Judd Hirsch biography
Date of Birth: March 15, 1935
Born in The Bronx, New York, Judd Hirsch is known for his many roles in film, television and theater, though he only began acting professionally at age 36.
Initially, after graduating from DeWitt Clinton High School in 1952, he earned a degree in physics from the City College of New York. He then served a tour in the United States Army and proceeded to work as an engineer at Westinghouse before a passion for theater began to flourish. During this time, Judd married Elisa Sadaune, whom he was with from 1956 to 1967. Their son Alexander was born in 1966.
In the same year as Alexander’s birth, Judd made his Broadway debut in Barefoot in the Park after studying at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. He started to branch out past Broadway and starred in a well-received TV mini-series in 1974 called The Law as well as playing the lead character in his first weekly-series called Delvecchio (1976 to 77). In 1977, he guest starred on two episodes of The Mary Tyler Moore Show spinoff Rhoda, and received an Emmy nomination for his work on the episode titled "Rhoda Likes Mike."
Soon after, he decided he preferred working on Broadway to working in television. However, his agent contacted him shortly after his appearance on the Rhoda spinoff to tell him producers on a developing show called Taxi wanted him for their lead role of Alex Reiger.
After reading over the pilot script, Judd was worried when he realized the show would most likely be a series that would run for several seasons. He was 42 at the time and wanted to be free to participate in theater and film. He also had a young son and had just spent a year on the series Delvecchio, so he didn't want to commit himself to anything for too long. He decided to tell his agent to make an offer so high that the producers wouldn’t accept, but surprisingly, they still did. They also put his name over the title of the show, which worried Judd, as he thought he would receive resentment from his castmates on the set.
However, playing Alex Reiger on Taxi (1978 to 83) launched him onto the path of stardom. The role earned him five Emmy nominations, which led to two wins in the category of Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series. Several years after Taxi ended, he continued to star in other successful series, such as the sitcom Dear John and the crime drama Numb3rs.
Aside from television, he has appeared in multiple feature films, including the drama Ordinary People (1980), for which he received an Academy Award nomination in the Best Supporting Actor category. He has also appeared in Without a Trace (1983), The Goodbye People (1984) and Running on Empty (1998), which was directed by Sidney Lumet and co-starred River Phoenix.
As for his true passion, theater, he appeared in three Broadway productions and was nominated for three Tony Awards as best actor in a play. He won two of them - one for I’m Not Rappaport and the other for Conversations With My Father. In 1996 Judd had a role in the blockbuster Independence Day and also played a supporting role as Helinger in 2001’s A Beautiful Mind. He also guest-starred on episodes of Warehouse 13, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Law & Order: SVU, and The Whole Truth. As a voice actor, he's worked on the animated programs Tom Goes to the Mayor and American Dad!
During this time period, he remarried, this time to a fashion designer named Bonni Sue Chalkin, from 1992 to 2005. His second marriage resulted in a daughter named Montana and his second son, London. In November 2013, there was a bit of controversy surrounding Judd when he angered neighbors in Denning, New York when he planned to build a 177-foot-tall wind turbine on his 96-acre property. Most recently, he appeared as a series regular on the ABC television series Forever (2014-2015) and in March 2016, it was announced that Judd would be portraying Leonard's father on the popular comedy series The Big Bang Theory.
Most recently, he reprised his role as Julius Levinson in the sequel Independence Day: Resurgence, alongside returning actors such as Jeff Goldblum and Bill Pullman.
Judd Hirsch Filmography