Lembeck is a veteran of television comedy. As an actor, he appeared in over 200 episodes of half-hour comedy television. As a director, he has helmed nearly 300 episodes. Among the awards he has received for directing is the Emmy Award in 1996 for Best Direction of a Comedy Series for his work on Friends – one of the three Emmy nominations he has received for his work on that show. He directed multiple episodes of Mad About You, starring Helen Hunt and Paul Reiser; as well as the pilot and several subsequent episodes of Everybody Loves Raymond.
Lembeck has had the good fortune of directing some of the world's great comedy players, including Carol Burnett, Martin Short, Carroll O'Connor, Nathan Lane, Steve Carell, Mel Brooks and Phil Hartman. In addition, he has worked with Julia Roberts, Ellen DeGeneres, Jeremy Piven, Mercedes Ruehl, Hector Elizondo, Alan Arkin, Carl Reiner, Gene Kelly, Jack Benny, Joan Plowright, Dennis Quaid, John Ritter, Peter Falk, Harvey Korman, and many others.
Lembeck is second generation following in the comedy tradition. Both Michael and his father Harvey started in the theater. Harvey Lembeck starred in both the Broadway play and movie Stalag 17 as Harry Shapiro. He had a long and illustrious career as one of Broadway and Hollywood's best known character men. He is perhaps best remembered for his work as Corporal Rocco Barbella on The Phil Silvers Show and as motorcycle gang leader Eric Von Zipper, in the Beach Party series of movies for AIP.
Michael Lembeck appeared in many plays and musicals in New York and regional theater before finding his way to California and movies and television. He appeared in the movies The In-Laws and The Boys in Company C, played Abbie Hoffman in the HBO award-winning movie, The Trial of the Chicago 8, was a regular on Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, and for five years was part of the ensemble on the hit series One Day at a Time. In the theater he was Marty Sterling in the West Coast premier of Isn't It Romantic at the Canon Theater, worked at the Mark Taper Forum in Studs Terkel's The Good War, played Sonny in the first national tour of Grease in 1972-73 with cast mates Jerry Zaks and John Travolta, and was last seen as an actor in New York in 1986 at the Minetta Lane Theater, playing Wally in Angry Housewives.
When not at work as a director, Lembeck and his sister Helaine run the comedy workshop his father created forty-four years ago, the Harvey Lembeck Comedy Workshop. Included in its list of longtime members are Robin Williams, Penny Marshall, and the late John Ritter.
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Michael Lembeck Facts
|Birthday||June 25, 1948 (73)|
|Birthplace||Brooklyn, New York, USA|