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Tim Matheson: Acclaimed Actor, Director, and Producer
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Tim Matheson, born December 31, 1947, is an American actor, director, and producer known for his diverse roles in film and television, including his iconic portrayal of Eric "Otter" Stratton in "National Lampoon's Animal House" and his Emmy-nominated performance as Vice President John Hoynes in "The West Wing."

 

Matheson's Early Hollywood Start

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Tim Matheson, born Timothy Lewis Matthieson on December 31, 1947, in Glendale, California, began his acting career at a young age. The son of Sally and Clifford Matthieson, a training pilot, Matheson made his television debut at 13 in the CBS series "Window on Main Street" (1961-1962). His early career was marked by notable voice acting roles, including the lead character in the animated series "Jonny Quest" (1964) and Jace in "Space Ghost" (1966). These early experiences in both live-action and voice acting laid the foundation for Matheson's diverse and enduring career in the entertainment industry.
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Tim Matheson Voiced Jonny Quest in the 1964 Animated Series

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Tim Matheson provided the voice for the titular character Jonny Quest in the original 1964 animated series "Jonny Quest." As an 11-year-old American boy, Jonny was portrayed as intelligent, brave, and adventurous, with skills in judo, scuba diving, and handling firearms. Matheson's voice work helped bring the character to life, contributing to the show's popularity during its initial run on ABC in the mid-1960s and subsequent reruns on various networks throughout the following decades. In later iterations of the franchise, such as "The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest" in 1996, the character was voiced by different actors, including JD Roth.
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Tim Matheson's Iconic Role as Otter in 'National Lampoon's Animal House'

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Tim Matheson's breakthrough role came in 1978 when he portrayed Eric "Otter" Stratton in the comedy film "National Lampoon's Animal House." This performance cemented his status as a talented comedic actor and remains one of his most iconic roles. Matheson's portrayal of the charming and womanizing Otter became an instant fan favorite, contributing significantly to the film's enduring cultural impact. Following this success, Matheson appeared in Steven Spielberg's "1941" (1979), reuniting with his "Animal House" co-star John Belushi. These roles in high-profile comedies helped establish Matheson as a recognizable face in Hollywood and paved the way for his diverse career in both film and television.
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Tim Matheson as Vice President John Hoynes in 'The West Wing'

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Tim Matheson portrayed Vice President John Hoynes in the acclaimed television series "The West Wing." Hoynes, a Democratic politician from Texas, served as Vice President under President Josiah Bartlet from 1999 to 2003. A former two-term Senator with presidential ambitions, Hoynes was known for his political savvy and complex relationship with the Bartlet administration. His character grappled with personal challenges, including being a recovering alcoholic who attended private AA meetings. Hoynes' tenure as Vice President ended in resignation after he revealed classified information to a lover who planned to write a book. Matheson's portrayal earned him an Emmy nomination, showcasing the character's depth and the actor's skill in bringing Hoynes' political maneuvering and personal struggles to life.
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American Actor and Director (Photos)

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Tim Matheson's Awards and Honors

Tim Matheson has received numerous accolades throughout his career, reflecting his talent and versatility as an actor and director. Below is a summary of his notable awards and nominations:
AwardCategoryYearWork
Primetime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series2002The West Wing
Primetime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series2003The West Wing
PRISM AwardsPerformance in a Drama Series Episode2014Hart of Dixie
Matheson's recognition spans various prestigious awards, highlighting his impactful performances and contributions to the entertainment industry.
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Tim Matheson's Extensive Film and TV Roles

Tim Matheson's extensive filmography showcases his versatility and longevity in the entertainment industry. Below is a summary of some of his notable works in film and television:
YearTitleRoleNotes
1964Jonny QuestJonny Quest (voice)Animated series
1968Yours, Mine and OursMike BeardsleyFilm
1978National Lampoon's Animal HouseEric "Otter" StrattonFilm
19791941Capt. Loomis BirkheadFilm
1985FletchAlan StanwykFilm
1996A Very Brady SequelRoy MartinFilm
2002Van WilderVance Wilder Sr.Film
1999-2006The West WingVice President John HoynesTV series
2011-2015Hart of DixieDr. Brick BreelandTV series
2019-presentVirgin RiverDoc MullinsTV series
Matheson's career spans over five decades, with significant roles in both television and film, highlighting his adaptability and enduring appeal in the industry.
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Versatile Hollywood Career (Interviews)

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From Acting to Directing: Tim Matheson's Multifaceted Career

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Tim Matheson has also made significant contributions behind the camera, directing and producing a variety of television episodes and pilots. His work in this area has been well-received, showcasing his versatility in the entertainment industry. Here are some notable projects he has directed:
  • Criminal Minds: Directed multiple episodes of this popular crime drama series.
  • Without a Trace: Directed episodes of this procedural drama about missing persons cases.
  • Cold Case: Directed episodes of this series focusing on unsolved crimes.
  • Suits: Directed episodes of this legal drama centered around a top Manhattan law firm.
  • White Collar: Directed episodes of this series about a con artist working with the FBI.
  • The Good Guys: Directed the pilot episode for this Fox Network series.
  • Covert Affairs: Directed the pilot episode for this USA Network series.
  • Virgin River: Directed episodes of this Netflix series.
Matheson's directorial work spans various genres, from crime dramas to legal thrillers, highlighting his ability to adapt and excel in different storytelling styles.
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Matheson's Marriages and Family

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Tim Matheson has been married three times. His first marriage was to actress Jennifer Leak, whom he met on the set of "Yours, Mine, and Ours" (1968). The couple married in 1968 but divorced in 1971. Leak, who passed away in 2024, was known for her roles in "The Young and the Restless" and "Guiding Light." In 1985, Matheson married Megan Murphy. Together, they had three children: Cooper, Emma, and Molly. The couple divorced in 2010 after 25 years of marriage. Matheson married his current wife, Elizabeth Marighetto, in March 2018. Marighetto is reportedly a script supervisor, and the couple resides in Hollywood, California.
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Tim Matheson's Legacy

Tim Matheson's career exemplifies the evolution of a versatile and enduring talent in Hollywood. Beginning as a child actor in the early 1960s, Matheson quickly transitioned into voice acting, most notably as Jonny Quest, before securing roles in live-action television and film. His breakthrough came with the iconic portrayal of Eric "Otter" Stratton in "National Lampoon's Animal House," which solidified his status as a comedic actor. However, Matheson's career is marked by his ability to adapt and excel in various genres, from drama to comedy, and from acting to directing. In the 21st century, Matheson has continued to thrive, taking on significant roles in popular television series such as "The West Wing" and "Hart of Dixie," and more recently, "Virgin River." His work behind the camera as a director has also garnered acclaim, with credits on numerous high-profile TV shows. Matheson's contributions to the entertainment industry are a testament to his multifaceted talent and enduring appeal, making him a prominent figure among American male actors, child actors, film actors, television actors, and directors of his generation.
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