SF State News {University Communications}

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News Release


Jeffrey Tambor selected Alumnus of the Year


SAN FRANCISCO, May 4, 2009 -- Actor Jeffrey Tambor has been named 2009 Alumnus of the Year by San Francisco State University. Since honing his craft on the stage at SF State, Tambor (B.A. '65) has enjoyed a successful career as an actor and teacher, earning six Emmy Award nominations in his nearly four decades in the industry.

Tambor will receive the Alumnus of the Year award at the University’s 108th Commencement exercises held Saturday, May 23 in Cox Stadium on campus.

In 1976, Tambor made his Broadway debut in the comedy "Sly Fox" alongside George C. Scott. After making a name for himself in New York and other regional theatre, Tambor debuted in the film "And Justice for All" with Al Pacino. He has gone on to make such films as "Meet Joe Black," "Pollock," "There's Something About Mary," "Mr. Mom," as well as Guillermo del Toro's "Hellboy I" and "Hellboy II." In television, he has earned critical acclaim for his portrayal of George Bluth, Sr., and his brother Oscar on the television show "Arrested Development," for which he earned two Emmy nominations. Prior to that, Tambor earned four Emmy nominations for his role as sidekick Hank Kingsley on "The Larry Sanders Show." 

"Jeffrey Tambor's achievements as an actor are testament to his talent and dedication," President Robert A. Corrigan said. "In nearly four decades in the industry, he has won audience and critical approval and as a result showcased the value of creative arts education at San Francisco State."

Tambor had plenty of experience around the SF State stage before enrolling as an undergraduate. He grew up on Tapia Drive in Park Merced and as an 8-year-old would wander over to watch rehearsals. Before long, the San Francisco native was helping the crew and being asked to critique performances. "That was my introduction to theatre, that was my introduction to (SF) State, that was my introduction to about everything," Tambor said. 

Once at SF State, Tambor quickly immersed himself in the theatre department, taking classes from former College of Creative Arts Dean J. Fenton McKenna and other arts leaders. Tambor credits the faculty at SF State with "lighting a fire in my belly," through a wide-range of acting and technical theatre classes.

"We never talked about work or getting work," Tambor said. "We talked about what you did in process, in every class how to be the best artist you could be. When you left (SF State) you knew what you were doing."

In addition to his acting work, Tambor has taught a popular acting class. He graduated from SF State in 1965 and earned a master of fine arts degree from Wayne State University in 1969.

SF State’s Alumnus of the Year award recognizes significant contributions in an alumnus' field of work. Previous winners include award-winning filmmaker Arthur Dong; Kenneth Fong, chairman of Kenson Ventures LLC; Manny Mashouf, founder and chairman of bebe stores inc.; E-LOAN co-founder/CEO Chris Larsen, actress Annette Bening; former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown; and physician and NASA astronaut Yvonne Cagle.

SF State is the only master’s-level public university serving the counties of San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin. The University enrolls more than 30,000 students each year and graduates about 7,000 annually. With nationally acclaimed programs in a range of fields -- from creative writing, cinema and biology to history, broadcast and electronic communication arts, theatre arts and ethnic studies -- the University’s more than 140,000 graduates have contributed to the economic, cultural and civic fabric of San Francisco and beyond. For more information about SF State's 2009 Commencement, visit: www.sfsu.edu/commencement/



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