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A veteran of stage, film and television with a variety of characters to his credit, Richard Portnow was named one of the "Actors We Love" by the actors' trade newspaper Back Stage West. His entire family hails from Brooklyn. He graduated with a BA degree as a speech and theater major from Brooklyn College. He did not shine while in college, and was discouraged from continuing as an actor with the critique that he was "hopeless and without any ability or talent" he continues to wonder if the faculty was right. He has been a bartender, an antique dealer, a boxer, an international drug trafficker, a fifth-grade teacher in the NYC public school system, a competitive body builder, a truck driver, a bouncer, a bagel maker, a short-order cook, a marathon runner, a designer, a competitive gymnast, a background extra, a disco dancer at the famed "Arthur" discotheque, and a confused and aimless layabout. Richard is 6'0", weighs in at a trim lb. He has excellent defensive skills and his ability to stop punches with his face has made him a local favorite. Portnow assayed the role of attorney Hal "Mel" Melvoin on the Emmy-winning HBO series The Sopranos , the lawyer for Uncle Junior, whom he singlehandedly kept out of prison and managed to get placed under house arrest instead.
Imagine studying all night for a test, only to walk into the class and realize you studied for the wrong exam. That's what happened to actor Richard Portnow on "Good Morning, Vietnam" , when he arrived in Bangkok and learned he had only a few days to learn a completely new role, that of Dan 'The Man' Levitan. But what could have been disaster turned into a highlight of the veteran character actor's career, which spanned from the New York City stage to Los Angeles TV studios. The Brooklyn-born Portnow brought a lifetime of eclectic experiences to his later-in-life profession, which made the jump from stage to screen in the s with supporting roles in everything from "The Equalizer" CBS, and "Tin Men" to "Radio Days" and "Say Anything And with his career still going strong with later roles on "Boston Legal" Fox, and in "Hitchcock" , Richard Portnow has become an enduring screen presence. View All Photos