An alumnus of New York City's High School of Music and Arts and Bard College, actor/writer/director Christopher Guest made his initial Broadway appearance in the 1970 revival of Room Service; two years later, he co-starred in Moonchildren. Guest's early acting accomplishments have tended to become obscured in the light of his extensive work for the National Lampoon folks: he wrote several articles for the Lampoon magazine, and was a writer/performer for the organization's radio programs, record albums, and stage reviews. His extensive comic talents went largely untapped in such "mainstream" acting assignments as the made-for-TV Blind Ambition (1982), in which he portrayed Nixon intimate Jeb Stuart Magruder, and the theatrical feature The Long Riders (1982), in which he was co-starred with his younger brother Nicholas.
In 1982, Guest played divorced suburbanite Bucky Frische in Million Dollar Infield (1982), a made-for-TV movie produced and co-written by Rob Reiner. His association with Reiner extended into appearances in the latter's big-screen directorial efforts: In This is Spinal Tap (1983), Guest not only penned the script but also played heavy metal rocker Nigel Tufnel; and in The Princess Bride (1986), cast as the evil Count Rubin, he offered a sly impression of British character actor Henry Daniell. Guest has since parlayed his "Spinal Tap" association into something of a second career, touring as Nigel Tufnel with fellow "Tap" members David St. Hubbins (Michael McKean) and Derek Smalls (Harry Shearer) and composing many of the group's "hits." On TV, Guest was a regular during the 1984-1985 season of Saturday Night Live and shared a scriptwriting Emmy for a 1976 Lily Tomlin special. Making his directorial debut with the Tinseltown satire The Big Picture (1989), Guest has gone on to helm the TV-movie remake of Attack of the 50 Foot Woman (1993), the "Johnny Appleseed" segment of Shelley Duvall's cable-TV anthology American Tall Tales and Legends, and most of the episodes of Rob Reiner's 1992 TV sitcom Morton and Hayes.