John Pankow

John Pankow (born April 28, 1954) is an American actor. He may be best known for his role as Ira Buchman for all seven seasons of Mad About You, and later for his role as series regular Merc Lapidus on Episodes.

John Pankow
Born (1954-04-28) April 28, 1954
Years active1980–present

Early life

Pankow was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the sixth of nine siblings. His elder brother is trombonist/composer James Pankow, a founding member of the legendary rock group Chicago. Pankow grew up in Park Ridge, Illinois, and attended Maine South High School and Northeastern Illinois University. He is from a Roman Catholic family of German and Irish descent.[1]


Pankow, a veteran actor of stage, film and television, appeared for seven seasons as Ira Buchman on the NBC sitcom Mad About You. Pankow was a series regular on the Showtime/BBC series Episodes, playing American television executive Merc Lapidus. He played federal agent John Vukovich opposite William Petersen and Willem Dafoe in To Live and Die in L.A.

Personal life

Pankow has been married to actress Kristine Sutherland since 1985.



Year Title Role Notes
1981 The Chosen Bully
1983 The Hunger 1st Phone Booth Youth
1985 Rambo: First Blood Part II POW #6 uncredited
1985 To Live and Die in L.A. John Vukovich
1987 The Secret of My Success Fred Melrose
1987 *batteries not included Kovacs
1988 Johnny Be Good Lou Landers uncredited
1988 Monkey Shines Geoffrey Fisher
1988 Talk Radio Deitz
1991 Mortal Thoughts Arthur Kellogg
1991 Year of the Gun Italo Bianchi
1992 A Stranger Among Us Levine
1998 The Object of My Affection Vince McBride
2001 Life as a House Bryan Burke
2002 Advice and Dissent Jeffrey Goldman Short film
2009 Bride Wars John
2010 The Extra Man George
2010 Morning Glory Lenny Bergman
2012 Putzel Sid
2015 The Favor unknown role Short film
TBA Married Young Dr. Levovitz post-production
TBA Before/During/After Jim Lonergan post-production


Year Title Role Notes
1982 The Doctors Danny Martin recurring role (3 episodes)
1984 Miami Vice Floyd Higgins Episode: "Glades"
1985 First Steps Fred TV Movie
1986 Search for Tomorrow Father O'Hanlan (uncredited) Episode: "Finale"
1987 Spenser: For Hire Billy Hanratty Episode: "The Song of Orpheus"
1987 Leg Work Chuck Savin Episode: "Pilot"
1990–91 The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd Ron Luchesse series regular (8 episodes)
1992 Law & Order Charles Meadow Episode: "Wedded Bliss"
1993–99, 2019 Mad About You Ira Buchman series regular (143 episodes)

Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series (1995–98)

1995 Duckman: Private Dick/Family Man unknown (voice role) Episode: "Research and Destroy"
1996 Aaahh!!! Real Monsters Blook the Granfaloon (voice role) Episode: "The Master Monster/Slumber Scare"
2002 Ally McBeal Barry Dekumbis 2 episodes
2004 Without a Trace Brian Owen Episode: "Exposure"
2006 Law & Order: Criminal Intent Phil Lambier Episode: "Cruise to Nowhere"
2006 The Book of Daniel Charlie Conlin 2 episodes
2008 Law & Order A.D.A. Josh Lethem Episode: "Illegal"
2009 The Electric Company Stan Flea Episode: "Mighty Bright Fight"
2011 Law & Order: LA Attorney Byron Episode: "East Pasadena"
2011 The Good Wife Judge Cyril Handley Episode: "Getting Off"
2011–17 Episodes Merc Lapidus series regular (40 episodes)
2012 Elementary Edgar Knowles Episode: "The Long Fuse"
2013 The Arrangement Herman Mackey TV Movie
2013 Doubt Mr. Syd Newman TV Movie
2014–19 Madam Secretary NASA Administrator Glenn / Glenn recurring role (4 episodes)
2015 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Lenny Simmons Episode: "Agent Provocateur"
2015–16 Lucifer Jimmy Barnes 2 episodes
2017–18 Chicago P.D. Tommy Wells 2 episodes
2018 Unorganized Crime Fr. Anthony Corso TV Movie
2018 Blue Bloods John Romano Episode: "The Devil You Know"

New York stage


  1. "Brother Act". Retrieved 10 March 2017.
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