Stephen Root
Stephen Root
as Petey's Dad

Actor Biography

Stephen Root voices Petey's loving father in Freeform's new animated comedy "Praise Petey." He is a charming, homespun, stone-cold cult leader with some pretty unique ideas about meditation, space, jumping up and down in a field, and how his bloodline is necessary for the salvation of humanity. He may or may not be dead.

One of today's most prolific character actors, Root is also currently starring in HBO's hit series "Barry," for which he received a Best Supporting Actor Emmy® nomination. "Barry" has been nominated for multiple Emmys and Golden Globes® and has been renewed through season four. Root recently starred in Amazon's drama "Uncle Frank" (2020) and plays a role in the Michael Morris feature directorial debut, "To Leslie" (2020).

Root starred opposite Nicole Kidman in the Roger Ailes/Fox News sexual harassment scandal film "Bombshell" (2019), played a pivotal role in the AFI Film Festival winner "On the Basis Sex" (2018), was featured in the Ruth Bader Ginsberg biopic, and starred opposite Melissa McCarthy in the New Line hit comedy "Life of the Party" (2018). He was also part of the talented ensemble in Netflix's "The Ballad of Buster Scruggs" (2018), reuniting with directors Joel and Ethan Coen. Root was also part of Jordan Peele's box office hit "Get Out" (2017). Aside from his feature films, Root can be seen in his recurring role on HBO's drama "Perry Mason" (2020), also renewed for a second season, and Amazon's hit drama series "The Man in the High Castle" (2015).

Root has earned rave reviews for bringing a variety of characters to life in such films as "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" (2000), "Selma" (2014), "No Country for Old Men" (2007), "Leatherheads" (2008), "J. Edgar" (2011), "Cedar Rapids" (2011) and "Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story" (2004). He was catapulted into the realm of cult hero when he starred as the put-upon Milton Waddams in Mike Judge's "Office Space" (1999). His animated features include "Rango" (2011), "Finding Nemo" (2003), "Finding Dory" (2016), "Ice Age" (2002), "Ice Age: The Melt Down" (2006) and "The Country Bears" (2002).

Root starred as the eccentric station owner, Jimmy James, for five seasons on NBC's "NewsRadio" (1995-99). He has also recurred on FX's "Justified" (2010), "Boardwalk Empire" (2010), "Turn: Washington's Spies" (2014), "Idiotsitter" (2016), "True Blood" (2008), "24" (2001), "West Wing" (1999) and "Pushing Daisies" (2007). His many memorable guest appearances include "Veep" (2012), "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" (2017), "Big Bang Theory" (2018), "Angie Tribeca" (2016), "Fringe" (2008), "Raising Hope" (2010), "Children's Hospital" (2010), "CSI" (2000) and "Louie" (2010).

Root was the voice of Bill Dauterieve and Mr. Strickland on FOX's Emmy-winning hit animated series "King of the Hill" (1997) for an impressive 13 seasons. He has also lent his voice to several animated series, including Kevin Smith's revival of "Masters of the Universe" (2021), "Amphibia" (2019), "BoJack Horseman" (2019), "Adventure Time" (2010), "Gravity Falls" (2012), "American Dad" (2005), "The Cleveland Show" (2009), DreamWorks' "Dragons: Riders of Berk" (2012), "Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness" (2011), "The X's" (2005) and SyFy's "Tripping the Rift" (2004).

Born in Sarasota, Root received his initial training in the BFA program at the University of Florida and remains a die-hard Gators fan. After three years of touring the U.S. and Canada with the National Shakespeare Company, Root settled in New York, honing his craft in many regional theaters and starring off-Broadway in "Journey's End" and "The Au Pair Man." His Broadway debut came in "So Long on Lonely Street," which was followed by the Tony Award®-winning production of "All My Sons" with Richard Kiley. A starring role as Boolie in the Broadway national touring company of "Driving Miss Daisy" with Julie Harris brought Root to Los Angeles, where he currently resides.