Born Elliott Goldstein in Brooklyn, NY. Tall, gangly, curly-haired actor who,
after a career as a performer in stage musicals, came to personify the slovenly
angst of the young, upwardly mobile middle class during the late 1960s and early
70s. As a teenager, Gould sang and danced in the chorus of several Broadway
musicals before co-starring in Harold Rome's 1962 musical about the garment
industry, I Can Get It for You Wholesale, which was notable for the
show-stopping performance of Barbra Streisand, whom he married the following
Gould made his first impression in film in the charming period comedy THE NIGHT
THEY RAIDED MINSKY'S (1968) and was Oscar-nominated for his supporting work in
the slick but smarmy BOB & CAROL & TED & ALICE (1969). He followed with a spate
of fine leading roles, including Robert Altman's M*A*S*H (as "Trapper John"
McIntyre) and Richard Rush's GETTING STRAIGHT (both 1970). In an offbeat bit of
casting, Gould acquitted himself surprisingly well as Philip Marlowe in THE LONG
GOODBYE (1973) and then starred in CALIFORNIA SPLIT (1974), both directed by
Since the 1970s, Gould has worked fairly consistently in mostly mediocre fare,
including such little-seen comedies as MATILDA (1978) and DEAD MEN DON'T DIE
(1990), and the similarly passed-over dramas THE NAKED FACE (1985) and THE LEMON
SISTERS (1989). He was visible as a frequent guest host of "Saturday Night Live"
but his three attempts at TV comedy ("E.R.," "Together We Stand" and "Sessions")
were short-lived and unsuccessful. Gould regained some attention in features
with a brief but showy performance as a dense schlepp in BUGSY (1991). He played
Jack Geller on "Friends." Other 1990s credits include "The Shining" TV
mini-series, and AMERICAN HISTORY X (1998).
Father, with Barbra Streisand, of actor Jason Gould.