You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Big Bang Theory’ Star Jim Parsons on His Road to the Hollywood Walk of Fame

When Jim Parsons first strolled the Hollywood Walk of Fame as a teenage tourist from Houston, he didn’t have the sort of epiphany Sheldon Cooper lives for.

“I already enjoyed acting,” Parsons says on a break from shooting “The Big Bang Theory.” But “there was not some sort of sense of ‘maybe one day.’ It did not even enter my mind.”

Parsons is delighted, in his own quiet way, to become a name on Hollywood Boulevard. “I like how all-encompassing it is,” Parsons says. “It could be radio announcers you have never seen before or very, very visible and famous actors.”

The busy thesp is preparing for his third run on Broadway in the spring, but his star is in the TV category for playing the socially maladroit, brilliant physicist Cooper on the mega-hit CBS comedy. During its eight seasons, Parsons has continued to expand the role, though he knew he nailed it in auditions.

“It sounds really conceited,” Parsons admits. “It was in the thick of the pilot season and this was the 40th thing I had read. And if you are going to read that many things over a few weeks your eye gets really keen of what is going to come out of your mouth believably.”

“Big Bang” made Parsons a star and led to his Broadway debut in the 2011 revival of “The Normal Heart,” Larry Kramer’s gut-wrenching play about the early days of the AIDS epidemic. When the drama became an HBO film three years later, Parsons was the only actor to reprise his role from that production.

Joe Mantello, who played different parts in both versions, had not heard of Parsons before they started rehearsals. “I remember when we moved into the theater, and I was walking in midtown and saw his face on a T-shirt,” Mantello says. “And I said to him, ‘Do you have a catchphrase on your TV show? Is it bazooka?’ He said, ‘Bazinga!’ ”

Another co-star, who has come to adore him but didn’t know Parsons before they worked together, is Mayim Bialik, who plays Sheldon’s love interest Amy Farrah Fowler.

Playing a theoretical physicist on TV’s biggest comedy, “The Big Bang Theory,” has transformed Jim Parsons from working actor to superstar.

“I was specifically called in to do a ‘female Jim Parsons,’ ” Bialik says. “My manager was super annoyed she had to explain who Jim Parsons was because apparently everyone else knew. I watched 15-20 seconds. As a neuroscience grad student I met people like that all the time.”

Unprompted, Bialik and Mantello both mention Parsons’ humility, a quiet decency that was almost palpable when he starred in Broadway’s “Harvey” in 2012.

“I don’t know that there is another character out there with a more generous open spirit,” Parsons says of the role immortalized by James Stewart in the 1950 film. “There is something Jesus about him, something Dostoyevsky’s ‘The Idiot’ about him. He is a magical presence in a way. And any character you get to play is the chance to see the world through their eyes for a while.”

“He reminds me of Jimmy Stewart,” Bialik says of Parsons, whom she calls beloved. “He has a real physical presence. The way he holds himself reminds me of Clark Gable. Certain things about him are so heroic.”

Parsons’ next Broadway role will be less likely to draw physical comparisons. He’s the Almighty in the one-man play “An Act of God,” directed by Mantello. “I could count on one hand the actors I would feel comfortable with going into this,” Mantello says. “It is a massive undertaking — just the sheer volume of the number of lines he has to learn.”

“God has some stuff he would like to say and he has decided a venue on Broadway is the way he would like to do it,” Parsons says, pitching the play’s set-up. “And since his essence defies all comprehension by humans, one of his choices is to take over a body and speak through them and the conceit is he has picked me.

“It could easily be Angela Lansbury,” he says. “It could easily be Denzel Washington. I find this process delightful.”

What would truly delight Parsons would be to do more movies (he voices the lead character in DreamWorks Animation’s “Home,” opening this month) but TV’s shooting schedule keeps him busy. “(It’s) the golden handcuffs of television, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world,” Parsons says. “One of these days this show won’t be happening anymore and I will have more time than I want.”

Even if he had unlimited leisure time, Parsons doesn’t envision himself hanging out on Hollywood Boulevard, removing litter from his star.

“It is a funny place to honor anyone,” Parsons says. “ ‘We will put your name right on the ground.’ And if there is gum there? Come on, it is the ground!”

More TV

  • Contract Placeholder Business WGA ATA Agent

    Signs of Solidarity and Strain Emerge as Week 2 of WGA-Talent Agency Standoff Begins

    Hundreds of WGA members rallied solidly behind their union last week as the industry grappled with uncertainties spurred by the sudden break between writers and their talent agency representatives. But as the standoff heads into its second week, signs of strain among some WGA members are beginning to emerge. Shalom Auslander, author and creator of [...]

  • Jon Snow Arya Stark Game of

    'Game of Thrones' Final Season Vegas Odds Reveal Wild Theories

    With “Game of Thrones” hype at an all-time high, Las Vegas may be raking in as much money as the Iron Bank. HBO’s fantasy masterpiece has seized the gambling world’s attention nearly as much as the Super Bowl or Kentucky Derby. Fans spew countless theories on social media, such as which characters will be axed [...]

  • FX's 'Snowfall' Panel TCA Winter Press

    John Singleton Hospitalized After Suffering Stroke

    UPDATED with statements from John Singleton’s family and FX Networks John Singleton, the Oscar nominated director and writer of “Boyz N’ the Hood,” has suffered a stroke. Sources confirm to Variety that Singleton checked himself into the hospital earlier this week after experiencing pain in his leg. The stroke has been characterized by doctors as [...]

  • Adam Lambert, of Queen, performs at

    Adam Lambert Back to 'Idol' to Mentor Finalists Through Queen's Catalog

    Adam Lambert famously launched his career on “American Idol” a decade ago performing a brilliant audition of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” He wrapped that amazing eighth season performing with the band on the season finale, and years later earned his current spot as the front man touring as Queen + Adam Lambert. On April 28, Lambert comes full circle as he steps [...]

  • Lily Tomlin SAG Lifetime Acheivement Award

    TV News Roundup: Netflix's 'Laugh-In' 50th Anniversary Tribute Sets Premiere Date

    In today’s TV News roundup, Netflix sets the premiere date for its 50th anniversary special of “Laugh-In.” DATES “Laugh-In: The Stars Celebrate,” the 50th anniversary tribute to the original series by Dan Rowan and Dick Martin, will premiere on Netflix on May 14. The special, which was taped at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood, pays [...]

  • Texas Tech's Norense Odiase (32) shoots

    Live+3 Ratings for Week of April 8: NCAA Championship Game Dunks on Competition

    The final of the 2019 NCAA basketball tournament, in which Virginia triumphed over a spirited Texas Tech team, unsurprisingly finished way out in front in the Live+3 ratings for the week of April 8. Although the sports broadcast’s scripted competition made some gains, its 5.4 ratings still more than doubled that of “Grey’s Anatomy” in [...]

  • Mueller Report Release Draws 11 Million

    Mueller Report Release Draws 11 Million Total Viewers Across TV News

    Coverage of the release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report into whether President Donald Trump committed obstruction of justice unsurprisingly caused a ratings bump across TV news yesterday. In terms of overall viewership, around 11 million people tuned in to see Attorney General William Barr’s news conference regarding the report’s release, and the news coverage surrounding it. According [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content