Cory Michael Smith

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Cory Michael Smith
Cory Michael Smith in 2018.jpg
Smith in October 2018
Born (1986-11-14) November 14, 1986 (age 35)
EducationOtterbein University
Years active2009–present
Known forEdward Nygma (Gotham)[1]

Cory Michael Smith (born November 14, 1986) is an American actor, known for his role as Edward Nygma / The Riddler[1] in the Fox television drama series Gotham. He appeared in Camp X-Ray in 2014. He appeared in 2013 in Breakfast at Tiffany's on Broadway, which starred Emilia Clarke.

Early life[edit]

Smith grew up in Columbus, Ohio, and graduated from Hilliard Darby High School in 2005.[2][3] He had aspirations ranging from becoming a concert pianist to a lawyer.[4] While at Otterbein University, he was cast in such plays as The Scene, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, and Tartuffe.[5] He majored in art musical theater and minored in jazz piano, although he considered dropping out of art musical theater for philosophy or pre-law.


In 2011, Smith was seen in the New York City premiere of The Shaggs: Philosophy of the World at Playwrights Horizons and in 2009 to early 2012 could be seen in various regional theatre productions for the likes of New York Stage and Film. He starred in The Fantasticks at both Barrington Stage Company and The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis. He was also seen in Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them.[6][7]

Smith made his Broadway debut in Breakfast at Tiffany's in 2013. In the same theatre season, he also starred Off-Broadway in both the U.S. premiere of Cock a.k.a. The Cockfight Play by Mike Bartlett and The Whale by Samuel D. Hunter, which had its world premiere at Denver Center for the Performing Arts with the New York premiere at Playwrights Horizons.[8] His first feature film was Camp X-Ray, which premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival in January. He appeared in a short horror movie, Dog Food, co-starring Amanda Seyfried and premiered at the 2014 South by Southwest in March. Smith also appeared in the HBO mini-series Olive Kitteridge and the film Carol.[9] In 2018, he starred in his first leading role in the independent drama 1985.

Smith has also narrated an episode of The New York Times Modern Love Podcast, for which he read Kalle Oskari Mattila's essay about catfishing.[10]


"What I love about [the character's history] is how diverse it is in terms of how the character is portrayed, in terms of his appearance, the different costumes and hair color," Smith says. "Sometimes it's incredibly ostentatious, other times it's almost professional, or regal. Sometimes, he's a showman, sometimes he's a nerd."[11]

—Smith, on playing Edward Nygma (2015)

He appears in Gotham as Edward Nygma.[1] Of playing the character, Smith said in an interview: "What I'm really excited about is the bottom of that curve. Going from this quite innocent, well-intentioned, joyful person to starting to find this other part of him that he didn't know he had — accessing this place where he responds to the unfortunate things that people are doing to him, and starting to realize how cruel people are to him and how they mistreat him, and then doing that back to them. He's a person who's constantly abused, and to finally reach a part of himself where he just can't take it anymore and starts doing it to other people — and it's out of anger and exhaustion, and then realizing that when you start taking control of situations like that, you can gain power that way — it'll be something that he can start to enjoy."[11][12] "[The Penguin] and I could not have more different trajectories," Smith tells Yahoo TV. Cobblepot is "a very sadistic bully" from the beginning. Ed, by contrast, is "way, way out in left field," just "hanging out, doing his job, loving his work, loving science, having a good time, getting a little weird, being a little off the wall, a little eccentric." He's not really a bad guy — in fact, he's really more of an overgrown boy. His journey, Smith says, will be to "claim his identity and claim his power and perhaps finally become someone that is a player in the field and not just this irritating, flimsy young lad."[13]

Personal life[edit]

In a March 2018 interview, Smith stated that he is queer.[14]



Year Title Role Notes
2014 Camp X-Ray Pvt. Bergen
2014 Dog Food Declan Moore Short film
2015 Carol Tommy Tucker
2017 Wonderstruck Walter
2018 1985 Adrian Lester
2018 First Man Roger B. Chaffee
TBA Call Jane Dean Post-production


Year Title Role Notes
2014 Olive Kitteridge Dr. Kevin Coulson Episode: "Incoming Tide"
2014–2019 Gotham Edward Nygma / Riddler Nominated — Teen Choice Award for Choice TV Villain
2020 Utopia Thomas Christie Main Role


Year Title Role Venue
2013 Bright Star Billy Cane Powerhouse Theater
2013 Cock a.k.a. The Cockfight Play John Duke
2013 The Whale Elder Thomas Playwrights Horizons
2013 The Shaggs: Philosophy of the World Kyle Playwrights Horizons
2013 Breakfast at Tiffany's Fred / Narrator Cort Theatre
2017 Assassins Lee Harvey Oswald New York City Center

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Work Result ref
2015 Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Supporting Actor in a Movie/Miniseries Olive Kitteridge Nominated [15]
2017 Teen Choice Awards Choice TV: Villain Gotham Nominated [16]
2018 Queen Palm International Film Festival Best Actor in a Feature Film 1985 Won [17]


  1. ^ a b c Yamato, Jen (April 1, 2014). "Cory Michael Smith joins Fox's Batman series Gotham as The Riddler". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 9, 2015.
  2. ^ Grossberg, Michael (March 26, 2013). "Actor a gem in "'Tiffany's"". The Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved June 25, 2015.
  3. ^ Corvo, Kevin (August 27, 2013). "Convocation celebrates legacy of educators". Hilliard Northwest News. Retrieved June 25, 2015.
  4. ^ Ferri, Josh (August 2, 2012). "Otterbein Alum Hits Broadway in Breakfast at Tiffany's". Retrieved January 9, 2015.
  5. ^ Ulmer, Meredith (February 6, 2014). "Alum Hits Broadway in Breakfast at Tiffany's". Otterbein University. Archived from the original on February 15, 2014. Retrieved January 9, 2015.
  6. ^ "Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them". Archived from the original on June 26, 2015. Retrieved June 25, 2015.
  7. ^ "CORY MICHAEL SMITH". Retrieved June 25, 2015.
  8. ^ "Cory Michael Smith". Retrieved January 9, 2015.
  9. ^ "Cory Michael Smith". IMDb. Retrieved January 9, 2015.
  10. ^ "Listen: Cory Michael Smith Reads 'Catfishing Strangers to Find Myself'". The New York Times. July 11, 2018. Retrieved April 28, 2019.
  11. ^ a b McMillan, Graeme (January 26, 2015). "'Gotham's' Cory Michael Smith Unlocks the Mystery of the Riddler". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved February 5, 2015.
  12. ^ Barr, Merrill. "'Gotham' Casts Dollmaker; Cory Michael Smith Talks Riddler Transformation". Retrieved February 5, 2015.
  13. ^ Chan, Robert (January 18, 2015). "'Gotham' Star Cory Michael Smith Explains How the Riddler Will Find His 'Evil Nature'". Yahoo. Retrieved February 5, 2015.
  14. ^ "The Stirring AIDS Drama Being Told in Black and White". The Daily Beast. March 13, 2018.
  15. ^ "Justified, Broad City, Empire, Mom, 24, Jane The Virgin, Transparent Lead the 2015 Critics Choice Nominations". May 6, 2015. Retrieved May 8, 2015.
  16. ^ "2017 Teen Choice Nominees". Archived from the original on July 17, 2017. Retrieved April 28, 2019.
  17. ^ "August's gold awards winners". Queen Palm International Film Festival. Retrieved April 28, 2019.

External links[edit]