Tom Wilson is one of the premiere stand up comedians in the country, boasting appearances on The Tonight Show with both Jay Leno and Johnny Carson, David Letterman, Regis, as well as Good Morning, America, The Today Show, and CBS This Morning. Internationally, he's appeared on Tonight Live in Australia, Good Morning, Great Britain, and literally hundreds of local television and radio programs around the world. He's starred in comedy specials on NBC, Global Television in Canada, and on myriad cable networks, and has written and performed his one man show, "Cowboy Tommy" to critical acclaim and full houses across North America.
Fanatically eager to get onstage, when Broadway didn't answer the door quickly enough, he began performing stand up comedy in his teens, while studying to be an actor in New York. Within a short time, he was headlining in comedy clubs up and down the east coast, and moved to Los Angeles soon after that. Accepted as a regular at the world famous "Comedy Store" on the Sunset Strip on his first audition, at 21 years old he became a member of the "Comedy Store Players," improvising onstage with the likes of Richard Pryor, Robin Williams, and the large group of comedy colleagues who formed the nexus of the modern comedy boom.
He's appeared in some twenty-five feature films, including his Saturn award-winning performance in the now classic BACK TO THE FUTURE trilogy, and has recently been a part of the SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS phenomena, performing many voices in the Nickelodeon series, as well as THE SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS MOVIE. He's been a recurring character on many television shows, including ED, FREAKS AND GEEKS, DO OVER, TITUS, MAGGIE, FIRED UP, and been a guest star on COLD CASE, STILL STANDING, REBA, GEORGE LOPEZ, BOSTON PUBLIC, ZOEY 101, RODNEY, THE FACTS OF LIFE, and many more. Early in his television career, he was even chased by international mega-superstar and recording artist David Hasselhoff on the show KNIGHT RIDER.
But the stage is where he feels most at home. He has performed as a headliner at the top comedy clubs in the country for years, and for tens of thousands as an opening act for Rodney Dangerfield, and rock bands such as Three Dog Night, Fleetwood Mac, Missing Persons, and The Tubes, and has performed his act for corporate events of every kind, from a small, select group of one hundred or less, to Las Vegas conventions of many thousands, with his trademark blend of energy and fun, without the use of easy vulgarity and material met with fewer laughs than gasps of discomfort. He's performed for audiences as diverse as a screaming rock and roll stadium, to a large conference made up largely of priests and nuns. And he had both crowds roaring.
His combination of storytelling, solid stand up, and hilarious music, combine to make a unique package in the arena of live performance. A pop cultural icon who doesn't rest on his laurels, but reaches out to connect with and entertain every audience, Tom Wilson is one of a kind. Visit his official website at TomWilsonUSA.com.
THOMAS F. WILSON deftly handles the amusing role of Biff Tannen, a high school bully whose behavior hasn't changed at all in the 30 years that follow.
The Philadelphia-born actor discovered a love for acting in high school and soon became active in summer stock. While performing "Richard III" one summer, he joined some friends at a comedy club for improvisations and discovered a natural talent as a stand-up comic. Following his move to Los Angeles, he has become a popular attraction at the Comedy Store and continues to perform there between assignments. "Back to the Future" marks his motion picture debut.
as of June 5, 1985
Biff Tannen; Griff
"Biff Tannen is a very misunderstood man," says Thomas F. Wilson of the character he plays for the second time in "Back to the Future Part II." "That's a lucky thing for Biff, because if people did understand him, he'd be humanely destroyed."
Although Wilson went through several physical transformations to play four different variations of Biff, the actor claims the underlying persona of the character was a constant. "Biff is still the same jerky guy we first saw in the '50s. At the end of the first movie he seemingly changes his ways, and is no longer a threat to the McFly family, but at the beginning of part two, when he accidently sees the time machine take off, he slips right back into being a sinister character, trying to turn this new discovery to his advantage.
"In the future, the 77-year-old Biff is bitter about the way his life has turned out, and he blames everyone else for it. After following Marty and Doc and stealing the DeLorean, he's finally able to unleash the true aspects of his personality, which are seriously nasty. When Marty and Doc get back to the changed 1985, or 'Biffhorrific' as we referred to it, Biff's newfound money and power have enabled him to turn Hill Valley into 'Hell' Valley. The town under Biff's control is basically a celebration of filth, pornography and evil. I think the key to Biff's true personality is displayed in the decor of the penthouse of his Pleasure Paradise Casino. Anything of artistic expression at all is on black velvet..."
In addition to the four Biffs, Wilson also found himself playing his own grandson in the future, Griff. Much like his grandfather, Griff has his own problems relating to the rest of society. "Griff is the result of steroids, electroshock therapy and failed lobotomy. He's just not firing all pistons."
The eldest of five children, Wilson was heavily involved in the dramatic arts in high school, as well as serving as president of the debate team. He studied international politics at Arizona State University before turning his attentions towards the performing arts, with a stint in summer stock at Villanova University.
Wilson returned home to Philadelphia, and on a whim, began performing stand-up comedy at "open-mike" nights in the area. Polishing his act, Wilson worked his way up to comedy clubs in Baltimore, Washington D.C. and New York. While working the clubs, he also found the time to study acting with a number of private teachers, as well as attending the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.
Wilson relocated to Los Angeles in 1981, where he found work at comedy clubs such as The Comedy Store and Improvisation, often doubling as the clubs' bouncer. He landed a number of commercials and made appearances in episodic television shows such as "Knight Rider" and "The Facts of Life," before being cast as Biff in "Back to the Future."
In the four years between "Back to the Future" and its sequel, Wilson has starred in the feature "April Fool's Day," also appearing in "Let's Get Harry" and "Action Jackson." When time permits, he continues to perform stand-up comedy.
Following "Back to the Future Part II," Wilson continues the role of Biff Tannen in "Back to the Future Part III," as well as introducing one of Biff's ancestors, Buford "Mad Dog" Tannen, to film audiences. Gaining national attention by playing a character who, in the actor's own words is "genetic waste," Wilson takes it all in stride. "It has always been a dream of mine," notes the actor, "to be universally despised by the American moviegoing public."
Steven Spielberg Presents A Robert Zemeckis Film. "Back to the Future Part II." Starring Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Thomas F. Wilson. Music by Alan Silvestri. Edited by Arthur Schmidt, Harry Keramidas. Production Design by Rick Carter. Director of Photography, Dean Cundey, A.S.C. Executive Producers, Steven Spielberg, Frank Marshall, Kathleen Kennedy. Story by Robert Zemeckis & Bob Gale. Screenplay by Bob Gale. Produced by Bob Gale and Neil Canton. Directed by Robert Zemeckis. A Universal Picture.
as of October 24, 1989
Buford ‘Mad Dog’ Tannen; Biff Tannen
I love westerns," says Thomas F. Wilson. "Cowboys have always been my heroes, and while it's always been a dream of mine to appear in a western, I never thought I would be the guy who walks into the saloon and have all the tables clear because they're so terrified of me."
According to Wilson, Buford "Mad Dog" Tannen is, "the original evil seed in the Tannen family." Wilson is eminently qualified to make that judgment, since he is the actor who has portrayed each and every member of that family over the course of the "Back to the Future" trilogy.
"Buford," says the actor, "is much more violent and dangerous than Biff or Griff, because he just doesn't care. He's the epitome of the violent era of the Old West, where, as we know from our Time/Life history books, you could shoot a man over an inconsequential matter. I think Buford is the man who originated the concept of shooting a man for snoring. He is the evil incarnate of Hill Valley, California, and like his future descendants is the fly in the ointment of the McFlys' lives."
"If 'Mad Dog' was able to look into the future and see Biff and Griff, I think he'd be proud of his progeny, if for no other reason than that they're still torturing the McFlys and making the world a worse place in which to live, just because of their existence."
Wilson has thoroughly enjoyed playing the ruthless, yet dim-witted line of Tannens in all three "Back to the Future" films and offers an insight into the psychological make-up of the characters. "Buford and Biff lead incredibly frustrating lives. First of all, they hate the McFlys because they're an honest, loving family--something that Buford and Biff have never been a part of. There's also not a lot going on upstairs, which is illustrated by their mangling of the simplest of metaphors. They just can't win, no matter what happens. They never get the girl. The music just doesn't swell when they're on the screen."
Having spent three months on location working on a set that truly brought the Old West to life, the actor admits that 1885 is "a nice year to visit, but Tom Wilson would not like to live there. Indoor plumbing for one thing, is a convenience I prefer to take advantage of. Also, those guys would ride the range for months, and what would they bring to eat? Dried biscuits, beef jerky and water. To my mind, a cheeseburger makes an excellent meal. A chocolate shake is a wonderful thing. The prospects of getting killed by Indians or desperados was very high. As for me, I'll take my little truck and my family and dog and my house where it's warm, and live there, thank you very much."
With production completed on the "Back to the Future" trilogy, Wilson isn't quite sure of what to do next. "Over? What do you mean over?" he asks. "I've been doing these characters for almost a full year. I do Biff. I show up to work, do Biff, or whatever embodiment of Biff there happens to be on a given day, and then go home. I do 'Back to the Future' for a living, don't I? I don't? Uh-oh..."
Steven Spielberg Presents A Robert Zemeckis Film. "Back to the Future Part III." Starring Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Mary Steenburgen, Thomas F. Wilson and Lea Thompson. Music by Alan Silvestri. Edited by Arthur Schmidt, Harry Keramidas. Production Design by Rick Carter. Director of Photography, Dean Cundey, A.S.C. Executive Producers, Steven Spielberg, Frank Marshall, Kathleen Kennedy. Story by Robert Zemeckis & Bob Gale. Screenplay by Bob Gale. Produced by Bob Gale and Neil Canton. Directed by Robert Zemeckis. A Universal Picture.
as of April 24, 1990
Tom Wilson: Bigger Than You (2009)
Performed by Tom Wilson
Release Date: 12/1/2009
Studio: Image Entertainment
UPC: 014381533521 (DVD)
Running time: 64 minutes
Presentation: Widescreen 1:78:1
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
List Price: $14.98 USD
Tom Wilson is an actor, artist, comedian, and writer who’s been working in every aspect of popular culture for decades, creating touchstone roles, provocative paintings, and comic commentary every step of the way.
Tom Wilson's standup comedy is a unique and hilarious take on life that had brought him to the top of the comedy world. Known the world over for his classic roles in Back to the Future, Freaks and Geeks, SpongeBob Squarepants, and many more, this hour long, high energy blend of comedy and music — as clean as it is hysterical — will have the entire family doubled over in laughter!
Back to the Future [5:56]
Fighting Irish [4:37]
Support Our Troops [5:43]
Recessive Theater Gene [2:05]
High School Band [8:41]
Barbie House [3:27]
Little League [4:34]
Adult Versions [4:48]
I Don't Care [3:21]
She's My Daughter [2:01]
End Credits [1:28]
Inside the Artist’s Studio Interview
Little League Song
About The Artist
Internationally renowned for his iconic roles as Biff, Griff, and western gunslinger Buford “Mad Dog” Tannen in the historic Back to the Future trilogy, Tom Wilson’s acting credits include a long list of movies, television, animation, and the stage. Films include The Heat, with director Paul Feig, Stephen Soderbergh films including The Informant, Bound by Honor with Taylor Hackford, John Frankenheimer’s Andersonville, Let’s Get Harry for Stuart Rosenberg, and the classic April Fools Day, among others. The classic television series from Judd Apatow Freaks and Geeks, as well a long list of recurring and regular roles on many TV series and specials. Onstage, he took on the leading role of Ben Rumson in the world premiere revival of “Paint Your Wagon” at the prestigious Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles, as well as “110 In The Shade” at the Pasadena Playhouse, and can even be heard on countless animated shows, including playing a psychotic banana in the Nickelodeon show PigGoatBananaCricket, fighting superheroes on Batman, Superman and Spiderman, and playing many roles on the hit show SpongeBob Squarepants. Visit his official website at TomWilsonUSA.com.