Nathan Lane (born February 3, 1956) is a contemporary, award-winning American actor of the stage and screen.
Born Joseph Lane, the actor changed his name to Nathan after the character Nathan Detroit from the musical Guys and Dolls.
Lane's career began on Broadway, most notably in the first production of Terrence McNally's Lips Together, Teeth Apart . His first large film role was supplying the voice of Timon in Disney's The Lion King. After spending much of the 1990s working on movies, which included the popular film The Birdcage, Lane returned to the Great White Way in the hit musical The Producers. He is openly gay.
In 2004 Mr. Lane revised the book for and starred in Stephen Sondheim's musical adaptation of Aristophanes' The Frogs at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre at Lincoln Center. The production also starred Roger Bart, Peter Bartlett, John Byner , Burke Moses, and Michael Siberry. Lane's first connection with the show came when he performed the leading role of Dionysos in a concert staging in honor of Sondheim's birthday. The concert was recorded on Nonesuch, and included Brian Stokes Mitchell and Davis Gaines . The 2004 production of the show contained 7 additional songs, and was recorded by PS Classics.
In October 2004 Lane assumed the lead role of 'Max Bialystock' in the London stage production of Mel Brooks' The Producers. He had already played the role during the show's New York run, and was a last-minute replacement for Richard Dreyfuss, who had dropped out of the London run during rehearsals, citing back problems. Lane himself was forced to retire in December 2004 for the same reason.  The play was a commercial success, and for his ten-week run Lane was paid £400,000; in Februrary 2005 he won the Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical (the show itself also winning Best New Musical, with Conleth Hill winning Supporting Role in a Musical for his performance as Roger DeBris, the flamboyant director who must play Adolf Hitler in the number "Springtime for Hitler").