Unless you recall his unruly eyebrows, you may not be able to put a face to Donald Moffat’s name. But one look at those wild and woolies brings to mind the actor who has become Hollywood’s favorite patrician preppie. (”They’re very recognizable,” Moffat says of his signature brows. ”I’ve been stopped six times in two blocks.”)
”The corrupt lawyer of the ’80s has become a stereotyped part of our mythology,” says Moffat, 62, who played that part in Regarding Henry, Bonfire of the Vanities, Class Action, and The Music Box. But Moffat thinks of this Everylawyer as just a sign of the times and a mere moment in his 36-year American career, which began when he emigrated from England at 26. ”I used to have a whole Western career, and I’ve played everything from the drunken uncle in Far North to LBJ in The Right Stuff,” he says. Now Moffat can be seen in Housesitter, as Steve Martin’s buttoned-up, God-fearing preppie father, who has become estranged from his son. ”The characters are truthfully written,” he says. ”All fathers and sons have these sorts of problems.”
This summer, Moffat is set to play a vulgar clown in As You Like It for New York City’s Shakespeare in the Park. Very highbrow.