Bronson Alcott Pinchot (born May 20, 1959) is an American actor. He has appeared in several feature films, including Risky Business, Beverly Hills Cop (and reprising his popular supporting role in Beverly Hills Cop III), First Wives Club, True Romance, Courage Under Fire and It's My Party. Pinchot is probably best known for his role in the ABC family sitcom Perfect Strangers as Balki Bartokomous from the (fictional) Greek-like island of Mypos.
Pinchot was born in New York City, New York, the son of Rosina (née Asta), a typist, and Henry Pinchot, a bookbinder. His mother was Italian American and his father, who was born in New York and raised in Paris, was of Russian descent. Pinchot was raised in southern California. After graduating from South Pasadena High School where he was number one in his class and valedictorian, he went to Yale University on a full scholarship. He was placed in Morse College there and graduated magna cum laude. He began college studying fine art but became interested in acting when he won a role in a college play along side Kevin Bacon and David Naughton. It was there he was discovered by a casting director and later won a role in the film Risky Business. He retains an active interest in ancient Greek sculpture (460-31 BC). In December 2002, Pinchot became a Freemason.
Since approximately 1999, Pinchot has spent a great deal of time in the town of Harford, Pennsylvania restoring the circa 1839 mansion of former Pennsylvania state Senator Edward Jones. He has since purchased six properties in the small, rural town of 1,300 "in an effort to return the town to its 1800s appearance."
Pinchot has a sister and two brothers, one of them being younger brother Justin Pinchot, who had a guest-starring role on the Perfect Strangers episode "It Had to Be You". Justin also stood-in for Bronson when performing a dual role on Perfect Strangers and in TV commercials, causing them to sometimes be misidentified as twins, however Justin is 3 years younger.
In the 1970s, Pinchot was an active member of The International Wizard of Oz Club, for which he organized the 1974 Winkie Convention and provided several illustrations for The Oz Calendar, copies of which fetch high prices at club auctions due to his celebrity status.
Pinchot has appeared in several feature films, including Risky Business, Beverly Hills Cop (and reprising his popular supporting role in Beverly Hills Cop III), First Wives Club, True Romance, Courage Under Fire and It's My Party. Pinchot is probably best known for his role in the ABC family sitcom Perfect Strangers (1986–1993) as Balki Bartokomous from the (fictional) Greek-like island of Mypos. Like his character in Beverly Hills Cop, Balki had a humorous foreign accent. He was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series in 1987 for this role.
In August 1993, just weeks after the last new episodes of Perfect Strangers aired on ABC, Pinchot returned to prime-time network television as the star of the CBS sitcom The Trouble With Larry. Co-starring Perry King, Shanna Reed, and Courteney Cox, the show was generally panned by critics and canceled after just three weeks. One episode was directed by former Perfect Strangers co-star Mark Linn-Baker; however it never aired.
In 1994-1995, he guest-starred in two episodes of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman as The Prankster.
Pinchot was added to the ABC sitcom Step by Step in 1996, in part as a replacement for Sasha Mitchell, and remained on the show for the whole season. He played a character reminiscent of the character he played in Beverly Hills Cop. Pinchot then starred in the short-lived 1997 science fiction comedy Meego, which aired on CBS. He guest-starred in a first-season (1996) episode of the NBC sitcom 3rd Rock from the Sun, playing the younger brother of Dr. Mary Albright (Jane Curtin).
In 1998 he starred in the children's comedy film Slappy and the Stinkers with B. D. Wong.
In 1999, Pinchot and Gailard Sartain played the nephews of the legendary Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, respectively, in the movie The All-New Adventures of Laurel and Hardy: For Love or Mummy (1999). Although the film, which co-starred Academy Award winner F. Murray Abraham, was denied a theatrical release and premiered on video, Pinchot was praised for his deft impersonation of Stan Laurel.
Also in 1999, he displayed his versatility in the Stephen Sondheim revue Putting It Together, which he performed with Carol Burnett, George Hearn and John Barrowman.
In 2003, Pinchot voiced the eccentric school chef, Pepe, for Nickelodeon series All Grown Up!.
From March 12 to August 15, 2004, Pinchot performed in the revival of Sly Fox on Broadway, opposite Richard Dreyfuss, Eric Stoltz, René Auberjonois, Peter Scolari, and others.
Pinchot guest starred on Law & Order: Criminal Intent season four, episode Beast in 2005.
Pinchot was a cast member on the fifth season of the VH1 series The Surreal Life, which premiered July 2005.
He guest-starred in the Law & Order: Special Victims Unit episode Alternate in 2007.
2008 saw the release of Pinchot reading the novel The Learners in audio editions, author Chip Kidd's followup to The Cheese Monkeys. Pinchot was also the voice of Max, the fully restored Black 1964 VW Beetle in the 2009 Volkswagen "Das Auto" campaign.
Bronson also guest starred November 8, 2010, on Hawaii Five-0 as an art dealer operating a business for a drug dealer.
Organized the 1975 International Wizard of Oz Club, Inc. Winkie Convention.
Studied drama at Yale University.
Graduated from South Pasadena High School in 1977, where he excelled in French, theater and choir.
He received a scholarship to Yale.
His hobby is Greek sculpture (460 BC-31 BC).
Became a member of the Harford, PA Masonic Lodge #445 in December, 2002.
He claimed on "The Surreal Life" (2003) that he grew up in a very dysfunctional family.
His hobby is Greek sculpture (460 BC-31 BC).
Cuts himself off from all of his friends and outside contacts when he performs on stage, to spend time with the character only.
WHERE IS HE NOW: For the past nine years, Pinchot has devoted much time to the restoration of the circa 1839 mansion of former Pennsylvania Senator Edward Jones in Harford, Pennsylvania.
He has purchased several properties in the town in an attempt to return the town to its 1800s appearance. Currently, he is suing the town's historical society for the rights to a small triangular island.
This year, Pinchot lent his voice to audio editions of author Chip Kidd's novel The Learners. He is also the voice of Max, the fully restored Black 1964 VW Beetle in the Volkswagen "Das Auto" campaign.