Judd Hirsch

Judd Seymore Hirsch (born March 15, 1935) is an American actor known for playing Alex Rieger on the television comedy series Taxi (1978–1983), John Lacey on the NBC series Dear John (1988–1992), and Alan Eppes on the CBS series NUMB3RS (2005–2010). He is also well known for his career in theatre and for his roles in films such as Ordinary People (1980), Running on Empty (1988), Independence Day (1996), and A Beautiful Mind (2001).

Judd Hirsch
Hirsch in 1967
Judd Seymore Hirsch[1]

(1935-03-15) March 15, 1935
Alma materCity College of New York
Years active1959–present
  • Elisa Sadaune
    (m. 1956; div. 1967)
  • Bonni Sue Chalkin
    (m. 1992; div. 2005)

He has twice won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series, twice won the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play, won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy and has been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. He also starred as Arthur Przybyszewski in the CBS situation comedy Superior Donuts.

Early life and education

Hirsch was born in The Bronx, a borough of New York City, New York, the son of Sally and Joseph Sidney Hirsch, an electrician.[2] Hirsch's father was born in New York, to a German-Jewish father, Benjamin Hirsch, and an English-born mother, Rosa Hirsch Benjamin, whose family were Dutch Jews.[3][4][5] Hirsch's mother was born in Russia, also to a Jewish family.[6] Hirsch has a brother named Roland Hirsch.

He grew up in both Brooklyn and The Bronx[4] and graduated from DeWitt Clinton High School [7] (in The Bronx) in 1952. He earned a degree in physics from City College of New York.[1]

After graduating from college, Hirsch served a tour in the United States Army.[4] Hirsch then worked as an engineer for Westinghouse before he found work in the theater.[8] He studied acting at HB Studio[9] in New York City.


Over the last several decades, Hirsch has distinguished himself in film, television, and theatre. The Los Angeles Times noted that Hirsch is "one of the very few actors who slips effortlessly from TV series to Broadway to feature films and back again, racking up awards and favorable reviews wherever he performs."[8]

After appearing frequently on television in the 1970s, Hirsch gained stardom for his lead role of Alex Rieger in the popular sitcom Taxi, which ran from 1978 to 1983. For his performance in the series, in 1981 and again in 1983,[10] Judd Hirsch won the Emmy Award for Lead Actor In a Comedy Series. In 1999, he reprised his role from Taxi for a brief moment in Man on the Moon, the biopic of his co-star from Taxi, Andy Kaufman (portrayed by Jim Carrey).

Hirsch went on from Taxi to play the title character on the modestly successful sitcom Dear John and in 1989 won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Television Series in a Comedy or Musical for this role.[11] He later teamed with Bob Newhart in the short-lived comedy George and Leo. He had also previously starred for one season (1976–1977) in the series Delvecchio.

In film, Hirsch received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Ordinary People (1980), which won the Academy Award for Best Picture that year. His other film performances from the decade include leading roles in the 1983 drama Without a Trace, the 1984 dramedies, Teachers and The Goodbye People, and the 1988 drama Running on Empty, directed by Sidney Lumet and co-starring River Phoenix. In 1996, Hirsch portrayed the father of Jeff Goldblum's character in the blockbuster Independence Day, a role that he later reprised in its 2016 sequel. In 2001, he played a Princeton University professor in the Academy Award-winning film A Beautiful Mind. Hirsch has more recently had supporting roles in acclaimed films such as The Meyerowitz Stories (2017) and Uncut Gems (2019).

Hirsch co-starred on the CBS Television drama, NUMB3RS (2005–2010), as Alan Eppes, father of FBI agent, Don Eppes (Rob Morrow), and Professor Charlie Eppes (David Krumholtz). When Krumholtz was 13, he played son to Hirsch's father role in Conversations with My Father,[12] a Herb Gardner play for which Hirsch won the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play.[13] Krumholtz credits Hirsch with jump-starting his career after Hirsch chose him during the audition process for Conversations. Other noteworthy stage performances include The Hot l Baltimore, Talley's Folly, and his starring role in I'm Not Rappaport, for which Hirsch also won a Tony Award in 1986.

More recently, Hirsch guest-starred on episodes of Warehouse 13, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and The Whole Truth (which saw him reunite with Numb3rs co-star Rob Morrow), among others, and lent his voice to the animated programs Tom Goes to the Mayor and American Dad! Judd has also appeared several times on the television show Maron as comedian Marc Maron's father and has had a recurring role on The Goldbergs, playing the father of Jeff Garlin's character. In 2016, Hirsch appeared on the CBS comedy series The Big Bang Theory portraying the father of Johnny Galecki's character, Leonard.

From 2014 to 2015, he appeared as a series regular on the ABC television series Forever. From 2017 to 2018, Hirsch starred in the CBS comedy Superior Donuts, which lasted two seasons.

Personal life

Hirsch was married to his first wife, Elisa Sadaune, from 1963 to 1967. Their son, Alex Hirsch, was born in 1966.[14] Hirsch married Bonni Sue Chalkin, a fashion designer, in 1992 and the couple divorced in 2005.[15] From this second marriage, Hirsch has a daughter, Montana, and son, London.


Year Title Role Notes
1971 Jump Unknown Uncredited
1973 Serpico Cop Uncredited
1978 King of the Gypsies Groffo
1980 Ordinary People Dr. Tyrone C. Berger Nominated - Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated - Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture
1983 Without a Trace Detective Al Manetti
1984 The Goodbye People Arthur Korman
1984 Teachers Roger Rubell
1988 Running on Empty Arthur Pope/Paul Manfield
1996 Independence Day Julius Levinson
1999 Out of the Cold Leon Axelrod
1999 Man on the Moon Alex Rieger Uncredited cameo
2001 A Beautiful Mind Dr. Helinger Nominated - Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
2004 Zeyda and the Hitman Gideon Schub
2006 Brother's Shadow Leo Groden
2011 Tower Heist Mr. Simon
2011 The Muppets Himself Cameo
2011 This Must Be the Place Mordecai Midler
2013 Altered Minds Dr. Nathan Shellner
2016 Independence Day: Resurgence Julius Levinson
2017 The Meyerowitz Stories L.J. Shapiro
2019 Uncut Gems Gooey
Year Title Role Notes
1974 The Law Murray Stone Television movie
1975 The Law Murray Stone 3 episodes
1975 Fear on Trial Saul Television movie
1975 Medical Story Dr. Joe Dempsey Episode: "Waste Land"
1975 The Legend of Valentino Jack Auerbach Television movie
1976 The Keegans Lieutenant Marco Ciardi Television movie
1976 Visions Joe Morris Episode: "Two Brothers"
1977 Rhoda Mike 2 episodes: "Rhoda Likes Mike", "The Weekend"
Nominated - Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series
1976–1977 Delvecchio Sergeant Dominick Delvecchio 22 episodes
1979 Sooner or Later Bob Walters Television movie
1979 The Halloween That Almost Wasn't Count Dracula Television movie
1980 Marriage Is Alive and Well Herb Rollie Television movie
1980 The Last Resort Unknown Episode: "Zegelmania"
1981 The Robert Klein Show Unknown Television movie
1983 Lights: The Miracle of Chanukah Unknown Television movie
1978–1983 Taxi Alex Rieger 114 episodes
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series (1981, 1983)
Nominated - Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy (1979-1983)
Nominated - Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series (1979-1980, 1982)
1985 Detective in the House Press Wyman 6 episodes
1985 First Steps Dr. Jerrold Petrofsky Television movie
1985 Brotherly Love Ben Ryder/Harry Brand Television movie
1988–1992 Dear John John Lacey 90 episodes
Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy
Nominated - Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy
1988 The Great Escape II: The Untold Story Capt. David Matthews Television movie
1990 She Said No Martin Knapek Television movie
1994 Betrayal of Trust Dr. Jules Masserman Television movie
1996 Caroline in the City Ben Karinsky Episode: "Caroline and the Comic"
1997 Color of Justice Sam Lind Television movie
1997–1998 George and Leo Leo Wagonman 22 episodes
1999 Rocky Marciano Al Weill Television movie
2000 Welcome to New York Dr. Bob Episode: "Dr. Bob"
2001 Family Law Daniel Bonner Episode: "Security"
2002 Philly Rabbi Nathan Wexler Episode: "The Curse of the Klopman Diamonds"
2003 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Dr. Judah Platner Episode: "Mercy"
2003 Regular Joe Baxter Binder 5 episodes
2003 Street Time Shimi Goldman Episode: "High Holly Roller"
2003 Law & Order: Criminal Intent Ben Elkins Episode: "Pravda"
2003 Who Killed the Federal Theatre Narrator Television movie
2005 Family Guy Himself (voice) Episode: "Blind Ambition"
2006 Tom Goes to the Mayor Prisoner (voice) Episode: "Spray a Carpet or Rug"
2006 Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip Wes Mendell Episode: "Pilot"
2009 American Dad! Rabbi (voice) 2 episodes
2005–2010 Numb3rs Alan Eppes 114 episodes
2010 Warehouse 13 Isadore Weisfelt Episode: "Secret Santa"
2011–2012 Damages Bill Herndon 14 episodes
2012 The Good Wife Judge Harrison Creary Episode: "Here Comes the Judge"
2013–2015 Maron Larry Maron 4 episodes
2014 Sharknado 2: The Second One Ben Television movie
2014–2015 Forever Abraham "Abe" Morgan 22 episodes
2015–2019 The Goldbergs Ben "Pop-Pop" Goldberg 5 episodes
2016 The Big Bang Theory Dr. Alfred Hofstadter 2 episodes
2016 Family Guy Himself (voice) Episode: "Take a Letter"
2017–2018 Superior Donuts Arthur Przybyszewski 34 episodes
2018 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Joseph Edelman Episode: "Alta Kockers"
2019 Big Mouth Lewis Glouberman Episode: "Florida"
2019 Modern Love Cop, Vendor, Taxi Driver Episode: "Take Me as I Am, Whoever I Am"
Theatre Circle Repertory
Year 1972-73 Title Hot L Baltimore Role Bill Lewis Notes
1976 Knock Knock Multiple roles Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play
1977–1978 Chapter Two George Schneider Nominated - Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Play
1980 Talley's Folly Matt Friedman Nominated - Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play
Nominated - Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Play
1985–1988 I'm Not Rappaport Nat Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play
1992–1993 Conversations with My Father Eddie Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play
1996 A Thousand Clowns Murray Burns
2004 Sixteen Wounded Hans

See also


  1. Fisher, James (2011). Historical Dictionary of Contemporary American Theater. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press. p. 360. ISBN 9780810855328. Retrieved 4 August 2014. Born Judd Seymore Hirsch in the Bronx
  2. Database (2008). "Judd Hirsch Biography". Film Reference. Retrieved 19 April 2008.
  3. "Benjamin Hirsh". United States Census, 1900. FamilySearch. Retrieved 4 August 2014. Benjamin Hirsh, Borough of Manhattan, Election District 12 New York City Ward 26, New York County, New York, United States; citing sheet 11A, family 189, NARA microfilm publication T623, FHL microfilm 1241112.
  4. Goldman, Ari L. (22 March 1992). "Theater; Judd Hirsch Finds the Echoes in 'Conversations'". The New York Times. Retrieved 4 August 2014.
  5. Cynthia Citron (29 January 2013). "A Conversation With Judd Hirsch — and Freud". LA Stage Times. Retrieved 4 August 2014.
  6. "Isaac N Kitzis". United States Census, 1910. FamilySearch. Retrieved 4 August 2014. Isaac N Kitzis, Manhattan Ward 13, New York, New York, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 766, sheet 16A, family 282, NARA microfilm publication T624, FHL microfilm 1375042.
  7. "Don't Let Looks or Talent Fool You: What Made These Stars Famous Were Their High Schools". People. 24 December 1979. Retrieved 4 August 2014.
  8. Weinstein, Steve (21 November 1988). "Hirsch's Return in 'Dear John' Is Love Letter to Comedy". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 4 August 2014.
  9. HB Studio Alumni
  10. Emmy Awards Official Website.
  11. Golden Globe Official Website 1989 awards, Archived 2007-08-27 at the Wayback Machine
  12. Pfefferman, Naomi (5 October 2006). "Clues to family drama's Jewish roots finally add up on 'Numb3rs'". The Jewish Journal. Retrieved 4 August 2014.
  13. Tony Awards Official Website.
  14. Reilly, Sue (19 December 1977). "Neil Simon and Judd Hirsch Prove American Lives Can Have Second Chapters". People. Retrieved 4 August 2014.
  15. Brozan, Nadine (25 December 1992). "Chronicle". The New York Times. Retrieved 4 August 2014.
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