72 Facts About Hank Azaria

1.

Hank Azaria is known for voicing many characters in the animated sitcom The Simpsons, most notably Moe Szyslak, Chief Wiggum, Comic Book Guy, Snake Jailbird, and formerly Apu Nahasapeemapetilan, Lou, Carl Carlson, and Bumblebee Man, among others.

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2.

Hank Azaria joined the show with little voice acting experience, but became a regular in its second season, with many of his performances on the show being based on famous actors and characters.

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3.

Hank Azaria is known for his live-action roles in feature films such as The Birdcage, Godzilla, Mystery Men, America's Sweethearts, Shattered Glass, Along Came Polly, Run Fatboy Run, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, The Smurfs, and The Smurfs 2 .

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4.

Hank Azaria starred as the title character in Brockmire and had recurring roles on the television series Mad About You and Friends, as the title character in the drama series Huff, and appeared in the popular stage musical Spamalot, for which he received a nomination for the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical.

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5.

Hank Azaria attended Camp Towanda in Honesdale, Pennsylvania, and now visits annually as a judge for the camp's Olympics.

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6.

Hank Azaria attended The Kew-Forest School in Queens' Forest Hills neighborhood.

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7.

Hank Azaria decided to become an actor after performing in a school play at the age of 16, becoming "obsessed with acting" at the expense of his academic studies.

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8.

Hank Azaria studied drama at Tufts University from 1981 to 1985, where he met and befriended actor Oliver Platt and noted that Platt was a "better actor" than he was and inspired him.

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9.

Together they starred in various college stage productions, including The Merchant of Venice, before Hank Azaria went to train at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.

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10.

Hank Azaria's first acting job was an advertisement for Italian television when he was 17 years old.

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11.

Hank Azaria originally intended to work predominantly as a theatrical actor, and he and Platt set up a company called Big Theatre, although Harold Pinter's The Dumb Waiter was the only show they ever performed.

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12.

Hank Azaria decided that television was a better arena and offered more opportunity, and moved to Los Angeles after being offered work with talent agent Harry Gold.

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13.

Hank Azaria made his television debut with a role in the pilot episode of the 1986 ABC comedy-drama series Joe Bash.

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14.

Hank Azaria appeared in the TV film Nitti: The Enforcer, about the gangster Frank Nitti, and appeared in the failed pilot Morning Maggie alongside Matthew Perry, with whom he became good friends.

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15.

Hank Azaria played Joe in an episode of the sitcom Family Ties in 1988 in which he had one line, and the following year he played Steve Stevenson in an episode of Growing Pains.

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16.

Hank Azaria has described his career progression as being gradual; he did not achieve overnight recognition or fame.

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17.

Hank Azaria became famous for his voice work in the ongoing animated television series The Simpsons.

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18.

Hank Azaria used the voice in his audition for The Simpsons and, at the request of the show's executive producers Matt Groening and Sam Simon, made the voice more "gravelly".

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19.

Hank Azaria did not expect to hear from the show again, but they continued to call him back, first to perform the voice of Chief Wiggum and then Apu Nahasapeemapetilan.

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20.

Hank Azaria took Apu's voice from the many Indian and Pakistani convenience store workers in Los Angeles that he had interacted with when he first moved to the area, and loosely based it on Peter Sellers' character Hrundi V Bakshi from the film The Party.

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21.

Originally, it was thought that Apu being Indian was too offensive and stereotyped, but after Hank Azaria's reading of the line "Hello, Mr Homer", which the show's producers thought was hilarious, the character stayed.

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22.

Hank Azaria disputed this on LateNet with Ray Ellin, claiming that Apu was always intended to be stereotypical.

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23.

Chief Wiggum's voice was originally a parody of David Brinkley, but when Azaria was told it was too slow, he switched it to that of Edward G Robinson.

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24.

Hank Azaria was nominated for the award in 2009 and 2010, but lost to co-star Dan Castellaneta and guest star Anne Hathaway respectively.

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25.

Hank Azaria was instead cast in the role of the scientist David, one of Phoebe Buffay's boyfriends in the series.

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26.

Hank Azaria appeared in the show's tenth episode "The One with the Monkey", before the character left for a research trip in Minsk.

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27.

Hank Azaria reprised the role in the show's seventh season, before making several appearances in the ninth .

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28.

From 1995 to 1999, Hank Azaria had a recurring role in the sitcom Mad About You as Nat Ostertag, the dog walker.

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29.

Hank Azaria was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series for his roles in both Mad About You and Friends .

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30.

Hank Azaria had the lead role in the short-lived sitcom If Not For You in 1995, playing record producer Craig Schaeffer.

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31.

Hank Azaria produced and starred in the sitcom Imagine That in 2002, replacing Emeril mid-season in the NBC lineup.

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32.

Hank Azaria played Josh Miller, a comedy writer, who "transformed" each episode into a character Miller has imagined, "provid[ing] a humorous outlet for his frustrations at home and work".

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33.

Hank Azaria starred as psychiatrist Craig "Huff" Huffstodt in the Showtime drama series Huff, which ran for two seasons between 2004 and 2006, airing 24 episodes.

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34.

Hank Azaria served as an executive producer on the show and directed an episode of its second season.

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35.

Hank Azaria played Alex Taylor, a recently divorced public relations executive "who is missing his kids and trying to keep himself together", and ends up sleeping with a co-worker .

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36.

Hank Azaria was apprehensive about the project, disliking the lengthy schedule required of a lead actor in a single-camera series, and favoring the "sensibility" of cable shows.

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37.

In 2014, Hank Azaria had a recurring role in the second season of Showtime's Ray Donovan, playing FBI agent Ed Cochran.

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38.

Hank Azaria made his film debut in the direct-to-video release Cool Blue, as Buzz.

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39.

In 1996, Hank Azaria played gay Guatemalan housekeeper Agador Spartacus in the film The Birdcage.

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40.

Hank Azaria had chosen two possible voices, an effeminate one and a tougher one.

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41.

Hank Azaria played photographer Victor "Animal" Palotti in Godzilla .

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42.

Hank Azaria played composer Marc Blitzstein in Tim Robbins' film Cradle Will Rock in 1999.

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43.

The film was based on the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and Hank Azaria played Mordechaj Anielewicz, one of the revolt's leaders.

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44.

Hank Azaria was confused by his casting in Uprising and frequently asked the film's producer and director Jon Avnet why he was selected.

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45.

Hank Azaria cast me and David Schwimmer in [Uprising], and we were both sort of mystified.

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46.

Hank Azaria had some instinct that he wanted people who were more known for being funny.

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47.

Hank Azaria never explained it satisfactorily to me; I don't understand why.

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48.

Hank Azaria found Uprising to be "very difficult very depressing very emotionally challenging" material.

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49.

In 2003, Hank Azaria played journalist Michael Kelly, the former editor of The New Republic, in the drama film Shattered Glass.

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50.

Hank Azaria played the smooth-talking Whit in David Schwimmer's directorial debut Run Fatboy Run .

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51.

Hank Azaria worked with Stiller again on 2009's Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian in which Azaria played the villainous pharaoh Kah Mun Rah, utilizing a Boris Karloff accent.

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52.

Hank Azaria wore a prosthetic nose, ears, buck teeth, eyebrows and a wig, as well as shaving his head.

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53.

Hank Azaria spent approximately 130 hours in the make-up chair over the course of the production.

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54.

Hank Azaria considered Gargamel's voice to be the most important part of his performance.

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55.

The producers wanted an "old, failed, Shakespearean actor" voice, but Hank Azaria felt this would lack energy and wanted something more Eastern European.

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56.

Hank Azaria eventually selected a voice similar to that of Paul Winchell's from the cartoon.

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57.

In 2016, Hank Azaria starred in Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer with Richard Gere.

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58.

For example, Sandie Chen of The Washington Post said "Hank Azaria has been honing his over-the-top Spanish accent since The Birdcage, so anything he says grabs some laughs", while Emma Simmonds of Time Out called him an "unflappable presence, voicing two characters with style".

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59.

Once The Simpsons was "going steadily" and Hank Azaria had enough money to live on, he stopped working on commercials as he found them "demoralizing", feeling that he sounded sarcastic whenever he read for them.

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60.

Hank Azaria wrote and directed the 2004 short film Nobody's Perfect, which won the Film Discovery Jury Award for Best Short at the US Comedy Arts Festival.

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61.

In 2009, Hank Azaria told Empire he was instead focusing on making a documentary about fatherhood.

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62.

Hank Azaria has periodically returned to theatrical work, appearing in several productions.

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63.

Hank Azaria made his first appearance as Sir Lancelot, the French Taunter, and four other characters in Spamalot, the musical version of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, which opened in Chicago in December 2004, before moving to the Shubert Theatre on Broadway.

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64.

Hank Azaria based the voice and style of Brockmire on several veteran sportscasters, including Bob Murphy and Phil Rizzuto.

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65.

Hank Azaria has since appeared as Brockmire on the NFL Network's The Rich Eisen Podcast to discuss the National Football League.

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66.

In November 2012, Hank Azaria sued actor Craig Bierko over the ownership of the Brockmire voice.

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67.

Hank Azaria's friends refer to him as "the freakish mimic" due to his ability to copy almost anyone's voice, instantly after he has heard it.

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68.

Hank Azaria began dating former actress Katie Wright in 2007, and the two married later that year.

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69.

Hank Azaria previously owned the fifth-floor co-op loft on Mercer Street in Manhattan's Soho neighborhood, which he bought from photographer Cindy Sherman in 2005, before selling it in 2013.

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70.

Hank Azaria is a regular poker player, appearing twice on Celebrity Poker Showdown and competing at other events, finishing a few places short of the bubble in the main event of the 2010 World Series of Poker.

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71.

Hank Azaria enjoys the music of Elvis Costello, and has stated that he would have been a therapist if he were not an actor.

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72.

Hank Azaria considers The Godfather Trilogy to be what inspired him to become an actor, and counts Peter Sellers and Walt Frazier as his heroes.

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