John Mark Galecki was born in Belgium where his dad was stationed while serving in the U.S. Air Force. When he was 3 years old, his family moved to Chicago, Illinois, where he grew up along with his sister Allison (1980) and brother Nick (1982). His father then became a teacher for blind veterans in a VA hospital outside of Chicago. When Galecki was 16, his father died in an accident.
His mom, Mary Lou, recalled in an interview with People magazine that Galecki was a very artistic kid; at only 4 years old, he told her: "Mom, I'm gonna be on T.V., and I don't mean when I grow up." Two years later, when their attempts to distract him with sports failed, Galecki's parents took him to open auditions at local theaters in Chicago. He landed his first role in "Fiddler on the Roof," and more parts in other productions followed. By age 11, he was already known as an excellent actor in Chicago's theater scene evidenced by him receiving a Joseph Jefferson Citation nomination for portraying John Henry in "The Member of the Wedding."
In 1989 he was cast in his first movie, a holiday film called Prancer (1989), but his big break was in another Christmas movie as Chevy Chase's son Rusty Griswold, in Christmas Vacation (1989). On the set, Chase took a liking to him, and Galecki recalled in a later interview that Chevy Chase showed him some tricks for comedic timing.
By that time, his whole family had moved from Chicago to L.A. to support his career. But within 10 months they realized they missed Chicago too much, and moved back home. Galecki, still just 14, was under contract on a show with Robert Urich called ""American Dreamer" (1990)", so he stayed in L.A. Although he was living alone in a studio apartment, he never got into trouble and admitted himself that he was a good kid. He recalled living alone in L.A. without adult supervision as "not fun" and "quite intimidating and lonely, to be honest. But I've always been happiest when I'm working, so..." He bought a motorcycle with a mirrored helmet so he could get to work and back, at Paramount studios.
In 1991 Galecki was picked by Roseanne Barr to play her son in the made for T.V. movie Backfield in Motion (1991) (TV). She liked him so much she asked him to come on her sitcom for what started as a one-off appearance, but soon turned into the important recurring role of David Healy. His family was religious viewers of the show and he was somewhat intimidated at first to be working with his television heroes. However, before long, it was his heroes that praised him: Roseanne said he showed "great vulnerability." John Goodman said: "If he was one of those little stuffed bears at a carny, he'd have a Wuv me t-shirt on. People just want to take care of him." Galecki also became very close friends with co-star Sara Gilbert and the show's executive producer Eric Gilliland.
After "Roseanne" (1988) he worked on a number of diverse roles, from funny Ira alongside Christopher Walken in the 1997 dark-comedy Suicide Kings (1997) to a drug-addicted student in 2003's Bookies (2003), and he played gay characters in Don Roos's Bounce (2000) and The Opposite of Sex (1998). He never stayed far from the television industry as he made guest appearances such as Laurie Freeman's younger lover in "Norm" (1999) (where he once again worked with Laurie Metcalf, his former Roseanne cast mate), as a golfer in "My Name Is Earl" (2005), as "Hope & Faith" (2003)'s younger brother in the sitcom of the same name, and as hilarious party-boy Trouty on "My Boys" (2006). In 2006 he returned to his theater roots as he took on the role of conflicted but sweet male escort Alex in Douglas Carter Beane's play "The Little Dog Laughed," for which he received a 2007 Theatre World Award for Outstanding Browdway Debut.
In 2007 he was back on the small screens, starring as Leonard Hofstadter in the sitcom "The Big Bang Theory" (2007). Not only was Chuck Lorre, a former producer for Roseanne, a producer of the new show, but Sara Gilbert and Laurie Metcalf both made guest appearances.
Galecki is a self-admitted motorcycle "nerd," and drives a Harley Davidson Softail Deluxe. Although he never went to college, he has said: "I'm not dead! We should never stop learning. We should never stop absorbing," and so he learned how to play the cello in his early twenties. He likes traveling around the world, painting, music (he also plays bass), and hiking with his dog Vera.
He always has been very private about his personal life and little is known about past relationships. It has only been confirmed that he dated actresses Laura Harris and Kaley Cuoco. He isn't on twitter, and Galecki once said, "I don't understand the current frame of mind in our society that seems to say that any action is not of value until it's broadcast somehow."
He still lives in Los Angeles but is often spotted in Chicago, where his siblings still live.
Born in Belgium where his father was stationed while serving in the US Air Force. He moved to Chicago when he was 3 years old.
In 1991, he starred in the made-for-TV movie Backfield in Motion (1991) (TV), which co-starred the production team of Roseanne Barr and Tom Arnold. The next year, Galecki joined the cast of "Roseanne" (1988) as Darlene's sensitive and put-upon boyfriend, David.
At the age of 11, he received a Joseph Jefferson citation nomination for his critically-acclaimed performance as John Henry in The Member of the Wedding.
By age 7, he began performing in such prestigious theater productions as "Fiddler on the Roof", "Pippin" and "Galileo", opposite Brian Dennehy at The Goodman Theater in Chicago.
Older brother of Nick Galecki and Allison Galecki.
Close friend of Sara Gilbert.
He is a vegetarian.
Was considered for the role of John "Doc" Bradley in Flags of Our Fathers (2006).
He is of Polish, Irish and Italian descent.
Is a staunch liberal Democrat.
I don't know what to do with myself between films. I end up doing unhealthy things like shopping or drinking. I'm pretty schizophrenic about it.
(On appearing in Don Roos's edgy dark comedy The Opposite of Sex (1998)): "I wanted to do a bigger movie with a broader audience. I realized there are people between the coasts that have no idea I've worked since "Roseanne" (1988).
Right now, I'm very healthy. I have no vices left. Except sugary breakfast cereal. And absinthe, of course.
(On co-starring in NBC's A Family Torn Apart (1993) (TV) which co-stars Neil Patrick Harris): "I wanted to do something a little diverse from that people were used to seeing me do. I'm just a big fan of true-life crime stories. I'm not a violent person".
(On making Vanilla Sky (2001)) That was a blast, because I got to hang around New York for three or four weeks and play Boggle with supermodels. Cameron Crowe wouldn't give out scripts, and I'm a homework guy, so I called him and I said, "You've got to tell me something. Give me something I can invest myself in so I feel prepared when I show up in the morning". He said, "Listen to The Beatles", which was, you know, not much of a help at all. I think I may have hung up on him. [Laughs]. But he wouldn't give out a script! So every day I would show up, and there'd be a couple of pages in my trailer. A line or two, or no lines. I never knew how big or small my role was going to be. I just showed up every day. I did invest myself in listening to The Beatles, because I had nothing else to work with, and I learned that he had based a lot of it in The Beatles. My character's name, "Peter Brown", was the name of the assistant to John and Yoko, and I think he appears in the lyrics to "The Ballad Of John And Yoko". But it was good fun. Tom Cruise was amazing - a really, really nice guy.
(On making I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)) I don't remember really how that came to be. I used to know Jennifer Love Hewitt. We lived in the same apartment building when I was about... jeez, I guess it was when I was doing Christmas Vacation (1989), so I was about 13 or 14. She and my little sister were friends, so I knew her a little bit. I think she suggested me for that role. It was a pretty cut-and-dried gig. I remember doing a body cast for a scene where they open a trunk, and my dead body is in it, and there's a crab crawling out of my mouth. I got a call that production was shut down, because Jennifer was so upset by seeing this image of me with a crab crawling out of my mouth. They were asking if I would call her and reassure her that I was very much alive.
(On his part in Hancock (2008)) Sometimes the scripts change a lot, and this was the case for Hancock (2008). Both Thomas Lennon and I read for our minuscule roles in Hancock (2008). There were a couple of great scenes that we had initially. Then, the script was rewritten after they'd cast us and after they'd negotiated our contracts and everything. I think I'm like fourth-billed in that movie. Will Smith, Charlize Theron, Jason Bateman and me. And yet I'm a glorified extra. I really have no lines whatsoever. Neither Thomas nor I knew that until we got to the set and saw the new draft of the script. Honestly, the impetus to that gig was to work with Peter Berg, because I've been a fan of his for a long time. There was one moment early on the first day where Thomas and I looked at the new draft and thought, "We don't have any lines anymore". "Should we go home?" Jason Bateman kept looking at us going, "What are you guys doing here?" We were extras. But I very much wanted to be on a Peter Berg set.
(On National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989)) I was still living in Chicago with my family. I was 13, and I read for that role on tape. They flew me out to read with Chevy Chase. They must have been really hard up; I'm not sure why I got that role. I was fresh off the stage in Chicago. I had never done anything comedic before. I don't consider myself a comedic actor now, but I certainly wasn't then. I think I have a good idea, a good notion, a good inkling maybe of what's funny and what isn't. I think I can serve a good joke pretty well. But I wasn't bringing much comedic to the table whatsoever at 13.
(On how he landed his role on "Roseanne" (1988)) That character was interesting, because it really grew organically, just in playing it. Initially, it was only supposed to be a couple of lines. Rose and I had worked together on a TV movie. She got me an episode, to do one scene on the show. There wasn't much there to do. Kind of rile things up with Sara Gilbert. It wasn't a whole lot to study or create or crawl into. But after that one episode, she asked me to do three more episodes, and then she asked me to do three years. You've got to understand: I was a massive fan of the show. I remember watching the pilot with my family in Chicago, when I was a kid. That show's time slot really governed when my family ate dinner. So I was very intimidated, being on that set, surrounded by television heroes of mine. That scared little rabbit that I was, observing all of this from the shadowy corners of the stage, was something the writers were brilliant enough to observe and inoculate into the character. Eventually, that became something. The way they wrote it and the way I played it. And it fortunately played so well off the "Darlene" character, too. My spinelessness and her strength.
I'm not at all competitive. I'd rather play Solitaire than ping-pong.
[on preparing to portray a scientist on 'The Big Bang Theory'] We did try. We talked to physicists at UCLA. We watched 'Nova'. I tried to read some books but they gave me anxiety attacks by page two. We realized that we can't pretend to think like geniuses. But we can learn to relate to them emotionally.
[on understanding the scientific concepts of physics] We're incredibly true to the science on the ['The Big Bang Theory']. Even the whiteboards have actual formulas on them, and supposedly they are very funny sometimes. I don't know how that can be, but that's what I'm told.
We have Nobel Prize winners asking if they can guest-star on the show. The image of the scientist in the last 10 to 15 years has changed dramatically. It used to be the pasty guy in the basement with beakers, and now it's Steve Jobs. They're almost the rock stars of our age.
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