In the 1996 comedy, The Birdcage, Nathan Lane stars alongside Robin Williams as a gay couple who own a drag nightclub in South Beach, Miami. Armand Goldman (Williams) is the primary owner, whereas Albert (Lane) is the leading act in the club, known as Starina. Their son Val Goldman, who was conceived by Armand during a heterosexual experiment some twenty years prior, is returning home to announce his engagement to Barbara. Barbara, however, is the daughter of a conservative right wing senator and his wife, who have come to meet the Goldmans. As a result, Val and Barbara plead with Armand and Albert to act as “normal” as possible, prompting Armand to pretend he is a Greek diplomat and Albert to dress in drag and play the role of a housewife. The rouse is short-lived as a comic stream of events takes place.
The two-time Tony Award winning Nathan Lane was born February 3rd, 1956, in Jersey City, NJ. Known for his work in both film and Broadway productions, Lane was recently honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and induction into the American Theatre Hall of Fame.
Born Joseph Lane, the actor was raised by Irish Catholic parents who elected to send their sons (Joseph and two brother Daniel and Robert) to Catholic schools, including St. Peter’s Preparatory High School in Jersey City. During high school, Lane got involved in theater, winning a Best Actor award in 1974. Lane later earned a drama scholarship to St. Joseph’s College in Philadelphia, PA. However, upon arriving at school, Lane learned that his scholarship would not cover all of his expenses. He decided to leave school and work to save up the needed money.
Soon afterward, Joseph Lane changed his name to Nathan Lane, after the character Nathan Detroit in the musical Guys and Dolls. Lane soon moved to New York and gained quick success in stand-up comedy and off-Broadway theater. He has since racked up an impressive list of awards and nominations, including a SAG Award, two Tony Awards, numerous Drama Desk Awards, and the Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical.
After getting his start in stand-up comedy and off-Broadway productions, Nathan Lane went on to garner much success. The actor has appeared in dozens of Broadway and off-Broadway productions, including popular plays and musicals such as A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Lisbon Traviata. Wind in the Willows, Guys and Dolls, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, The Producers, Butley, Catch Me If You Can, and Waiting for Godot.
In film, Lane often lends his voice to character roles, such as that of Timon in 1994’s animated The Lion King. Lane has also delivered unforgettable performances in films such as The Birdcage, Titan A. E., Austin Powers Goldmember, Win a Date with Tad Hamilton, The Producers, and Mirror Mirror. Lane can often be spotted on television, between guest appearances on popular series or hosting duties for the Tony Awards or Saturday Night Live.