He got his start in acting when he was 32 years old after dropping out college and taking a job at a fabric factory in Colorado. “When I came back, I took an acting class. What got me curious was that I loved going to plays or movies and forgetting,” Richard Schiff exclusively revealed to Closer Weekly in the magazine’s latest issue, on newsstands now.
It was a bold and precarious move that the now 63-year-old said ultimately saved his life. “It did, because I didn’t know what the hell I was doing,” Richard admitted. “I had a very deep desire to express myself, and I was so lost. When I found acting, I found a purpose.”
And that purpose is the reason that the SAG award-winning actor gets to play roles very close to his heart — especially on The Good Doctor where Richard portrays a young autistic surgeon’s mentor. “My son [Gus] is on the spectrum, and I probably was as well, before they even thought about it as a diagnosis,” he revealed to Closer. “I even found myself taking a theater class in college so I would be forced to have social contact, which I didn’t have otherwise.”
Richard may have had trouble controlling his disorder at times, but he’s thrived throughout his decades-long career. He’s fondly remembered for his role in The West Wing, a drama that won him an Emmy in 2000. Richard is still adding awards to his mantle though — last month, The Clemency star took home the Grand Jury Prize for his role in the film at The Sundance Film Festival.
Richard wins just as much in his personal life as he does in Hollywood. He’s been living a life of wedded bliss since tying the knot with L.A. Law actress Sheila Kelley in 1996. “My wife can have as much love as can fit into the body of a human, and she’s an amazing teacher,” Richard gushed. Together, the couple shares their two teenage kids, Gus and Ruby. “Here’s how well we did. On Saturday night, my kids go, ‘So, what are we doing?'” Richard said proudly. “They’d rather be with us.” So sweet!
For more on Richard Schiff, pick up the latest issue of Closer Weekly, on newsstands now — and be sure to sign up for our newsletter for more exclusive news!
Be sure to check out and subscribe to our Classic TV & Film podcast for interviews with your favorite stars!