As the middle child of the three sons of Edward and Charlotte Schiff. Richard Schiff was born and raised on the East Coast. The Emmy Award winner began his career as a theater director in New York and later founded and served as the artistic director of the Manhattan Repertory Theatre where he directed both on-and off-Broadway productions. Reversing the usual trend, Richard eventually realized that, "What I really wanted to do was act."
After hitting the boards in a few downtown productions, he nabbed roles in several independent feature films (including Robert Longo's Arena Brains with Michael Stipe, Steve Buscemi and Ray Liotta) before moving to Los Angeles.
Keeping his ties to theater, Schiff joined Tim Robbins' award-winning Actors Gang and concurrently appeared in other productions, including a starring role as Goose in the West Coast premiere of David Rabe's Goose and Tom Tom, for which he received a Dramalogue Award for Best Actor. He was also awarded an Ovation Award for his role in Urban Folktales.
Schiff rose to prominence by landing roles in feature films such as David Fincher's Seven with Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman and City Hall with Al Pacino. Since his film debut, Schiff has appeared in over 40 features, including Spike Lee's Malcolm X, Danny DeVito's Hofa, Nora Ephron's Michael and co-starred as the heroic Eddie Carr in Steven Spielberg's Jurassic Park: The Lost World. In 1998, he co-starred in two of the year's biggest hits, Deep Impact and Dr. Doolittle, and received critical acclaim for his role in Living Out Loud with DeVito.
Most recently, Schiff starred in the films Heaven and Forces of Nature. His additional big-screen credits include Numbers, starring John Travolta and Lisa Kudrow, and What's the Worst That Can Happen? starring Martin Lawrence and Danny DeVito.
Prior to The West Wing, Schiff was perhaps best recognized on TV for his stirring portrayal of the struggling Barry Roth on the critically acclaimed series Relativity. He has also carved a niche as a guest star, with memorable performances on such shows as Ally McBeal, The Practice, Chicago Hope and NBC's ER. He was most recently seen in the movie Ray, a movie for which Jamie Foxx won an Oscar.
Schiff won a 2000 Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for his work as the White House Communications Director Toby Ziegler on The West Wing. He was nominated for that role again in 2001 and 2002.
Schiff's birthday is May 27. He is married to actress Sheila Kelley (L.A. Law, Sisters). They have two children: Gus, and Ruby. The Schiff Family currently resides in Los Angeles, California.