Metcalf attended Westfield High School in Westfield, New Jersey. Metcalf is a graduate of the University of Michigan (BA 1968).
Film and Televison Work
He is likely most known to two different generations for two notable roles. In the college comedy National Lampoon's Animal House (1978), he played the sadistic ROTC leader Doug Neidermeyer. He played a very similar character in the Twisted Sister music videos "We're Not Gonna Take It" (as the father) and "I Wanna Rock" (as a high school teacher). In each video he used his Animal House catchphrases, "A Twisted Sister pin?! On your uniform?!" and "You're all worthless and weak!" respectively. He portrayed a very similar character in the movie The Stupids and the sitcom Teen Angel. He also starred in the 1986 comedy One Crazy Summer, as the sinister, greedy lobster loving Aquilla Beckerstead.
In the police drama Hill Street Blues Metcalf had an early key role in the first series as brash Officer Harris, often clashing with gentle partner Officer Santini. However, the role was cut short when Metcalf's character was murdered in the episode 'Up in Arms'.
In the 1997–2003 television show Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spinoff, Angel, Metcalf played the ancient vampire supervillain, "The Master". Coincidentally, he also played a character called "the Maestro" (real name: Bob Cobb) on two episodes of Seinfeld.
Metcalf works at First Stage Children's Theater. One of the plays he performed in was called The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, based on the novel by Avi. Another play he appeared in at First Stage was Holes (novel) in the early 2000s. He is a frequent guest on the Bob and Brian show on WHQG-FM and writes for Third Coast Digest. He is also a volunteer champion for the Alzheimer's Association to raise awareness about the disease and has written about the Alzheimer's documentary I Remember Better When I Paint.
Metcalf previously dated Glenn Close and Carrie Fisher. He moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 2000. Metcalf and his ex-wife, Libby, have one child, Julius. Metcalf now lives in Bayside, Wisconsin.