Early Life and Education
He was born in Newark, New Jersey, to a Greek American father and a Jewish mother, and grew up in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey. A graduate of Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, Dennis toured the country with John Houseman's The Acting Company doing classical theatre.
On Broadway Dennis became the first American to play Mozart in Amadeus, and was directed by Laurence Olivier in Filumena. He was married to actress deborah Hedwall, who later co-starred with him in the Off-Broadway production of Sight Unseen to great critical acclaim. They divorced in 2002.
Dennis has received two Obie Awards: one in 1985 for Outstanding Performance in Nest of the Woodgrouse at the New York Shakespeare Festival, directed by Joseph Papp; and one in 1992 for Outstanding Performance in Sight Unseen at the Manhattan Theatre Club. He also received a Drama Desk Award nomination for Best Actor for Sight Unseen, as well as a Cable ACE nomination for Best Supporting Actor for Chasing the Dragon in 1995. He was nominated for a People's Choice Award as best Newcomer.His film credits include leading roles in *batteries not included, The Dream Team, Crocodile Dundee 2, Boys on the Side, and In Dreams, among many others. His most recent indie films include Cherry Crush, The Education of Charlie Banks, and Calling It Quits for which he received the Best Actor Award at the Staten Island Film Festival and the Long Island Film Festival. He is Paul Wolfowitz in Oliver Stone's W. He plays Terrence Ward in The Bourne Legacy.
On television he had the lead in the series Stat, The Jackie Thomas Show, and Misery Loves Company. He has also had recurring roles on Sidney Lumet's 100 Centre Street, Nurse, Trinity, ER, Law & Order, and, most recently, on Showtime's Shameless as Professor Hearst. Dennis had a leading part in Episode 20 of the second season of hit CBS show Person of Interest which aired in the USA on April 26, 2013.
He has starred in over 20 TV films, including Chasing the Dragon, And Then There Was One, Three Faces of Karen, Survival on the Mountain, Beyond Betrayal, and as Woody Allen in the miniseries Love and Betrayal: The Mia Farrow Story.He has been seen on Broadway in Bent, Filumena, and Amadeus with Frank Langella. He was seen in the Delacorte Threatre's production of Julius Caesar as Cassius. He was in the original New York productions of The Boys Next Door, A Picasso, and the revival of That Championship Season.
Off-Broadway he is probably best known for playing Jonathan Waxman in the original production of Sight Unseen at the Manhattan Theatre Club and later the Orpehum Theatre. He received the Obie Award and nomination for a Drama Desk Award for this performance. At the Geffen Theatre in Los Angeles he appeared in the premiere of David Mamet's The Old Nighborhood and in 2007 Jane Anderson's The Qulity of LIfe with Laurie Metcalf and Jo Beth Williams. For that performance he received the Backstage West Garland Award for Best Actor and was nominated for Best Actor by the L.A. Critics Drama Circle and by the LA Alliance Ovation Awards.
In 2009 he was in the Broadway revivals of Brigton Beach Memoirs and Broadway Bound. The First, Brighton Beach, opened to wide critical acclaim and then closed one week later. Much has been written regarding the demise, but all fingers have pointed to mishandling by the producers. Broadway Bound never opened.
He continued his association with Laurie Metcalf appearing with her in The Other Place Off-Broadway.
He can be heard in over 100 audiobooks and has received five Audie Awards and two Best Voices of the Year Awards from AudioFile Magazine.