Personal Life and Career
Rubinstein was born in Los Angeles, California, the son of Aniela (née Młynarska), a dancer and writer, and Polish-born concert pianist Arthur Rubinstein. Rubinstein's maternal grandfather was Polish conductor Emil Młynarski.
He made his Broadway acting debut in 1972 and received a Theater World Award for creating the title role in the musical Pippin, directed by Bob Fosse. In 1980 he won the Tony, Drama Desk, Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle, and Drama-Logue Awards for his portrayal of James Leeds in Mark Medoff's Children of a Lesser God, directed by Gordon Davidson. Other Broadway appearances were in Neil Simon's Fools, directed by Mike Nichols, and Herman Wouk's The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial, which earned him a Drama Desk nomination; he replaced William Hurt as Eddie in David Rabe's Hurlyburly, replaced David Dukes in David Henry Hwang's M. Butterfly, and starred in Getting Away with Murder, by Stephen Sondheim and George Furth, directed by Jack O'Brien. In 1987 he made his off-Broadway debut at the Roundabout Theater as Guildenstern in Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, with Stephen Lang and John Wood, and subsequently performed in Urban Blight and Cabaret Verboten. In 2005 he received the Lucille Lortel Award for Best Lead Actor in a Play, as well as nominations for both the Outer Critics’ and Drama League Awards, for his portrayal of George Simon in Elmer Rice's Counsellor-at-Law. In addition, he has made numerous appearances in regional theater productions.
Rubinstein's feature films include 21 Grams, Red Dragon, Mercy, Another Stakeout, Someone to Watch Over Me, Daniel, The Boys from Brazil opposite Sir Laurence Olivier, Rome and Jewel, Jekyll, Kid Cop, Getting Straight, Zachariah, The Trouble with Girls, and The Car. Since 1965 he has acted in over 150 television films and series episodes. He received an Emmy Award nomination for his portrayal of Jeff Maitland in the series Family, a role he played for five years, co-starred for two years with Jack Warden in the series Crazy Like a Fox, and was featured in the miniseries Perfect Murder, Perfect Town. He has subsequently played recurring parts on Angel, The Guardian, The Practice, Star Trek: Enterprise, and BarberShop. In the series finale of Friends, he played the doctor who delivered Monica and Chandler's babies.
Rubinstein has composed, orchestrated, and conducted the musical scores for five feature films, including Jeremiah Johnson and The Candidate, as well as for over 150 television films and episodes. He spent six years as host for the radio program Carnegie Hall Tonight, broadcast on 180 stations in the United States and Canada, and two years as the keyboard player for the jazz-rock group Funzone. He has also recorded over sixty-five books on audio, including eighteen of the best-selling Alex Delaware novels by Jonathan Kellerman.
In 1987, Rubinstein made his directorial debut at the Williamstown Theater Festival, staging Aphra Behn's The Rover, with Christopher Reeve. He has continued to direct regional theater productions, as well as in television.
He originated the role of The Wizard in the Los Angeles production of the musical Wicked which opened on February 21, 2007. He ended his 18 month run on August 24, 2008 and was replaced by David Garrison. He starred alongside Eden Espinosa, Caissie Levy, and Teal Wicks as Elphaba; Megan Hilty and Erin Mackey as Glinda; and Carol Kane and Jo Anne Worley as Madame Morrible.
John appeared in the award winning short film The Delivery (2008) as the actor-from-hell in an audiobook recording and as the Mad Hatter. He currently teaches a course in musical theater audition techniques at the University of Southern California.