Education: Lee Strasberg Theater Institute; Professional Performing Arts School.
Younger brother of Steve Paymer.
After filming the original pilot for St. Elsewhere (1982), he was replaced in the role of Dr. Wayne Fiscus by Howie Mandel.
Son of composer/pianist Marvin Paymer.
Billy Crystal was so impressed with his work in the film City Slickers (1991) that he immediately cast him in his next vehicle, Mr. Saturday Night (1992), as Crystal's long-suffering brother who ages from 20-75. Paymer earned a supporting Oscar nomination for his efforts.
Majored in acting and psychology at University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, Michigan).
Taught acting classes at the Film Actor's Workshop.
Got his first big break playing the role of "Sonny" in both the national tour and the Broadway production of "Grease" in the '70s.
Wrote and performed stand-up comedy teaming with his older brother, Steve Paymer, at the Improv and Comedy Store venues in Los Angeles. The two later corroborated on the movie Candor City Hospital (2005) with David directing/acting and Steve writing.
Has worked opposite Sir Anthony Hopkins twice: first in Nixon (1995), and then in Amistad (1997). In both films, Hopkins plays a former U.S. President.
Played Dick Goodwin in the made-for-TV movie RFK (2002) the same person who sought out to expose the fixed game show his character produced for NBC in the movie Quiz Show (1994).
Provided voice acting for the 1983 NPR radio dramatization of "Star Wars". He played "Deak", one of Luke Skywalker's childhood friends.