Reed Birney

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Reed Birney
Born (1954-09-11) September 11, 1954 (age 63)
Alexandria, Virginia, US
Nationality American
Occupation Actor
Years active 1976–present
Spouse(s) Constance Shulman
Children 2

Reed Birney (born September 11, 1954 in Alexandria, Virginia) is an American actor who has worked both on Broadway and Off-Broadway.

Birney won the 2016 Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play for his performance as Erik Blake in The Humans.


Birney attended Boston University, the School of Fine Arts for two years. After moving to New York City, he attended classes sponsored by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.[1]

Birney appeared Off-Broadway at Playwrights Horizons in 1976 in Gemini by Albert Innaurato. He has appeared in many plays Off-Broadway since, including Bug (2004) and Circle Mirror Transformation (2009).[2]

He has performed on Broadway in Casa Valentina (2014) and The Humans.[3] He appeared in the Annie Baker adaptation of Uncle Vanya at the Soho Rep in 2012. Charles Isherwood in his review for The New York Times wrote: "The indispensable Reed Birney is as vitally moving a Vanya as I’ve yet to see..."[4] He was nominated for the Drama Desk Award, Outstanding Actor in a Play, for Uncle Vanya.[5]

He won the 2016 Tony Award, Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play, for The Humans;[6] the 2014 Drama Desk Award, Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play, for Casa Valentina; and the 2010 Obie Award, Performance, for Circle Mirror Transformation.[7] He received a Special Drama Desk Award in 2011, honoring his career.[8][9]

He appeared off-Broadway in the play by Tracy Letts, Man from Nebraska, which opened in January 2017 (previews) at the Second Stage Theatre.[10] As of May 2017, he stars as O'Brien in the Broadway production of 1984.

His television performances include Matthew Lester in Kane & Abel, Mr. Prescott on Gossip Girl, Donald Blythe on the Netflix series, House of Cards [8][11] and Tom Connolly in The Blacklist.

Birney is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Columbia University.[8]

Personal life[edit]

He is married to actress Constance Shulman, who appears in Orange is the New Black, and they have two children together. [12] Their daughter Gus Birney is an actress[13] and his son Ephraim Birney is also an actor.

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Work Award Category Result
2011 N/A Drama Desk Award Special Drama Desk Award Won
2014 Casa Valentina Tony Award Best Featured Actor in a Play Nominated
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play Won
Drama League Award Distinguished Performance Award Nominated
2016 The Humans Tony Award Best Featured Actor in a Play Won
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Ensemble Won
Outer Critics Circle Award Outstanding Actor in a Play Nominated
Drama League Award Distinguished Performance Award Nominated


  1. ^ Sod, Ted. "Interview", October 4, 2015
  2. ^ Gates, Anita. "At Peter J. Sharp Theater: Actor, Make Like a Tree" The New York Times, October 15, 2009
  3. ^ "Reed Birney Credits", accessed June 13, 2016
  4. ^ Isherwood, Charles. "A Fresh Breeze in Pastoral Russia" The New York Times, June 18, 2012
  5. ^ Lefkowitz, Andy. "The 58th Annual Drama Desk Award Winners Are Announced!", May 19, 2013
  6. ^ Viagas, Robert. " 'Hamilton' Tops Tony Awards With 11 Wins" Playbill, June 12, 2016
  7. ^ "Reed Birney Bio", accessed June 13, 2016
  8. ^ a b c "Reed Birney", accessed June 13, 2016
  9. ^ "Reed Birney Broadway" Playbill, accessed June 13, 2016
  10. ^ Clement, Olivia. " 'Man from Nebraska 'Opens at Second Stage" Playbill, February 15, 2017
  11. ^ "'House of Cards’ Star Reed Birney Endures ‘Quiet Desperation’ in ‘Mad Women’", July 22, 2015
  12. ^ Borison, Susan. "Actors Constance Shulman and Reed Birney Talk Parenting" Your Teen, retrieved June 8, 2018
  13. ^ Berman, Nat. "Five Things You Didn’t Know About Gus Birney", June 26, 2017

External links[edit]