Tobin Bell (born Joseph Henry Tobin, Jr.) is an American actor and voice actor who is best known for his role as John Kramer in the Saw franchise.


Bell was born in the Queens borough of New York City, New York, on August 7, 1942. However, he was raised in Weymouth, Massachusetts. Bell studied liberal arts and journalism in a New York college, having intended to become a writer and also enter the broadcasting field. He also had an interest in environmental matters, holding a master's degree in environmental science from Montclair State University and also having worked for the New York Botanical Garden. However, according to him, Bell heard a seminar hosted by Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy at Boston University, which actually inspired him to begin an acting career instead. In response to this, Bell later gained entry into the Actors Studio and the Neighborhood Playhouse. He played background roles during the late-70s and early-80s, starring such roles in over thirty films, simultaneously performing in Broadway. In 1982, Bell landed a short uncredited scene in Tootsie, in which he starred as a waiter at the Russian Tea Room. He then worked on The Verdict for two weeks, starring as a courtroom reporter in a trial. The same year, he landed his first speaking role in the last few moments of the drama film Sophie's Choice.

Bell later moved to Los Angeles, California, and was cast in his first feature film, Mississippi Burning, where he stars as a tough and street-smart FBI agent. Bell next portrayed an assassin referred to as "The Nordic Man" in The Firm. He went on to appear in an episode of the sitcom series Seinfeld, where he plays the owner of a record store. He also appeared in two episodes of NYPD Blue playing different characters; he portrayed Donald Selness in an episode that aired in 1993, and then Jerry the Artist in an episode that aired three years later. In 1994, Bell portrayed a hospital administrator in the second first-season episode of ER and then went on to appear in an episode of another medical drama, titled Chicago Hope, where he portrays a terminally ill death-row inmate. In 1996, he portrayed Theodore Kaczynski, a.k.a. The Unabomber, in the made-for-TV film Unabomber: The True Story. During the following two years, Bell made guest-star appearances in episodes of La Femme Nikita, Nash Bridges, Stargate SG-1, and a two-part episode of Walker, Texas Ranger. He also appeared as villain Peter Kingsley during the second season of 24.

Bell as John Kramer.

In 2004, Bell was cast in his best-known role: John Kramer, also nefariously dubbed Jigsaw Killer, an engineer who wants others to appreciate the value of life via twisted "games" in the 2004 horror film Saw. The low-budget film was a box-office success, subsequently spawning a total of six sequels: Saw II, Saw III, Saw IV, Saw V, Saw VI, and Saw 3D (also called Saw: The Final Chapter). He also provided his voice for the Jigsaw character in the Saw video game and its sequel Saw II: Flesh & Blood. For his role as Jigsaw, Bell received MTV Movie Awards nominations in the years of 2006 and 2007 for "Best Villain", won "Best Butcher" in the Fuse/Fangoria Chainsaw Awards, and was given the "Best Villain in a Film Series" title at the 2010 Chiller-Eyegore Awards. Although Bell considered his role in the Saw franchise to have been "a great blessing", he expressed hopes to soon have the opportunity of being cast in a role completely different from his usual acting experience. In 2007, Bell starred in the direct-to-video movies Decoys 2: Alien Seduction, The Haunting Hour: Don't Think About It, and Buried Alive.

On Criminal Minds

Bell portrayed Malachi Lee, the father of an unsub, in the Season Nine episode "Blood Relations".


  • Criminal Minds - "Blood Relations" (2014) TV episode - Malachi Lee
  • Dark House (2014) as Seth
  • Saw 3D: The Final Chapter (2010) as Jigsaw/John Kramer
  • Saw II: Flesh & Blood (2010) as Jigsaw/John Kramer (video game, voice)
  • Saw VI (2009) as Jigsaw/John Kramer
  • Saw (2009) as Jigsaw/John Kramer (video game, voice)
  • Saw V (2008) as Jigsaw/John Kramer
  • Boogeyman 3 (2008) as Dr. Mitchell Allen (video, voice, uncredited)
  • Saw IV (2007) as Jigsaw/John Kramer
  • Buried Alive (2007) as Lester
  • Boogeyman 2 (2007) as Dr. Mitchell Allen
  • The Haunting Hour: Don't Think About It (2007) as The Stranger (video)
  • The Kill Point (2007) as Alan Beck (3 episodes)
  • Decoys 2: Alien Seduction (2007) as Professor Erwin Buckton (video)
  • Saw III (2006) as Jigsaw/John Kramer
  • Saw II (2005) as Jigsaw/John Kramer
  • Revelations (2005) as Nathan Volk (TV miniseries, 5 episodes)
  • Saw (2004) as Jigsaw/John Kramer
  • 24 (2003) as Peter Kingsley (4 episodes)
  • Power Play (2003) as Clemens
  • Black Mask 2: City of Masks (2002) as Moloch
  • The West Wing (2002) as Colonel Whitcomb
  • Charmed (2002) as Orin
  • Good Neighbor (2001) as Geoffrey Martin
  • Alias (2001) as Karl Dreyer (2 episodes)
  • The Guardian (2001) as Mr. Pierce
  • The Sopranos (2001) as Major Zwingli
  • Once and Again (2001) as Man in Suit
  • Harsh Realm (2000) as Slater (uncredited)
  • The X-Files (2000) as Ashman/Darryl Weaver
  • The Road to El Dorado (2000) as Zaragoza (voice)
  • The Pretender (1999) as Mr. White
  • The 4th Floor (1999) as The Lock Smith
  • Strange World (1999) as Owen Sassen
  • Brown's Requiem (1998) as Stan the Man
  • Best of the Best: Without Warning (1998) as Lukasz Slava
  • Vengeance Unlimited (1998) as Teddy Hix
  • Walker, Texas Ranger (1998) as Karl Storm (2 episodes)
  • Overnight Delivery (1998) as John Dwayne Beezly
  • One Hot Summer Night (1998) as Vincent "Coupe" De Ville
  • Stargate SG-1 (1998) as Omoc
  • Nash Bridges (1997) as William Boyd
  • La Femme Nikita (1997) as Perry Bauer
  • Cheyenne (1996) as Marshal Toynbee
  • Chicago Hope (1996) as Luther Evans
  • Unabomber: The True Story (1996) as Theodore Kaczynski
  • NYPD Blue (1993-1996) as Donald Selness/Jerry the Artist (2 episodes)
  • Murder One (1996) as Jerry Albanese
  • The Babysitter's Seduction (1996) as Detective Frank O'Keefe
  • Serial Killer (1995) as William Lucian Morrano (video)
  • The Quick and the Dead (1995) as Dog Kelly
  • Under Suspicion (1995) as Ron O'Keefe
  • New Eden (1994) as Ares
  • Mortal Fear (1994) as Dr. Alvin Hayes
  • ER (1994) as Hospital Administrator
  • Dead Man's Revenge (1994) as Bullock
  • Deep Red (1994) as Warren Rickman
  • Malice (1993) as Earl Leemus
  • In the Line of Fire (1993) as Mendoza
  • The Firm (1993) as The Nordic Man
  • Sex, Love and Cold Hard Cash (1993) as Mansfield
  • Boiling Point (1993) as Roth
  • Seinfeld (1993) as Ron
  • Silk Stalkings (1992) as Emil Rossler
  • Mann & Machine (1992) as Richards
  • Ruby (1992) as David Ferrie
  • Bride of Violence (1991) as Barman
  • Disney Presents The 100 Lives of Black Jack Savage (1991) as Tony Gianini
  • Love, Lies and Murder (1991) as Al Stutz
  • Broken Badges (1990) as Martin Valentine
  • Jake and the Fatman (1990) as Vic Fargo
  • Goodfellas (1990) as Parole Officer
  • False Identity (1990) as Marshall Errickson
  • Nasty Boys (1990) as Finley
  • Alien Nation (1990) as Brian Knox/Dr. Death
  • Loose Cannons (1990) as Gerber
  • Perfect Witness (1989) as Dillon
  • An Innocent Man (1989) as Zeke
  • Mississippi Burning (1988) as Agent Stokes
  • The Equalizer (1988) as Deputy Secretary
  • The Verdict (1982) as Courtroom Observer (uncredited)
  • Tootsie (1982) as Waiter (uncredited)


  • Dark House (2014) - Co-Producer

External Links

For an up-to-date filmography, see here.

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