As a child actor and member of the “Brat Pack,” David Schwimmer rose to fame in the 1980s. Although his youth may be most closely associated with iconic teen films such as “The ‘Burbs” and “Sixteen Candles,” he has successfully translated that success into an adult career, earning him numerous awards for his role on “Friends.”
Born on November 2, 1966, in Flushing, Queens, NY, David was always interested in performing while growing up. He took acting classes throughout high school and eventually attended The University of North Carolina School of the Arts, where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Drama. However, despite this prestigious education, Schwimmer elected to take acting classes at the Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts in Santa Maria, California. During this time, Schwimmer received his first professional acting role in the off-Broadway production of “Kabaret.”
After his success on stage, David’s focus shifted to film and television. He made an appearance in Woody Allen’s 1989 classic “The ‘Burbs” before landing a recurring role on the popular drama series “L.A. Law” (1986). Schwimmer continued to work steadily throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s, appearing in several smaller projects such as “Montana” (1998) and “Tesseract” (1994).
After his success on “Friends,” however, Schwimmer finally cemented his place in Hollywood history. He went on to star in several major motion pictures, including “The Pallbearer,” Imaginary Crimes,” and the Award-winning Academy film, “As Good As It Gets.”
Most recently, Schwimmer has appeared in several television roles, including “Ugly Betty” (2006), and as the host of the show “Crime Watch Daily.” He has also been directing episodes of television shows such as “American Crime Story: The People vs. OJ Simpson (2016).” To know more about your favorite artist, here are 10 things You Didn’t Know About David Schwimmer:
# 1- He appeared on Broadway with Kathy Bates
Theatergoers may recognize him from his brief but notable role in the Tony-winning Broadway revival of Annie Get Your Gun, co-starring as ‘Fred Stone’ opposite award winner Kathy Bates. Schwimmer played the part for just four months in 1998.
# 2 -His first film appearance was a non-speaking role in Mystic Pizza
Although he is now known for playing Ross Geller, one of six main characters throughout 10 seasons of Friends, David’s first major movie role was Mystic Pizza opposite Julia Roberts and Annabeth Gish – an 80s teen comedy about three waitresses at a pizza parlor in Mystic, Connecticut. Reviewers critically acclaimed the movie, including Roger Ebert, who praised David’s non-speaking role as ‘a a gem’.
# 3 – Schwimmer is an avid photographer
Schwimmer studied photography at Harvard University, where he began to photograph street scenes in the style of William Eggleston. He has since become a professional photographer, and his work can be seen on his website – davidbschwimmer.com
# 4 – He was named after legendary actor Spencer Tracy
His parents were both theater actors who had met while studying at the Pasadena Playhouse, but they divorced when David was 2 years old. His mother later remarried actor Jack Lemmon, whose first movie role was alongside Spencer Tracy in Mister Roberts, why David’s middle name is Tracy.
# 5 – He broke up a fight during the Friends pilot episode
The altercation grew out of a discussion over who was more attractive – Joey or David Schwimmer. When things started to get out of hand, Schwimmer stepped in and broke up the fight. In 2015, he told The Daily Mail how uncomfortable it had been filming that scene: “I do recall being mortified at being somewhat compromised as an actor because I got scared – suddenly these two big guys are beating each other up, and I’m trying to stop them.”
# 6 – He had just finished the play “The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial” when he was offered his role on Friends
David’s first major TV role was as Ross Geller in the series ‘Friends.’ However, he had just played a different character in Neil Simon’s ‘The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial’ before being cast on Friends. The show’s producer loved him so much for his performance that they offered him to join them shortly afterward. Couple that with some convincing from friends who told David that it would be bad if no one saw him act again after doing all those years of theater work, and David joined the cast.
# 7 – David doesn’t enjoy watching himself on screen
David has admitted that he does not enjoy watching himself on screen, no matter how old or big his role is. Many actors say this, but what makes it worse for him is that there are re-runs of Friends virtually everywhere. If you’re an actor who enjoyed seeing your work on T.V., then you would have to watch yourself over and over again in nearly every single episode.
# 8 – He has been good friends with Jennifer Aniston and Matthew Perry since they grew up together as kids.
David’s parents are also very good friends with Jen’s parents, so essentially, their families have been close for a long time now. But even before Friends became a hit on T.V., they were already best of friends playing soccer together on the same team every Saturday morning. All this had started when David’s family moved to L.A. from New York- he was ten years old at the time.
He had auditioned for the role of Chandler Bing but lost out to Matthew Perry because the producers felt that he looked too young for the part. However, after acting in ‘The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial, he became a recurring guest star, and then his career took off. The producers then began paying attention to Chandler’s lines and ended up making the role bigger because David was able to take on more of the story and the comedy. His deadpan expression is what sets him apart from other actors.
# 9 – Schwimmer won a Daytime Emmy Award in 2015 for producing a documentary on autism
David produced a short film called “Silverlake Life: The View from Here,” which chronicles the lives of three young adults on the autism spectrum who live together as part of an assisted living facility. In his acceptance speech, he dedicated the award to ‘the autistic community and urged viewers to visit www.autismspeaks.org
# 10 – He has been nominated for five Golden Globe Awards
Schwimmer’s nominations include his work on two films – Return to Paradise (1998) and Sphere (1998), as well as new T.V. programs – Friends (1995–96); Band of Brothers (2001); and The People vs. OJ Simpson (2016). Although he has never won, he was presented with a Distinguished Artist Award by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association in 2009.
It’s no secret that David Schwimmer has always been a talented actor. The role of Ross Geller on Friends propelled him to fame, but it turns out he was also an accomplished director and producer for years before his acting career took off. When you have the opportunity to see one of his performances live or enjoy one of his projects in your living room, there are plenty more things about this brilliant entertainer that will surprise you.