Billy Gardell stars as Detective Billy O'Brien in NBC's "Heist," an hour-long serialized comedic drama which centers on a group of professional thieves plotting to simultaneously rob three prominent Beverly Hills jewelry stores during Oscar® week.
Born on August 20, 1969 to the hard, blue-collar steel of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Gardell learned early on that a strong sense of humor is not only a convenient weapon, but also an absolute must for dealing with life in an unstable environment. In the mid-80's, Gardell suddenly found himself transplanted from Pennsylvania to Central Florida, the product of a broken home. Struggling through his awkward teens, an overweight misfit, Gardell took part-time jobs to help his mother support his young brother and sister while simultaneously writing, directing, and starring in a high school theatre production titled, “Winter Park Live."
Gardell's addiction to live performance led him down the path of stand-up comedy. His bold honesty and overwhelming stage persona made him an instant hit with Florida audiences. By the summer of 1989, only two years into the business, Gardell was the most requested act at comedy clubs across central Florida. He then took his act on the road, taking every gig available and effectively using the club circuit and military bases as his college campus. It's variety of tough audiences served as a professor to teach first hand, the intricate art of live comedy.
Over the next few years, Gardell made several television appearances on ABC, Showtime, A&E and MTV, bringing even more positive attention and a greater following to his rising talent. While many comedians of the time were doing their best to appear intellectually superior, Gardell held true to his middle class, blue collar background and approached stand-up on a more personal level.
Gardell's success as a comedian allowed him to eventually pursue a career doing what he loves most - acting. Most recently, he appeared in "Yes, Dear," as well as "The Practice," "Lucky," and "Judging Amy." His film credits include "Bad Santa," “Avenging Angelo,” "D-Wars," and "Room 6.” Most recently, Gardell worked on the upcoming film, “You, Me and Dupree,” which co-stars Owen Wilson and Kate Hudson.
When he isn’t working on television or film, Gardell continues to work as a stand up comic, performing at clubs and casinos across the country.
Gardell currently resides in Los Angeles with his wife Patty, and his 2-year-old son Will.
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