A comedic actor who was equally at home portraying counterculture cartoonist Robert Crumb in "American Splendor" (2003) or washed-up mad scientist Dr. Rusty Venture in "The Venture Bros" (Adult Swim 2003-13), James Urbaniak could go for the jugular without breaking stride. Born in Bayonne, New Jersey in 1963, Urbaniak quickly established his credentials when he played the anti-social garbageman turned controversial author Simon Grim in Hal Hartley's comic drama "Henry Fool" (1997). That critically-acclaimed cult favorite marked the beginning of a long career in theatre, television and film for Urbaniak, who became the comic character actor of choice for anyone with an appreciation for indie films, off-Broadway theatre and alternative comedy. As his career matured, his choices ranged from sincere dramatic leads to the voice of some of the wackiest characters in animated television. In the mid-1990s Urbaniak began to take on character roles in a wide range of films, including Woody Allen's period jazz drama "Sweet and Lowdown" (1999) and George Clooney's surreal Chuck Barris biopic "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind" (2002). In addition, he guest-starred on prominent TV series including "Sex and the City" (HBO 1998-2004), the procedural dramas "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" (NBC 2001-2011) and "Numb3rs" (CBS 2007), and the hit series "The Office" (NBC 2005-2013), in which he had a recurring role as Dwight Schrute's socially maladroit best friend Rolf Ahl. During this period, he also returned to the role that made him famous, working again opposite Parker Posey as Henry's sister Fay in Hartley's sequels "Fay Grim" (2006) and "Ned Rifle" (2014). His best-known TV work came in the long-running animated series "The Venture Brothers," in which he starred as mad scientist Dr. Rusty Venture, who tried to fix his daddy issues with his world-famous father while parenting his own pair of would-be teen adventurers. His work on this cult hit led to an increasing amount of jobs on other adult-skewing comedies such as "Review" (Comedy Central 2014-16) and "Difficult People" (Hulu 2015- ), on which he costarred as Arthur, the long-suffering boyfriend of Julie (series co-creator Julie Klausner).
Cast (Feature Film)
Played Simon Grim in the indie hit "Henry Fool."
Played an eccentric shoe salesman on an episode of "Sex and the City."
Appeared in the Woody Allen film "Sweet and Lowdown."
Played cartoonist Robert Crumb in "American Splendor."
Provided the voice for Dr. Rusty Venture on the animated series "The Venture Bros."
Reprised the role of Simon Grim for the follow up "Fay Grim ."
Appeared in the musical "Across the Universe."
Appeared in the acclaimed mystery film "Sound of My Voice."
Appeared in the horror film "The Occupants."
Took on the role of Arthur Tack on the series "Difficult People."