J. K. Simmons

Jonathan Kimble Simmons[1] (born January 9, 1955) is an American actor, considered one of the most prolific and well-established character actors of his generation.[2][3] He has appeared in over 200 films and television roles since his debut in 1986. He is the recipient of various accolades, including an Academy Award, a British Academy Film Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and a Golden Globe Award.

J. K. Simmons
JK Simmons 2009.jpg
Simmons at the 15th Screen Actors Guild Awards in 2009
Born
Jonathan Kimble Simmons

(1955-01-09) January 9, 1955 (age 67)
EducationUniversity of Montana (BA)
OccupationActor
Years active1976–present
WorksPerformances
Spouse
Michelle Schumacher
(m. 1996)
Children2
AwardsFull list

His film roles include J. Jonah Jameson in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy (2002–2007), tobacco industry executive B.R. in Thank You for Smoking (2006), Mac MacGuff in Juno (2007), music instructor Terence Fletcher in Whiplash (2014), for which he won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, Bill in La La Land (2016), Commissioner James Gordon in the DC Extended Universe film Justice League (2017), and William Frawley in Being the Ricardos (2021), for which he received another nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. He reprised his role as Jameson in various Marvel media unrelated to the Raimi trilogy, including multiple animated series, the Marvel Cinematic Universe films Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) and Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021), the web series The Daily Bugle (2019–2022), and the Sony's Spider-Man Universe film Venom: Let There Be Carnage (2021).

On television, he is known for playing Dr. Emil Skoda on the NBC series Law & Order, white supremacist prisoner Vernon Schillinger on the HBO series Oz, and Assistant Police Chief Will Pope on TNT's The Closer. From 2017 to 2019, he starred as Howard Silk in the Starz series Counterpart. He has also appeared in a series of commercials for Farmers Insurance and starred in the third season of the IFC comedy series Brockmire. In 2020, he had recurring roles on the miniseries Defending Jacob and The Stand. In 2022, he played the lead role in the Amazon Prime Video science fiction series Night Sky.

As a voice artist, he is known for voicing Cave Johnson in the video game Portal 2 (2011) and its spin-off Aperture Desk Job (2022), Tenzin in The Legend of Korra (2012–2014), Stanford "Ford" Pines in Gravity Falls (2015–2016), Kai in Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016), Mayor Leodore Lionheart in Zootopia (2016), the titular character in Klaus (2019), Pig Baby in Season 4 of the HBO Max animated series Infinity Train (2021), and Nolan “Omni-Man” Grayson in the Amazon Prime Video action animated series Invincible (2021). He has been the voice of the Yellow M&M since 1996. He also voiced Captain Putty in Chip 'N Dale: Rescue Rangers (2022).

Early life and educationEdit

Simmons was born on January 9, 1955,[4] in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit,[5] the son of Patricia (née Kimble), an administrator, and Donald William Simmons, a music teacher[6] at Parcells Middle School.[7] One of three children,[7] Simmons attended Ferry Elementary School in Grosse Pointe Woods.[8] In 1965, when he was 10 years old, his family moved to Worthington, Ohio, a suburb of Columbus, Ohio.[5] From 1970 to 1972, he attended Worthington High School, where he participated in drama, football and choir.[9] In 1973, when he was 18, they moved to Missoula, Montana, where his father became director of the School of Music at the University of Montana.[5] The younger Simmons graduated from the University of Montana[10][11] in 1978 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in music.[12] During college, he became a member of the music-oriented fraternity Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. Later, he moved to Seattle and became a member of the Seattle Repertory Theatre, where he met his best friend Michael Smith.[10] Simmons made his way up in the acting world from there, eventually landing a role on Broadway in 1992.[13]

CareerEdit

StageEdit

On Broadway, Simmons played Benny Southstreet in the 1992 revival of Guys and Dolls.[14] In 1994, he sang multiple roles in the Wagner opera satire Das Barbecü.[10] He also played the role of Jigger in a revival of Carousel with the Houston Grand Opera and starred in the 1987 Off-Broadway musical Birds of Paradise. During his time on Broadway, Simmons also played Captain Hook in Peter Pan (1991–1992).[15]

Film and television rolesEdit

Simmons made his first appearance in a live action television role in the show Popeye Doyle, appearing as a patrol officer. The next year Simmons appeared on All My Children, as an RCMP sergeant. Among his more notable roles are Dr. Emil Skoda, a police psychiatrist whom Simmons played on three of the four incarnations of Law & Order and New York Undercover, and sadistic neo-Nazi inmate Vernon Schillinger on the prison drama Oz.[16]

He starred in the science fiction thriller Counterpart from 2017 to 2019, playing dual roles as Howard Silk and Howard Silk Prime.

He appeared as Ralph Earnhardt, the father of race-car driver Dale Earnhardt, in 3: The Dale Earnhardt Story, and also made appearances as Will Pope, Assistant Chief of the LAPD, in the series The Closer. In the show Raising Hope, he plays Burt Chance's brother Bruce Chance. In a precursor to joining the Law & Order cast as Skoda, Simmons appeared in Homicide: Life on the Street, portraying a criminal in a Law & Order cross-over episode. Other roles include that of an army general in the television sitcom Arrested Development, and Dan the Barber in the surreal Nickelodeon series The Adventures of Pete & Pete in 1995.[17]

He played B.R. in the film Thank You for Smoking (2005) and has been praised for his performance in Juno (2007) as "Mac" McGuff, the title character's father. Simmons played J. Jonah Jameson, editor-in-chief of the newspaper Daily Bugle, in all three of Sam Raimi's Spider-Man films,[18] as well as in the expanded video game adaptation of Spider-Man 3.[19] In 2008, he played a CIA superior in Burn After Reading and appeared in Postal as Candidate Welles. He also appeared in I Love You, Man as the father of Paul Rudd's character.[20]

Throughout 2011 to 2018, Simmons was a prime time voice actor for the Adult Swim stop-motion series Robot Chicken. Simmons performed various voices for several characters over the last couple of years. For example, one of the characters that he played was Vernon Schillinger (in 2011) for a singular episode.[21] In 2011 and 2014, he also made a surprise to fans as he voiced Master Chief for various scenes throughout two episodes. Lastly in 2018, he voiced the widely known J. Jonah Jameson for an episode.

Simmons starred in several films produced or directed by his friend Jason Reitman, including Thank You for Smoking, Juno, Up in the Air, and Jennifer's Body. In 2013, he had a small role as Mr. Jervis in Reitman's film Labor Day. He voices Tenzin, an Airbending master and the son of Aang and Katara, in the 2012 Nickelodeon series The Legend of Korra. He starred as blind lawyer "Mel Fisher" in Growing Up Fisher.[22] From 2015 to 2016, he voiced the scientist Stanford Pines on the Disney XD cartoon series Gravity Falls.[23]

In the 2014 drama film Whiplash, Simmons played Terence Fletcher, an intensely demanding bandleader at the fictional Shaffer Conservatory of Music, who bullies and cajoles his student, Andrew Neiman (Miles Teller). The wide acclaim for Simmons's performance included winning an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.[24] Rolling Stone said "Beat the drums for an Oscar for Simmons." Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times said "Simmons delivers one of the most memorable performances of the year."[25] Entertainment Weekly summed up the reaction by saying Simmons's performance "has been universally praised" and that he was "a leading contender for Best Supporting Actor."[26] On January 11, 2015, Simmons won the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture,[27] and he went on to win the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor on February 22, 2015.[28]

In January 2015, Simmons was cast in a leading role in the film Kong: Skull Island,[29] though he and Michael Keaton later exited the film.[30] Simmons performed a substantial number of voice-over roles alongside his live action work. Several of these have arisen from his J. Jonah Jameson character in Raimi's Spider-Man films, including voices of two newspaper editors in episodes of the eighteenth season of The Simpsons. While unnamed, these characters are clearly meant to emulate Jameson (one, bearing Jameson's appearance, demands "pictures of Spider-Man," then once reminded he works at a poetry journal, demands "poems about Spider-Man").[31] Likewise, Simmons voiced an editor-in-chief of a newspaper (with Jameson's appearance and mannerisms) for a 2013 episode of The Hub's Pound Puppies. In 2015, he appeared as the German expatriate Sebastian in the Greek drama film Worlds Apart. In 2016, Simmons lent his voice to two animated films, voicing the antagonist Kai in Kung Fu Panda 3 and Mayor Lionheart in Zootopia.[32][33]

Simmons reprised his role as the voice of J. Jonah Jameson in the animated series The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, Ultimate Spider-Man, Avengers Assemble, and Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H..[21] In friend Reitman's film Young Adult, he voiced the protagonist's boss, via a series of voicemails. He also provided the voice of General Wade Eiling in Justice League Unlimited.[21] He recorded an audiobook for Tom Clancy's Net Force: Point of Impact.

In 2016, Simmons portrayed Watertown Police Sergeant Jeffrey Pugliese in the film Patriots Day.[34]

In 2017, Simmons portrayed Commissioner James Gordon in Joss Whedon's film Justice League, part of the DC Extended Universe. He reappeared in archive footage for Zack Snyder's Justice League, the 2021 director's cut.[35][36] Simmons was set to reprise the role in the 2022 Batgirl film before its cancellation.[37][38] He voiced himself in an episode of SuperMansion.[39]

In the field of television commercials, Simmons is widely known for being the voice of the yellow M&M, a role he has played since 1996, replacing John Goodman.[40] He has also done voice-over work for Norelco razors. In live-action, he is featured as Professor Nathaniel Burke of the University of Farmers in ads for Farmers Insurance Group, since 2010.[41]

In 2017, Simmons had a small cameo for a role in SpongeBob SquarePants of Conductor Maestro Mackerel for an episode.[42]

In 2019, Simmons reprised his role of J. Jonah Jameson in the Marvel Cinematic Universe film Spider-Man: Far From Home, as a cameo in the mid-credits scene. He is the second actor to portray the same character in both a non-MCU and MCU film, following Lou Ferrigno as the voice of the Hulk.[43][44] He returns in the role in the 2019 web series The Daily Bugle and the films Venom: Let There Be Carnage and Spider-Man: No Way Home, both released in 2021.[45][better source needed]

In 2020, he had a guest spot as Frank Dillman on the police sitcom Brooklyn Nine-Nine.[46] He also narrated the Netflix limited series documentary Coronavirus, Explained[47] and co-starred in the critically acclaimed sci-fi/comedy Palm Springs, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January and on Hulu in July.[48]

From 2014 to 2020, Simmons voiced Lenny Turteltaub in the animated show BoJack Horseman.[21]

In 2021, Simmons provided the voice for Omni-Man in the animated show Invincible, played the role of George Zax, CEO of a family-owned and operated pharmaceutical company on the fourth season of Goliath, and also appeared in the military science-fiction film The Tomorrow War.[49]

In 2021, Simmons portrayed William Frawley in the Amazon movie Being the Ricardos, for which he received his second Academy Award nomination.[50]

Video gamesEdit

In 2005, Simmons also reprised his role of J. Jonah Jameson, as a voice actor, for the PSP version of Spider-Man 2: The Video Game. Later in 2007, he also voiced the same character of Jameson in the next game of the series: Spider-Man 3: The Video Game.[19] Simmons, also in 2007, decided to voice Jameson one last time in Stern Pinball: Spider-Man.[21]

Simmons appears as the anti-communist U.S. President Howard T. Ackerman in the video game Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 and for a series of promotional advertisements parodying the 2008 presidential elections. In these advertisements, he offers himself (as Ackerman) as an alternative to other, unnamed presidential candidates and uses the slogan "Vote for me, if you want to live".[51]

In 2011, Simmons also appeared in Generator Rex: Agent of Providence, as White Knight.[21]

In April 2011, he appeared in Portal 2 as the voice of Aperture Science founder Cave Johnson,[52] a performance that was lauded as the "surprise star turn" of the game.[53][failed verification] He reprised his role as Cave Johnson in the 2015 video game Lego Dimensions, and the 2022 video game Aperture Desk Job.[54]

Simmons provided the voice-over for the M&M's "spokescandy", Yellow in M&M's: Shell Shocked and M&M's: The Lost Formulas.[55]

Personal lifeEdit

Simmons and his wife, Michelle Schumacher, have two children. Their daughter, Olivia Simmons, has appeared in two films, The Only Good Indian (2009) and I'm Not Here (2017). His son Joe Simmons has also made occasional appearances in low-budget films. Simmons admits in an interview that he encouraged their interest in acting.[56][57]

Simmons is an avid fan of the Detroit Tigers. He threw the ceremonial first pitch for the Tigers on April 6, 2015 for Opening Day,[58] and played the Tigers' manager in For Love of the Game (1999). He is also a fan of the Ohio State Buckeyes, having spent his formative years in Ohio.[59]

He is a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, the men's music fraternity, and was initiated in 1975 at the University of Montana.[60]

During Mardi Gras 2018, he was appointed King of Bacchus by the Krewe of Bacchus.[61]

FilmographyEdit

AwardsEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "J.K. Simmons". TV Guide. Archived from the original on May 14, 2016. Retrieved March 27, 2015.
  2. ^ "JK Simmons: 'I still get emotional – how could the universe be so unfair?'". the Guardian. December 10, 2018. Retrieved January 5, 2022.
  3. ^ "From Spider-Man to Aaron Sorkin: JK Simmons Is Everywhere". GQ. December 14, 2021. Retrieved January 5, 2022.
  4. ^ "UPI Almanac for Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020". United Press International. January 9, 2020. Archived from the original on January 15, 2020. Retrieved January 15, 2020. … actor J.K. Simmons in 1955 (age 65)
  5. ^ a b c Hinds, Julie (February 24, 2015). "Tribute From The Heart". The Detroit Free Press. p. A1.
  6. ^ "Patricia 'Pat' Kimble Simmons". Missoulian. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
  7. ^ a b Hinds, Julie (February 24, 2015). "J.K. Simmons lit up Oscars with simple message". Detroit Free Press. USA Today. Archived from the original on December 9, 2019. Retrieved January 15, 2020.
  8. ^ McFarlin, Jim (September 20, 2011). "Role Call: Actor J.K. Simmons". Hour Detroit. Archived from the original on January 15, 2020. Retrieved January 15, 2020.
  9. ^ "J. K. Simmons Yearbook". Retrieved March 5, 2018.
  10. ^ a b c "J. K. Simmons Biography". Yahoo! Moviesm. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
  11. ^ "Wichita Eagle: Search Results". Newsbank. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
  12. ^ wpengine (July 15, 2019). "6 Notable University of Montana Alumni | Famous UM Grads". ROAM Student Living. Retrieved January 4, 2021.
  13. ^ Rich, Frank (April 15, 1992). "Review/Theater: Guys and Dolls; Damon Runyon's New York Lives Anew". The New York Times. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
  14. ^ "J. K. Simmons". Playbillvault.com. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
  15. ^ "JK Simmons says career-low moment led to 'the best thing' in his life". Associated Press. December 11, 2018. Retrieved December 11, 2018.
  16. ^ "Actor J.K. SIMMONS. He's a regular on HBO's "OZ" the graphic and disturbing drama of life in ..." NPR. July 9, 1999. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
  17. ^ Lloyd, Robert (August 28, 2007). "A boss who does more than shuffle paper". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
  18. ^ Ditzian, Eric (January 21, 2011). "J.K. Simmons Reveals 'Spider-Man 4' Character Arc". MTV. Archived from the original on December 16, 2011. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
  19. ^ a b Miller, R. (April 13, 2007). "Spider-Man 3 cast lend their voices to the game". Engadget. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
  20. ^ Dargis, Manohla (March 19, 2009). "Best Man Wanted. Must Be Rush Fan". The New York Times. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
  21. ^ a b c d e f "JK Simmons". Behind The Voice Actors. Retrieved July 28, 2019.
  22. ^ Stanley, Alessandra (February 21, 2014). "The Fun of Having a Single Parent". The New York Times. Retrieved April 26, 2014.
  23. ^ Lin, Joseph C. (June 12, 2015). "J.K. Simmons to Join Cast of Disney's Gravity Falls". Time. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
  24. ^ Beaumont-Thomas, Ben (February 23, 2015). "JK Simmons wins best supporting actor Oscar for Whiplash". The Guardian. Retrieved July 12, 2020.
  25. ^ "Whiplash". Metacritic.com. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
  26. ^ "J.K. Simmons: The friendly face behind this year's scariest movie villain". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved October 18, 2019.
  27. ^ "J.K. Simmons Wins Golden Globe for 'Whiplash' Role". Bloomberg.com. January 12, 2015. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
  28. ^ McNary, Dave (February 22, 2015). "J.K. Simmons Wins Oscar for Best Supporting Actor". Variety. Retrieved February 22, 2015.
  29. ^ "J.K. Simmons Reveals Kong: Skull Island Details; Keaton All But Confirms Involvement – Dread Central". www.dreadcentral.com. January 16, 2015. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
  30. ^ Jaafar, Ali (July 1, 2015). "Michael Keaton And JK Simmons Exit Legendary's 'Kong: Skull Island'". Deadline. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
  31. ^ "Moe'N'a Lisa". The Simpsons. Season 18. Episode 6. November 19, 2006. Fox.
  32. ^ Smith, C. Molly (January 26, 2016). "Kung Fu Panda 3: J.K. Simmons yaks it up, drums up buzz for new film". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
  33. ^ Alexander, Bryan (October 25, 2015). "J.K. Simmons, Tommy Chong get run of 'Zootopia'". USA Today. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
  34. ^ Lee, Ashley (November 21, 2016). "'Patriots Day': J.K. Simmons Talks Portraying Hero Sgt. Jeffrey Pugliese (Exclusive Video)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
  35. ^ "'Justice League' Adds J.K. Simmons as Commissioner Gordon (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. March 7, 2016. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
  36. ^ "Ben Affleck and J. K. Simmons on the Solo Batman film (UPDATE)". Comingsoon.net. September 30, 2016. Retrieved October 6, 2016.
  37. ^ Galuppo, Borys Kit,Mia; Kit, Borys; Galuppo, Mia (July 29, 2021). "'Batgirl' Movie: J. K. Simmons in Talks to Return to Batman Universe as Commissioner Gordon (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 27, 2021.
  38. ^ "J. K. Simmons Starts Filming Batgirl Jim Gordon Scenes In January". ScreenRant. November 25, 2021. Retrieved November 27, 2021.
  39. ^ Trumbore, Dave (March 8, 2017). "Exclusive 'SuperMansion' Clip Is J.K. Simmons' Tempo". Collider.
  40. ^ "7 Actors Who Voiced M&Ms". mentalfloss.com. February 27, 2015. Retrieved January 26, 2019.
  41. ^ "University of Farmers Insurance". The Inspiration Room. October 22, 2010.
  42. ^ Nguyen, Hanh (February 27, 2017). "J.K. Simmons Gives 'SpongeBob SquarePants' Whiplash in Sneak Peek Clip — Watch". IndieWire. Retrieved August 2, 2019.
  43. ^ Boone, John (July 1, 2019). "'Spider-Man: Far From Home' End-Credits Scenes, Explained". Entertainment Tonight. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
  44. ^ Owen, Phil (July 1, 2019). "Yes, That Was JK Simmons as J Jonah Jameson at the End of 'Spider-Man: Far From Home'". TheWrap. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
  45. ^ Gonzalez, Umberto (February 23, 2021). "Tom Holland Teases 'Spider-Man' 3 Title With Hilarious Fake". TheWrap. Archived from the original on February 24, 2021. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
  46. ^ "'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' Recap: All That Glitters". Rolling Stone. March 27, 2020. Retrieved July 12, 2020.
  47. ^ "Vox's 'Explained' Returns to Netflix with a New Limited Series, "Coronavirus, Explained"". Vox Media. April 27, 2020. Retrieved July 12, 2020.
  48. ^ Scheetz, Cameron (July 10, 2020). "J.K. Simmons on Palm Springs and why he loves working with Andy Samberg". The A.V. Club. Retrieved July 12, 2020.
  49. ^ McNary, Dave (November 11, 2019). "Chris Pratt's Sci-Fi Film 'The Tomorrow War' Gets Release Date". Variety. Retrieved November 11, 2019.
  50. ^ Hipes, Patrick (February 8, 2022). "Oscar Nominations: 'The Power Of The Dog', 'Dune' Top List; 'Drive My Car' Among Big Surprises". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 8, 2022.
  51. ^ Red Alert Universe > Factions > Factions, Units, & Characters Archived July 24, 2009, at the Wayback Machine, President Ackerman character information.
  52. ^ Miller, Greg (March 11, 2011). "PAX: Portal 2 Nabs J.K. Simmons". IGN. Archived from the original on March 10, 2012. Retrieved March 14, 2011.
  53. ^ "Edge Online – Video game features, reviews & industry jobs". Edge Online. Archived from the original on August 29, 2011.
  54. ^ Parrish, Robin (September 14, 2015). "'LEGO Dimensions' Voice Cast Includes Michael J. Fox, Gary Oldman, Chris Pratt And More". Tech Times. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
  55. ^ "Crash Bandicoot & M&M's Shell Shocked Comparison - Similarities, Fun Facts with Billy West & More!". YouTube. Archived from the original on November 27, 2021.
  56. ^ "J.K. Simmons recruited his kids for new low-budget movie | Pearl & Dean Cinemas". www.pearlanddean.com. Retrieved July 31, 2020.[permanent dead link]
  57. ^ Porter, Rick (February 23, 2015). "J.K. Simmons' wife, Michelle Schumacher, is the star of his 2015 Oscars speech". Zap2it. Retrieved March 27, 2015.[dead link]
  58. ^ Tony Paul, The Detroit News (March 26, 2015). "Actor J.K. Simmons to throw out first pitch Opening Day". Detroit News. Retrieved March 27, 2015.
  59. ^ Nolan, Katie (October 20, 2016). "Interview with J.K. Simmons". Garbage Time with Katie Nolan. Fox Sports 1. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
  60. ^ "Log In ‹ Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia — WordPress". www.sinfonia.org.
  61. ^ "J.K. Simmons Selected as Bacchus at Mardi Gras 2018". The Hollywood Reporter. Associated Press. December 19, 2017. Archived from the original on January 8, 2018. Retrieved July 18, 2019.

External linksEdit