Childhood & Early Life
Kevin Elliot Pollak was born on October 30, 1957, in San Francisco, California. He spent his childhood in San Jose, California, with his father, Robert Pollack and mother, Elaine Harlow. He has an elder brother, Craig.
Pollak graduated from the ‘Pioneer High School,’ California. He was passionate for comedy from his childhood. Pollack started performing stand-up comedy at the age of ten. As a teenager, Pollak conducted comedy shows in the night clubs of San Jose. As music was more popular than comedy in those days, Pollard had to struggle to get opportunities for his show. Initially, he used to perform in the intervals between music.
Kevin Pollak is immensely talented in impersonating famous people and this has definitely helped him in his career. At the age of 17, he was invited by the famous impressionist Rich Little, to perform with him. They both performed their versions of ‘Columbo,’ a character played by the legendary actor Peter Falk. Pollak moved to San Francisco after graduation. In 1982, he won the second prize in the ‘San Francisco International Comedy Competition.’
Continue Reading Below
Pollak started his career as a comedian and performed in various cities. In 1988, he got his first big break in the movie ‘Willow,’ directed by Ron Howard. In 1990, Pollack played ‘Izzy Kirk’ in the film, ‘Avalon.’ In 1992, Pollak showed his acting prowess in the legal-drama film, ‘A Few Good Men,’ directed by Rob Reiner. In this movie, he co-starred with popular actors, such as Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholson, and Demi Moore. His character, ‘Lieutenant Sam Weinberg,’ received praise from the audience.
Following the success of ‘A Few Good Men,’ Pollak acted in various movies such as ‘End of Days,’ ‘The Wedding Planner,’ and ‘Ricochet.’ He played ‘Jacob Goldman’ in ‘Grumpy Old Men’ and its sequel, ‘Grumpier Old Men.’ Pollak performed negative characters too. He played the criminal, ‘Todd Hockney,’ in ‘The Usual Suspects,’ a crime thriller directed by Bryan Singer. Pollak played the gangster, ‘Janni Pytor Gogolak,’ in ‘The Whole Nine Yards.’ In 1999, Pollak performed the lead character, ‘President Walter Emerson’ in ‘Deterrence,’ directed by Rod Lurie. ‘President Emerson’ was the ‘Vice President,’ elevated to the role of ‘The President,’ who had to deal with a sudden nuclear crisis. Pollak played the character convincingly.
Kevin Pollak performed in various TV shows as well. He hosted the first season of the celebrity game show, ‘Celebrity Poker Showdown,’ which was aired on ‘Bravo’ network. In 2006, he played ‘Karl Kreutzfeld’ in the TV series, ‘The Lost Room,’ which was telecast on ‘Sci Fi’ network. In 2010, Pollak hosted the game show, ‘Million Dollar Money Drop’ on ‘Fox’ network. He played ‘Alvin Biletnikoff’ in the American sitcom ‘Mom,’ aired on ‘CBS.’ In 2017, Pollak performed in the comedy-drama TV series, ‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,’ as the recurring character, ‘Moishe Maisel.’
Pollak has donned the cap of a director too. He made his directorial debut in the web series, ‘Vamped Out,’ which was featured on the internet TV, ‘Babelgum,’ The comedy-based documentary, ‘Misery Loves Comedy,’ directed by Pollak, was premiered at the ‘2015 Sundance Film Festival.’ In 2016, he directed the comedy movie, ‘The Late Bloomer.’
Pollak is most popular for his outstanding ability to impersonate people. As a celebrity impressionist, he has impersonated various famous people such as Woody Allen, Eddy Murphy, Al Pacino, and Sylvester Stallone. His stand-up comedy show, ‘The Littlest Suspect’ was telecast on ‘Showtime’ in 2009. Pollak was chosen as one of the top 100 comedians by ‘Comedy Central.’
Kevin Pollak has made good of technology too. He hosts an internet talk show, ‘Kevin Pollak’s Chat Show,’ which is live-streamed on ‘YouTube’ once in a week. The show invites celebrities like film directors, actors, and comedians for a heart-to-heart talk. Several celebrities such as Tom Hanks, Jason Lee, and Jimmy Pardo have appeared on the show.
Pollak married actor and comedian Lucy Webb in 1995. They acted together in many movies such as ‘The Don’s Analyst,’ and ‘Outside Ozona.’ The couple, however, divorced in 2010.
Pollak is an excellent poker player. He hosts weekly poker games at his home. Some of Hollywood’s A-list celebrities are regulars at these games. Pollak participated in the ‘2012 World Series of Poker’ and finished at 134th place, out of over six thousand participants.
Pollak one impersonated the famous actor Alan Arkin. He left a message in Arkin’s voice, on his answering machine. This confused Arkin, as he thought that he had left a message for himself.
‘Kevin Pollak’s Chat Show’ has a segment ‘You’re Not Buffering,’ in which Pollak freezes mid-sentence, making it seem like an internet connectivity issue. Then he breaks the pause to say, “You’re not buffering.” This is the classic example of his sense of humor.
Pollak likes the energy of live performances more than scripted movies. His words about live performances are, “There is nothing like getting up on a stage and taking an audience for a ride. You make a movie, the audience may not see it for another ten months. Here, you immediately know their reaction.”