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Why George From The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Looks So Familiar

In Season 5 of "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel," Midge (Rachel Brosnahan) finally gets her big break in the form of a writing job on "The Gordon Ford Show," which is presented as a facsimile of "The Tonight Show" as hosted by Johnny Carson from 1962 until 1992. 

Midge's first day on the job includes several awkward introductions, including one with the show's producer, George Tolodando, who name-drops several other female television writers assuming that they all run in the same circles. George is despised by stage manager Mike Carr (Jason Ralph), who openly complains about George's tardiness, incompetence, and flirtatious behavior with the show's female staff members. 

But just who is the actor who portrays this bumbling show leader? George is played by veteran actor Peter Friedman, who made his on-screen debut in a 1975 episode of PBS' "Great Performances" and has appeared on stage and screen for nearly fifty years. Friedman's first major role came on the early '90s CBS sitcom "Brooklyn Bridge," which was a loosely autobiographical account of creator Gary David Goldberg's childhood years in the borough. 

Brooklyn Bridge lasted just two seasons despite critical acclaim

Peter Friedman appeared in all 33 episodes of "Brooklyn Bridge" as George Silver, father of Alan Silver (Danny Gerard), the fictional representation of a young Gary David Goldberg. "Brooklyn Bridge" lasted just two seasons despite stellar reviews from critics and a rare 100 percent Tomatometer reading. When it debuted in 1991, Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly called it "simultaneously the warmest and most intelligent new show of the season." 

The short-lived series also starred Marion Ross as Alan's grandmother Sophie Berger. In 2016, Ross — who's best known as Marion Cunningham on "Happy Days" and has an acting resume that spans nearly seven decades,  told Tablet magazine that "Brooklyn Bridge" was her favorite project ever. 

"I remember it so vividly," she said. "We filmed it like a very expensive movie, with the sun coming in, through the lace curtain, the light shining on the fine china. I could have done any one of those scenes a hundred times."

Friedman's first major movie role was in Single White Female

After "Brooklyn Bridge" was cancelled, Peter Friedman returned his focus to the stage, with a long list of Broadway appearances occupying him in between guest spots on hit shows like "Law and Order" and "NYPD Blue," along with a role in "Single White Female" as Graham Knox. 

In an interview with the Lincoln Center Theater blog about his performance in "Her Requiem" at the Clair Tow theater, Friedman commented on his typical Hollywood roles. "It's been rare in my career to get film or TV work where I'm not the guy in a suit for a day, and that's a very nerve-wracking situation for me."

Mare Winningham, who starred alongside Friedman in "Her Requiem," highlighted the two extremes that multi-format actors must navigate, mentioning that she often has to do a dramatic television scene across from someone she had met that day, while stage actors usually have several weeks to form a relationship with each other and their characters. "That is the biggest difference," Friedman agreed.

Friedman starred in the Hulu cult drama The Path

In 2016, Peter Friedman would get an opportunity to bond with his television co-stars when he landed the part of Hank Armstrong on "The Path," appearing in 23 of the show's 36 episodes. The Hulu series chronicles the members of the Meyerist Movement, a fictional cult that follows leader Stephen Meyer (Keir Dullea). Hank and his wife Gab (Deirdre O'Connell) are among the more loyal and unquestioning Meyerists. 

O'Connell, who also has an extensive theater background, shares Friedman's preference for the added depth of stage work with its unique challenges and opportunities. She told Parade, "I feel less self-conscious doing theater than I do almost anywhere else ... on stage, I am in charge of editing, making a part clear, moving this part along. Questions about how the story gets told is up to the actors. So we have a bigger responsibility, which I enjoy." Concurrently with his time on "The Path," Friedman also appeared on HBO's "High Maintenance," but the most notable role of his long career would come on another HBO hit soon after those two programs wrapped. 

Friedman currently stars as Frank Vernon on Succession

In 2018, Peter Friedman was cast in HBO's "Succession" as Frank Vernon, the longtime friend of Waystar Royco CEO Logan Roy (Brian Cox). Frank serves as COO of Waystar for most of the series, and after the events of Season 4, Episode 3, "Connor's Wedding," Frank could be headed for a battle with the Roy children for control of the company. 

In an interview on the Culture Pop Podcast, Friedman told hosts Steve Mason and Sue Kolinsky he wasn't sure if his character would be eager to take the Waystar reins from his old friend. "I don't know if he wants to run the whole thing," Friedman said. "I think he has a certain respect for Logan and he wants to keep it going the way Logan would want it." While it's unclear whether Frank will stay on and continue working with the rest of the Roy clan, Friedman is one of only eight actors to appear in all 39 episodes of "Succession," so it's hard to imagine the series continuing without Frank Vernon's further involvement.