Theater, film, TV, and singing career
His initial success came in musical theater when he landed the part of Che in Evita on Broadway in 1979. Patinkin went on to win a Tony Award for the role as Best Actor (Featured Role - Musical).
He then moved to film, playing a number of parts in movies such as Yentl and Ragtime. He returned to Broadway in 1984 to star in the Pulitzer Prize winning musical Sunday in the Park with George, which saw him earn another Tony Award nomination for Best Actor (Musical).
He is also well-known for playing Inigo Montoya in Rob Reiner's 1987 The Princess Bride (which Patinkin considers his favorite role), in which he delivers what is arguably the best-remembered line in the film: "Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die" (in concert appearances, especially in college towns, Patinkin will assume a fencing stance and utter that line. Raucous applause follows). Over the next decade he continued to appear in various movies, such as Dick Tracy and Alien Nation.
On Broadway over the next decade he appeared in the Tony Award-winning musical The Secret Garden for 706 performances. He also released two solo albums, titled Mandy Patinkin and Dress Casual. In 1994, he took the role of Dr. Jeffrey Geiger on CBS's Chicago Hope for which he won an Emmy Award. However, despite the award and the ratings success of the show, Patinkin left the show part way through the second season, as he was unhappy spending so much time away from his wife.
Since Chicago Hope, Patinkin has taken parts in a number of films. However, he has mostly performed as a singer, releasing three more albums. In 1998 he debuted his most personal project, Mamaloshen, a collection of traditional, classic, and contemporary songs sung entirely in Yiddish. The stage production of Mamaloshen was performed on and off–Broadway, and has toured throughout the country. The recording of Mamaloshen won the Deutschen Schallplattenpreis (Germany’s equivalent of the Grammy Award).
He returned to Broadway in 2000 in the New York Shakespeare Festival's The Wild Party, earning another Tony Award nomination for Best Actor (Musical).
Recently he has also been seen in the Showtime comedy-drama Dead Like Me as Rube Sofer. In 2004, he played a 6–week engagement of his 1–man concert at the Off–Broadway complex Dodger Stages.
In September 2005, he appeared in the role of Jason Gideon, an experienced profiler just coming back to work after a series of nervous breakdowns, the result of his partner's death, in the CBS crime drama Criminal Minds. The show aired in the slot immediately after the 2007 Super Bowl.
Patinkin married actress and writer Kathryn Grody in 1980; they have two sons, Isaac and Gideon. He suffered from keratoconus, a degenerative eye disease, in the mid-1990s. This led to two corneal transplants; his right cornea in 1997, and his left in 1998.
He also was diagnosed and treated for prostate cancer in 2004. He celebrated his first year of recovery by doing a 280-mile charity bike ride with his son, Isaac — the Arava Institute Hazon Israel Ride: Cycling for Peace, Partnership & Environmental Protection. He subsequently joined the boards of both the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies and Hazon.
Patinkin has been involved in a variety of Jewish causes and cultural activities. He sings in Yiddish, which he has often sung in concert, as featured in his album "Mamaloshen".
He also wrote introductions for two books on Jewish culture, The Jewish American Family Album, by Dorothy Hoobler and Thomas Hoobler, and Grandma Doralee Patinkin's Holiday Cookbook: A Jewish Family's Celebrations, by his mother, Doralee Patinkin Rubin.