Family & Companions
There were certainly worse things to be associated with than one of the top sitcoms of all time, but following his role as Elaine's dimwitted boyfriend, Puddy, on "Seinfeld" (NBC, 1989-1998), the buff, square-jawed actor, Patrick Warburton would go on to voice dozens of animated films and TV series, showing his acting range with unexpected roles in everything from a period Hollywood film noir to the TV adaptation of a comic book. It was the monosyllabic Puddy though, whom the actor could never full escape from - so popular was the character and the show. The more he was underutilized in big Hollywood films and unmemorable TV comedies, it became apparent that Warburton was at his best playing more ironic, left-of-center characters like Puddy or The Tick, and if he could be paired with the right high-profile role, he had the potential to jettison to the top of A-list comedic actors.
Patrick Warburton was born in Paterson, NJ, on Nov. 14, 1964, and raised in Huntington Beach, CA. His father was an orthopedic surgeon and his mother was an actress who appeared regularly on television in the 1950s. She was active in regional theater when Warburton was growing up, and while hanging around that environment, he first became interested in acting. Later, while studying marine biology at Orange Coast Junior College and barely staying afloat with his grades, it occurred to Warburton that he might have a better shot as an actor than a scientist. The 20-year-old had spent several years rowing on a local crew team and his cut, 6'3" frame and all-American looks were turning heads, so he quit school and accepted an offer to model in Europe. Exciting as it may have been for a young man abroad, Warburton found modeling unfulfilling and returned home a few months later with a firm determination to pursue acting.
His first on-screen appearance in 1987's "Dragonard" went down in B-movie history for a scene in which Warburton, as a 16th century soldier, is punished with 100 lashings that occupy almost four full minutes of agonizing screen time. Not surprisingly, this debut did not leave his phone ringing off the hook with more offers. It was not until the early '90s that Warburton began booking guest appearances on shows like "Quantum Leap" (NBC, 1989-1993), "Designing Women" (CBS, 1986-1993), and "Dave's World" (CBS, 1993-97), which eventually added him to the regular cast in 1995.
Warburton's athletic physique helped him land his TV movie debut in the inspirational football flick, "Rise & Walk: The Dennis Byrd Story" (1994). Shortly thereafter, he was cast in a small but terminally memorable role as David Puddy on the hit sitcom "Seinfeld." During his two-season run, Warburton appeared only nine times on the show, but he made a lasting impression with his portrayal of the jar-headed, nonchalant mechanic whose relationship with Elaine was so unstable that the pair once broke up and got back together several times during an international flight. Puddy was also known for liberal high-fiving, expressing a desire to eat onion dip as a meal, and painting his face red and blue to attend a New Jersey Devil's hockey game - an episode which earned him hero status among the real life team who projected his image on the Jumbotron during games.
Warburton generated quite a buzz for his work on "Seinfeld," and for better or worse, began receiving offers to play similarly brash, egomaniacal characters like Johnny Johnson on "NewsRadio" (NBC, 1995-99) and Richard Hudson in "The Woman Chaser" (1999), his big screen leading man debut. Independent filmmakers were much more open to exploring Warburton's range, so he gladly accepted the opportunity to play a NASA scientist in "The Dish" (2000) and appeared as the head of the gay conspiracy in the Bob & David film "Run Ronnie Run" (2002). The 2005 indie, "The Civilization of Maxwell Bright," earned Warburton his highest acting accolades then to date, and was a success on the festival circuit both in the United States and in Europe.
Back in TV, Warburton seemed close to eclipsing his Puddy past in 2001 when he donned a blue rubber suit to fight crime in the superhero spoof, "The Tick." The show was well-received by critics and earned an instant cult following, but a lack of promotion was blamed for its early cancellation after only nine hilarious episodes. Warburton continued to make regular guest appearances on more mainstream shows like "8 Simple Rules" (ABC, 2001-05) and "24" (Fox, 2001- ) before returning to television every week with a starring role as "the married friend" Jeff on the sitcom "The Rules of Engagement" (CBS, 2007-13), co-starring David Spade and Oliver Hudson.
Warburton enjoyed equal if not greater success as a voice-over actor for animation and commercials, beginning in 1998 when he voiced Superman for an American Express commercial starring Jerry Seinfeld. Disney saw the promise in his manly, heroic baritone and cast him as Kronk in "The Emperor's New Groove" (2000), the sequel "Kronk's New Groove" (2005) and the TV spin-off "The Emperor's New School" (2006). In addition to work on other animated kid's fare like "Kim Possible" (Disney, 2002-) and "Buzz Lightyear of Star Command" (ABC, 2000-'01), Warburton retained his Puddy fanbase with the offbeat adult animation of The Cartoon Network's "The Venture Brothers" (Cartoon Network, 2005- ) and "Family Guy" (Fox, 1999- ), where he played the Griffins' paraplegic police officer neighbor J Swanson. He could also be heard extolling the virtues of the Carrier Corporation and portraying an angry M&M among his many inimitable commercial voice-overs.
Cast (Feature Film)
Producer (Feature Film)
Film Production - Main (Feature Film)
Made feature acting debut in "Dragonard"
Early TV credit, an episode of "Quantum Leap" (NBC)
Joined the CBS sitcom "Dave's World" in the recurring role of Eric; became a regular cast member in 1995
TV-movie debut, "Rise and Walk: The Dennis Byrd Story" (Fox)
First appearance on NBC's "Seinfeld" as Elaine's boyfriend Dave Puddy
Featured in the film "American Strays"
Reprised role of Puddy in a recurring role on NBC's "Seinfeld"
Provided the voice of Superman in TV commercials for American Express, starring Jerry Seinfeld
Played the evil Johnny Johnson on the final season of "NewsRadio" (NBC)
Played Joe Swanson on the animated Fox series, "Family Guy"
First leading role in a feature, "The Woman Chaser"
Provided the voice of the dim-witted Kronk in Disney's animated, "The Emperor's New Groove"
Lent his voice to the title role in "Buzz Lightyear of Star Command" (ABC)
Appeared in the comedy "Dirt," written and directed by Michael Covert
Had title role in the live-action version of the comic strip, "The Tick" (Fox)
Joined the cast of "Less Than Perfect" (ABC) as Jeb Denton
Cast in the critically acclaimed art house film, "The Civilization of Maxwell Bright"
Voiced the wolf in the computer-animated feature, "Hoodwinked"
Voice of Ian the Buck in the animated comedy, "Open Season"
Reprised role of Kronk in the Disney series, "The Emperor's New School"
Cast as Jeff Bingham on the CBS sitcom, "Rules of Engagement"
Re-teamed wtih Jerry Seinfeld for the computer-animated film, "Bee Movie"
Lent his voice to the computer-animated film, "Space Chimps"
Reprised role of the wolf in "Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil"
Landed a supporting role in "Ted"
Nabbed a recurring part on the TV series "Sequestered"
Reprised his role in "Ted 2"
Voiced several characters' roles on the Adult Swim animated series "Trip Tank"
Joined the cast of the NBC sitcom "Crowded"
Voiced a role in the animated film "Elephant Kingdom"
Was cast as Lemony Snicket on the family-adventure show "A Series of Unfortunate Events"