|Birth Date||May 27, 1955|
|Birth Place||Bethesda, Maryland|
|Family||Sheila Kelly (spouse)|
Schiff was born in Bethesda, Maryland, the second of three sons of Charlotte, a television and publishing executive, and Edward Schiff, a real estate lawyer. His parents divorced when he was 12. He dropped out of high school, but later obtained an equivalency diploma. He studied briefly at The City College of New York (CCNY) in 1973, but did not graduate. He moved to Colorado where he found employment cutting firewood. Returning to New York in 1975 he began to study acting at CCNY and was accepted into their theater program.
Schiff met his wife Sheila Kelley during auditions for Antigone in 1993; they married in 1996 and have a son named Gus and a daughter named Ruby.