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Judd Hirsch Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (2)  | Trade Mark (3)  | Trivia (25)  | Personal Quotes (5)

Overview (3)

Born in The Bronx, New York City, New York, USA
Birth NameJudd Seymore Hirsch
Height 5' 10½" (1.79 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Judd Hirsch is an American actor from New York City. His main claim to fame is playing taxicab driver Alex Reiger in the hit sitcom "Taxi" (1978-1983). For this role, Hirsch twice won the "Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series". He has since had a long career.

In 1935, Hirsch was born in The Bronx, New York City. His parents were electrician Joseph Sidney Hirsch and his wife Sally Kitzis. Joseph was born in New York to immigrant parents. Hirsch's paternal grandfather Benjamin Hirsch was German-Jewish, while his wife Rosa was born to a Dutch-Jewish family in England. Hirsch's maternal ancestors were Russian-Jews.

Hirsch spend his early years moving between the Bronx and Brooklyn. He received his secondary education at the DeWitt Clinton High School, an all-boys school located in The Bronx. He graduated in 1952, at the age of 17. He received his tertiary education at the City College of New York, a public college located in the Hamilton Heights neighborhood of Manhattan. He graduated with a degree in physics.

Following his college graduation, Hirsch served his term in the United States Army. Retuning to civilian life, he was hired as an engineer by the Westinghouse Electric Corporation (1886-1997). He eventually decided to switch to an acting career. He studied acting at the HB Studio, located in Greenwich Village.

Hirsch started his acting career with theatrical roles. In the 1970s, he frequently appeared in television films. He also had guest star roles in television series, such as "Medical Story", "Visions", and "Rhoda" He achieved stardom with the leading role of Alex Reiger in "Taxi" (1978-1983). Alex was a rather jaded character, bitter following his divorce and the loss of custody over his only child. He resonated with audiences of this period. He won the Emmy Award for Lead Actor In a Comedy Series in both 1981 and 1983.

Hirsch had the supporting role of psychiatrist Dr. Tyrone C. Berger in the family drama film "Ordinary People" (1980). In the film, he treats patient Conrad Jarrett (played by Timothy Hutton) who is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, survivor's guilt, and suicidal ideation following the accidental death of his brother. The film was critically acclaimed, and Hirsch was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. The award was instead won by his co-star Timothy Hutton.

Hirsch had the co-starring role of police lieutenant Al Menetti in the missing person investigation-themed film "Wihout a Trace" (1983). The film was inspired by the real-life disappearance of Etan Patz (1972-1979), which was later determined to be a murder case. The film earned about 9,6 million dollars at the domestic box office. It was the 81st highest-grossing film of 1983.

Hirsch had a major role as vice principal Roger Rubell in the black comedy film "Teachers" (1984). The film deals with internal conflicts in a high school which is faced with a lawsuit by a recent graduate. The film was moderately successful at the box office, though it is mostly remembered for featuring the hit song "Understanding" by Bob Seger (1945-).

Hirsch had the leading role of pater familias Arthur Pope in the drama film "Running on Empty" (1988). In the film, Pope and his wife are wanted by the FBI for their involvement in the bombing of a napalm laboratory during the 1970s. They are hiding under cover identities, while trying to raise their sons. The film was a box office flop, but received critical acclaim. It is mainly remembered for a well-received early role for River Phoenix (1970-1993) as Arthur's eldest son.

Hirsch was cast in the leading role of teacher John Lacey in the American sitcom "Dear John" (1988-1992). It was an adaptation of the British sitcom "Dear John" (1986-1987). Both series deal with adult men trying to rebuilt their lives after their wives leave them for other men, and kick them out of their family home. The American series lasted for 4 seasons and a total of 90 episodes. For this role, Hirsch won the 1988 "Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Television Series Musical or Comedy".

Hirsch had the supporting role of Julius Levinson in the science fiction film "Independence Day " (1996). Julius was depicted as the aging father of the engineer David Levinson (played by Jeff Goldblum), one of the film's co-protagonists. The film earned about 817 million dollars the worldwide box office, the highest-grossing film in Hirsch's career. He returned to this role in the sequel "Independence Day: Resurgence" (2016),which was moderately successful.

Hirsch co-starred in the sitcom "George & Leo" (1997-1998) with Bob Newhart (1929-). He played magician Leo Wagonman, who was trying to hide after successfully robbing a casino. The series only lasted a single season and a total of 22 episodes. It was canceled due to low ratings.

Hirsch had the supporting role of a Princeton University professor in the biographical film "A Beautiful Mind" (2001). The film was based on the life of mathematician John Forbes Nash Jr. (1928-2015), an expert on game theory. The film earned about 317 million dollars at the worldwide box office, and won the "Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture - Drama" It was one of the most acclaimed films in Hirsch's career.

In 2005 Hirsch received a major television role as retired city planner Alan Eppes in the police procedural series "Numbers" (2005-2010). The series concerned two brothers who collaborate in investigating FBI cases. Alan was depicted as their meddling father, who keeps reminding them to also take care of their personal lives and problems. The series lasted 6 seasons, and 118 episodes. Hirsch's role was well-received by audiences.

In 2016, Hirsch guest starred in two episodes of the sitcom "The Big Bang Theory". He played anthropologist Dr. Alfred Hofstadter, the father of main character Leonard Hofstadter (played by Johnny Galecki). The character had been frequently mentioned in the series since its first season, but had never appeared before. While the series previously mentioned that Alfred neglected his son during Leonard' childhood, in the guest appearances he turned out to have a friendly relationship with his grown-up son. Alfred seemed impressed that Leonard had a loving relationship with his wife, something which Alfred had never experienced.

In 2017, Hirsch was cast in the main role of donut shop owner Arthur Przybyszewski in the sitcom "Superior Donuts" (2017-2018). The series depicted Arthur as a veteran business owner with old-fashioned ideas, who reluctantly recognizes that he has to modernize his shop in order to stay in business. The series lasted 2 seasons and a total of 34 episodes. It was reportedly canceled due to a decline in its ratings. The final episode resolves the series' main plot, with Arthur deciding to sell his shop and to finally retire.

As of 2021, Hirsch is 86-years-old. He has never retired from acting, though he mostly plays guest-star roles in television. He remains a popular actor.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Dimos I

Spouse (2)

Bonni Chalkin (24 December 1992 - 2005) (divorced) (2 children)
Elisa Sadaune (1963 - 1967) (divorced) (1 child)

Trade Mark (3)

The role of Alex Rieger on the TV show "Taxi"
Often plays cranky, ill-tempered characters
New York accent

Trivia (25)

Attended DeWitt Clinton High School located in New York.
Born at 7:20am-EST.
Has a College Degree in Physics.
Has a son, Alex Hirsch.
Daughter named Montana and son named London, both with Bonni Chalkin.
Won two Tony Awards as Best Actor (Play): in 1986 for "I'm Not Rappaport" and in 1992 for "Conversations With My Father," both written by Herb Gardner. He was also nominated in the same category in 1980 for Lanford Wilson's "Talley's Folly."
Son of Sally (née Kitzis) and Joseph Sidney Hirsch, an electrician.
He studied drama at HB Studio in Greenwich Village in New York City.
He starred in four shows for Paramount Television - Taxi, Dear John, George & Leo, and Numb3rs. He was one of the few actors to have had multiple starring roles in Paramount shows.
His father was of German Jewish and Dutch Jewish descent. His mother was a Russian Jewish immigrant.
He did not start acting professionally until he was 36 years old.
Co-host, with Angela Lambert, of an infomercial for the "Ionic Pro Turbo" air purifier. [2008]
Starring in Yasmina Reza's play, "Art", on Broadway, opposite George Wendt and Joe Morton. [1999]
Stars as Willy Loman in "Death Of A Salesman" in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada [1997]
Currently starring in Yasmina Reza's play, "Art", at Shadowland Theatre in Ellenville, New York. [June 2008]
In November 2013, Hirsch angered neighbors in his rural Catskill Mountain town in New York with his plans to build a 177-foot-tall wind turbine on his 96-acre property, at a cost of $132,000.
He appeared in two Best Picture Academy Award winners: Ordinary People (1980) and A Beautiful Mind (2001).
Friends with Danny DeVito.
Plays the piano.
Was a member of an improv trio with Peter Boyle and Trent Gough in the late 1960s that performed at Hillys On The Bowery (run by Hilly Kristal of CBGBs fame) which was located on 9th Street between 5th & 6th Avenues in Greenwich Village.
He was awarded the 1993 Drama-Logue Award for Performance for the play, "Conversations with My Father" in presented by the Center Theatre Group/Ahmanson at the James A. Doolittle (University of California) Theatre in Los Angeles, California.
He was awarded the 1979 Drama-Logue Award for Outstanding Performance for "Talley's Folly" at the Mark Taper Forum Theatre in Los Angeles, California.
He was awarded the 1979 Drama-Logue Award for Outstanding Performance for "5th of July" at the Mark Taper Forum Theatre in Los Angeles, California.
In Running on Empty (1988) and Numb3rs: Protest (2006), he played a character named Alan who had a history of protesting the Vietnam War.
Alumnus of the AADA (American Academy of Dramatic Arts), Class of 1962.

Personal Quotes (5)

If you're playing the character, you could say to yourself in 16 different ways, What if that didn't bother me? What if I knew exactly what he was talking about? What if I didn't get excited?
If I'm not moved by what happens at the end of this play, then I've completely failed, and so has the play, and so has our production. And if that's the case then there really isn't any reason to want to do it.
Some stage directions you just simply have to throw away.
People come along and impose their own stuff on plays, and it shows.
I don't think anyone can really make up their mind and say, Now I'm going to be a director.

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