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Mad About You Biography
Born and raised in Chicago, Pankow is
the sixth of nine children. His older brother,
James C. Pankow, performs in the
recording group Chicago. John dabbled in
drama during high school but didn't
become serious about acting until he went
to Northeastern Illinois University, where he
majored in theater arts.
He left the university in his junior year after
he attended a performance of David
Mamet's "The American Buffalo" at the St.
Nicholas Theater in Chicago. Inspired by
the play, he enrolled in the theater's
two-year theatrical training program in
order to concentrate solely on acting.
While visiting a friend in New York City,
Pankow auditioned for, and won, a role in
a PBS film entitled "Life on the
Mississippi." He went on to perform in
several off-Broadway productions
including "Scheherazade," "Aristocrats,"
"Italian American Reconciliation," "Hunting
Scenes," "Ice Cream/Hot Fudge" and the
New York Shakespeare Festival's "Two
Gentlemen of Verona" and "Henry VIII." He
subsequently made it to Broadway with
"Serious Money," "The Iceman Cometh,"
and as Mozart in "Amadeus," one of his
most notable roles to date. Last summer
he reprised the role of Stefano in the
runaway hit production of Shakespeare's
"The Tempest" in Central Park.
Pankow has several motion pictures to his
credit, including "A Stranger Among Us,"
"Mortal Thoughts," "Talk Radio," "To Live
and Die in L.A." and "The Secret to My
On the television side, Pankow has guest
starred on such series as "Law and
Order," "Spenser: For Hire" and "Miami
Vice." After several guest spots in the first
season of "Mad About You," he was
signed as a cast regular.
Pankow is currently involved in developing
projects for himself in the theater both as
an actor and director. In his spare time, he
enjoys cooking for his wife and their
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