Childhood & Early Life
Bob Odenkirk was born Robert John Odenkirk on 22 October 1962, in Illinois, USA. He was the second of seven siblings born to parents Barbara Odenkirk and Walter Odenkirk. His parents were Roman Catholics of German, Irish and Scottish descent.
His father Walter was a printing firm employee. He was also an alcoholic which probably caused his wife to divorce him. Young Bob was thus determined to avoid alcohol at any cost.
He attended Naperville North High School and Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Later, he transferred to the Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. There he worked as a radio DJ, writing and hosting a late night comedy show, ‘The Prime Time Special’ for his college radio station. The entertaining show proved to be a launch pad for his career.
Shortly before graduation, he began working at improv workshops and performed stand-up comedy for several years. Eventually, he befriended Robert Smigel, who helped him become a writer for ‘Saturday Night Live’ in 1987.
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In 1987, Bob Odenkirk began his television career as a writer for ‘Saturday Night Live’. He worked on the show from season 13 to 20 (1987-1995). He worked together with Robert Smigel and Conan O'Brien in creating several sketches and learning the nuances of sketch writing from senior writers. He even acted in small roles on the show.
During summer breaks, he would perform stage shows. He did ‘Happy Happy Good Show’ in 1988, a one-man show called ‘Show-Acting Guy’ in 1989, and in the summer of 1990, he wrote and acted in the stage show, ‘Flag Burning Permitted in Lobby Only.’
In 1991, he wrote for the television show ‘Get a Life’ and the following year he wrote for ‘The Dennis Miller Show’. His friendship with Ben Stiller landed him a job in ‘The Ben Stiller Show’ in 1992. He worked both as a writer and actor on the show which lasted for 13 episodes.
After ‘The Ben Stiller Show’, he made frequent appearances from 1993 to 1998 on ‘The Larry Sanders Show’ as Stevie Grant, Larry Sander's agent. In 1993 and 1994, he wrote for the ‘Late Night with Conan O'Brien’ show. In the same period, he also appeared in a couple of television shows and radio programmes.
Along with the stand-up comedian David Cross, Bob Odenkirk began performing live sketch-comedy shows leading to their own show titled ‘Mr. Show with Bob and David’ on HBO in 1995. The show lasted for four seasons and 30 episodes, and was nominated for multiple Emmy awards for writing. Later, the pair wrote the movie ‘Run, Ronnie, Run’ (2002) but disowned credit due to disagreements with the studio.
Meanwhile, he continued to appear in several television shows like ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’ (1996), ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ (2000), and ‘How I Met Your Mother’ (2005), and also in minor roles in some films such as ‘Wayne's World 2’ (1993), ‘Can't Stop Dancing’ (1999), and ‘Monkeybone’ (2001).
He directed three feature films, ‘Melvin Goes to Dinner’ (2003), ‘Let's Go to Prison’ (2006), and ‘The Brothers Solomon’ (2007).
Bob Odenkirk helped the comedy duo Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim create a semi-animated show for ‘Adult Swim’ titled ‘Tom Goes to the Mayor’ (2004) and ‘Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job’ (2007).
In 2009, he appeared in AMC's crime series ‘Breaking Bad’ playing a dishonest lawyer, Saul Goodman. Although initially he appeared only as a guest star, he later became a regular cast of the series.
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In 2011, he wrote and developed ‘Let's Do This!’ for ‘Adult Swim’. Two years later, he produced the sketch-comedy show ‘The Birthday Boys’ (2013), making occasional appearances on the show as well.
Bob Odenkirk played some prominent roles in critically acclaimed films like ‘The Giant Mechanical Man’ (2012), ‘The Spectacular Now’ (2013) and ‘Nebraska’ (2013). He also appeared in comedy films like ‘Take Me Home Tonight’ (2011), ‘Dealin' with Idiots’ (2013), and ‘Hell & Back’ (2015).
In 2014, he played the role of Police Chief Bill Oswalt in FX channel’s miniseries ‘Fargo.’ The same year, he also played Dr. Stork in the ‘Adult Swim’ series ‘Tim & Eric's Bedtime Stories’.
In 2015, he once again collaborated with David Cross to write, star, and produce a sketch-comedy series, ‘W/ Bob and David’. Commissioned by Netflix, the first season was released in November 2015.
In 2015, he also starred in the lead role in ‘Better Call Saul ’, a spin-off series of ‘Breaking Bad.’ The first season premiered in February 2015, the second season in February 2016, and the third season is scheduled to be premiered on April 10, 2017.
Bob Odenkirk excelled as a writer for television sketch-comedy shows ‘Saturday Night Live’ (1987-1991) and ‘The Ben Stiller Show’ (1992-1993). He even won the Emmy Award twice for his writing.
He directed the film ‘Melvin Goes to Dinner’ (2003) and also played the role of Keith in the movie. The film is an adaptation of Michael Blieden's stage play ‘Phyro-Giants!’ and has won several awards including Phoenix Film Festival Award for Best Picture and Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival Award for Best Feature Film.
He appeared as a corrupt lawyer, Saul Goodman, in the television series ‘Breaking Bad’ (2008–13) and its spin-off prequel, ‘Better Call Saul’ (2015 - present). Both the series have been well received and have also been nominated for various awards.
Awards & Achievements
Bob Odenkirk won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for ‘Saturday Night Live’ and ‘The Ben Stiller Show’ in 1989 and 1993 respectively.
In 2003, his directorial venture ‘Melvin Goes to Dinner’ won Independent Film Festival of Boston Award’s Audience Award, Avignon Film Festival Award for Best Feature and Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival Award for Best Feature Film.
He appeared in the film ‘Nebraska’ (2013) which won the Best Cast at the Boston Society of Film Critics Award in 2013 and Best Cast in a Motion Picture at the Satellite Award in 2014.
For ‘Breaking Bad’ he won the Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series at the Screen Actors Guild Award in 2014.
His performance in ‘Better Call Saul’ earned him numerous award nominations and the Best Actor in a Drama Series at Critics' Choice Television Award in 2016.