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Actor, director
Interview (June 2005)
by Thierry ATTARD
Very special thanks

Stephen Tobolowsky is supposed to be the actor everybody knows the face but ignores the name. Although to know his name is more than a duty, it’s a privilege. Great Balls of fire, Groundhog Day, Memento... more than 100 movies in his filmography. A long list of participations in productions for television. And of course, Theatre.

Stephen Tobolowsky is actually one of the most brilliant and interesting american actors. In front of the camera of Robert Brinkmann, he invites us at his home to listen him telling stories about his life and his career in the movie documentary Stephen Tobolowsky’s Birthday Party ( ?id_article=4025). But this time the gifts will be for Objectif Cinéma as he makes us the great honor to answer with generosity to our questions.

Objectif Cinéma : Could you please tell us a few words about your life before your years in university and about your family.

Stephen Tobolowsky : I was born in Oak Cliff - 22 miles outside of Dallas, Texas. It was very much like Provence but without the mountains. We had forests, streams... and critters. We have four kind of poisonous snakes in the United States and all four lived in our woods ! Along with scorpions (like Provence), tarantulas, leeches, and centipedes. Billy Hart and I formed the « Dangerous Animals Club ». Our goal was to capture all the deadly creatures that lived in our woods. We did pretty good, too.

My Father was a pediatrician. One day, when I was twelve, he came home flushed with emotion and said : « Now I know why I became a doctor. I saved a baby’s life today. Nobody could figure out what was wrong with it. I saw that he had pneumonia. I got him on the right medicine and he is going to live ». I told him a few years ago how moving that day was and how I saw what it meant to achieve and have a calling in life. He said, « I have no idea what you’re talking about ».