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Jim Parsons: Stage, Screen and Television

Jim Parsons' role of Sheldon Cooper in The Big Bang Theory may be the only place you've ever seen him. But Parsons is a stage-trained actor who's been in plays since the age of six. Parsons has received two Emmy Awards, a Golden Globe, a Critics' Choice TV Award and a Television Critics Association award for playing Sheldon Cooper.

Growing up in Houston, Texas, he appeared in Noises Off in his junior year of high school. At the University of Houston he appeared in 17 plays in three years. After graduation he moved to New York, working on off-Broadway and in TV appearances.

While The Big Bang Theory was on hiatus in 2011, Parsons was on Broadway in The Normal Heart. From May until August of 2012, he's starring in Harvey. He's remarked that he has never seen Harvey on stage, nor has he seen the James Stewart movie. It's his 30th stage appearance.

He's also appeared in 11 films. Two were cameos. The Big Bang Theory is Parsons' 10th TV series. You can't really call them all his series, since he appeared in only one episode of six shows. He has said he auditioned for between 15 and 30 pilots. Sometimes when he was cast, the shows weren't picked up by networks. But that's how you work your way up.

The role of Sheldon Cooper changed everything. The character is a scientist and a genius, having completed college in his teens. He's surrounded by three nerdy friends whom he constantly criticizes. He is obsessive about routine, especially certain dinners on certain days of the week, and he's very upset with any change. The waitress who lives across the hall confuses him, since he's the only one in the group not attracted to her, and he never understands sarcasm from her or anyone else. Despite his narcissistic personality, he is devoid of social skills, and he intensely dislikes being touched. (He's virginal at 31.) He spouts arcane scientific details -- and his own opinions -- in rapid-fire speech. This is undoubtedly a big reason for his Emmys. The scripts must be incredibly challenging.

Fans are fascinated by the difference between Jim and Sheldon. Jim smiles a lot more than Sheldon does. Actually, Sheldon practically never does. He has an almost nonexistent sense of humor. Parsons was hilarious on a recent interview with Jon Stewart on the Daily Show. (Harvey will close in August..."get your tickets now!") His Emmy acceptance speeches were humble and grateful. And he smiled!

He loved school, and he loves his career now. He's worked hard for his success.

Are you a fan of The Big Bang Theory? Did you know that Jim Parsons, who's won two Emmys, has been a stage actor since the age of six?

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