Judd Hirsch is an award-winning actor, who gained popularity with American audiences when he starred in the television series ‘Taxi’ (1978-1983) and rose to worldwide fame with the movie ‘Independence Day’ in 1990, successful at the box office
Early life and family
Judd Seymore Hirsch was born on March 15, 1935, in The Bronx in New York City, to Joseph Sidney Hirsch, an electrician, and Sally Kitzis Hirsch. Judd had a German Jewish paternal grandfather, Benjamin Hirsch, who was born in New York City and a Dutch Jewish paternal grandmother, Rosa Hirsch, who was born in England. The Judd’s mother was born in Russia to a Jewish family. He has a brother named Roland Hirsch, but no other details about him are disclosed.
Not much information is available about Judd’s early life other than that he grew up in The Bronx and Brooklyn.
He graduated from DeWitt Clinton High School in The Bronx in 1952 and received a bachelor’s degree in physics from City College of New York. He served a tour in the United States Army after he graduated worked first with the American nuclear energy company Westinghouse Electric Company LLC., after which he worked in theater and studied acting at the HB Studio (Herbert Berghof Studio) in Greenwich Village, New York City, a non-profit organization that provides professional training in the performing arts.
It was unclear whether he studied acting because he discovered a passion for it after working in theatre, or whether he took acting lessons before working on stage.
Hirsch reportedly began his professional acting career at the age of 27 in theater, appearing in more than a dozen performances from 1962 to 1973. He acted in a number of movies, though uncredited, that were commercially successful, such as ‘Jump’ and ‘Evil’. Knievel’ in 1971 and ‘Serpico’ in 1973. He made his television debut in 1974 in the television movie ‘The Law’. He guest starred for two episodes on the television series “Rhoda” in 1977, and was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series.
His first starring role was in 1976 when he was cast as the title character in the 22 episode CBS TV series “Delvecchio”.
It was his role as Alex Riger, the main character, in the popular American sitcom ‘Taxi’, which made him a star. Originally airing on ABC (1978-1982) and then on NBC (1982-1983), the series received 31 Emmy nominations and won 18, including three for Outstanding Comedy Series. They also won four Golden Globes from 25 nominations and the sitcom ranks 48the in “TV Guide’s 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time.”
Judd gained recognition for his acting in “Taxi” by being nominated five consecutive times (1979-1983) for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series, winning two in 1981 and 1983. He was also nominated at the Golden Globes for Best Actor in a TV Series Comedy every year from 1979 to 1983.
Hirsch continued to take on projects for television in lead, supporting and guest roles through 2020. He was the title character in NBC’s “Dear John” for four seasons, not quite as successful as “Taxi”, but he won a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Television Series in a Comedy in 1989 for this.
He was cast in the crime drama television series ‘Numbers’ which ran for six seasons (2005-2010). Judd also appeared on popular series such as ‘The Good Wife’, ‘The Big Bang Theory’ and ‘Law & Order: Special Victims Unit’. His last appearance in a TV series was in early 2020 on the Amazon Prime Video Show, ‘Hunters’, starring Al Pacino.
One of the films he made was the critically acclaimed ‘Ordinary People’, the directorial debut of the actor Robert Redford, released in 1980. He received a Best Supporting Actor nomination from both an Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award for his role.
In 2001, he was cast in the Russell Crowe film ‘A Beautiful Mind’ which earned him a joint nomination from the Screen Actors Guild Awards for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Motion Picture.
Success at the box office
Judd has made more than 20 films, three of which were box office hits not only in America but also worldwide, such as the American biographical drama film “A Beautiful Mind” in 2001, which made more than $300 million worldwide; the sci-fi disaster movie “Independence Day” in 1996, which grossed more than $800 million worldwide; and its sequel “Independence Day: Resurgence” in 2016, which grossed nearly $400 million worldwide.
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♡ “I witnessed the greatness of a personality that never fully blossomed. I’ll never see him play Hamlet, and he would have been one of the greats. I wanted to see him do some of the most emotional work there is, and it still hurts me that I never will. ♡ His looks and his legion of teenage fans often caused colleagues to underestimate his talent at first. Judd Hirsch played his father in Running on Empty, one of Phoenix’s strongest performances. “When I first saw him, I thought, ‘This is another blond, beautiful boy,'” says Hirsch. “But I quickly realized this was a very, very insider. River wouldn’t just give anything away. He was in deep.” — The Washington Post, October 2018 ♡ — Judd Hirsch, who plays Riv’s father in Running on Empty, on him. _________________________ #river #riverjude #riverjudebottom #riverjudephoenix #riverphoenix #juddhirsch #juddseymorehirsch #runningonempty #taxitvshow #80s #90s #1988 #1993 #2018 #magazine #interview #thewashingtonpost #movies #actors #hollywood #grief #nostalgia #nostalgic
It was actually his role in the ‘Independence Day’ franchise as Julius Levinson, the father of Jeff Goldblum’s character, that made him famous to international audiences.
When he wasn’t making films or television series, he was doing theater work. He starred in more than five plays from 1976 to 2004. “Knock Knock” was a 1976 Off-Broadway comedy that moved to Broadway after positive reviews – winning the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play. He received his first Tony Award nomination in 1980 for American playwright Lanford Wilson’s Broadway show ‘Talley’s Folly’, who won the 1980 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for this work.
His two subsequent Broadway plays, both by Herb Gardner, namely “I’m Not Rappaport” (1985-1988) and “Conversations with My Father” (1992-1993), earned him two Tony Awards for Best Actor in a Play .
Judd Hirsch married Elisa Sadaune in 1963, and they had a son together named Alexander, born in 1966, but they divorced in 1967. After 25 years, he married fashion designer Bonnie Sue Chalkin on December 24, 1992 and had two children with her, namely Montana and London. However, the couple divorced in 2005. Other than that, not much is known about his two marriages and children. Judd is now 85 years old and currently single. He has lived in Catskill Town of Denning in Ulster County, New York, for nearly 50 years.
Interesting rumors and facts
- On November 15, 2013, an article was published in The New York Times about Judd Hirsch planning to install a 55-foot wind turbine electrical generator that would cost him $132,000 on his 96-acre estate in Denning, which some residents opposed . They said that not only would it ruin the beauty of the place, but it would also create noise and disturb the silence. Hirsch had all this to say about his neighbors: “Their fears are, in my opinion, nonsense. Behind it, I believe, are the pollution by jealousy and the pollution by stupidity.’ Denning’s Zoning Board of Appeals denied construction of the wind turbine in 2014, saying city codes don’t specifically allow it.
- The creator of “Taxi,” James L. Brooks, was thinking of Hirsch, already a Broadway star, when he was writing Alex Rieger’s character. It was said that the studio was initially reluctant to hire Judd because his asking price was too high; conversely, Judd was hesitant to accept the part at the time, not so sure he belonged on television. Of course everything turned out fine in the end.
- In an interview, he said that for the “Independence Day” sequel, he improvised at the beginning of the film because some lines were not written. Apparently the director wanted him to be spontaneous in his response and lines.
- Judd preferred to be an actor on stage rather than in movies and TV. He said, ‘I’m a stage actor because my heart is in that and all my energy to be a success would be there. All the challenges of the stage are this actor’s life.”
- On March 30, 2020, Judd Hirsch joined the actors of “Taxi,” including Danny DeVito, Tony Danza, and Christopher Lloyd, as a guest on “Stars in the House” for The Actors Fund, a national human services organization, to help everyone as well as soliciting donations for those most vulnerable to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Judd Hirsch, 85th birthday!
Born March 15, 1935 (Here in Bronx, New York) 🥰 Judd became one of the most talented actors of the 20th century.
— 80sThen80sNow (@80sThen80sNow) March 15, 2020
Judd is 1.83 m tall and weighs about 68 kg. He has dark brown hair and blue eyes.
Wealth and salary
It was reported that in addition to his property in Denning, he also owns two apartments in the Upper East Side and West Village of New York City. In 2018, he bought a hillside estate in Studio City, California for $1.56 million. Judd Hirsch has a long acting career, appearing in stage plays, movies, television series, and made-for-television movies. While it was not revealed how much he earns as an actor and how much and how much all his properties are worth, estimates are sources net value with a minimum of $12 million as of early 2020.