Once worked as a janitor and considered going into stand-up comedy.
Was a student at the University of Houston when Peter Bogdanovich cast him in the 1968 film Targets. He went on to work with the director on The Last Picture Show (1971), What's Up, Doc? (1972) and Paper Moon (1973).
Met his wife, a production assistant and former model, while filming the 1989 flick Bloodhounds of Broadway.