Stuck with the reputation of being "sitcom Kryptonite" due to the failure of several series in which he had starred, Mark Feuerstein persevered through a diverse career on stage and in television and feature films to achieve true success before the age of 40. Making his Broadway debut in 1997, the boyish Feuerstein brought his estimable comic abilities to guest parts in such well-regarded TV series as "Caroline in the City" (NBC, 1995-99) and "Sex and the City" (HBO, 1998-2004) while making an impression in the feature films "Practical Magic" (1998), "The Muse" (1999) and "What Women Want" (2000). Although his star vehicle "Good Morning, Miami" (NBC, 2002-04) was axed in its second year, Feuerstein rebounded with a recurring role on "The West Wing" (1999-2006) and high profile supporting parts in the films "In Her Shoes" (2005) and "Defiance" (2008). Despite the cancellation of his medical series "3 lbs." (CBS, 2006) after only six episodes, it was another hospital drama that finally allowed Feuerstein to hit primetime pay dirt. Debuting in 2009, "Royal Pains" (USA Network, 2009-16) cast the actor as Hank Lawson, a Robin Hood with a stethoscope aiding Long Island's needy at the expense of its neurotic elite. A hit with critics and viewers alike, "Royal Pains" allowed the maturing Feuerstein a respite from the life of a journeyman actor and provided him with the perfect showcase for his hard-earned, time-tested talents.
Mark Feuerstein was born on June 8, 1971 in New York City, the son of a lawyer and a school teacher. Growing up, he and his brother both dreamed of studying law after the example of their father, business litigator Harvey Feuerstein. While a student at the prestigious Dalton School on Manhattan's Upper East Side, Feuerstein expressed himself primarily through athletics, joining the school wrestling team and winning a state champion title. Enrolling at Princeton in 1991 with the intention of studying international relations, Feuerstein switched majors to focus on performing arts and graduated cum laude in 1993. Winning a Fulbright Scholarship in 1994 allowed him to continue his education at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, where he appeared in several productions staged at the MacOwen Theater, and at L'École Phillip Gaulier, where the focus was on clowning, mime and physical comedy.
Honing his acting chops in New York with such esteemed off-Broadway companies as Naked Angels and Center Stage, Feuerstein made his Broadway debut in 1997, replacing Paul Rudd in Alfred Uhry's Tony Award-winning comedy "The Last Night of Ballyhoo" at the Helen Hayes Theatre. By this time, the fledgling actor had already appeared in several episodes of the daytime dramas "Loving" (ABC, 1983-1995) and "Guiding Light" (CBS, 1952-2009), playing the first of many handsome young men of medicine on the latter. On the sitcom "Caroline in the City" (CBS, 1995-99), Feuerstein appeared in eight episodes as Lea Thompson's younger, unreliable veterinarian boyfriend. He had his first shot at a series of his own on "Fired Up" (NBC, 1996-97), third-billed in support of headliners Sharon Lawrence and Leah Remini, but the show was cancelled after its second season.
A bearded Feuerstein made his film debut in the offbeat romantic comedy "Practical Magic" (1998), as a disposable love interest for Sandra Bullock. Another shot at primetime legitimacy came with "Conrad Bloom" (NBC, 1998), as a Madison Avenue wunderkind whose love life is complicated by the meddling of mother Linda Lavin and ex-girlfriend Lauren Graham. Despite a strong central cast, the series was cancelled after only 13 episodes. Feuerstein rebounded with a guest role on HBO's popular "Sex and the City" (1998-2004), as a less than stellar bed partner for Cynthia Nixon's Miranda. On the big screen, he antagonized Albert Brooks and Sharon Stone in the show business fantasy "The Muse" (1999) and took the lead in the sex addiction comedy "Giving It Up" (1999), co-starring Dabney Coleman. During production, Feuerstein's knack for physical comedy earned him the nickname "Chaplin."
Subsequent feature films found Feuerstein in uniform for a small role in William Friedkin's military drama "Rules of Engagement" (2000), playing a TV producer who makes a star of chef Penélope Cruz before breaking her heart in "Woman on Top" (2000), and cast against type as a gay neo-conservative in "An American Daughter" (2000), a made-for-television adaptation of the 1997 Broadway play by Wendy Wasserstein. Feuerstein was next offered a role in Nancy Meyers' "What Women Want" (2000) based on the recommendation of the director's daughter Hallie, who had liked him in "Practical Magic." Cast as the metrosexual wingman of chauvinist advertising executive Mel Gibson, Feuerstein was given considerable screen time and a chance to show off his physical comedy chops. He was reunited with Sandra Bullock for "Two Weeks Notice" (2002) but his role was cut from the final film.
NBC took another chance on Feuerstein in primetime as the star of "Good Morning, Miami" (2002-04). Set in the studio of the lowest-rated morning show in America, "Miami" featured the actor as a hotshot ringer trucked in to boost ratings. The series developed a small following, but negative critical response prompted the producers to reconfigure the cast, dropping main characters and adding others through two difficult seasons. Feuerstein's work was stellar, but he showed better chemistry with comic relief Constance Zimmer than he did with leading lady Ashley Williams. The cancellation of his third series branded Feuerstein within the industry with the half-serious nickname "Sitcom Kryptonite." Rebounding, he returned to supporting player status with a recurring role as White House Deputy Chief of Staff Clifford Calley on Aaron Sorkin's "The West Wing" (NBC, 1999-2006).
Feuerstein auditioned several times for a role in Curtis Hanson's feature "In Her Shoes" (2005), after a successful chemistry read with star Toni Collette, he landed the role. In full on sincere and sensitive mode, the actor brought his trademark charm to his nice guy lawyer role but was upstaged ultimately by Collette and co-stars Cameron Diaz and Shirley MacLaine. In the John Carpenter-directed "Pro-Life" episode of the second season of Showtime's "Masters of Horror" (2005-06), Feuerstein played a woman's clinic worker who tends to an expectant teenager claiming she has been impregnated by the Devil. Feuerstein next donned surgeon's scrubs for the CBS medical drama "3 lbs." His sensitive brain surgeon was required to lock horns on a weekly basis with a cynical Stanley Tucci, but again, the series was canned after only six episodes.
Feuerstein had acted in a handful of episodes of Edward Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz's critically-lauded but short-lived drama "Once and Again" (ABC, 1999-2002) and Zwick called upon the actor again for a role in his feature film "Defiance" (2008). Set in 1941 in the forests of Nazi-occupied Belorussia, the film attends the formation of a cadre of Jewish freedom fighters who endure starvation, privation and the onset of a cruel winter to combat the Third Reich. Cast as a Jewish scholar who must reconcile his humanism with the ugly necessity of killing without mercy, Feuerstein supported leads Daniel Craig and Liev Schreiber, but had his best moments in dialogue scenes with co-star Allan Corduner, as another intellectual-turned-guerilla fighter. Back home, the actor took the lead in the independent comedy "Knucklehead" (2010), as a con artist who redeems himself by helping a city orphanage pay off its debts. In the porn industry mockumentary "Love Shack" (2010), Feuerstein appeared as Marty Sphincter, one-half of a legendary brother act who split up following a traumatic on-set incident during a sex scene gone awry.
After years of wearing the mantle of "murderer of 1,000 sitcoms," Feuerstein finally was able to enjoy a measure of sweet revenge with the success of his series "Royal Pains" (USA Network, 2009-16). He brought the right balance of gravitas and wit to the role of Hank Lawson, a New York physician unjustly accused of malpractice who attempts to rebuild his life and career placating the swells of the Hamptons while bringing aid to Long Island's uninsured hoi polloi. Although Feuerstein's charisma and time-tested comedic chops won him the role, his connection to series creator Andrew Lenchewski went back to the day he had his wisdom teeth removed - by Lenchewski's oral surgeon father. Encouraging critical notices and impressive ratings kept "Royal Pains" alive through its first season, guaranteeing a second and then a third - breaking at long last Feuerstein's perceived primetime jinx.
Cast (Feature Film)
Producer (Feature Film)
Played small role on the ABC soap opera "Loving"
Had recurring role on the NBC sitcom "Caroline in the City" as Caroline's veterinarian boyfriend Joe
Succeeded Paul Rudd in the Tony-winning play "The Last Night of Ballyhoo"; Broadway acting debut
Co-starred as aspiring writer and bartender Danny Reynolds in the NBC sitcom "Fired Up"
Had featured role in "Practical Magic"
Played title role in the NBC sitcom "Conrad Bloom", about an advertising executive
Acted in ALbert Brooks' screen comedy "The Muse"
Had supporting role as a lawyer in "Rules of Engagement"
Played recurring role on the ABC drama "Once and Again"
Starred opposite Penelope Cruz in "Woman on Top"
Played Mel Gibson's buddy in the comedy "What Women Want"; nominated at the Blockbuster Entertainment Awards for Favorite Supporting Actor - Comedy/Romance
Cast as TV producer, Jake Silver in the NBC comedy "Good Morning, Miami"
Starred opposite Cameron Diaz and Toni Collette in Curtis Hanson's "In Her Shoes" adapted from Jennifer Weiner's best-selling novel
Appeared in Edward Zwick's historical drama "Defiance"
Starred in the USA Network comedy series "Royal Pains" as a young E.R. doctor who moves to the Hamptons after being wrongly blamed for a patient's death