His role as the hapless "Cousin Larry" in the immortal 1980s sitcom Perfect Strangers forever earning him a secure position in the annals of television history, comic actor Mark Linn Baker may have since become notably less prominent on the world of television, though a key role in the 2001 television adaptation of Neil Simon's enduring Laughter on the 23rd Floor hinted at something of a comeback in the new millennium. Though Baker's father eschewed acting in favor of a more stable position in advertising, a childhood spent witnessing his father's community theater activities seemed to instill a somewhat more perseverant spirit in the star-stricken youngster. Though he would enter Yale as math major and ultimately emerge with a degree in drama, Baker's first true acting experience came with an appearance in the New York Shakespeare Festival.
Baker's film debut in Woody Allen's Manhattan was quick to follow, and despite the fact that he didn't receive a notable amount of screen time, he was subsequently cast in a more weighty role in director Richard Benjamin's My Favorite Year (1982). Frustrated that the name Mark Baker was already taken at the actor's union, Baker assumed his better-known moniker at the suggestion of his father (who offered the name as a tribute to Leonid Tolstoy). His talents soon recognized by television casting agents, it wasn't long before Baker was offered the lead in the upcoming sitcom Perfect Strangers. Cast as the straight man to Bronson Pinchot's wacky foreign cousin, the fish-out-of-water, odd-couple comedy was an instant hit due in no small part to the unmistakable chemistry shared by its stars.