he saw Jimmy Durante perform in Chicago.[6] Garlin attended Nelson Elementary School in Morton Grove, Illinois.[9] He enjoyed playing sports at school, but had to stop, because he has Wolff–Parkinson–White syndrome, a heart ailment.[5]

When Garlin was in sixth grade, his father sold his supply business and the family relocated to South Florida.[9] He graduated from Nova High School, Davie, Florida in 1980. He attended Broward Community College, followed by a stint at the University of Miami studying film, but eventually dropped out. He began performing stand up comedy there.[10]



In 1984, aged 22, Garlin moved back to Chicago to pursue a stand up comedy career. He performed with the comedy troupe The Second City.[11][12] He worked in the box office with Stephen Colbert.[13]

In the end of the 1980s, Garlin was briefly roommates,[14][15][16][17] in Wrigleyville, Chicago, with Conan O'Brien, who was then a comedy writer.[5] He remains close to O'Brien, and after O'Brien was removed as host of The Tonight Show in 2010 so that Jay Leno could return, Garlin stated that he would not be a guest on the show again.[11][13]

Garlin was hired by comedians Denis Leary (Lock-n-Load) and Jon Stewart (Unleavened) to help develop their specials. He worked as a stage director for their shows and edited the scripts. He worked with Larry David in this same way. He continues to do standup, where he says he improvises a lot on stage, and feels very relaxed, "maybe too relaxed."[5]

Film and television

Garlin has a variety of television and film appearances to his credit, as an actor and a stand up, including Dr. Katz, Arrested Development, Everybody Loves Raymond, Late Show with David Letterman, Tom Goes to the Mayor, The Life and Times of Tim, The Daily Show, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, and Entourage.[18]

From 1997–99, Garlin spent three seasons on NBC's Mad About You in the role of Marvin.[19] He co stars and executive produces the HBO series Curb Your Enthusiasm. In 2013, Garlin signed onto the ABC sitcom The Goldbergs.[20] He had a recurring role on the series Wizards of Waverly Place as Uncle Kelbo, appearing in three episodes over the first three seasons.

Nine years after making an uncredited début as Gut Gut in Spring Break (1983), Garlin earned his first film credit in 1992, in Dolly Parton's comedy Straight Talk.[21] He had a small role in RoboCop 3 as "Donut Jerk" after a member of the casting crew witnessed Garlin eating a doughnut while leaving Krispy Kreme with an additional two dozen doughnuts. He also had cameo appearances in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me in 1999.

Other cameo appearances include Run Ronnie Run!, After the Sunset, Fat Albert, and Sleepover. He appeared in Steven Soderbergh's Full Frontal (2002) and with Eddie Murphy in Daddy Day Care (2003). In 2005, he had a small role in Fun with Dick and Jane.

In 2008, Garlin appeared in The Rocker as Stan, and also played Ed Lawson in Strange Wilderness. He lent his voice to the Disney/Pixar films Toy Story 3 and Toy Story 4, as Buttercup. He appeared as Sid, alongside Jennifer Aniston and Gerard Butler, in the 2010 comedy action film The Bounty Hunter. He played Ed Burch in Laggies, released in 2014.

His feature directorial debut, I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With (which he also wrote), premiered to favourable reviews at the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival. It opened in September 2007. The film co starred Sarah Silverman and Bonnie Hunt.[22]

In 2006, Garlin directed This Filthy World, a one-man show performed by director John Waters. He was a voice actor in WALL-E, an animated film by Pixar that was released June 27, 2008, as the Captain of the Axiom spaceship.[23] Garlin executive produced the documentary Finding Vivian Maier (2013).[24]

In July 2013, Garlin directed his second film, Dealin' with Idiots,[25] which was inspired by his experiences with his two sons in Little League.[20][26] The entire movie was improvised.[24]

In October 2019, Garlin revealed he will have a role in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the final installment of the Star Wars saga, scheduled to be released on December 20, 2019.[27]


On February 23, 2010, Garlin released a book, My Footprint: Carrying the Weight of the World, a memoir which documents his journey to lessen both his physical and carbon footprint.[28][29][30][31][32][33][34][35][36][37]


On the comedy podcast network Earwolf[38] Garlin hosted a show, called By The Way, In Conversation with Jeff Garlin,[39] which consisted of unscripted talks rather than formal interviews. The debut episode featured Garlin's Curb Your Enthusiasm co-star Larry David. The twice monthly installments were recorded in front of a live audience at Largo at the Coronet in Los Angeles.[38] The last episode of the podcast was released in February 2015.[40]

Other works

In March 2018, Garlin was one of the actors who voiced the audiobook A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo.[41]


Katie Puckrik in The Guardian writes, “British comedy is a touchstone for Garlin”, with Garlin stating, “Monty Python changed my life. I watched the original Office. I love The Mighty Boosh and The Goon Show. I'm a fanatic about Ealing comedies. And Fawlty Towers is probably my favorite thing that I've ever seen come out of England.”[42]

Personal life

Garlin married Marla Beth Cahan on July 24, 1994. They have two sons: James (b. 1996), and Duke (b. 2000). They live in Los Angeles.[2] The couple announced their intention to divorce on September 4, 2018, having been separated since July 25, 2017.[43]

Having grown up around Chicago, Garlin is a fan of the Chicago Cubs and once a year on his birthday attends a game with his friend, REO Speedwagon lead singer, Kevin Cronin.[44]

Garlin is a practitioner of transcendental meditation, which he does twice a day.[45] He says that it has helped him with the symptoms of ADHD.

For a few years Garlin was roommates with talk-show host Conan O'Brien. O'Brien has said that sometimes Garlin would wake him up in the middle of the night and make him perform skits.[46]


Garlin had surgery in Oklahoma City when he was in his late 20s to correct Wolff–Parkinson–White syndrome, a heart condition, which is an accessory electrical conduction pathway in the heart that results in tachycardia.[5] Garlin said he was an early recipient (#72) of the surgery, which millions of people have now had done.

In February 2000, before filming began on Curb Your Enthusiasm, he had a stroke, when he was 37 years old. During the early episodes of Season One, he had noticeably slurred speech, although his speech later improved. He also has type II diabetes, which he controls with diet and exercise.[5]

Garlin has written about his issues with food and has discussed his weight issues publicly.[45] In an interview in October 2011, Garlin said: "I think people look at fat people as having a lack of willpower when willpower has nothing to do with it. I didn’t change my life until I approached everything like an addict.

"I haven’t had sweets in almost three years because I know if I have one cookie, just like if an alcoholic has his first drink, I’m off to the races and I’m back eating sugar again."[46]



Year Film Role Notes
1983 Spring Break Gut Gut Uncredited
1992 Straight Talk Bob
Hero News Vendor
1993 RoboCop 3 Donut Jerk
1994 Little Big League Opposing Little League Manager
1995 The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes Agent Reese
1997 The Love Bug Highway Patrolman
1998 Senseless Arlo Vickers
1999 Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me Cyclops
2000 Bounce Emcee
2002 Run Ronnie Run! Birthday Woman's Friend
Naked Movie Writer No. 1
The Third Wheel Office Worker Uncredited
Full Frontal Harvey
2003 Daddy Day Care Phil
2004 Sleepover Mr. Corky
Outing Riley Partner in Architects' Firm Uncredited
After the Sunset Ron
Fat Albert Jerry Uncredited
2005 Fun with Dick and Jane Boss
2006 The Jeff Garlin Program Jeff
I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With James Aaron Also writer/director
The Jimmy Timmy Power Hour 3: The Jerkinators! Shirley Voice only
2007 Trainwreck: My Life as an Idiot Lenny
2008 Strange Wilderness Ed Lawson
The Rocker Stan
WALL-E Captain B. McCrea Voice only
2010 The Bounty Hunter Sid
Toy Story 3 Buttercup Voice only
2011 Hawaiian Vacation Buttercup Voice only
Cars 2 Otis[47] Voice only
Sin Bin Dean Theatard
2012 ParaNorman Perry Babcock Voice only
Safety Not Guaranteed Mr. Britt
2013 Dealin' with Idiots Max Morris Also writer and director
2014 Laggies Ed Burch
2017 Lemon Guy Roach
Handsome Gene Handsome Also writer and director
Becoming Bond Harry Saltzman Documentary
2019 Toy Story 4 Buttercup Voice only
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Captain Cameo[27]


Year Film Role Notes
1989 Roseanne Fred
1990 Open House Brian
1994 Baywatch Larry 'Loomin' Large
1996 Gross Ratings Jack Bekins
1997 Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist Jeff
1997–99 Mad About You Marvin
1999 Larry David: Curb Your Enthusiasm Jeff Greene
2000 Self Storage Duncan Baumgartner
2000–present Curb Your Enthusiasm Jeff Greene
2000 The Michael Richards Show Ed
2001 Late Friday Himself/Host
2001 Three Sisters Joel
2001 Dead Last Ron Belson
2001–02 What About Joan? Steinie
2002 King of the Hill Dan
2001–03 Everybody Loves Raymond Produce Manager Jimmy
2003 Greetings from Tucson Executive (2003)
2003 Crank Yankers Jeff
2004 Tom Goes to the Mayor Pat Croce
2005 Pudding Wars Tobey (2005)
2005 Duck Dodgers Camoman
2005 Yes, Dear Howie
2005 MADtv Hank Whitley
2005–06, 2013 Arrested Development Mort Meyers
2006 Hooked Mr. Waterhouse
2006 Campus Ladies Mr. Hubney
2008 Shorty McShorts' Shorts Duke
2007 Law & Order: Criminal Intent Barry Freeburg
2008 The Life & Times of Tim
2008 BURN-E Captain (uncredited)
2008–10 Wizards of Waverly Place Uncle Kelbo
2010 Entourage Roger Jay
2011 Community Himself
2013–present The Goldbergs Murray Goldberg
2015 Repeat After Me Himself
2017 SpongeBob SquarePants Cuddle E. Hugs Episode: “Cuddle E. Hugs”
2019 Celebrity Family Feud Himself Episode “Black-ish vs.The Goldbergs


Episode #[48] Guest Date Duration
01 Larry David 01/10/13 1:22:02
02 Lena Dunham 01/24/13 1:29:44
03 Jeff Tweedy 02/07/13 1:42:34
04 J.J. Abrams 02/21/13 1:50:58
05 Mitch Hurwitz 03/07/13 1:19:27
06 Will Ferrell 03/21/13 1:32:17
07 Zach Galifianakis 04/04/13 1:23:55
08 Conan O'Brien 04/18/13 1:17:53
09 Michael Moore 05/02/13 2:03:23
10 Matthew Weiner 05/16/13 1:50:24
11 Tig Notaro 05/30/13 1:27:22
12 Judd Apatow 06/13/13 1:39:15
13 Aziz Ansari 06/27/13 1:08:58
14 Henry Rollins 07/11/13 2:04:56
15 Amy Poehler 07/25/13 1:18:44
16 Vince Gilligan 08/08/13 1:37:05
17 Marc Maron 08/22/13 1:38:01
18 Colin Hay 09/05/13 1:15:27
19 Rosemarie DeWitt & Lunn Shelton 09/20/13 0:57:23
20 Bob Odenkirk 10/03/13 1:00:49
21 Sarah Silverman 10/17/13 0:57:30
22 Jay Roach and Sussanna Hoffs 10/31/13 1:27:00
23 George Segal and Wendi McLendon-Covey 11/14/13 1:13:00
24 Maya Rudolph 11/28/13 0:31:00
25 Mike Birbiglia 12/12/13 1:04:00
26 Jeff Garlin 12/26/13 0:54:00
27 Jenji Kohan 10/23/14 1:06:33
28 Michael Sheen 11/06/14 1:23:41
29 Andrew Bird 11/20/14 1:46:12
30 Stephen Merchant 12/04/14 1:03:58
31 Jon Favreau 12/22/14 1:14:45
32 Adam Resnick and Bob Odenkirk 12/31/14 1:01:53
33 Bill Burr 01/16/15 1:13:10
34 Benmont Tench 02/12/15 1:12:14

Video games

Works and publications

  • Garlin, Jeff, and John Ficarra. The MAD Bathroom Companion: The Gushing Fourth Edition. New York: MAD Books, 2004.
  • Garlin, Jeff. My Footprint: Carrying the Weight of the World. New York: Gallery Books, 2010; ISBN 978-1-439-15010-8
    • Note: Republished as :
      • Garlin, Jeff. Curbing It. New York: Gallery Books, 2010; ISBN 978-1-439-15012-2


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