Ty Burrell earned a degree in theater from Southern Oregon University in 1993 before heading to New York City, where he found steady work both on and off Broadway. He soon amassed a substantial and impressive list of credits there, ranging from classical works like Shakespeare's "Richard III" opposite Peter Dinklage at the Public Theater to an off-Broadway production of Lanford Wilson's "Burn This" with his future "Incredible Hulk" co-star, Edward Norton.
Burrell's onscreen appearances began with a 2001 guest shot on "The West Wing" (NBC, 1999-2006). His first feature role was a heroic one in Ridley Scott's "Black Hawk Down" (2001) but with his next film project, he established a screen persona that would stick with him for years to come. In Zack Snyder's high-octane remake of "Dawn of the Dead" (2002), Burrell was oily perfection as a yuppie whose sense of entitlement and self-preservation went unchecked in the face of a worldwide zombie apocalypse. The film's blockbuster status, as well as the layer of charm that Burrell brought to the character, helped to not only elevate the role out of stereotype, but also ensured that he would play similar parts for years to come.
Burrell logged small roles in his next features, "In Good Company" (2004), "Down in the Valley" (2005), and "Friends with Money." He tried his hand at two television sitcoms, “Out of Practice” and "Back to You," both co-created by Steve Levitan and Christopher Lloyd. Despite the pedigree involved both shows failed to win over critics and audiences and were quickly canceled.
In 2009, Burrell finally struck pay dirt with a television series that was built to last. "Modern Family," again produced by the ever loyal Levitan and Lloyd, took a mockumentary approach to the traditional family sitcom, with cameras covering the ups and downs in the relationships of a father (Ed O'Neill) and his gay son (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) and tightly wound daughter (Julie Bowen). The show was widely praised by critics, with Burrell receiving the lion's share of the kudos as Bowen's husband Phil, a hapless suburban dad whose attempts to relate to his children and his extended family frequently ended in disaster. For his part, Burrell committed to the hapless Phil, calling his scene-stealing character, "nothing but a big, goofy dog." He was duly rewarded with a Screen Actors Guild award nomination for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series, as well as an Emmy nod in 2010. A year later, he beat out three of his co-stars - Eric Stonestreet, Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Ed O'Neill - to win the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Emmy.
Burrell has also had several successful big screen roles since “Modern Family” became a hit, particularly as a voice actor. He voiced Mr. Peabody and 2014’s “Mr. Peabody & Sherman” and will have a role in the highly anticipated “Finding Nemo” sequel, “Finding Dory.”
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