Parsons at Comic Con in 2009
|Born||James Joseph Parsons
March 24, 1973 
Houston, Texas, U.S.
|Residence||Los Angeles, California, U.S.|
|Education||Klein Oak High School|
|Alma mater||University of Houston (BA)
University of San Diego (MA)
|Partner(s)||Todd Spiewak (c. 2002–present)|
|Parents||Milton Joseph Parsons, Jr.
Judy Ann McKnight
James Joseph "Jim" Parsons (born March 24, 1973) is an American actor. He is best known for playing Sheldon Cooper on the CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory, with his performance often cited as a significant reason for the program's success. He has received several awards for his performance, including three 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 and education
Parsons was born at St. Joseph Hospital in Houston and 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 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 Louisiana Creole and French heritage from his father's side. One of his ancestors was the French architect Louis-François Trouard (1729–1804).
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 (as a character similar to Sheldon Cooper) and School for Scoundrels.
Breakthrough role in The Big Bang Theory
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 genius 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 Emmy awards in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series, winning in 2010, 2011 and 2013. In September 2010, Parsons and costars 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). As of August 2013, Parsons, Cuoco and Galecki each earn $325,000 per episode.
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 lives in Los Angeles. 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".
|2003||Happy End||Casting Assistant|
|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|
|2014||Wish I Was Here|
|2014||The Normal Heart||Tommy Boatwright|
|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|
|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
|2011||iCarly||Caleb||Episode: "iLost My Mind"|
|2011||Eureka||Carl the Jeep||Voice
Episode: "Do You See What I See"
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|
|2014||The Normal Heart||Tommy Boatwright||Television film|
|2014||Saturday Night Live||Host||Episode: "Jim Parsons/Beck"|
- The Balcony
- Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (1994) .... Rosencrantz
- La Ronde (1995)
- Endgame (1995) .... Clov (Infernal Bridegroom Productions)
- Marat/Sade (1995) (Infernal Bridegroom Productions)
- Guys and Dolls (1996) .... Rusty Charlie (Infernal Bridegroom Productions)
- Eddie Goes to Poetry City (1996) .... Eddie (New York Theatre)
- Jack and the Future Is In Eggs (1996) .... Father Jack
- Othello (1996) (Infernal Bridegroom Productions)
- Suicide in B-flat (1996) (Infernal Bridegroom Productions)
- Woyzeck (1996) .... Doctor / Horse's Head (Infernal Bridegroom Productions)
- The Cherry Orchard (1997) .... Yasha, a young man servant (Infernal Bridegroom Productions)
- Chili Queen (1997) .... Buddy (Stages Repertory Theatre, World Premiere)
- Camino Real (1997) .... Baron (Infernal Bridegroom Productions)
- Last Rites (1997) .... Tiger Clean (Infernal Bridegroom Productions, World Premiere)
- Threepenny Opera (1998) .... MacHeath (Infernal Bridegroom Productions)
- Below the Belt (1998) .... Dobbitt
- In the Jungle of the Cities (1998) .... J. Finnay (Infernal Bridegroom Productions)
- Tamalalia 3: The Cocktail Party (1998) .... Psychotic psychiatrist (Infernal Bridegroom Productions, World Premiere)
- King Ubu is King (1998) .... Tom, Mister Nice Guy (Infernal Bridegroom Productions, World Premiere)
- The Pitchfork Disney (1998) .... Presley Stray (Stages Repertory Theatre)
- Marie and Bruce (1999) .... Herb / Fred / Waiter (Infernal Bridegroom Productions)
- Tamalalia 4: The Camp-Out (1999) (Infernal Bridegroom Productions, World Premiere)
- Da (2001) (Old Globe Theatre)
- What Happened Was (2002) .... Jackie (The Paradise Theatre)
- The Castle (2002) .... Jeremiah (Manhattan Ensemble Theatre)
- Tartuffe (2002) .... Valère (La Jolla Playhouse)
- The Love for Three Oranges (Gozzi) (2004) .... Prince Tartaglia (La Jolla Playhouse)
- The Normal Heart (2011) .... Tommy Boatwright (John Golden Theatre)
- Harvey (2012) .... Elwood Dowd (Studio 54)
|2010||"Up 2 You + Me"||Himself||Stand Up to Cancer (SU2C) initiative|
|2011||"Man or Muppet"||Human Walter||Partial vocals
Soundtrack to The Muppets
Awards and nominations
|2009||Satellite Awards||Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy||The Big Bang Theory||Nominated|
|2009||TCA Awards||Individual Achievement in Comedy||The Big Bang Theory||Won|
|2009||Emmy Awards||Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series||The Big Bang Theory||Nominated|
|2010||Satellite Awards||Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy||The Big Bang Theory||Nominated|
|2010||Teen Choice Awards||Choice TV Actor: Comedy||The Big Bang Theory||Nominated|
|2010||People's Choice Awards||Favorite TV Comedy Actor||The Big Bang Theory||Nominated|
|2010||TCA Awards||Individual Achievement in Comedy||The Big Bang Theory||Nominated|
|2010||Emmy Awards||Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series||The Big Bang Theory||Won|
|2011||Critics' Choice Television Awards||Best Actor in a Comedy Series||The Big Bang Theory||Won|
|2011||Golden Globe Awards||Best Actor– Television Series: Musical or Comedy||The Big Bang Theory||Won|
|2011||Emmy Awards||Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series||The Big Bang Theory||Won|
|2011||People's Choice Awards||Favorite TV Comedy Actor||The Big Bang Theory||Nominated|
|2011||Screen Actors Guild Awards||Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series||The Big Bang Theory||Nominated|
|2012||Emmy Awards||Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series||The Big Bang Theory||Nominated|
|2012||Critics' Choice Television Awards||Best Actor in a Comedy Series||The Big Bang Theory||Nominated|
|2012||People's Choice Awards||Favorite TV Comedy Actor||The Big Bang Theory||Nominated|
|2012||TCA Awards||Individual Achievement in Comedy||The Big Bang Theory||Nominated|
|2012||Satellite Awards||Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy||The Big Bang Theory||Nominated|
|2013||Golden Globe Awards||Best Actor– Television Series: Musical or Comedy||The Big Bang Theory||Nominated|
|2013||Critics' Choice Television Awards||Best Actor in a Comedy Series||The Big Bang Theory||Nominated|
|2013||Emmy Awards||Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series||The Big Bang Theory||Won|
|2013||People's Choice Awards||Favorite TV Comedy Actor||The Big Bang Theory||Nominated|
|2014||Golden Globe Awards||Best Actor– Television Series: Musical or Comedy||The Big Bang Theory||Nominated|
|2014||Screen Actors Guild Awards||Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series||The Big Bang Theory||Nominated|
|2014||Screen Actors Guild Awards||Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series||The Big Bang Theory||Nominated|
|2014||Emmy Awards||Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series||The Big Bang Theory||Pending|
|2014||Emmy Awards||Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie||The Normal Heart||Pending|
- "Monitor". Entertainment Weekly (1252): 30. Mar 29, 2013.
- Oswald, Brad. "The buzz: Jim Parsons as Sheldon". Winnipeg Free Press. Retrieved February 13, 2009.
- Salem, Rob (January 24, 2009). "Nerd herd doing a bang-up job". The Toronto Star. Retrieved February 13, 2009.
- Gilbert, Matthew (February 8, 2009). "Gentle twists on reliable formulas keep viewers hooked". The Boston Globe. Retrieved February 13, 2009.
- "61st Primetime Emmy Awards | Academy of Television Arts & Sciences". Emmys.tv. Retrieved January 30, 2010.
- Yates, Gerrie Jones Dickens. "Milton Joseph Parsons, Jr.". Find a Grave. Retrieved September 22, 2005.
- Cogan, Jennifer (September 8, 2010), "Klein Oak grad takes home Emmy", Klein Sun News
- "Biography". Saintmarylancaster.org. 1974-03-24. Retrieved 2013-08-23.
- "Who Do You Think You Are? TV episode; Sep 2013
- Christie D'Zurilla (August 29, 2010). "Shocking Jim Parsons truths revealed after Emmy win". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 17, 2011.
- Beale, Lewis (January 18, 2010), "TELEVISION Fast chat with Big Bang Theory star Jim Parsons: Houston native says he doesn't speak Klingon", Houston Chronicle
- Dansby, Andrew (September 10, 2009), "Jim Parsons find smart comedy role", Houston Chronicle: Zest, p. 8
- Martinez, Olivia (September 16, 2010), "Alum sparks big bang at the Emmys", The Vista, retrieved September 23, 2011
- "Comic Relief", Newsweek, September 11, 2009
- Moore, Frazier (May 24, 2010), "Jim Parsons finds 'Big Bang Theory' stimulating", Press of Atlantic City
- Keveney, Bill (December 8, 2008), "Big Bang-up role for Jim Parsons", USAToday
- Jakle, Jeannie (August 5, 2009), "Jim Parsons adjusts to his celebrity role: Big Bang star leaps from Klein Oak grad to TV popularity", Houston Chronicle: Star, p. 4
- [UT San Diego article on Jim Parsons | http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2013/sep/22/jim-parsons-wins-emmy-as-comedy-actor/]
- Schwartz, Missy (September 15, 2010), "'The Big Bang Theory' cast gets a big, fat raise", Entertainment Weekly
- Corinne Heller (2011-01-16). "Jim Parsons wins Golden Globe for 'Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Comedy Or Musical'". OnTheRedCarpet.com. Retrieved 2013-08-23.
- "Order of Golden Globe Awards presentations - latimes.com". Latimesblogs.latimes.com. 2011-01-16. Retrieved 2013-08-23.
- Battaglio, Stephen; Schneider, Michael (August 26, 2013). "What They Earn". TV Guide. pp. 16 - 20.
- "The Big Year (2011)". MovieWeb. Retrieved July 4, 2011.
- O'Sullivan, Michael (November 23, 2011). "The Muppets". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 6, 2011.
- "Jim Parsons, Scott Ellis, and More Talk Harvey!". broadway world.com. May 14, 2012. Retrieved May 23, 2012.
- Ng, Philiana (November 29, 2011). "Jim Parsons Plots Broadway Return With 'Harvey' Revival". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 14, 2011.
- Getlen, Larry (April 27, 2009). "'Big Bang Theory' Nerd May Get The Girl". New York Post. Retrieved February 27, 2010.
- Healy, Patrick (May 23, 2012). "Stalked by Shadows (and a Rabbit)". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). Retrieved May 23, 2012.
- Malkin, Marc (October 19, 2013). "Jim Parsons Opens Up For the First Time About Relationship With Longtime Boyfriend". E! Online.
- "Who Do You Think You Are?". Ancestry.com. Retrieved 15 August 2013.
- "More About Jim". the Catastrophic Theatre. Retrieved July 4, 2011.
- "OLD GLOBE/USD ALUM JIM PARSONS WINS EMMY AWARD". Retrieved August 12, 2010.
- Isherwood, Charles (January 17, 2002). "The Castle". Variety.
- Oxman, Steven (May 20, 2002). "Tartuffe Theater Review". Variety.
- Hirschhorn, Joel (September 22, 2004). "The Love of Three Oranges". Variety.
- Brantley, Ben (April 27, 2011). "‘The Normal Heart' on Broadway– Theater Review". The New York Times.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Jim Parsons.|
- Jim Parsons at the Internet Movie Database
- Jim Parsons at AllMovie
- CBS Biography
- Movieline interviews Big Bang Theory's Jim Parsons On Learning Lines, Emmy Nods and Cast Ping Pong Deathmatches
- Fresh Air Interview: Jim Parsons On The Science Of Sheldon, 'Big Bang'