Timothy Busfield was born in Lansing, Michigan, on June 12, 1957. Jean, his mother, was a secretary, and Roger, his father, was a theater professor. Timothy attended East Lansing High School with his sisters Julia and Terry and brother Buck.
Busfield attended East Tennessee State University studying acting after graduating in 1975, and he frequently traveled with the Actors Theater of Louisville. At the age of 18, he made his professional theatrical debut in a children’s adaption of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Timothy moved to New York City in 1981 and made his stage debut in Lanford Wilson’s “Talley and Son.” at the Circle Repertory Company.
Busfield’s screen debut as a trooper in 1981’s “Stripes,” then relocated to Los Angeles in 1983 to portray Mark Potter on ABC’s “Reggie.” He played Arnold Poindexter in the 1984 and 1987 films “Revenge of the Nerds” and “Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise,” and he played Trapper John McIntyre’s son on the CBS sitcom “Trapper John, M.D.” from 1984 to 1986.
Timothy appeared as Elliot Weston in the ABC drama “Thirtysomething,” from 1987 to 1991, which aired 85 episodes over four seasons and garnered him a Primetime Emmy; he also directed three episodes.
He appeared in 1989’s “Field of Dreams,” alongside Kevin Costner, then in 1992’s “Sneakers” 1993’s “The Skateboard Kid” and 1994’s “Striking Distance.” In 1994, Busfield starred as Sam Byrd on ABC’s “The Byrds of Paradise” and he also acted in the films “Little Big League” “Quiz Show” and “First Kid” as well as the TV films “In the Shadow of Evil” (1995) & “Kidnapped: In the Line of Duty” (1995).
He played Danny Concannon in 28 episodes of the NBC political drama “The West Wing.” from 1999 to 2006. He appeared in the 2003 film “National Security,” alongside Martin Lawrence and Steve Zahn, and he had recurring parts as Lloyd Stevens on NBC’s “Ed” (2002–2004) and Ed Felder on CBS’s police procedural “Without a Trace” (2004).
Timothy starred as Cal Shanley on NBC’s “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip,” from 2006 to 2007, and he also directed six episodes of the show. He made his acting debut in two episodes of “Entourage” in 2009, then went on to guest star on “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” (2011), “Blue Bloods” (2012), and “Children’s Hospital” (2013).
Busfield starred in the 2013 film “23 Blast,” and he played Benjamin Franklin in three episodes of Fox’s “Sleepy Hollow.” from 2014 to 2015. He played John Garner in ABC’s “Secrets and Lies” (2015) as well as Dr. Adam Louden just on ABC/Netflix show “Designated Survivor” (2018–2019), in which he also directed episodes. Timothy directed the 2019 film “Guest Artist,” which received multiple honors and was scripted by Jeff Daniels.
Grand River Productions, which Busfield founded with his spouse, Melissa Gilbert, and Daniels, produced the picture as its first project. He played Ron Doyle on the Fox series “Almost Family,” from 2019 to 2020, and from 2020 to 2021, he appeared as Henry Roswell here on ABC legal drama “For Life”
Timothy married Radha Delamarter, an actor, and director, in 1981, and they had a son named Wilson before separating in 1986. Busfield married Jennifer Merwin, a fashion designer, on September 11, 1988, and the couple produced a daughter Daisy, and a son Samuel before divorcing in 2008.
Timothy married actress Melissa Gilbert on April 24, 2013, and the couple lived in Howell, Michigan, before moving to New York City in 2018. During the 2016–17 academic year, Busfield was an artist in resident at Michigan State University. He added of his teaching position, “I am eager to assist students with the process. From dealing with rejection to relocating performers, staging situations, and letting go of the unpleasant.”
Nominations and Awards
For “Thirtysomething,” Busfield was nominated for four Primetime Emmy Awards, winning one in 1991 for Supporting Role Actor in a Drama Series. He also received two Q Award nominations for Best Supporting Actor in a Quality Drama Series for the series (from the Viewers for Quality Television Awards).
Timothy won awards for “Guest Artist,” from the Accolade Competition (Best of Show – Feature Film), the Beloit International Film Festival (Best Feature Film), the Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival (Best Independent Film), the Myrtle Beach International Film Festival (Best Director & Best Feature Film), the New York City Independent Film Festival (Best Director), the Sacramento International Film Festival (Outstanding Feature Film), and the SENE Film, Music, and Art Festival (Best Feature Film).
Busfield received an Accolade Competition Award of Excellence Special Mention, a Best Short Film prize at the Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival, a Best Family Narrative award at the Manhattan Film Festival, and an Excellence Award at the Rincon International Film Festival.
He also received Celebration Prize for Best Film at the Sacramento International Film Festival, an Audience Award for Best Fiction Short at the Traverse City Film Festival, and an Outstanding Award at the Rincon International Film Festival for “One Smart Fellow,” For “Tenure,” which he wrote, he received an IndieFEST Film Award for Special Mention – TV Pilot, a Jersey Shore Film Festival award for Best TV Pilot Drama, and a Manhattan Film Festival award for Best Comedic Drama Short.
Timothy Busfield has an estimated net worth of $1 million. Busfield bought a 2,396 square foot property near Malibu for $1.25 million in 2003. After his divorce from Merwin in late 2008, he listed the three-bedroom, three-bathroom home for $1.995 million. Timothy was said to be facing foreclosure two years later after defaulting on his mortgage.