Peter Krause is an American actor who found fame playing lead roles on television series such as HBO’s Six Feet Under and NBC’s Parenthood.
Born in Minnesota in 1965, Peter Krause is an Emmy-winning actor who made several guest appearances and had recurring roles on television shows in the 1990s. In the early 2000s, he found fame playing lead role of Nate Fisher on HBO's Six Feet Under and in as Adam Braverman on NBC's Parenthood, which premiered in 2010.
Born August 12, 1965 in Alexandria, Minnesota. Peter Krause's mother was an elementary school teacher, and his father was a social worker and high school English teacher. Krause grew up in a fairly troubled family, with his father hospitalized with severe depression through much of Peter's childhood. As a teenager, Krause also grew depressed and developed severe insomnia. "A week would go by without sleeping and I would start to hallucinate," he later recalled. "I lost the ability to let go of control." He even contemplated suicide. "There was a sense of meaninglessness that ran so deep inside me that leaving this world wasn't the worst possibility for me," he remembers. "It was something I considered pretty seriously. I started questioning everything, including terms and concepts taken from dictionaries or the Bible." Krause entered intensive therapy, which he says, "helped me tremendously in terms of dealing with myself."
In high school, Krause was far more interested in sports than drama. He was a track and field star as well as a gymnast until a pole-vaulting injury forced him to give up competitive sports. Without sports practices to keep him busy after school, Krause decided to go out for the school play. "There was a girl I wanted to get to know who was into the theater, so that's why I auditioned for that play," he explains. Similarly, after graduating from high school in 1983, Krause decided to attend Gustavus Adolphus College in Saint Peter, Minnesota because, he says, "there were lots of cute Swedish blonde girls running around." Although he enrolled as a premed student, he soon switched majors to study English literature instead. Krause also continued acting, and while still in college he appeared in his first film, Blood Harvest, a low budget horror flick in which he played a man who gets killed by a demented clown played by Tiny Tim.
Upon graduating from Gustavus Adolphus in 1987, Krause moved to New York City to study acting at New York University's prestigious Tisch School of the Arts. It was there that he immersed himself in the philosophy and craft of acting for the first time. Krause says of his time at NYU, "my job was to study human behavior, to be as flexible a person as I could possibly be so that I could understand another person's circumstances and life rules and desires … fears, belief systems, all that stuff. That was part of the training at NYU, learning how to neutralize yourself. You learn how to do that physically, mentally, emotionally." While studying at NYU, Krause appeared in productions of Macbeth, Uncle Vanya and Arms and the Man, and he also worked as a bartender at the Palace Theater, where his manager was acclaimed television producer Aaron Sorkin. He graduated with his Master's of Fine Arts degree in 1990.
After graduating from NYU, Krause moved to Los Angeles and immediately landed a regular role in the sketch comedy show Carol & Company. He also picked up guest spots on such popular TV shows as Seinfeld (1990), Beverly Hills, 90210 (1992) and Ellen (1994). Then, in 1995, he landed a substantial and regular role on the CBS sitcom Cybill, which continued until 1997. Krause's big break came the next year, when his old employer Aaron Sorkin cast him in a leading role on the acclaimed ABC sitcom Sports Night. Krause played Casey McCall, a glib sports anchor recovering from a troubled marriage, winning rave reviews for his performance.
In 2001, Krause landed his most prominent role to date in the highly acclaimed HBO series Six Feet Under. Krause played Nate Fisher, a man who very reluctantly returns home after the death of his father to take over his family's funeral home business. Krause describes his character's predicament: "I see Nate as someone who really wants to do the right thing, but sometimes doing the right thing makes him very unhappy." Due to his own childhood struggles with depression, Krause feels an intense personal connection his character's quiet brand of unhappiness and desperation. "That particular struggle is something that I relate to with Nate," he says. The show ran from 2001 to 2005, and Krause won numerous Emmy and Golden Globe nominations for his performance.
Since gaining renown for his role on Six Feet Under, Krause has continued on to a very successful television and film career. He worked on the popular series Dirty, Sexy Money and is currently starring in the NBC sitcom Parenthood. He has also appeared in films such as We Don't Live Here Anymore (2004), Civic Duty (2006) and Beastly (2010).
Peter Krause has a son, Roman, with his former girlfriend Christine King, and he is currently dating Parenthood costar Lauren Graham. Influenced by the broken marriages he witnessed as a child—as well as the numerous unhappily married characters he has portrayed as an actor—Krause is outspoken about his reluctance to marry. "I always felt like if a team of wild horses can't keep me from getting married, only then I should get married," he once said.
Ironically, a career of portraying severely depressed characters has helped Krause overcome his own personal struggles with depression. Asked in an interview whether it takes a toll on him to play such haunted characters, he responded, "it's actually made me a person who gravitates towards happiness a lot more when I'm not working." And now that he has finally found personal happiness, Krause says that he wants to take on roles that reflect his new place in life. "I'm looking for something inspiring, something kinetic—some inspirational, hopeful film," he says. "I want to be more focused on the light at the end of the tunnel."