David Schwimmer


Date of Birth: 2 November 1966, Astoria, New York, USA

Birth Name: David Larry Schwimmer

Nickname: Schwimmer

Height: 6′ 1″ (1.85 m)


The tall, gangly dark-haired Schwimmer first caught the attention of TV audiences in 1992 as the hippie boyfriend of Olivia d’Abo’s Karen Arnold on the nostalgia-laden ABC sitcom “The Wonder Years”. A turn as an ambitious lawyer on the Stephen Bochco-produced “L.A. Law” (NBC, 1992-93) followed before the actor garnered additional attention as an uptight lawyer turned vigilante on the initial episodes of the ABC drama “NYPD Blue”, also produced by Bochco. True small screen stardom arrived in 1994 when Schwimmer was cast as Ross Geller, the geeky paleontologist, in NBC’s hit ensemble sitcom “Friends” (1994-2004).


Born in Queens, NY and raised by his lawyer parents in Southern California, Schwimmer got his first taste for acting at age 10 when he was cast as the fairy godmother in a Jewish version of Cinderella. He continued to appear on stage at Beverly Hills High School where his classmates included Jonathan Silverman. Schwimmer went on to attend Chicago’s Northwestern University and during his senior year co-founded The Lookingglass Theater Company. After graduating in 1988, he returned to L.A. to pursue his acting career. After landing the role of a Long Islander who murders his girlfriend’s abusive father in “A Deadly Silence” (ABC, 1989), the actor returned to Chicago and devoted the next few years working at his theater company.


When he next headed West, Schwimmer began to find roles on television. He landed his first regular series gig as the liberal son of a conservative talk show host in the failed Henry Winkler vehicle “Monty” (Fox, 1993-94) before finding success on “Friends”. Schwimmer successfully used his hangdog looks as Ross, the heartbroken hopeless romantic of the group and his anxious delivery coupled with the somewhat nebbish manner made him a standout on the show. He earned an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in 1995.


Prior to his small screen success, Schwimmer had appeared in the coming-of-age story “Crossing the Bridge” (1992) and the short “The Waiter” (1993), alongside Jon Cryer and Sally Kellerman. He landed his first leading role as an architect asked to deliver the eulogy for a high school friend he doesn’t remember in “The Pallbearer” (1996). Critics dismissed the film as a pale imitation of 1967’s “The Graduate” and audiences virtually ignored the film. Like most of his “Friends” co-stars, Schwimmer has been unable to fully translate his small screen appeal to the big screen. Nevertheless, based on the strength of the success of the sitcom, he was signed to a multi-picture non-exclusive deal by Miramax under which he directed “Since You’ve Been Gone” (lensed summer 1996; aired on ABC in 1998), about a high school reunion. Perhaps attempting to reposition himself in the marketplace, the actor began accepting supporting roles in major releases like Bryan Singer’s “Apt Pupil”, based on a Stephen King novella, and Ivan Reitman’s comedy “Six Days/Seven Nights” (both 1998), in which he played the noncommittal boyfriend of Anne Heche.


Schwimmer subsequently appeared opposite Woody Allen and Sharon Stone in Alfonso Arou’s straight-to-cable comedic misfire “Picking Up the Pieces”(2000), had a terrific uncredited cameo in the underrated indie “Love & Sex” (2000) and took smaller roles in the ensembles of “The Thin Pink Line” (1998), “All the Rage” (1999) and Mike Figgis’ “Hotel” (2001). The actor fared better on the small screen with roles as an Army captain in Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks’ acclaimed HBO miniseries “Band of Brothers” (2001) and as a Jew in the Warsaw ghetto in that cable network’s powerful film “Uprising” (2001), directed by Jon Avnet. Also on HBO, the actor had a fine recurring stint playing an uptight version of himself in the 2004 season of “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” where he was cast opposite Larry David in a stage version of Mel Brooks’ “The Producers” and soon engaged in a rivalry with his co-star.


As the final season of “Friends” came to close in 2004—promising closure on the long-running Ross-Rachel relationship—Schwimmer set his sights on the future early on, directing episodes of the show’s spin-off “Joey” (NBC, 2004- ) starring his co-star Matt LeBlanc. In 2005 the actor made his London stage debut at the Gielgud Theater in the play “Some Girls” opposite Lesley Manville and Saffron Burrows. He also voiced Melman the Giraffe in “Madagascar” (2005), Disney’s animated adventure about four zoo animals who escape and inadvertently find themselves in Africa where the city slickers struggle to survive in the wild.


Other facts about the actor


• Born on his mother’s birthday.

• Along with best friend & fellow actor Joey Slotnick, he helped found the Looking Glass Theater Company, based in Chicago, Illinois.

• Has worked extensively on the stage both as actor and director.

• Is on the board of directors of the Rape Foundation for the Rape Treatment Center of Santa Monica.

• Dated Australian singer/actress Natalie Imbruglia.

• Member of Delta Tau Delta International Fraternity.

• January 2003 – Premiered his play “Turnaround” at the 99-seat West Hollywood Coast theater. All of his “Friends” were in attendance.

• He graduated Beverly Hills High School in 1984 and performed in stage productions there under the direction of John Ingle.

• Went to the same High School as Angelina Jolie, Michael Klesic, Nicolas Cage, Lenny Kravitz, Jonathan Silverman, Gina Gershon, Rhonda Fleming, Jackie Cooper, Rob Reiner, Antonio Sabato Jr., Pauly Shore, Michael Tolkin, Betty White, Corbin Bernsen, Elizabeth Daily, Albert Brooks and Crispin Glover.

• David once said in an interview, he would like to become a public school teacher after Friends ended.

• Was so busy filming The Pallbearer (1996) that he missed Lisa Kudrow’s wedding.

• Allergic to cats.

• Revealed that he had conflict with writers and cast members of “Friends” (1994).

• He was awarded the 1991 Joseph Jefferson Award Citation for Director of a Play for “The Jungle” at the Lookingglass Theatre Company in Chicago, Illinois.

• Joy Gregory and he were nominated for a 2003 Joseph Jefferson Award for New Adaptation for “Race: How Blacks and Whites Think and Feel About” at the Lookingglass Theatre in Chicago, Illinois.


Personal Quotes


I’ve made a good amount of money. I’m very happy that I can now support my theatre company and support friends and family, and I’m ready to maybe go back to school and change careers.


To be perfectly honest, I feel I have a duty to use my celebrity status in a positive way. Most rape victims are women, so the bulk of the discussion is loaded towards women. I thought I could find a way to approach the subject of rape in such a way that men are going to respond to it. My most devastating moment was when a 13-year-old girl told me her story. At that moment, I realized just how important this center really is. Nothing else had ever made me connect with reality like that.


[On his post-‘Friends’ activity in live theatre] The best thing about going back to drama was discovering how good I feel as a leader. I feel I’m a natural collaborator, but I’m also good at bringing people together..People really have to know their opinion matters. And I can remember the days when I was happiest as an actor were those days when my opinion seemed to make a difference.

Source: imdb.com