Tom Wilson
Thomas Francis Wilson, Jr.
Biographical information
Date of birthApril 15, 1959
Age (1985)26
Age (2015)56
Age (2045)86
Physical description
Hair colorBlond


Eye colorBlue

Thomas Francis Wilson, Jr. (born on April 15, 1959 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) is an American actor, voice actor, comedian, painter, musician, and podcaster, who portrayed Biff Tannen, Griff Tannen, and Buford Tannen in the Back to the Future trilogy; as Biff in footage on Back to the Future: The Ride; and the voice of Biff and his ancestors and descendants in Back to the Future: The Animated Series.

He provided the voice for Biff in Back to the Future: The Game = 30th Anniversary Edition, although Andrew Chaikin was the voice of Biff in the original release.


Born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Thomas Wilson became a stand-up comedian and moved to Los Angeles. He says that his start in acting was "I was featured in the commercial that introduced biscuits at Kentucky Fried Chicken. I played a construction worker. Basically, without me there wouldn't be biscuits at Kentucky Fried Chicken. You're welcome."[1]

Standing at 6'3", Wilson guested on episodes of the television shows Knight Rider and The Facts of Life before landing the role of Biff for Back to the Future. Although Wilson is described as a nice guy in person, he was bullied as a child, and drew upon those experiences in developing the character. An article in the Orange County Register in 1989 noted that "[D]espite his bulky 6-feet-2-inch frame, he never was and never could be a bully. In fact, back in junior high school in Philadelphia, when he was a skinny, shy and sickly youngster, he was a convenient and frequent target of the school bullies."[2] Wilson told an interviewer that "It was even bad during auditions when I had to read a scene with Crispin Glover. I was doing my lines, and I looked up and Crispin was giving me this pained and frightened look. It was so real that I stopped the scene to ask him if he was OK. Although I love these movies, it is strange to play a bully because those childhood memories really stick with you. Actually, I was George McFly in school. I had asthma, was on the debating team, and played the tuba in the school band. There was a whole gang of people in school who liked to punch me in the back of the head. And as I got older, the circle of people who pummeled me kept widening."[3]

Referring to his dual role in Part II, Wilson mused, "At the end of the day, which normally went about 18 or 19 hours I was completely wasted, and I'm not sure I could ever do it again. But what a challenge. Actors get to do twins or they get to age, but they never get to do it all in one movie."[4]

Wilson appeared in the 1994 comedy Camp Nowhere, which starred Christopher Lloyd, and later had a recurring role in the 1999 NBC comedy Freaks and Geeks. Between the filming of BTTF Parts I and II, Wilson starred in the film Action Jackson, opposite Carl Weathers, where he plays a Detroit policeman.

In 2000, Wilson provided voice over work for the video game Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force. His character, Hazard Team Crewman Kendrick "Rick" Biessman had a "Biff-style" buzz haircut and similar personality, but was more cooperative and reasonable.

In 2003, Wilson along with James Arnold Taylor provided voice work for Atlantis: Milo's Return.

In 2008, Wilson provided voice work for the cartoon The Spectacular Spider-Man along with James Arnold Taylor and Josh Keaton (who voiced the title character).

In 2008-2010, Wilson provided voice work for the cartoon, Batman: The Brave and The Bold for several episodes. One of which had voice work from James Arnold Taylor. The two also provided voice work for Batman: The Brave and The Bold - The Videogame.

In 2010, Wilson along with Taylor and Keaton provided voice work for the video game, Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions.


Wilson wrote a song titled "The Question Song" based on his constantly being asked about Back to the Future in his everyday life.

Wilson had previously chosen to not to autograph Back to the Future items or discuss the films in-depth, preferring to focus on his ongoing career. Wilson did however accept an award from a Back to the Future fan society in honor of his contributions to organizations battling Parkinson's disease, out of respect for Michael J. Fox. The award was carved in the shape of the Hill Valley Courthouse with a small watch face.

"I've decided to do what I want to do in life, and follow my own path as an artist, so I've decided not to participate in any sort of nostalgia in which I'm marginalized as a pop icon of yesteryear. I no longer support in any way an insurmountable archetype, and now exclusively pursue the things that interest me."
—Tom Wilson[5] [6]

Wilson had notably been absent from events reuniting the original cast and did not reprise his role as Biff in the Telltale game. However, he eventually reprised the role in the 30th Anniversary Edition of the game in 2015, and started appearing at conventions and events discussing the films and his career, at times along with his fellow actors. The statement above no longer exists on his website or blog.

In 2012, he was inducted into the Radnor High School Hall of Fame, where he graduated in the Class of 1977.[7]

External links[]


  1. www.tomwilsonusa.com/faq
  2. Barry Koltnow, "Once-bullied Wilson plays bully," reprinted in Syracuse Herald-Journal, Dec. 15, 1989, pC-2
  3. Id.
  4. Id.
  5. "Biff to the Past!", Tom Wilson's blog, July 1, 2009
  6. TomWilsonUSA.com (FAQ section - since removed)
  7. "Biff (Tom Wilson) inducted into RHS Hall of Fame", Radnor TV, November 9, 2012.