Timothy Busfield is a producer, director, and Emmy Award-winning actor with over 700 professional credits. He is the Blue Water Film Festival’s first recipient of the “Golden Mitten” award. The award recognizes an individual from Michigan who has made a significant mark in the arts and entertainment field.
Timothy Busfield was born on June 12, 1957, in Lansing, Michigan, the son of drama professor Roger and Michigan State University Press Director Jean Busfield. He has two sisters, Terry and Julia, and a brother, Buck. He graduated from East Lansing High School in 1975. Timothy received his first professional acting job at 18 in a children’s theater adaptation of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. He studied drama at East Tennessee State University and traveled frequently with the Actors Theater of Louisville. In 1981, he moved to New York City, NY, where he joined the Circle Repertory Company for their production of Lanford Wilson’s Talley and Son.
Timothy was cast in his first film role in 1981 in the comedy film “Stripes” directed by Ivan Reitman, where he played the small role of a mortar gunner. He received his first substantial film role as Arnold Poindexter, in the comedy Revenge of the Nerds and its 1987 sequel, and joined the cast of the medical drama Trapper John, M.D. He created the Fantasy Theatre, along with his brother Buck, a professional touring company for children’s audiences—and later named Honorary State Children’s Theater for California. They also established the award-winning B Street Theatre there in 1992, which was devoted to more adult productions.
Timothy rose to prominence in 1987, when he was cast as Elliot on Thirtysomething, for which he was nominated three times for an Emmy before winning one in 1991. He is also the founder of the non-profit arts organization Theatre for Children, Inc. His short film, One Smart Fellow, won the 2016 Audience Award at the 7th Williamsburg Independent Film Festival. Timothy also directed episodes of the police procedural drama series “Without a Trace,” “Las Vegas”, “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip” and the legal drama series “Damages.”
Timothy was married to actress and director Radha Delamarter before divorcing in 1986. The couple had a son, Willy. In 1988 he married fashion designer Jennifer Merwin, with whom he had children Daisy and Samuel. They filed for divorce in 2007. Timothy first met the Little House on the Prairie star, Melissa Gilbert at a bar in 2012 and was won over by her smile. The couple got engaged over the holidays that same year and tied the knot on April 24, 2013, in a private ceremony at the historic San Ysidro Ranch in Santa Barbara, California. Melissa’s book, Back to the Prairie: A Home Remade, A Life Discovered, was released on May 10, 2022. In which she talked about the natural lifestyle she chose to lead with Timothy in the Catskill Mountains. The couple has a combined net worth of $7 million.