Victor Joseph Garber (born March 16, 1949) is a Canadian film, stage and television actor and singer. Garber is perhaps best known for playing Jesus in Godspell, Jack Bristow in the television series Alias and Thomas Andrews in James Cameron’s Titanic.
Born in London, Ontario, Canada, Garber is of Russian Jewish descent; his parents were Joe Garber (died 1995) and his wife, the former Hope Wolf (an actress, singer, and the host of At Home with Hope Garber). He has a brother, Nathan, and a sister, Alisa.
When Garber was 12 he was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. He attended Ryerson Elementary School. He also was enrolled in the children’s program of the Grand Theatre, and at age 16, he said, “I was accepted at a six-week summer theatre training program at Hart House at the University of Toronto with Robert Gill as the teacher”.
Garber began acting at the age of nine, and studied at the University of Toronto’s Hart House at age 16. In 1967, after a period working as a folk singer, he formed a folk band called The Sugar Shoppe with Peter Mann, Laurie Hood and Lee Harris. The group enjoyed moderate success, even performing on The Ed Sullivan Show and The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson before breaking up. He has worked in various American and Canadian movies and television, including James Cameron’s Titanic (1997), in which he used a Northern Irish accent to play the shipbuilder Thomas Andrews, and CTV’s E.N.G. (1991–1993), on which he had a recurring guest role.
Other well-known appearances include Godspell (Canadian stage version, 1972, and film version, 1973) as Jesus, Sleepless in Seattle (1993), Legally Blonde (2001), Annie (1999), and Tuck Everlasting (2002). In the late 1980s, he received an Emmy nomination for his portrayal of Liberace in the made-for-TV movie, Liberace: Behind the Music.
He is most well known for his portrayal of Jack Bristow on ABC’s show, Alias, for which he earned three Emmy nominations. He recently appeared on the now-cancelled television series Justice on Fox and ABC’s Eli Stone. His most recent TV appearance is as a mysterious character named “Olivier Roth” in 4 episodes of the Canadian science drama ReGenesis. He appeared in the third episode of the Fox series Glee as Will’s father.
He appeared on Broadway in the original productions of Deathtrap, Sweeney Todd and Noises Off, and in the original off-Broadway cast of Assassins, as well as the 1990s revival of Damn Yankees. He has been nominated for four Tony awards and opened the Tony Awards program in 1994 (the year he was nominated for the Tony Award for Damn Yankees).
In 1998, he co-starred on Broadway in the Tony Award-winning play Art with Alan Alda and Alfred Molina. He continues to be a sought-after theatrical performer in musicals, comedies and dramatic productions. In 2005, he played the role of Frederic in the LA Opera’s production of Sondheim’s A Little Night Music. He played the male lead in a critically hailed Encores presentation of Follies in 2007, with Donna Murphy. In mid-2007, he played the role of Garry Essendine in a production of Noel Coward’s Present Laughter at Boston’s Huntington Theatre. He is slated to reprise the role in the Roundabout Theatre’s New York production in winter 2009-2010.
In 2009, Garber took on the role of he DC Comics super villain Sinestro in the direct-to-video animated film film, Green Lantern: First Flight. The same year Garber played a Klingon interrogator in J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek movie; however, his scenes were deleted from the finished film.
In June 2010, due to an RTÉ production error, a picture of Victor Garber was accidentally used in an opinion poll on RTÉ News. The production team mistook the actor as Enda Kenny, the leader of Fine Gael, the main opposition party in Ireland. The mistake was understandable as both men look extremely similar. RTÉ immediately apologized to both men for the mistake. Garber has not yet commented.
Both of his parents died of complications from Alzheimer’s disease.
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