Born in Pittsburgh, the light-haired Bartok moved with his family to Manhattan when he was nine and by age 12 was taking acting lessons at the HB Studio. He was 13 when he made his professional acting debut, appearing in a "WonderWorks" episode entitled "Almost Partners" (PBS, 1987). In the 90s, his TV appearances included an ABC unsold pilot entitled "Coconut Downs," a recurring role on the Judith Ivey sitcom "Down Home" (NBC, 1991) and an episode of NBC's "Law & Order." More recently, Bartok played a naive prisoner in the 1996 TNT miniseries "Andersonville." Bartok has also appeared on stage playing a victim of abuse in "Dalton's Back" off-Broadway at Circle Repertory Company when he was 16 years old. His feature film work began in 1991 when he played a street punk harassing Robin Williams in "The Fisher King." He went on to play Bob Hoskins' nephew in "Passed Away" (1992) and had small roles in both "School Ties" (1992) and "Swing Kids" (1993).