Rainn Wilson Biography, Life, Interesting Facts
Rainn Dietrich Wilson
Rainn Dietrich Wilson was born on January 20, 1966, to Shay Cooper (Mother) and Robert G. Wilson (Father). His parents are creative and raised their son to be the same. Shay is an actress and yoga instructor, Robert is a novelist, artist, and business consultant. Rainn and his family practice the Baha’I faith. He was raised in Washington state until partway through high school when his family moved to Wilmette, IL. The family never had very much money, but Rainn has explained that he never realized they were poor while he was growing up.
Rainn Wilson went to Kellogg Middle School and then on to Shorecrest High School in Shorecrest, WA. Part way through high school Rainn’s family moved to Wilmette, IL, where Rainn attended and graduated from Trier High School. He then went on to study theater at Tufts University and the University of Washington. Rainn also received his MFA (Master of Fine Arts) from New York University’s Graduate Acting Program at the Tisch School of the Arts in 1989. One of his contemporaries in University was Phillip Seymour Hoffman.
After graduating from University, Rainn Wilson spent the next ten years working steadily on stages all over New York City. He performed in Off-Broadway and Broadway productions. Including The Tempest with Patrick Stewart in 1995. He was nominated for the Helen Hayes Award for Best Supporting Actor three times during his word at the Arena Stage. In 1997, Rainn took part in a revival production of the comedy London Assurance but was reportedly not pleased with his performance. This experience prompted him to find acting work that felt truer to himself and his beliefs.
In 1997, Rainn started taking roles in television shows and movies, and he hasn’t stopped. He began with roles in shows like One Life to Live, Dark Angel, and Charmed. He also had movie roles in Galaxy Quest (1999) and Almost Famous (2000). He had a recurring role in the HBO series Six Feet Under starting in 2003.
Rainn Wilson is best known for playing the character Dwight Schrute on the American version of The Office. He began the role in 2005 and played Dwight until the show went off the air nine seasons later. Rainn has said that he would be happy to play Dwight for the rest of his life and many years he wrote a blog as Dwight. Rainn also directed three episodes of The Office during his time with the show. His role as Dwight also earned him three Emmy nominations and won him, along with the rest of the cast, a Screen Actors Guild (SAG) award for Best Comedy Ensemble.
Since the end of The Office, Rainn Wilson has filled his time with roles in more television shows and movies. He played the title character for all thirteen episodes of Backstrom which was aired as a crime-drama on Fox. He has also done voice acting work, most notably in the Dreamworks animated film Monsters vs. Aliens. He voiced Gallaxhar, opposite Reese Witherspoon as Susan/Ginormica.
Rainn’s list of works is long. After his popularity on The Office, his work was in more demand. He has been in twenty-four films from 1999 through 2016 with another three set for release in 2017 and 2018. Among these are many romantic comedy type films, such as My Super Ex-Girlfriend and America’s Sweethearts. There are horror films as well, such as The Boy which was directed by Craig McNeill and was shown at the Sundance Film Festival.
Rainn Wilson's list of television credits is as long as his filmography. He has appeared in twenty-three television shows at least once since 1997. Most of these were recurring roles, so television has created a bulk of his work in front of the public.
Rainn is steadily working in the stage and film industries and building his resume of laudable roles. He has played a variety of character types in an array of genres but seems to have an exceptional talent for comedy.
Service to Others
Rainn Wilson has a healthy history of spreading positivity and service to others throughout his life so far. In 2008, he and a couple of friends started the for-profit business Soul Pancake. With a motto of we make stuff that matters and a mission to create content, across various platforms that explores life’s big questions celebrates humanity, and champions creativity, and do it with integrity, heart, and humor. This company is now one of the most recognized positivity brands in the world. After achieving so much popularity for his acting talents, Rainn expressed a desire to do something on the web to spread goodness.
Rainn Wilson and his wife (Holiday Reinhorn) worked for years with a group called MONA Foundation which creates educational opportunities for impoverished people all over the world. Motived by this after a 2009 visit to Haiti, Rainn and Holiday started their non-profit LIDE Haiti along with Dr. Kathryn Adams. This organization works to educate the adolescent girls of Haiti and teach them leadership skills that will aid them and those around them for the rest of their lives. The organization officially started in 2014.
Rainn Wilson has written two books so far. The first is SoulPancake: Chew on Life’s Big Questions in 2010 was co-written with Devon Gundry. The book is an attempt to get people thinking about life, spirituality, love, giving, goodness, science, and so many more things. It poses questions to ponder about your beliefs and actions.
His second book The Bassoon King: Art, Idiocy, and other Sordid Tales from the Band Room was published in 2015. This book is a memoir and does talk about bassoons and Rainn playing one in band class for six years. During his book tour, he played bassoon for people who came to listen to him read from his book. He wrote the opening of the book as Dwight Schrute, his character from The Office.
Family and Faith
Rainn Wilson was born into a family that practiced the Baha’I faith. The reason for the family making a move from Washington to Illinois during his high school years was so they could work at the Baha’I National Center. He has said that after graduating from NYU, he left the faith for a while. He spent about ten years searching, experimenting with drugs and alcohol, researching, trying out being active in politics, soul-searching, and deciding if Baha’I was what he truly believed. He rejoined the faith and had not left again.
Rainn has mentioned more than once that he was a ‘nerd’ in school. He loved and participated in chess club, band class, debate club, Model United Nations, and played xylophone and wore a kilt for the marching band. He and his friends also spent a lot of time playing Dungeons and Dragons, watching Saturday Night Live, Monty Python sketch comedy.
Rainn Wilson met Holiday (Holly) Reinhorn in an acting class while in college. They were married in 1995 on the Kalama River in Washington state. The couple welcomed their son, Walter McKenzie Wilson, in 2004. The family splits its time between homes in California and Oregon. They have several pets, including dogs, a zonkey, and two Vietnamese pot-bellied pigs.