Reed Birney, Williamsville North High School, Class of 1972 - Inducted 2015
Reed Birney is a veteran stage, television and film actor. As a student at Williamsville North, he was class president in both his junior and senior years. After graduating, he attended Boston University’s School of Fine Arts for two years before moving to New York in 1974. Three years later, he took his first bow on Broadway in Albert Innaurato's Gemini. Birney has established himself as an ubiquitous actor, performing in more than thirty off-Broadway and regional productions in a career spanning four decades. He received the 2006 Obie Award for Sustained Excellence in Performance, and in 2011, the Drama Desk Career Award honoring his career as an actor. He returned to Broadway in the 2012 Roundabout Theater Company’s revival of William Inge's Pulitzer Prize-winning play Picnic with Ellen Burstyn. In 2014, Birney was nominated for a Tony Award for his performance as Charlotte in Harvey Fierstein's Casa Valentina, a role which also won him the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play.
Known as a richly versatile actor, Birney has played Hubert Humphrey in the A.R.T. production of All the Way with Bryan Cranston and was Tony Blair in the acclaimed Public Theater production of Stuff Happens. He was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for his portrayal of Ian in the New York premiere of Sarah Kane’s Blasted in 2008 and received an Obie and Drama Desk Award for his performance in Annie Baker’s Circle Mirror Transformation in 2009. Other notable performances include the world premiere of Tony Kushner’s revised Homebody/Kabul; Tracy Letts' Bug for which he won an Obie Award; The Common Pursuit; and The Cherry Orchard at Williamstown Theater Festival in Massachusetts.
He is currently appearing in the Roundabout Production of Stephen Karam’s The Humans in New York. In 2014, he gave critically acclaimed performances in New York productions of Halley Feiffer's I’m Gonna Pray for You So Hard and Clare Barron's You Got Older.
With a reputation as an “actor’s actor”, Birney made his film debut in Arthur Penn and Steve Tesich’s Four Friends (1981). He has appeared in Clint Eastwood’ s Changeling (2008) and Morning Glory (2010); and Jeff Lipsky’s Twelve Thirty (2010), Molly’s Theory of Relativity (2013), and Mad Women (2015). He also appeared with Kristen Wiig in The Girl Most Likely (2012). He is Vice President Donald Blythe on the Netflix series, House of Cards and can be seen as Patti LuPone's husband in the HBO series, Girls. Other recent TV appearances include Blue Bloods (CBS); as Tom Connolly on The Blacklist (NBC); and American Odyssey (NBC). On the web, he is currently in the comedy series What’s Your Emergency?
Birney has taught acting at Columbia University and The Scott Freeman Studio in New York. He is married to actress Constance Shulman and they have two children, Ephraim and Gus, who are both actors.