“She was the first one in the family to go after her authenticity at her late age. She finds her way, and I find that very inspiring,” says Jeffrey Tambor about his two-time Emmy winning role in Amazon’s “Transparent” as Maura Pfefferman, a transgender woman adjusting to her recent transition. “Maura is a great teacher. I think she’s funny, I think she’s witty, I think she’s brave. I admire her.” Listen to our exclusive audio interview with Tambor above.
Tambor has won Best Comedy Actor for the last two years in a row for his performance. It’s “the role of my life,” he says, but playing a transgender lead character in a series is also “the responsibility of a lifetime.” When accepting his second Emmy last fall he appealed to the industry to give trans talent a chance and added, “I would not be unhappy were I the last cisgender male playing a female transgender on television.” Things have improved in the industry somewhat, but Tambor urges against complacency: “The revolution is there, but much more needs to be done.”
“Transparent” is known for its blending of comic and dramatic tones, and Tambor believes that’s part of what makes Maura and the Pfefferman clan relatable. “You’re laughing at a funeral or crying when they’re eating coleslaw, and that’s the beautiful mixture that they know so well,” the actor says. “I believe that’s what people are responding to when they say, ‘Oh that’s just like my family,’ because we are all the same family that sits around the Thanksgiving table are we not?”
Speaking of family, Tambor is a member of another famous TV clan, which has been the subject of much chatter and anticipation: the Bluths of “Arrested Development.” It was recently reported that Jason Bateman has officially signed on for a fifth season on Netflix. Tambor can’t say much about the status of the returning comedy, but he does indicate that the new season is “eminent and imminent … Don’t you just love the phrase? I don’t even know what it means, how do you like that?”
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