Alan Safier (b. June 3, 1949, in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.) is an American stage, television, and voice-over actor and singer who is currently touring the United States as George Burns in the one-man show Say Goodnight Gracie by Rupert Holmes.
Alan Safier was born in Cleveland to Martha Wolk (1913–2007), a homemaker, and Samuel Safier (1910–1965), a pharmacist. He has two older brothers, Howard and Dennis. As a child, he was always interested in performing, writing and communications. At the age of 12, he began writing a newspaper that covered events on his small suburban street, Tolland Road, in Shaker Heights, Ohio; the monthly newspaper lasted for one-and-a-half years. He wrote a sports column for the school newspaper at Byron Junior High, was co-editor for the Mayfield High newspaper, and was a contributing editor for the Ohio University Post in Athens, Ohio. He also showed an early interest in broadcasting, serving as a disc jockey on the in-house radio station at the Cleveland Veterans' Administration Hospital, and working briefly at WOUB, the Ohio University radio station.
But the theatre always appealed the most to Safier. His first stage appearance was at the age of nine in an adaptation of Dr. Seuss's Bartholomew and the Oobleck. He continued acting in junior high, high school, teen theatre, summer stock, and community theatre productions, including a mounting of Michael Weller's Moonchildren at the renowned Cleveland multi-racial theatre Karamu House.
After receiving an MFA in Acting at Ohio University, Alan Safier debuted off-Broadway in another play called Say Goodnight, Gracie, this one written by Ralph Pape, directed by Austin Pendleton, and about neither George nor Gracie. Soon after, he was cast in the 30th anniversary revival of the seminal New Faces of 1952, taking on the role originated by Ronny Graham, which included emceeing the show, doing a Truman Capote take-off (as "Mr. Kaput"), and performing in a comedy sketch written in the early 1950s by a young Melvin Brooks. (Toward the end of the run, Eartha Kitt, who was in the 1952 Broadway production, joined the cast and re-created her original role.)
Some of his other New York and regional theatre credits include Steve Martin’s The Underpants, the off-Broadway comedy revue Scrambled Feet, Littlechap in Stop the World, I Want to Get Off, Bluntschli in George Bernard Shaw’s Arms & the Man, and Gratiano in The Merchant of Venice (in which he co-starred with legendary Group Theatre actor Morris Carnovsky).
Recently, he had a six-month run as Herb Schwartz in the comedy-drama The Last Schwartz at The Zephyr in Hollywood. Other west coast credits include the homeless Vietnam veteran Lou in Steve Tesich’s The Speed of Darkness, Michael in the L.A. premiere of The Men from the Boys (Mart Crowley's sequel to his seminal play The Boys in the Band), Stephen in Dealer's Choice by Patrick Marber, Frenchy in Clifford Odets’s Rocket to the Moon, and Buddy Fidler in the Cy Coleman musical, City of Angels.
In the fall of 2008, he earned the role of George Burns in the U.S. tour of the Tony-nominated Say Goodnight Gracie (the one-man show that starred Frank Gorshin on Broadway), and has been performing in it ever since. In addition to Burns, Safier has played several famous and infamous persons in his stage career: Albert Einstein in the world-premiere musical The Smartest Man in the World, John Adams in 1776, and Spiro Agnew in Gore Vidal's An Evening with Richard M. Nixon. He co-starred as Charles J. Guiteau in the Los Angeles premiere of Stephen Sondheim’s Assassins, a production which also starred Patrick Cassidy (the Balladeer in the original New York production) as John Wilkes Booth.
Alan Safier may be familiar to audiences from hundreds of TV and radio voice-overs (notably as the Kibbles ’n Bits dog and the voice of TurboTax). He has appeared on the daytime dramas "Passions," "Days of Our Lives," and "Generations." His most recent prime-time guest-star appearance was on "The Wizards of Waverly Place."
Alan teaches voice-over workshops at theatre festivals and universities across the country, and is the author of the play My Father’s Voice as well as several published short stories. Since 2003, he has been a frequent guest artist at the annual William Inge Theatre Festival in Independence, Kansas.