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Jim Parsons

Jim Parsons

American actor
The basics
About
Occupations Actor Singer Television actor Stage actor Film actor
Countries United States of America
A.K.A. Sheldon Cooper
Gender male
Birth March 24, 1973 (Houston)
Education University of Houston
Authority IMDB id ISNI id Library of congress id VIAF id
Jim Parsons
The details
Biography

James Joseph "Jim" Parsons (born March 24, 1973) is an American actor. He is known for playing Sheldon Cooper in the CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory. He has received several awards for his performance, including four Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series and the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Television Series Musical or Comedy.
In 2011, Parsons made his Broadway debut portraying Tommy Boatwright in the play The Normal Heart, for which he received a Drama Desk Award nomination. He reprised the role in the film adaptation of the play, and received his seventh Emmy nomination, this time in the category of Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie.

Early life

Jim Parsons was born at St. Joseph Hospital in Houston, Texas, and was raised in one of its northern suburbs, Spring. He is the son of Milton Joseph "Mickey/Jack" Parsons, Jr. (February 6, 1949 – April 29, 2001) and teacher Judy Ann (née McKnight). His sister Julie Ann Parsons is also a teacher. He attended Klein Oak High School in Spring. Parsons points to a role in Noises Off during his junior year as the first time "I fully connected with the role I was playing and started to truly understand what it meant to be honest on stage." After playing the role of the Kola-Kola bird in a school production of The Elephant's Child at age six, Parsons was determined to become an actor. The young Parsons was heavily influenced by sitcoms, particularly Three's Company, Family Ties, and The Cosby Show.

After graduating from high school, Parsons received an undergraduate degree from the University of Houston. He was prolific during this time, appearing in 17 plays in 3 years. He was a founding member of Infernal Bridegroom Productions and regularly appeared at the Stages Repertory Theatre. Parsons enrolled in graduate school at the University of San Diego in 1999. He was one of seven students accepted into a special two-year course in classical theater, taught in partnership with the Old Globe Theater. Program director Rick Seer recalled having reservations about admitting Parsons, saying, "Jim is a very specific personality. He's thoroughly original, which is one reason he's been so successful. But we worried, 'Does that adapt itself to classical theater, does that adapt itself to the kind of training that we're doing?' But we decided that he was so talented that we would give him a try and see how it worked out." Parsons enjoyed school and told an interviewer that he would have pursued a doctorate in acting if possible: "school was so safe!.....you frequently would surprise yourself by what you were capable of, and you were not surprised by some things." Parsons graduated in 2001 and moved to New York.

Parsons traced his family's history on TLC's Who Do You Think You Are? in September 2013 and discovered French heritage from his father's side. One of his ancestors was the French architect Louis-François Trouard (1729–1804).

Career

Early career

In New York, Parsons worked in Off-Broadway productions and made several television appearances. In a much-discussed 2003 Quiznos commercial, Parsons played a man who had been raised by wolves and continued to nurse from his wolf "mother". He had a recurring role on the television show Judging Amy and appeared on the television series Ed. Parsons also had minor roles in several movies, including Garden State and School for Scoundrels.

Breakthrough role in The Big Bang Theory

Parsons and The Big Bang Theory co-stars Kaley Cuoco and Johnny Galecki in 2013

Parsons has estimated that he auditioned for between 15 and 30 television pilots, but on many of the occasions when he was cast, the show failed to find a television network willing to purchase it. The exception came with The Big Bang Theory. After reading the pilot script, Parsons felt that the role of Sheldon Cooper would be a very good fit for him. Although he did not feel any sort of relationship with the character, he was enchanted by the dialogue structure, the way the writers "brilliantly use those words that most of us don't recognize to create that rhythm. And the rhythm got me. It was the chance to dance through that dialogue, and in a lot of ways still is."

In his audition, Parsons so impressed series creator Chuck Lorre that Lorre insisted on a second audition to see if Parsons could replicate the performance. Parsons was cast as Sheldon Cooper, a physicist with social apathy who frequently belittles his friends and the waitress who lives across the hall. The role requires Parsons to "rattle off line after line of tightly composed, rhythmic dialogue, as well as then do something with his face or body during the silence that follows." Parsons credits his University of San Diego training with giving him the tools to break down Sheldon's lines.

Television critic Andrew Dansby compares Parsons' physical comedy to that of Buster Keaton and other silent film stars. Lorre praises Parsons' instincts, saying that "You can't teach that." Lorre describes Parsons' "great sense of control over every part of his body, the way he walks, holds his hands, cocks his head, the facial tics as 'inspired'." Reviewer Lewis Beale describes Parsons' performance as "so spot-on, it seems as if the character and the actor are the same person." Parsons admits that the work is "more effort than I ever thought a sitcom would take. And that's really the fun of it."

In August 2009, Parsons won the Television Critics Association award for individual achievement in comedy, beating Alec Baldwin, Tina Fey, Steve Carell, and Neil Patrick Harris. Parsons was nominated for Primetime Emmy Awards in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series, winning in 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014. In September 2010, Parsons and co-stars Johnny Galecki and Kaley Cuoco signed new contracts, guaranteeing each of them $200,000 per episode for the fourth season of The Big Bang Theory, with substantial raises for each of the next three seasons. The three were also promised a percentage of the show's earnings. In January 2011, he won the Golden Globe award for Best Actor in a Television Series – Comedy (the award was presented by co-star Cuoco). From August 2013, Parsons, Cuoco and Galecki each earned $325,000 per episode. In August 2014, Parsons, Galecki and Cuoco once again signed new contracts, guaranteeing each of them $1,000,000 per episode for the eighth, ninth and tenth seasons of The Big Bang Theory, as well as quadrupling their percentage of the show's earnings to over 1% each.

Other works

In 2011, Parsons appeared with Jack Black, Owen Wilson, Steve Martin, and Rashida Jones in the comedy film The Big Year. It was released in October. That same year, he appeared as the human alter ego of Walter, the newest Muppet introduced in The Muppets. On May 18, 2012, Parsons began appearing on Broadway as Elwood P. Dowd in a revival of Harvey.

Parsons received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on March 11, 2015. He voiced Oh, one of the lead roles in the DreamWorks Animation comedy film Home (2015), alongside Rihanna. On January 29, 2015, it was announced that Parsons would star as God in the Broadway production of An Act of God, a new play by David Javerbaum and directed by Joe Mantello. The play began previews at Studio 54 on May 5, 2015 and closing August 2, 2015, to positive reviews.

Personal life

Parsons lives in Los Angeles and in the New York City neighborhood of Gramercy Park. His father died in a car crash on April 29, 2001. On May 23, 2012, an article in The New York Times noted that Parsons is gay and had been in a relationship for the last ten years. His partner is art director Todd Spiewak. In October 2013, Parsons called their relationship "an act of love, coffee in the morning, going to work, washing the clothes, taking the dogs out—a regular life, boring love".

Filmography

Parsons at the 2009 San Diego Comic Con International

Film

Year Title Role Notes
2003 Happy End Casting Assistant
2004 Garden State Tim
2005 Heights Oliver
2005 Great New Wonderful, TheThe Great New Wonderful Justin
2005 King's Inn, TheThe King's Inn Sidney Short film
2006 10 Items or Less Receptionist
2006 School for Scoundrels Classmate
2007 On the Road with Judas Jimmy Pea
2007 Gardener of Eden Spim
2011 Big Year, TheThe Big Year Crane
2011 Muppets, TheThe Muppets Human Walter Cameo
2012 Sunset Stories Prince
2014 Wish I Was Here Paul
2015 Home Oh Voice
2015 Visions Dr. Mathison
2016 Hidden Figures Paul Stafford

Television

Year Title Role Notes
2002 Ed Chet Episode: "The Road"
2004 Why Blitt? Mike Unsold Fox pilot
2004 Taste Kris Unsold CBS pilot
2004–2005 Judging Amy Rob Holbrook 7 episodes
2007–present Big Bang Theory, TheThe Big Bang Theory Sheldon Cooper Main role
2009 Family Guy Sheldon Cooper Voice
Episode: "Business Guy"
2010 Glenn Martin, DDS Draven Voice
Episode: "Jackie's Get-Witch-Quick Scheme"
2011 Super Hero Squad Show, TheThe Super Hero Squad Show Nightmare Voice
Episode: "Blind Rage Knows No Color"
2011 Pound Puppies Milton Feltwaddle Voice
2 episodes
2011 iCarly Caleb Episode: "iLost My Mind"
2011 Eureka Carl the Jeep Voice
Episode: "Do You See What I See"
2012 Family Guy Gay-Jacker Voice
Episode: "Joe's Revenge"
2012 High Fructose Adventures of Annoying Orange, TheThe High Fructose Adventures of Annoying Orange Henry Applesauce Voice
Episode: "Generic Holiday Special"
2012 Kick Buttowski: Suburban Daredevil Larry Wilder Voice
Episode: "Jock Wilder's Nature Camp"
2013 Who Do You Think You Are? Himself Season 4, Episode 8
2014 Saturday Night Live Host Episode: "Jim Parsons/Beck"
2014 The Normal Heart Tommy Television film
2014 Elf: Buddy's Musical Christmas Buddy Voice

Stage

Year Title Role Locations
1993 The Balcony Torturer (Arthur)
1994 Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead Rosencrantz
1995 La Ronde Alfred
1995 Endgame Clov Infernal Bridegroom Productions
1995 Marat/Sade Steve Infernal Bridegroom Productions
1996 Guys and Dolls Rusty Charlie Infernal Bridegroom Productions
1996 Eddie Goes to Poetry City Eddie New York Theatre
1996 Jack and the Future Is In Eggs Jack
1996 Othello Iago Infernal Bridegroom Productions
1996 Suicide in B-flat Infernal Bridegroom Productions
1996 Woyzeck Doctor / Horse's Head Infernal Bridegroom Productions
1997 The Cherry Orchard Yasha Infernal Bridegroom Productions
1997 Chili Queen Buddy Stages Repertory Theatre
1997 Camino Real Baron Infernal Bridegroom Productions
1997 Last Rites Tiger Clean Infernal Bridegroom Productions
1998 Threepenny Opera MacHeath Infernal Bridegroom Productions
1998 Below the Belt Dobbitt
1998 In the Jungle of the Cities J. Finnay Infernal Bridegroom Productions
1998 Tamalalia 3: The Cocktail Party Psychotic psychiatrist Infernal Bridegroom Productions
1998 King Ubu is King Tom, Mister Nice Guy Infernal Bridegroom Productions
1998 The Pitchfork Disney Presley Stray Stages Repertory Theatre
1999 Marie and Bruce Herb / Fred / Waiter Infernal Bridegroom Productions
1999 Tamalalia 4: The Camp-Out Ralf Infernal Bridegroom Productions
2001 Da Old Globe Theatre
2002 What Happened Was Jackie The Paradise Theatre
2001 The Castle Jeremiah Manhattan Ensemble Theatre
2002 Tartuffe Valère La Jolla Playhouse
2004 The Love for Three Oranges (Gozzi) Prince Tartaglia La Jolla Playhouse
2011 The Normal Heart Tommy Boatwright John Golden Theatre
2012 Harvey Elwood Dowd Studio 54
2015–16 An Act of God God Studio 54 / Booth Theatre

Awards and nominations

Year Awards Category Work Result
2009 Satellite Awards Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy The Big Bang Theory Nominated
TCA Awards Individual Achievement in Comedy Won
Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series Nominated
2010 Satellite Awards Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy Nominated
Teen Choice Awards Choice TV Actor: Comedy Nominated
People's Choice Awards Favorite TV Comedy Actor Nominated
TCA Awards Individual Achievement in Comedy Nominated
Online Film & Television Association Best Actor in a Comedy Series Won
Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series Won
2011 Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Actor in a Comedy Series Won
Golden Globe Awards Best Actor– Television Series: Musical or Comedy Won
Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series Won
Online Film & Television Association Best Actor in a Comedy Series Won
People's Choice Awards Favorite TV Comedy Actor Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series Nominated
2012 Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series Nominated
Online Film & Television Association Best Actor in a Comedy Series Won
Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Actor in a Comedy Series Nominated
People's Choice Awards Favorite TV Comedy Actor Nominated
TCA Awards Individual Achievement in Comedy Nominated
Satellite Awards Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy Nominated
2013 Golden Globe Awards Best Actor– Television Series: Musical or Comedy Nominated
Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Actor in a Comedy Series Nominated
TV Guide Award Favorite Actor Won
Teen Choice Awards Choice TV Actor: Comedy Won
Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series Won
People's Choice Awards Favorite TV Comedy Actor Nominated
2014 Golden Globe Awards Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series Nominated
Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series Nominated
Critics Choice Television Awards Best Actor in a Comedy Series Won
Online Film & Television Association Best Actor in a Comedy Series Won
Teen Choice Awards Choice TV Actor: Comedy Nominated
Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series Won
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie The Normal Heart Nominated
2015 People's Choice Awards Favorite TV Comedic Actor The Big Bang Theory Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series Nominated
Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series Nominated
Kids' Choice Awards Favorite TV Actor Nominated
Teen Choice Awards Choice TV Actor: Comedy Nominated
2016 People's Choice Awards Favorite TV Comedic Actor Won
Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series Nominated
Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series Nominated
Satellite Awards Best Ensemble – Motion Picture Hidden Figures Won
2017 Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture Won

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