Jim Parsons

Actor Jim Parsons rose to fame as Sheldon on the popular sitcom The Big Bang Theory.


Born on March 24, 1973, in Houston, Texas, actor Jim Parsons rose to fame as Sheldon on the popular sitcom The Big Bang Theory. He studied at University of Houston. In 2001, Parsons completed his master's degree at the University of San Diego. He moved to New York City for a time after graduation where he found work in the theater. Parsons also landed roles on such television and film projects as Judging Amy and Garden State in 2004. In 2007, he began his successful run on The Big Bang Theory. Parsons has won Emmy Awards in 2010, 2011 and 2013 for his work on the show.

Early Life and Career

Born in Houston, Texas, on March 24, 1973, actor Jim Parsons is considered one of television's leading comedic performers. He has enjoyed tremendous popularity as scientific genius Sheldon Cooper on The Big Bang Theory. Parsons grew up in Houston with his sister, Julie, as the children of a school teacher and the president of a plumbing supply company. Parsons showed an interest in performing at an early age, beginning with studying the piano in kindergarten. A budding actor nearly from the start, he eventually developed his own scripts and staged productions at home.

At Klein Oak High School, Parsons stood out in school productions. He then attended the University of Houston. Parsons continued to study his craft at the University of San Diego, in its graduate program with the Old Globe theater, and completed his master's degree there in 2001. Parsons then moved to New York City, where he tried to launch his acting career. At first, he found himself struggling to find work, appearing in off-Broadway plays. He also landed a recurring role on the TV show Judging Amy and a bit part in the 2004 film Garden State.

Parsons managed to win over Chuck Lorre, the co-creator of The Big Bang Theory, in his audition for the new sitcom in 2006. Lorre told the Toronto Star that Parsons "nailed it from the moment he walked into the room. He nailed it so much, I had to ask him to come back and do it again, because I wasn't sure if he had simply gotten lucky."

'The Big Bang Theory'

In September 2007, Parsons made his first appearance as theoretical physicist Sheldon Cooper on The Big Bang Theory. He and co-star Johnny Galecki, Sheldon's roommate Leonard, had great comic chemistry from the start, playing friends and sometimes clashing scientists. The sitcom's ensemble cast also includes Simon Helberg, who plays engineer Howard Wolowitz and Kunal Nayyar who plays astrophysicist Raj Koothrapalli. Kaley Cuoco rounds out the cast as their common sense neighbor and Leonard's love interest, Penny. Mayim Bialik joined the show later on, playing Sheldon's quasi-paramour. Real-life scientists Bill Nye, Stephen Hawking, and Neil deGrasse Tyson, among other guest stars, have also made appearances on the series.

Since its premiere, The Big Bang Theory has grown to become one of TV's most popular sitcoms. Parsons has done a brilliant job of handling the difficult scientific and technical jargon used on the show. His compelling and convincing portrayal of a quirky boy genius has some fans wondering if Parsons shares a similar IQ as his character. "People always want to know if I'm as smart as Sheldon," Parsons explained to the Toronto Star. "It's sweet that they feel compelled to ask. But sadly, no."

Parsons received his first Emmy Award in 2010, for his work on The Big Bang Theory, beating out such established stars as Steve Carell and Alec Baldwin to win one of TV's top honors. Parsons's winning streak continued over the next few years, with him taking home three more Emmys for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series in 2011, 2013 and 2014.

During production breaks, Parsons has pursued other creative opportunities. He has appeared on Broadway several times, including in a 2011 revival of Larry Kramer's AIDS drama, The Normal Heart. A gay man, Parsons found working on the play especially appealing. Not long after performing in the theater production, Parsons was cast alongside Julia Roberts, Matt Bomer and Mark Ruffalo in the TV adaptation of The Normal Heart, reprising the role he'd performed on Broadway. In 2015, Parsons returned to Broadway in the comedic play An Act of God. That same year, he lent his voice to the lovable alien Oh in animated film Home. Parsons's big-screen credits include The Muppets (2011), the dramatic comedy Wish I Was Here (2014), the dark thriller Visions (2016) and the Oscar-nominated biopic Hidden Figures (2016).

Parsons received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2015. He began hosting his own show Jim Parsons Is Too Stupid for Politics on SiriusXM in 2017.

Personal Life

For more than a decade, Parsons has been in a relationship with graphic designer Todd Spiewak. In speaking about their life together, Parsons said in 2013, "I've never considered myself an activist. I've never considered my relationship with Todd to be an act of activism. Rather simply, it's an act of love, coffee in the morning, going to work, washing the clothes, taking the dogs [out]—a regular life, boring love.” 

Parsons and Spiewak married on May 13, 2017 at the Rainbow Room in New York City. 

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