Mandy Patinkin was born "Mandel Bruce Patinkin" to Lester, a scrap metal dealer and Doris "Doralee". His first name was a tribute to his grandfather. Growing up he began singing in synagogue choirs at the age of 13-14 and still continues to use his fantastic voice in musicals and in recordings.
Attending Juilliard he became good friends with actor Kelsey Grammer and upon hearing that "Cheers" was auditioning for the role of Dr. Frasier Crane he immediately put Grammer's name forward for the role.
Rumours persist about Patinkin's sudden departure from Criminal Minds. He simply failed to show up one day for a table read. He has contacted the entire cast to explain what is referred to as "personal reasons" for leaving. It seems that although Patinkin was prepared for the show to include violence the actual level of violence portrayed was unacceptable to the actor. He left to do more light hearted work.
Patinkin supports many charities including: PAX, Doctors Without Borders, Americans for Peace Now, The September 11th Fund, Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America and Gilda's Club.