Now playing Tim Allen's boss on the Tuesday ABC sitcom, the veteran of more than 50 years of stage and screen work admits it took some cajoling to get him to take his current part. "The whole thing came as a surprise," he recalls of getting the offer. "A lucky leaf fell in my yard."
An Emmy winner for "Chicago Hope," Elizondo enjoys working with Allen.
"He is a comic genius," Elizondo says. "He misrepresented himself; I thought he was just a comedian, but it turns out he's an actor disguised as a comedian. I knew he was funny, and I knew he had timing, but there's another layer there that has the sense of a thespian."
That means only good things for Elizondo, since he notes Allen "loves the game of pingpong, the back and forth. He has a wicked sense of humor that's a delight for me, and he's truly himself."
Though he also has done his share of drama, Elizondo finds it interesting that "most of the stuff I've been noticed for has been comedy," including "Pretty Woman" and his many other movies with director Garry Marshall. "Comedy is what I love, because it's harder. For the viewer, it feels like a nice, warm bath ... but it takes a lot of work to make you feel that way."
Birth date: Dec. 22, 1936 Birthplace: New York Current residence: Sherman Oaks, Calif. Marital status: Married to actress-photographer Carolee Campbell; has a son from a previous marriage Other television credits include: "Chicago Hope," "Cane," "Century City," "Miracles," "Kate Brasher," "Fish Police" (voice only), "Down and Out in Beverly Hills," "Foley Square," "a.k.a. Pablo," "Casablanca" Movie credits include: "New Year's Eve," "Valentine's Day," "The Princess Diaries," "Runaway Bride," "The Other Sister," "Beverly Hills Cop III," "Pretty Woman," "Frankie and Johnny," "Necessary Roughness," "Beaches," "Nothing in Common," "The Flamingo Kid," "American Gigolo"
Favorite movie you're not in: "The Deer Hunter"
Favorite television series you're not in: "This goes back a little bit, before I was an actor ... 'Have Gun, Will Travel.' I loved the character of the erudite, educated man who could shoot and very rarely killed anybody, but was tough as nails."
Favorite singer: "My popular choice would be Frank Sinatra. And for opera, Placido Domingo."