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Hank Azaria

Hank Azaria

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Also Known As: Hank Albert Azaria Died:
Born: April 25, 1964 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Queens, New York, USA Profession: actor, comedian, voice actor, bartender

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Despite his initial intentions of becoming a stage performer, actor Hank Azaria turned his childhood talent for mimicry into a highly successful career, voicing many characters on the long-running animated comedy, "The Simpsons" (Fox, 1989- ). Thanks to his varied oddball interpretations of Moe the Bartender, Apu the Kwik-E-Mart owner, and Police Chief Wiggum, Azaria was able to transfer his success with animation into the live-action world. Following his breakthrough performance as a smarmy 1950s television producer in "Quiz Show" (1994), he stole the show from the likes of Robin Williams and Nathan Lane as a flamboyant houseboy in "The Bird Cage" (1996). Though he tried - and failed - to enter into blockbuster territory with "Godzilla" (1998), Azaria fared well with moving and award-nominated performances in "Tuesdays with Morrie" (ABC, 1999) and "Uprising" (NBC, 2001). Though he finally fulfilled his lifetime ambition with a triumphant performance as an effeminate Sir Lancelot in the Broadway smash "Spamalot" (2004-05), Azaria never strayed far from his steady and lucrative tenure on "The Simpsons," which culminated in a 2007 feature and solidified his standing as one of the most talented...

Despite his initial intentions of becoming a stage performer, actor Hank Azaria turned his childhood talent for mimicry into a highly successful career, voicing many characters on the long-running animated comedy, "The Simpsons" (Fox, 1989- ). Thanks to his varied oddball interpretations of Moe the Bartender, Apu the Kwik-E-Mart owner, and Police Chief Wiggum, Azaria was able to transfer his success with animation into the live-action world. Following his breakthrough performance as a smarmy 1950s television producer in "Quiz Show" (1994), he stole the show from the likes of Robin Williams and Nathan Lane as a flamboyant houseboy in "The Bird Cage" (1996). Though he tried - and failed - to enter into blockbuster territory with "Godzilla" (1998), Azaria fared well with moving and award-nominated performances in "Tuesdays with Morrie" (ABC, 1999) and "Uprising" (NBC, 2001). Though he finally fulfilled his lifetime ambition with a triumphant performance as an effeminate Sir Lancelot in the Broadway smash "Spamalot" (2004-05), Azaria never strayed far from his steady and lucrative tenure on "The Simpsons," which culminated in a 2007 feature and solidified his standing as one of the most talented voice-over artists working in the business.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

2.
 Lovelace (2013)
3.
 Smurfs 2, The (2013)
4.
 Hop (2011)
5.
 Happy Feet Two (2011)
6.
 Smurfs, The (2011)
7.
8.
 Year One (2009)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1985:
Made professional stage debut in Harold Pinter's "The Dumb Waiter" in Boston
:
Worked as a stand-up comedian, including a six-month stint at the Comedy Store
1988:
Made early TV appearance on an episode of the NBC sitcom "Family Ties"
1988:
Made TV-movie debut in "Frank Nitti: The Enforcer" (ABC)
1990:
Made feature film debut, "Cool Blue" (filmed in 1988) opposite Woody Harrelson; released direct to video
1994:
Portrayed weaselly network executive Albert Freedman in Robert Redford's "Quiz Show"
1996:
Joined cast of "Mad About You" (NBC) in recurring role of a dog walker
1997:
Voiced Bartok in the animated feature "Anastasia"; first association with animators Don Bluth and Gary Goldman; would reprise his role in the 1999 straight-to video prequel "Bartok the Magnificent"
1998:
Portrayed Animal, a gonzo New York cameraman who helps Matthew Broderick's scientist slow down "Godzilla"
1998:
Cast as Walter Plane, the wealthy boyfriend of Gwyneth Paltrow's Estella in the contemporary remake of "Great Expectations"
1998:
Had a small role in Woody Allen's "Celebrity"
1999:
Starred as composer Marc Blitzstein in Tim Robbins' "Cradle Will Rock"
2000:
Cast in the Stephen Frears directed televised play "Fail Safe"; broadcast live in black and white on CBS
2000:
Reteamed with Don Bluth and Gary Goldman, contributing vocal skills to the animated feature "Titan A.E."
2001:
Played a Spanish actor in love with a popular movie star in "America's Sweethearts"
2001:
Co-starred in the fact-based NBC miniseries "Uprising" about the Warsaw Ghetto resistance movement during WWII
2002:
Starred in the NBC midseason sitcom "Imagine That"; portrayed multiple characters; series canceled after two airings
2004:
Landed a memorable role in the Ben Stiller comedy "Along Came Polly"
2004:
Featured in the comedy "Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story" starring Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn
2004:
Starred in the black comedy "Eulogy," which followed three generations of a family, who come together for the funeral of the patriarch
2007:
Starred in Aaron Sorkin's Broadway play "The Farnsworth Invention" as RCA head David Sarnoff
2008:
Appeared in David Schwimmer's directorial debut "Run, Fat Boy, Run"
2009:
Played an evil Pharaoh in "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian"; also voiced the Lincoln Memorial Statue and The Thinker
2011:
Played the evil Gargamel in "The Smurfs," based on the 1980s animated TV series
2011:
Voiced the character of The Mighty Sven in the animated sequel "Happy Feet Two"
2013:
Reprised Gargamel in "The Smurfs 2"
2014:
Appeared in a recurring role in crime series "Ray Donovan"
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Education

American Academy of Dramatic Arts: New York , New York -
The Kew-Forest School: Forest Hills , New York -
Tufts University: Medford , Massachusetts - 1987

Notes

In November 1999, Azaria was awarded the Light on the Hill Award by his alma mater, Tufts University.

About deciding on his interpretation for "The Birdcage": "A friend of my girlfriend's is an excellent drag queen, and I portrayed a couple versions of the character for him, and then he picked one and said, 'That's the guy that I know the most.'

" ... And though my character in 'Birdcage' is Guatemalan, he sounds like my grandmother. Every day I'd look like a different member of my family. Most often it was my cousin Sherri. Sometimes, my sister Elise. It was really weird. In the red wig I looked like my mom. Luckily, my mom's prettier." --Hank Azaria to Us, May 1996

"Every time you get a good job, you enjoy it for, like, 15 minutes, and then the panic sets in. It's like, 'Oh, my God, I actually have to go do this!' There were times on 'Birdcage' where I'd wake up in the middle of the night, sit up in bed and go, 'What am I doing in this movie? My ass is really hanging out. Literally.' And now, there are so many decisions to make: Do I want to do a TV show? Should I keep myself available for these movie opportunities? It's a good problem to have, but it really does keep me up at night. Thank God for ESPN." --Azaria to Joe Rhodes in Us, April 1997

Regarding salary negotiations on "The Simpsons": "Our contracts were up, we wanted a lot of money ... and I admit, it's a lot of money (a reported $50,000 per episode). But the show's been on 10 years and we get no piece of syndication or merchandising. We don't get as much as on-camera people do in the 10th year of a show. I think it's fair what we got." --Azaria quoted in the Los Angeles Times, May 20, 1998.

His reaction to then-girlfriend Helen Hunt's winning the 1997 Best Actress Oscar for "As Good As It Gets": "Utter shock and joy. I don't think I have any other moment that I can say comes close to that. I wonder if it's even better to have it happen to someone you love than yourself, it's such a proud feeling. One of the happiest moments of my life." --Azaria in the Los Angeles Times, May 20, 1998.

On his role opposite Jack Lemmon in the highly-anticipated televison adaptation of the best-selling "Tuesdays with Morrie": "I have to say that I'm trying to avoid the word 'proud', but it could be the best thing I've ever done in my life. The material is amazing, and I still can't shake it. I spoke to Jack a couple of weeks ago. And neither of us work from the inside out. We don't carry these roles around with us. But we both were very haunted and affected by this movie." --Azaria to Cindy Pearlman in Chicago Sun-Times, November 29, 1999.

Companions close complete companion listing

companion:
Julie Warner. Actor. Involved in the early 1990s; reportedly were engaged; no longer together.
wife:
Helen Hunt. Actor. Began seeing each other in 1994; became engaged during 1997; married on July 17, 1999 in a traditional Jewish ceremony; separated c. May 2000; Hunt filed for divorce on December 18, 2000.

Family close complete family listing

grandmother:
Esther. Partly the inspiration for his role as the Guatemalan houseboy in "The Birdcage" (1996).
father:
Albert Azaria.
sister:
Stephanie Azaria. Older; had a close friend, a psychic, who said to him, "You're going to move to L.A. and work out there".
sister:
Elise Azaria. Older.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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