John Pankow (born February 18, 1957) is a veteran American actor. He is currently a series regular on the Showtime/BBC series 'Episodes', playing Merc Lapidus, the volatile head of a major U.S. television network. Pankow was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the son of Marion, a homemaker, and Wayne Pankow, who worked in magazine advertising sales. He is the younger brother of trombonist James Pankow, a founding member of the legendary rock group Chicago. He grew up in Park Ridge, Illinois, and attended Maine South High School and later, Northeastern Illinois University. Pankow, a veteran actor of stage, film and television, appeared for seven seasons as Ira Buchman on the NBC sitcom Mad About You.
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