February 3, 1956
Jersey City, New Jersey, U.S.
Nathan Lane (born Joseph Lane; February 3, 1956) is a Tony-nominated American stage and screen actor. He is best known to stage audiences for his roles as Nathan Detroit in the 1992 revival of Guys and Dolls and Max Bialystock in the musical The Producers. Lane is also known as the voice of Timon for The Lion King movies.
Originally named Joseph Lane in Jersey City, New Jersey on February 3, 1956, he changed his name because he heard of another actor named Joseph Lane. He chose the name "Nathan" after the character of Nathan Detroit from the Broadway musical, Guys and Dolls. He later moved to New York City during the 1970's to begin his stage career. He starred in a number of unsuccessful Off-Broadway and Broadway musical and stage productions.
In 1992, he starred as Nathan Detroit, the character he lent his name to, in the Broadway revival of Guys and Dolls, for which he received the 1992 Drama Desk and Outer Critics' Circle Awards as Best Actor in a musical as well as a Tony Award nomination. That role also earned him an Obie Award for sustained excellence. His future Lion King co-star and close friend Ernie Sabella also starred in the revival.
Two years later, he lent his voice to the meerkat, Timon. However, during production, he and Ernie Sabella were originally cast as Shenzi and Banzai (voiced by Whoopi Goldberg and Cheech Marin in the final film). The filmmakers loved their performance and thought the duo would be better as Timon and Pumbaa. Lane would later reprise Timon in some episodes of The Lion King's Timon & Pumbaa, The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, and The Lion King 1½.
After the success of The Lion King, he would later become close friends with Matthew Broderick whom he co-starred in 2001 in the musical, The Producers, and Ernie Sabella. In 1999, he worked again with Lion King director Rob Minkoff in Stuart Little as the voice of Snowbell. Lane, in 2005 played Oscar Madison, one of the lead characters in Neil Simon's The Odd Couple, with Matthew Broderick as the character of Felix Unger.
- Guys and Dolls - Nathan Detroit
- The Producers - Max Bialystock
- Stuart Little - Snowbell
- Stuart Little 2 - Snowbell