A genial performer with a broad array of role types and genres on his resumé, Josh Pais grew up in a Manhattan-area East Village tenement with a single mother, and headed to Hollywood in his early twenties with the dream of making it as an actor. In seemingly no time, Pais realized this goal, first with a series of guest appearances on such series as Murphy Brown, The Cosby Show, and Law & Order (in a recurring part as Assistant Medical Examiner Borak), then with big-screen assignments. He landed the first of these when tapped to play "ninja turtle" Raphael in the action comedy Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie (1990); the role almost completely obscured Pais' countenance (he appeared in a suit designed by Jim Henson and co.), but a secondary part in the same film (as a taxi passenger) partially redeemed this drawback. After additional acting assignments in features including Music of the Heart (1999) and Scream 3 (2000), Pais branched out into writing and directing with the self-reflexive autobiographical documentary 7th Street (2002) and the instructional video The Spiritual Guide to Weight Loss (2003). He then took on acting roles in such features as The Station Agent (2003), Little Manhattan (2005), Year of the Dog (2007), and Teeth (2007).