J. K. Simmons

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J. K. Simmons
JKSimmons07TIFF (cropped).jpg
Born Jonathan Kimble Simmons
(1955-01-09) January 9, 1955 (age 59)
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Occupation Actor
Years active 1986–present
Spouse(s) Michelle Schumacher (m. 1996)
Children 3

Jonathan Kimble "J. K." Simmons (born January 9, 1955) is an American actor. He is known for his roles as Dr. Emil Skoda on the NBC series Law & Order (and other Law & Order franchise series), neo-Nazi Vernon Schillinger on the HBO prison drama series Oz, Assistant Police Chief Will Pope on the TNT series The Closer, J. Jonah Jameson in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy, and the voice of Cave Johnson in the 2011 puzzle game Portal 2. In 2014, he portrayed Terence Fletcher in Whiplash, for which he received critical praise. From April 2012, he has voiced the character of Tenzin in The Legend of Korra.

Early life[edit]

Simmons was born in Detroit, Michigan, the son of Patricia (née Kimble), an administrator, and Donald William Simmons, a college professor.[1][2][3] He was raised in Columbus, Ohio and Missoula, Montana, and attended the University of Montana.[4][5] He was a member of the Seattle Repertory Theatre.[4]


Musical theatre[edit]

Simmons was a Broadway actor and singer. He played Benny Southstreet in the 1992 revival of Guys and Dolls,[6] and in 1994, he sang multiple roles in the Wagner opera satire, Das Barbecu.[4] He also played the role of Jigger in a revival of Carousel with the Houston Grand Opera and starred in the 1987 Off-Broadway musical Birds of Paradise.

Film and television roles[edit]

Simmons is known for his television roles as Dr. Emil Skoda, a police psychiatrist, who has appeared on three of the four incarnations of Law & Order and New York Undercover, and as sadistic neo-Nazi inmate Vernon Schillinger on the prison drama Oz. He also stars as Ralph Earnhardt, the father of race-car driver Dale Earnhardt, in 3: The Dale Earnhardt Story. He played B.R. in the film Thank You For Smoking and has been praised for his performance in Juno as "Mac" McGuff, the title character's father. He played Will Pope, Assistant Chief of the LAPD, in The Closer.

Simmons also played J. Jonah Jameson in all three of Sam Raimi's Spider-Man films and the expanded video game adaptation of Spider-Man 3. He provided his voice for two newspaper editors in two episodes of the eighteenth season of The Simpsons. The characters are never named, but are obviously meant to emulate the character of Jameson (one, bearing Jameson's appearance, even demands "pictures of Spider-Man", then on being reminded he works at a poetry journal, demands "poems about Spider-Man"). Similarly, Simmons voiced an editor-in-chief of a newspaper (with Jameson's appearance and mannerisms) for a 2013 episode of The Hub's Pound Puppies.

Simmons also provides the voice of the yellow M&M in the product's commercials, as well as the 3-D film I Lost My M in Vegas, playing at M&M's World in Las Vegas. He has also done voiceover work for Norelco razors. He also provided the voice of General Wade Eiling in Justice League Unlimited. He recorded an audio book for Tom Clancy's Net Force: Point of Impact. He appeared in an episode of Homicide: Life on the Street, portraying a criminal in an episode that crossed over with Law & Order before Simmons joined the cast as Skoda. He had a small role as an army general in the television sitcom Arrested Development. He played Dan the Barber in the surreal Nickelodeon kid's show The Adventures of Pete & Pete in 1995. In 2008, he had a small part as a CIA Superior in Burn After Reading and appeared in Postal as Candidate Wells. He has been featured as Professor Nathaniel Burke of the University of Farmers in television commercials for Farmers Insurance Group, beginning in 2010.[7] He also appeared in I Love You, Man.

Simmons is known for starring in films that are produced or directed by his friend Jason Reitman, including Thank You for Smoking, Juno, Up in the Air, and Jennifer's Body. He also lent his voice to Reitman's film Young Adult, voicing the protagonist's boss through a series of voicemails. In 2013, he had a small role as Mr. Jervis in Reitman's film Labor Day.[8] He voices Tenzin, an Airbending master and the son of Aang and Katara, in the 2012 Nickelodeon series The Legend of Korra. He has resumed his role as the voice of J. Jonah Jameson in the animated series Ultimate Spider-Man and in The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes. He said he would like to reprise the role again in Marc Webb's The Amazing Spider-Man series, a reboot of the Spider-Man film series.[9] He starred as blind lawyer "Mel Fisher" in Growing Up Fisher.[10]

In 2014, Simmons starred as Terence Fletcher in Whiplash. Fletcher is an intensely demanding conductor at the fictional Schaffer Conservatory of Music, where he bullies and cajoles the protagonist, Andrew Neyman, played by Miles Teller. The film won wide acclaim and Simmons' performance was singled out, with multiple critics calling for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Rolling Stone said "Beat the drums for an Oscar for Simmons". Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times said "Simmons delivers one of the most memorable performances of the year." [11] Entertainment Weekly summed up the reaction by saying "Simmons performance has been universally praised... a leading contender for Best Supporting Actor".[12]

Video games[edit]

Simmons has appeared as the anti-communist U. S. President Howard T. Ackerman in the video game Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 and a series of promotional advertisements parodying the 2008 presidential elections. In these advertisements, he offers himself (as Ackerman) as an alternative to other, unnamed presidential candidates and used the slogan "Vote for me, if you want to live."[13] In April 2011, he appeared in Portal 2 as the voice of Aperture Science founder Cave Johnson,[14] a performance that was lauded as the "surprise star turn" of the game.[15]

Personal life[edit]

In 1996, Simmons married Michelle Schumacher, with whom he has three children. His brother, David, is a singer-songwriter, and his sister, Elizabeth, is a professor at the University of Washington.



Year Title Role Notes
1986 Popeye Doyle Patrolman in Park Television film
1994 Ref, TheThe Ref Siskel
1994 Scout, TheThe Scout Assistant Coach
1996 First Wives Club, TheThe First Wives Club Federal Marshal
1996 Extreme Measures Dr. Mingus
1997 Love Walked In Mr. Shulman
1997 Face Down Herb Aames Television film
1997 Crossing Fields Guy
1997 Jackal, TheThe Jackal FBI Agent T. I. Witherspoon
1997 Anastasia Ensemble and vocals
1998 Celebrity Souvenir Hawker
1998 Above Freezing Hoyd
1999 Hit and Runway Ray Tilman
1999 Cider House Rules, TheThe Cider House Rules Ray Kendall
1999 For Love of the Game Frank Perry
1999 I Lost My M in Vegas Yellow (voice) Short film
2000 Beautiful Joe Uncredited
2000 Autumn in New York Dr. Tom Grandy
2000 Gift, TheThe Gift Sheriff Pearl Johnson
2001 Mexican, TheThe Mexican Ted Slocum
2002 Path to War CIA Briefer Television film
2002 Spider-Man J. Jonah Jameson
2003 Disposal Older Hunter Short film
2003 Off the Map George
2004 Hidalgo Buffalo Bill Cody
2004 Ladykillers, TheThe Ladykillers Garth Pancake
2004 Spider-Man 2 J. Jonah Jameson
2004 3: The Dale Earnhardt Story Ralph Earnhardt Television film
2005 Thank You for Smoking B. R.
2005 Pom Poko Seizaemon (voice) English dub
2005 Harsh Times Agent Richards
2006 First Snow Vacaro
2006 Astronaut Farmer, TheThe Astronaut Farmer Jacobson
2007 Spider-Man 3 J. Jonah Jameson
2007 Postal Candidate Welles
2007 Juno Mac MacGuff Nominated–Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Cast
2007 Rendition Lee Mayer
2008 Burn After Reading CIA Superior
2009 Vicious Kind, TheThe Vicious Kind Donald Sinclaire
2009 New in Town Stu Kopenhafer
2009 Way of War, TheThe Way of War Sergeant Mitchell
2009 Red Sands Lt. Col. Arson
2009 Jewno Father Short film
2009 I Love You, Man Oswald Klaven Nominated–Denver Film Critics Society Award for Best Acting Ensemble
2009 Aliens in the Attic Skip (voice)
2009 Post Grad Roy Davies
2009 Extract Brian
2009 Up in the Air Bob Nominated–Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Cast
Nominated–Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Award for Best Ensemble
Nominated–Central Ohio Film Critics Association Award for Best Ensemble
Nominated–Denver Film Critics Society Award for Best Acting Ensmeble
2009 Jennifer's Body Mr. Wroblewski
2010 4192: The Crowning of the Hit King Narrator
2010 Crazy on the Outside Ed
2010 Invisible Sign, AnAn Invisible Sign Mr. Jones
2010 Beginner's Guide to Endings, AA Beginner's Guide to Endings Uncle Pal
2010 Megamind Warden (voice)
2010 True Grit Lawyer Daggett (voice) Uncredited
2010 Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore Gruff K-9 (voice)
2011 Music Never Stopped, TheThe Music Never Stopped Henry Sawyer
2011 The Good Doctor Detective Krauss
2011 Blackstone Detective Burke Short film
2011 Young Adult Mavis' Publisher (voice) Uncredited
2012 The Words Mr. Jansen
2012 Contraband Captain Camp
2013 Whiplash Band Teacher Short film
2013 Geezers! J Kimball
2013 Jobs Arthur Rock
2013 Labor Day Mr. Jervis
2013 Dark Skies Edwin Pollard
2013 The Heeler Roscoe Short film
2013 The Magic Bracelet The Shaman Short film
2014 Whiplash Terence Fletcher African-American Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
Austin Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
Black Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor
Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor
Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
Detroit Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actor
Florida Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor
Indiana Film Journalists Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
Las Vegas Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actor
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor
New York Film Critics Online Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nevada Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actor
Palm Springs Film Festival Spotlight Award
Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actor
Southeastern Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
Toronto Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
Utah Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated–Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated–San Diego Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated–San Francisco Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor
Pending–Critics' Choice Movie Award for Best Supporting Actor
Pending–Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture
Pending–Houston Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actor
Pending–Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Male
Pending–London Film Critics' Circle Award for Supporting Actor of the Year
Pending–Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture
Pending–Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Pending–Vancouver Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor
2014 Barefoot Dr. Bertleman
2014 Break Point Jack
2014 The Boxcar Children Dr. Moore (voice)
2014 Murder of a Cat Sheriff Hoyle
2014 The Rewrite Dr. Lerner
2014 Men, Women & Children Mr. Doss
2015 Terminator Genisys Post-production
2015 Rock Dog Khampa (voice) Post-production


Year Title Role Notes
1994 Law & Order Jerry Luppin Episode: "Sanctuary"
1995 New York News Episode: "Welcome Back Cotter"
1995 Adventures of Pete & Pete, TheThe Adventures of Pete & Pete Barber Dan Episode: "Saturday"
1996 Homicide: Life on the Street Col. Alexander Rausch Episode: "For God and Country"
1996 Swift Justice Mel Turman Episode: "Stones"
1996–1998 New York Undercover Sgt. Treadway / Dr. Emil Skoda 2 episodes
1997 Spin City Kevin Travis Episode: "Hot in the City"
1997–2003 Oz Vernon Schillinger 56 episodes
1997–2010 Law & Order Dr. Emil Skoda 45 episodes
1998 Remember WENN Captain Amazon Episode: "All's Noisy on the Pittsburgh Front"
1999 Saturday Night Live Vernon Schillinger Episode: "Jerry Seinfeld/David Bowie"
2000 Third Watch Frank Hagonon Episode: "Demolition Derby"
2000–2001 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Dr. Emil Skoda 6 episodes
2002 Law & Order: Criminal Intent Dr. Emil Skoda Episode: "Crazy"
2002 Homeward Bound Jim Ashton Pilot
2003 John Doe Lucas Doya Episode: "The Rising"
2003 Everwood Phil Drebbles Episode: "Burden of Truth"
2004 ER Gus Loomer Episode: "Impulse Control"
2004 The D.A. Dep. Dist. Atty. Joe Carter 2 episodes
2004 Without a Trace Mark Wilson Episode: "Two Families"
2004 Jury, TheThe Jury Ron Stalsukilis Episode: "Last Rites"
2004 Nip/Tuck Ike Connors Episode: "Kimber Henry"
2004–2006 Justice League Unlimited General Wade Eiling (voice) 5 episodes
2005 Arrested Development General Anderson Episode: "Switch Hitter"
2005 Jack & Bobby Cyrus Miller Episode: "Running Scared"
2005 Numb3rs Dr. Clarence Weaver Episode: "Vector"
2005–2012 Closer, TheThe Closer Assistant Chief Will Pope 109 episodes
Nominated–Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series (2006–2011)
2006 West Wing, TheThe West Wing Harry Ravitch Episode: "Duck and Cover"
2006–2007 Simpsons, TheThe Simpsons Tabloid Editor (voice) 2 episodes
2007 Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee James McLaughlin Television film
2007 Queens Supreme Ernest Fingerman Episode: "Let's Make a Deal"
2007 Kim Possible Martin Smarty (voice) 3 episodes
2007–2011 American Dad! Judge / McCreary (voices) 3 episodes
2008 Phineas and Ferb J.B. (voice) Episode: "Toy to the World"
2008 Ben 10: Alien Force Magister Ghilhil (voice) Episode: "Darkstar Rising"
2009 Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack, TheThe Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack Poseidon / Captain (voices) 4 episodes
2009–2010 Party Down Leonard Stiltskin 2 episodes
2010 The Life & Times of Tim O'Flaherty Sr. (voice) Episode: "Stu is Good at Something"
2010 Batman: The Brave and the Bold Evil Star (voice) Episode: "Revenge of the Reach!"
2010 Ben 10: Ultimate Alien Magister Ghilhil (voice) Episode: "Escape From Aggregor"
2010–2013 Generator Rex White Knight (voice) 34 episodes
2011 NTSF:SD:SUV:: Frank Forrest Episode: "One Cabeza, Two Cabeza, Three Cabeza... DEAD!"
2011 Raising Hope Bruce Chance Episode: "The Cultish Personality"
2011 Desert Car Kings Narrator 10 episodes
2011–2013 Pound Puppies Lieutenant Rock / Mr. Withers (voices) 2 episodes
2011–2014 Robot Chicken Vern Schillinger / Master Chief (voices) 2 episodes
2012 Best Friends Forever Don Episode: "Put a Pin It"
2012 Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes J. Jonah Jameson (voice) Episode: "Along Came a Spider"
2012 The Venture Bros. Ben (voice) Episode: "A Very Venture Halloween"
2012–2014 Legend of Korra, TheThe Legend of Korra Tenzin (voice) 41 episodes
Nominated–Online Film & Television Association Award for Best Voice-Over Performance (2013–2014)
2012–present Ultimate Spider-Man J. Jonah Jameson (voice) 38 episodes
2012–2014 Men at Work P. J. Jordan 5 episodes[16]
2013 Lego Marvel Super Heroes: Maximum Overload J. Jonah Jameson (voice) Television special
2013 Parks and Recreation Mayor Stice Episode: "Partridge"
2013 Family Tools Tony Shea 10 episodes
2013 Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. J. Jonah Jameson (voice) 3 episodes
2013–2014 Avengers Assemble J. Jonah Jameson (voice) 4 episodes
2014 Growing Up Fisher Mel Fisher 13 episodes
2014 Chozen Gary Cullens (voice) Episode: "Family Weekend (or How Gary Got His Groove Back)"
2014 BoJack Horseman Lennie Turtletaub (voice) 4 episodes

Video game[edit]

Year Title Voice role
2000 M&M's: The Lost Formulas Yellow Peanut (voice)
2008 Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 President Howard T. Ackerman
2007 Spider-Man 3 J. Jonah Jameson (voice)
2011 Portal 2 Cave Johnson (voice)
2014 The Legend of Korra Tenzin (voice)


External links[edit]