Richard Portnow was born and grew up in Brooklyn, New York in January 1947. He attended Brooklyn College and graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Speech and Theatre. The first film Portnow acted in was "Roadie," which was released in 1981. After this debut, he went on to appear in "Good Morning, Vietnam" "The Sqeeze" and "Weeds." He also appeared in a various television series. He acted in Beauty and the Beast and was also cast in the television show "Perry Mason: The Case of the Missing Madam." His other credits for television include "Almost Partners", "Courage," "Dear John," and "Tales From the Darkside." However, his most well-known performance is in the television drama "The Sopranos," which he acts as the lawyer Harold Melvoin. Portnow has also starred on Broadway in the productions of "The House of Blue Leaves" and "A Month of Sundays." His other theater work include "A Loss of Roses," "Sabrina Fair" and "The Chopin Playoff."