Nathan Lane (born February 3, 1956) is a two-time Tony and Emmy Award-winning American actor of stage, screen, and television. He is best known for his roles as Mendy in The Lisbon Traviata, Albert in The Birdcage, Max Bialystock in the musical The Producers, Ernie Smuntz in MouseHunt, Nathan Detroit in Guys and Dolls, Pseudolus in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, and his voice work in The Lion King and Stuart Little. In 2006, he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and in 2008 he was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame.
Lane was born Joseph Lane in Jersey City, New Jersey, the son of Irish American Catholic parents. He was named after his uncle, a Jesuit priest. His father, Daniel, was a truck driver and an aspiring tenor who died from alcoholism when Lane was eleven; his mother, Nora, was a housewife and secretary who suffered from bipolar disorder, and died in 2000. He has two brothers, Robert and Daniel. Lane attended Roman Catholic schools in Jersey City, including Jesuit-run St. Peter's Preparatory High School, where he was selected Best Actor in 1974.
A reporter once asked Lane if he was gay; he replied, "I'm 40, single and work a lot in the musical theater. You do the math." When he told his mother he was gay, she replied, "I'd rather you were dead," to which he replied, "I knew you'd understand."
Lane, who came out publicly after the death of Matthew Shepard, has been a long-time board member of and fundraiser for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, and has been honored by the Human Rights Campaign, Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, and The Trevor Project for his work in the LGBT community.
Lane resides in New York City with his long-time partner, producer Devlin Elliott and has maintained close friendships with Matthew Broderick, Mel Brooks, and Ernie Sabella.