Thomas Francis Wilson (born April 15, 1959) is an American actor, writer, musician, painter, voice-over artist and stand up comedian. He is best known for playing Biff Tannen (and his grandson Griff Tannen and great-grandfather Buford "Mad Dog" Tannen) in the Back to the Future trilogy and Coach Ben Fredricks on NBC's Freaks and Geeks.

Early life

Wilson was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and raised in nearby Wayne, Pennsylvania. While attending Radnor High School, he was involved in dramatic arts, was president of the debate team, and played tuba in the high school band. He studied international politics at Arizona State University. Wilson's first 'real' stage experience was as a standup comedian while studying at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. He is a contributor to the Bob and Tom Show and is part of their comedy tour.


Wilson had a small role in an episode of NBC's Knight Rider in 1984. His breakthrough role was as a bully named Biff Tannen in the movie Back to the Future. Wilson's talents as a comedian and an actor combined to make Biff a character people loved to hate. When Back to the Future became a trilogy, he was asked to perform in these sequels again as Biff's grandson Griff and Biff's great-grandfather Buford 'Mad Dog' Tannen. His famous catch phrases are "What are you looking at, Butthead?", "Say hi to your mom for me," "Why don't you make like a tree and get out of here," "Hello! Hello, is anybody home?!," and the classics "Hey McFly!", and "Think McFly! Think!" In every Back to the Future film, he always ended up in a pile of manure — in each instance, Wilson's Tannen characters were always trying to kill or hurt Michael J. Fox's character Marty McFly. He reprised his role as Biff and voiced various Tannen relatives in the franchise's animated series. Wilson also played the role of a Detroit police officer in Action Jackson.


In 1992, he voiced gangster Tony Zucco in Batman: The Animated Series and police detective Matt Bluestone in the animated series Gargoyles. He later went to co-star in Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger, a computer game with Mark Hamill. It was the third chapter in the Wing Commander series, but the first to feature live action and was extremely popular at the time. The character played by Wilson was Major Todd "Maniac" Marshall, a fellow starfighter pilot of Hamill's character. Wilson also starred in the sequels Wing Commander IV: The Price of Freedom (1995) and Wing Commander: Prophecy (1997) and contributed his voice to the animated series Wing Commander Academy (1996) in the same role.

Wilson played McKinley High School's Coach Ben Fredricks in the 1999-2000 NBC comedy-drama Freaks and Geeks. Coach Fredricks dated Bill Haverchuck's mother. Wilson was briefly reunited with his Back to the Future co-star Christopher Lloyd in the 1994 film Camp Nowhere.

Wilson also played as Simon, Hilda's dream date made out of dough in Sabrina the Teenage Witch 1998.


In 2003, Wilson appeared on the screen in a mockumentary movie called Trial and Error: The Making of Sequestered. Wilson has often lent his voice to animated productions such as Batman: The Animated Series (1993), The New Batman Adventures (1998), Disney's Atlantis: Milo's Return (2003), and The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie (2004). As well as the animated roles, he has continued to voice characters in computer and video games. His latest roles are supporting characters in the film Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector and on the TV drama Ghost Whisperer.

In 2004, Wilson played the role of Noah Curry in the Pasadena Playhouse production of the musical 110 in the Shade, also starring Marin Mazzie and Jason Danieley. In 2005, Wilson released his comedy album, Tom Wilson Is Funny!.

In 2007, Wilson appeared in the episode "Whatever it Takes" of the Fox drama, House M.D., as "Lou," the father of Dr. House's patient.

In 2008, Wilson appeared in the episode "The Baby in the Bough" of another Fox drama, Bones. He played Chip Barnett, owner of a tire recycling plant.

Wilson appeared in an episode of Boston Legal (Season 4, Episode 7), "Attack of the Xenophobes", as a former cop who is charged with murder.

To honor Wilson, Radnor High School chose Back to the Future as the theme for the LM Rally, and he appeared in the pre rally video.

Wilson performed "Sleigh Ride" with Relient K on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, playing acoustic guitar. The members of Relient K are big fans of Wilson and invited him to perform on the show with them.

In March 2009 he appeared as himself, busking, in Vidiotic, a comedy pilot on the British channel BBC Three.[1]

Wilson voiced Ultimate Electro in Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions.


Wilson is an accomplished painter. Many of his paintings focus on old-time children's toys. In 2006, he was selected to join the California Featured Artist Series at Disneyland.



  1. Vidiotic at the British Comedy Guide

External links

  1. REDIRECT Template:IMDb name
ar:توماس ف. ويلسنit:Thomas F. Wilsonpl:Thomas F. Wilsonru:Уилсон, Томас Фрэнсис

fi:Thomas F. Wilson th:โทมัส เอฟ. วิลสัน tr:Thomas F. Wilson

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