- 18 July 1962
- Palo Alto, California, USA
Lee Arenberg has the remarkable ability to morph himself into frightening aliens, twisted psychotherapists, lascivious entertainment executives and everything in between. Most frequently referred to as a character actor, Arenberg maintains a flourishing acting career--almost 20 years spanning television, stage and film. Arenberg has appeared in more than 30 movies, including Cradle Will Rock (1999), RoboCop 3 (1993), Waterworld (1995), Bob Roberts (1992), The Apocalypse (1997), Cross My Heart (1987) and the fantasy adventure feature Dungeons & Dragons (2000). Bitten by the acting bug at age eight when he portrayed David in his Hebrew school play, "Killing Goliath", Arenberg notes that the parable "could be the title of any actor's chances in this game." A native Angeleno, Lee attended Santa Monica high school with "brat packers" Sean Penn, Robert Downey Jr. and Emilio Estevez, and co-wrote a play with Estevez which was directed by Penn. Lee's first professional job was in 1986 at the Mark Taper Forum in "Ghetto", a play directed by Gordon Davidson. Within weeks he was cast in three films, including the role of Norton in the feature Tapeheads (1988)opposite Tim Robbins and John Cusack. Guest appearances on television began in 1987 with the hit sitcom Perfect Strangers (1986), and have continued with memorable roles such as the parking space-stealing New Yorker on Seinfeld (1989) and as the murderous rock promoter opposite Katey Sagal and Sam Kinison in Tales from the Crypt (1989), as well as roles on Arli$$ (1996), Friends (1994), Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987), Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993) and Star Trek: Voyager (1995). Arenberg can also be seen in the role of the notoriously huge studio head, Bobby G., on the controversial syndicated comedy Action (1999) opposite series star Jay Mohr. Arenberg names his family and friends as his inspirations, and states that having grown up on Los Angeles' Westside, he was able to see actors as the parents of friends and classmates, not as just as movie stars. "It also gave me an honest assessment of the industry and what I was getting myself into," he laughs. He credits "fear of failure" as his main motivation, and admires the talents and creativity of such legendary actors Paul Muni, Lon Chaney and Boris Karloff. Lee also credits much of his development as an actor to his participation in the Actors' Gang, one of Los Angeles' oldest theater companies. The Actors' Gang was founded by Lee in 1981 with Tim Robbins and other friends from UCLA. After 20 years as an actor in the group, Lee recently made his writing and directing debut with Foursome, a play about golf, sex and witchcraft. In his leisure time, Arenberg enjoys golf, cooking, blues harmonica, video games and pitching for his softball team Bubblin' Crude, which is made up of other actors, many of whom are friends from high school. He is involved with St. Jude's Children's Hospital and other children's health causes, and animal rights organizations, participating regularly in fund raising efforts on behalf of those charitable causes.