Robert Sean Leonard

Robert Lawrence Leonard (born February 28, 1969), better known by his stage name Robert Sean Leonard, is an American actor. He is known for playing Dr. James Wilson in the television series House (2004–2012) and Neil Perry in the film Dead Poets Society. Leonard won a Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play for his performance in The Invention of Love in 2001. His other theater credits include Candida, Long Day's Journey Into Night, Breaking the Code, The Speed of Darkness, Philadelphia, Here I Come!, Arcadia, The Music Man, Born Yesterday, and To Kill a Mockingbird. From 2013 to 2014, Leonard had a recurring role as Dr. Roger Kadar on the television series Falling Skies. He also starred as the leading role in “Swing Kids” and played Peter.

Robert Sean Leonard
Leonard in 2007
Robert Lawrence Leonard

(1969-02-28) February 28, 1969
Alma materFordham University
Columbia University
Years active1986–present

Early life and education

Leonard was born in Westwood, New Jersey, the son of Joyce Patricia (née Peterson), a nurse, and Robert Leonard, a teacher at Collier High School.[1][2][3] He grew up in Ridgewood, where he attended Ridgewood High School before moving on to Fordham University and later the Columbia University School of General Studies.[4] He studied theatre at HB Studio.[5]


Because he shares his birth name with another actor, Leonard modified his name for his Screen Actors Guild membership with Sean, the name of his brother.[6]

Leonard is a three-time Tony Award nominee, winning Best Featured Actor in a Play in 2001 for his role as A. E. Housman in Tom Stoppard's The Invention of Love. He had a prior association with Stoppard's work, playing the role of Valentine in the New York premiere of Arcadia at Lincoln Center in 1995. His 2003 Tony nomination was for his portrayal of Edmund Tyrone in a well-received revival of Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey Into Night that co-starred Philip Seymour Hoffman, Brian Dennehy and Vanessa Redgrave. Leonard has also appeared in Broadway musical productions, in 2001 replacing Craig Bierko as the lead performer in a revival of The Music Man. On February 8, 2011, it was announced that Leonard would co-star as Paul Verrall in the 2011 Broadway revival of Born Yesterday beginning in March.[7]

In 1997, Leonard received rave reviews for his role in the Christopher Reeve-directed television film In the Gloaming. Entertainment Weekly said that, in the film, Leonard "does a first-rate job of juggling Danny's mixture of despair, neediness, and mordant jokiness."[8]

From 2004, he played Dr. James Wilson, head of the oncology department, on the FOX TV series House, until the series ended in 2012. In 2007 Leonard appeared on Entertainment's Weekly's 100 list as "Dr. Underrated."[9]

In 2016, Leonard played King Arthur in David Lee's adaptation of the musical Camelot at the Westport Country Playhouse in Westport, Connecticut.[10] From February to April 2017, he appeared in the Broadway revival of Sunday in the Park with George as Jules/Bob.[11]

Personal life

Leonard maintains a close friendship with House co-star Hugh Laurie.[12] He is also a friend since childhood of Ethan Hawke, his costar in Dead Poets Society and Tape.[13] Hawke and Leonard founded the Malaparte theater company, along with James Waterston, Steve Zahn, and Frank Whaley.[14][15]


Film and television

Year Title Role Notes
1986 The Manhattan ProjectMax
1988 My Best Friend Is a VampireJeremy Capello
1989 Dead Poets SocietyNeil Perry
1990 Mr. & Mrs. BridgeDouglas Bridge
1991 Married to ItChuck Bishop
1993 Swing KidsPeter Müller
1993 Much Ado About NothingClaudio
1993 The Age of InnocenceTed Archer
1994 Safe PassageAlfred Singer
1996 The Boys Next DoorBarry Klemper
1996 Killer: A Journal of MurderHenry Lesser
1996 I Love You, I Love You NotAngel of Death
1997 In the GloamingDanny
1998 StandoffJamie Doolin
1998 The Last Days of DiscoTom Platt
1998 Ground ControlCruise
2000 The Outer LimitsRobby ArcherSeason 6, Episode 20
2001 TapeJon Salter
2001 A Glimpse of HellLieutenant Daniel P. Meyer
2001 DrivenDemille Bly
2001 Chelsea WallsTerry Olsen
2003 The I InsidePeter Cable
2003 A Painted HouseJesse Chandler
2003 Malcolm in the MiddleAgentSeason 5, Episode 12
2004–12 HouseDr. James WilsonMain Cast
2013–14 Falling SkiesDr. Roger KadarRecurring
2013 The BlacklistFrederick BarnesEpisode: “Frederick Barnes”
2014 The Good WifeDel PaulEpisode: “Dear God”
201516 Law & Order: SVUADA Kenneth O'Dwyer3 episodes
2015 Battle CreekBrockEpisode: “Sympathy for the Devil”
2017 Blue BloodsCharles BeardEpisode: “Lost Souls”
2019The Hot ZoneWalter HumboldtMiniseries
2019The Good DoctorShamus O’MalleySeason 3, Episode 3 [16]


Year Title Role
1986Brighton Beach MemoirsEugene Jerome
1987–88Breaking the CodeChristopher Morcom
1990Romeo and JulietRomeo
1991The Speed of DarknessEddie
1993CandidaEugene Marchbanks
1994Philadelphia, Here I Come!Gareth O'Donnell in Private
1995ArcadiaValentine Coverly
1999The Iceman ComethDon Parritt
2000–01The Music ManHarold Hill
2001The Invention of LoveA. E. Housman
2003Long Day's Journey into NightEdmund Tyrone
2003The Violet HourJohn Pace Seavering
2011–12Born YesterdayPaul Verrall
2013To Kill a MockingbirdAtticus Finch
2013PygmalionProfessor Henry Higgins
2016Prodigal SonAlan Hoffman
2016CamelotKing Arthur
2017Sunday in the Park with GeorgeJules
2018Edward Albee's At Home at the ZooPeter

Awards and nominations



  1. Robert Sean Leonard Biography (1969–). (February 28, 1969). Retrieved on December 3, 2011.
  2. STAGE TO SCREENS: Robert Sean Leonard, David Javerbaum, Plus a Look at Fall TV. (June 2, 2008). Retrieved on December 3, 2011.
  3. "Joyce Leonard's Obituary on The Record". Retrieved April 21, 2017.
  4. Alvin Klein (January 5, 1986). "For Stage Novice, 'Acting Is It'". The New York Times. Retrieved January 17, 2008.
  5. HB Studio Alumni
  6. "Robert Sean Leonard, David Javerbaum, Plus a Look at Fall TV". Playbill. June 1, 2008. Archived from the original on June 2, 2008. Retrieved January 17, 2008.
  7. "Born Yesterday :: Home". Retrieved December 3, 2011.
  8. Tucker, Ken (April 18, 1997). "Classy comes home". Entertainment Weekly (375): 53.
  9. Snierson, Dan (June 29, 2007), "Robert Sean Leonard". Entertainment Weekly. (941/942):69
  10. Shameer Cohen, Sherry. "BWW Review: 'Camelot' in Westport", October 11, 2016
  11. Viaga, Robert (February 11, 2017). "Jake Gyllenhaal 'Sunday in the Park With George' Begins Previews Feb. 11". Playbill.
  12. The Rod Ryan Show: Interview with Robert Sean Leonard Archived July 23, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. None. Retrieved on December 3, 2011.
  13. Warren Curry HALLOWED HALLS: An interview with Chelsea Walls star Robert Sean Leonard. 4/18/02
  14. Wynn Rousuck, J. (March 16, 1997). "Model Role Actor: He's got a list of movie and Broadway credits. Now, Robert Sean Leonard is adding Baltimore's Center Stage to his resume". The Baltimore Sun. Tribune Publishing. Retrieved January 13, 2016.
  15. Brown, Emma (February 8, 2013). "LIFE'S A BAAL FOR JONATHAN MARC SHERMAN". Interview magazine. Brant Publications. Retrieved January 13, 2016.
  16. Schwartz, Ryan (September 10, 2019). "The Good Doctor: Robert Sean Leonard to Guest-Star in Season 3, Reuniting With House Creator — Get First Look". TVLine. Retrieved September 18, 2019.
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