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A capable and charismatic leading man in numerous television productions, Peter Krause lent both gravity and humor to several acclaimed small screen productions, including "Sports Night" (ABC, 1998-2000) and "Six Feet Under" (HBO, 2001-05). A lengthy apprenticeship of television guest spots built Krause's visibility, while "Sports Night" - a screwball comedy-influenced sitcom about a failing cable sports show - established him as an actor worthy of top billing. But it was his turn as Nate Fisher, the troubled son of a deeply dysfunctional family of funeral home operators on "Six Feet Under," that alerted viewers and critics to his talent. Krause returned to television for several subsequent shows, as well as the occasional feature like the caustic relationship drama "We Don't Live Here Anymore" (2004), lending each his particular brand of versatility and skill.
Born in Alexandria, MN on Aug. 12, 1965, Krause was one of three children born to educator parents. Raised in Roseville, he found his first love in track and field and gymnastics, but an injury forced him to focus his attention elsewhere. He started as a pre-med student at Gustavus Aldophus College in St. Peter, MN, only to switch to English literature after a half semester. Prior to graduating in 1987, he made his feature film debut in "Blood Harvest" (1987), a low-budget horror film starring faded novelty singer Tiny Tim as a homicidal clown. The experience clearly failed to dissuade him from becoming an actor, which led to his relocation to New York City to pursue his master's degree from the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. While there, he also performed in productions of classical stage works, while earning his keep as a bartender at the Palace Theater where his manager was future collaborator and acclaimed television producer, Aaron Sorkin.
Shortly after earning his degree in 1990, Krause joined Jeremy Piven, Richard Kind and Anita Barone as featured players on "Carol and Company" (NBC, 1990-91), a weekly sketch comedy series starring Carol Burnett. Though well received, the show was short-lived. But Krause was soon earning guest spots on a variety of television series and in independent features, playing Gabrielle Carteris' love interest in a pair of "Beverly Hills, 90210" (Fox, 1990-2000) episodes. He segued back into recurring roles on a pair of programs, "The Great Defender" (Fox, 1995), which cast him as an arrogant lawyer before getting the axe after one episode, and the romantic sitcom "If Not For You" (CBS, 1995), on which he was the insecure boyfriend of Elizabeth McGovern. Though both fell by the wayside in short order, his regular appearances as Cybill Shepherd's humorless son-in-law on "Cybill" (CBS, 1995-98) offered him more a bigger leg up.
Krause bounced between television and independent features, landing leading roles in the little-seen feature dramas "Lovelife" (1997) and "My Engagement Party" (1998). Following a turn as Jim Carrey's boss in the critically acclaimed "The Truman Show" (1998), he finally landed his breakthrough role as fast-talking sportscaster, Casey McCall, who falls for his director on Sorkin's comedy series, "Sports Night." Reportedly modeled after sportscaster-turned-talk show host and actor Craig Kilborn and ESPN anchor Dan Patrick, Krause's McCall proved to be a terrific showcase for the actor's comic skills, earning him a Screen Actors Guild nomination along with his cast mates in 2000. But after only two seasons, the ratings-challenged "Sports Night" was prematurely axed from ABC's schedule, upsetting a small but loyal fan base who had embraced both the show and Krause's character.
Already on to his next project the following year, Krause initially auditioned for the role of David Fisher on "Six Feet Under." But his chemistry with co-star Rachel Griffiths led him to be cast as Nate Fisher, the show's ostensible lead character. As the black sheep of the Fisher family, Nate returns home after his father's death to reluctantly take the reins of the family's funeral home business with his gay brother David (Michael C. Hall) and mother Ruth (Frances Conroy). The push and pull of responsibility to his family - represented with dark humor by his father's ghost (Richard Jenkins), who returns to goad his son into facing his demons - and his own nature led Nate into disastrous relationships with Brenda (Rachel Griffiths) and Lisa (Lili Taylor), before dying of a brain malady shortly before the series' conclusion in 2005. Krause was richly rewarded for his turn on the series, including a Screen Actors Guild Award (which he shared with the cast in 2004), three Emmy nominations and two nods from the Golden Globes.
While on "Six Feet Under," Krause ventured into movies for the bleak independent drama "We Don't Live Here Anymore" (2004). Directed by John Curran, the movie found Krause in dark territory as an amoral and self-absorbed writer whose laissez-faire attitude towards fidelity fuels affairs between his wife (Naomi Watts), best friend (Mark Ruffalo), and his spouse (Laura Dern). Written by scribe Larry Gross, the grim subject matter and cold-blooded protagonists kept the film confined largely to art house circles. Krause next shuttled between television with the science fiction miniseries "The Lost Room" (Syfy, 2008) and the indie thriller "Civic Duty" (2006), which saw him playing an unemployed accountant whose paranoia over terrorist threats is ratcheted to dangerous levels with the arrival of a Middle Eastern neighbor. The latter project also marked Krause's debut as producer.
In 2007, Krause returned to series work - this time, as a producer as well - with the drama "Dirty Sexy Money" (ABC, 2007-08), a mystery with comic overtones about a lawyer (Krause) who infiltrates a wealthy and corrupt family he believes is responsible for his father's death by becoming their financial advisor. Rife with rich character turns by Donald Sutherland, Jill Clayburgh and William Baldwin, the show failed to connect with audiences, and was gone from the network lineup the following year despite a hefty advertising campaign and critical acclaim. Once again, Krause wasted little time gearing up for his next projects. He was cast as the father of a callous young man (Alex Pettyfer), who is transformed into a monstrous figure in "Beastly" (2010), and that same year, landed the lead in the Ron Howard-produced series, "Parenthood" (NBC, 2010-15), an television updating of the director's feature film over 20 years after the fact.
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