Who is Tim Blake Nelson?

American actor and playwright Timothy Blake ‘Tim’ Nelson was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma USA, on 11 May 1964, under the zodiac sign of Taurus. He has over 100 acting credits, and is perhaps known best for starring in the title role of the critically acclaimed 2018 musical comedy movie “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs”, which also starred Clancy Brown and Willie Watson, and was written and directed by the Coen brothers. It follows the lives of six people in the Old West, and the movie won six of its 43 award nominations, including three Oscar nominations for Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Achievement in Costume Design.

Tim’s today highly active in the film industry and is currently working on 10 upcoming projects, which include the movies “Captain America: Brave New World”, “Dune: Part Two” and “The Bricklayer”.

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Education and early life

Tim was raised in Tulsa by his Jewish parents Don Nelson and Ruth (nee Kaiser); his father was a wildcatter and geologist, while his mother was a philanthropist and social activist. Tim’s maternal uncle is George Bruce Kaiser, was American billionaire businessman.

He studied at Quartz Mountain Resort Arts and Conference Center’s Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute, and during his time there fell in love with acting; Tim went on to attend Holland Hall School, and appeared in nearly all the plays performed at the school.

He matriculated in 1982 and then enrolled at Brown University, from which he graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in 1986; Tim won the Workman/Driskoll Award for Excellence in Classical Studies, and was a member of the fraternity Phi Beta Kappa.

He then honed his acting skills at the prestigious Juilliard School in New York, graduating in 1990.

Roles in TV series

Tim’s debut TV series role was playing various characters in the 1989 comedy “The Unnaturals”, and his following role came in 1995, when cast to play Kidnapper in the episode “The Paco Vasquez Story” of the comedy “House of Buggin’”.

In 1996, he portrayed Johnny Carthage in all three episodes of the popular western mini-series “Dead Man’s Walk”, which starred F. Murray Abraham and Keith Carradine, and follows two Texas Rangers as they’re about to annex Santa Fe; the mini-series won two of its three award nominations.

Tim’s following TV series roles were portraying Mountain Man in the 2005 episode “Camping” of the comedy “Stella”, and Paulie Krill in the 2009 episode “Working Stiffs” of the action mystery “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation”. In 2011, he starred as Casey Malick in all 13 episodes of the action adventure “Chaos”, which also starred Eric Close and Freddy Rodriguez, and was created by Tom Spezialy. It follows rogue CIA agents as they’re battling the bureaucracy, and the series won an Imagen Award for Best Actor – Television (Freddy).

In 2014, Tim played Meeker in all six episodes of the biographical adventure “Klondike”, and the following years saw him play and voice characters in the animated action adventure “Black Dynamite” (voice role), the biographical documentary mini-series “Wormwood”, and the comedy “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”.

Tim’s three most recent TV series roles have been in the episode “Lot 36” of the mystery horror “Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities”, the episode “The Race is On” of the biographical historical drama “George & Tammy” both in 2022, and the 2023 episode “The Future of the Sport” of the crime comedy “Poker Face”.

Roles in movies

Tim’s debut film role was playing Dennis in the 1992 drama “This Is my Life”, which starred Julie Kavner and Samantha Mathis, and was written and directed by Nora Ephron. It follows a stand-up comedienne who’s become famous, and is now neglecting her two daughters; the movie was nominated for three awards. Some of Tim’s following roles were in the 1994 crime comedy “Amateur”, the 1995 family comedy “Heavyweights”, and the 1996 fantasy musical comedy “Joe’s Apartment”.

In 1997, he played FBI Technician in the evergreen biographical crime drama “Donnie Brasco”, which starred Johnny Depp and Al Pacino, and was directed by Mike Newell; it follows an FBI agent who’s gone undercover and has infiltrated the mob, and the movie won two of its 18 award nominations, including an Oscar nomination for Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published. What also marked the ‘90s for Tim was playing Private Tills in the 1998 historical war drama “The Thin Red Line”; it covers the battle at Guadalcanal during World War II, and the movie won 22 of its 69 award nominations, including seven Oscar nominations.

The first half of the 2000s saw Tim appear in several popular movies, such as in 2002 the mystery comedy “Cherish” and the action crime mystery “Minority Report”, and the 2004 romantic comedy “Meet the Fockers”. In 2006, he played Mr. Theopolis in the horror comedy “Fido”, which starred Kesun Loder and Billy Connolly, and was directed by Andrew Currie. It follows Zomcon who’s found a way to pacify zombies and use them, while one of the pacified zombies Fido has become pre-teen Timmy’s best friend; the film won 13 of its 28 award nominations. The remainder of the decade saw Tim appear in the 2008 action science fiction adventure “The Incredible Hulk”, the comedy “Saint John of Las Vegas” and the  crime comedy “Leaves of Grass”, both in 2009

In 2012, Tim played Richard Schell in the hit biographical historical drama “Lincoln”, which starred Daniel Day-Lewis and Sally Field, and was directed by Steven Spielberg. It follows the struggles of the American President Abraham Lincoln, and the movie won 107 of its 359 award nominations, including Oscar wins for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role (Daniel) and Best Achievement in Production Design. Some of Tim’s following notable performances were in the 2013 biographical drama “Bukowski”, the 2014 biographical crime drama “Kill the Messenger”, and the 2015 action science fiction adventure “Fantastic Four”.

He played Leroy Sawicki in the 2018 crime drama “Monster”, which starred A$AP Rocky and John David Washington, and was directed by Anthony Mandler. It follows a 17-year-old film student who’s been charged with a murder, and the movie was nominated for a 2018 Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize for Dramatic.

Some of Tim’s most recent film roles have been in the 2022 animated family drama “Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio” (voice role), and in  2023 the short drama “Ninety-five Senses” and the  action adventure comedy “Ghosted”.

Other credits

Tim’s received five special thanks, some of which for the 2006 mystery comedy movie “Southland Tales”, the 2011 drama film “Return” and the 2013 romantic comedy film “Don Jon”.

He has seven writing and eight directing credits; some of the movies which he’s both written and directed are the 2001 historical war drama “The Grey Zone”, the 2009 crime comedy “Leaves of Grass”, and the 2015 crime drama “Anesthesia”.

Some of Tim’s most recent talk-show appearances have been in “Made in Hollywood”, “In Creative Company” and “Slugfest”.


Tim wrote the play “Eye of God” in 1991, and it was performed for the first time at the Seattle Repertory Theatre in 1992; his second play “The Grey Zone” premiered in 1996 at the MCC Theatre, and his third “Anadarko” in 1998.

The 2000s saw him appear in numerous off-Broadway plays in various theatres around New York City, such as the Soho Repertory Theatre, Manhattan Class Company and Manhattan Theatre Club.

His play “Socrates” premiered at The Public Theater in 2019, and received mostly positive reviews.

Awards and nominations

Tim’s won eight of his 27 award nominations. Some of his wins include a 1997 Tokyo international Film Festival Bronze Award for “Eye of God”, a 2001 Seattle International Film Festival Golden Space Needle Award for Best Director, for “O”, and a 2004 Oldenburg Film Festival German Independence Honorary award.

Love life and marriage

Tim avoids speaking about his love life in public, and thus only a couple of details about it are known. He and American actress Lisa Benavides-Nelson married in a small and private ceremony on 12 June 1994; Lisa’s today teaching at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, in the Graduate Acting Program, and she’s appeared in most of the movies directed by Tim, including “Eye of God”, “The Grey Zone” and “Leaves of Grass”.

Tim and Lisa have three sons together, including Eli and Henry, but they’re keeping their boys away from the media’s attention.

There are no other women who Tim’s been with, that we know about; he’s married to Lisa Benavides-Nelson as of June 2023, and they have three sons together.

Interesting facts and hobbies

Tim became an honorary member of the Phi Beta Kappa’s national collegiate honor society of the University of Tulsa’s Beta of Oklahoma chapter on 8 May 2009.

He’s passionate about singing, and has sung in various movies and TV series.

Tim appeared alongside famous American actor George Clooney in two movies: the 2000 “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”, and the 2005 “Syriana”.

Tim’s followed by only 40 people on Instagram, and has posted only seven pictures onto the network.

He’s a philanthropist, and he and his wife have donated money to a number of charity organizations which aim to help underprivileged youth, while they’ve also donated to animal shelters.

Woody Allen is one of Tim’s favorite actors, and some of his favorite movies include “Stardust Memories”, “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” and “Annie Hall”.

Height, eyes and wealth

Tim’s age is 59. He has brown hair and blue eyes, is 5ft 5ins (1.65m) tall and weighs around 135lbs (61kgs).

Tim’s net worth’s been estimated at over $5 million, as of June 2023.

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