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Hank Albert Azaria (born April 25, 1964) is an American film and television actor, director, comedian and voice artist. He is famous for his long-running career as one of the principal voice actors on the animated television series The Simpsons. He performs the voices of Moe Szyslak, Chief Wiggum, Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, and numerous other characters.
He became better known through his appearances in films such as The Birdcage, Godzilla, and Along Came Polly. He starred in the drama Huff, playing the titular character, to critical acclaim, as well as appearing in the popular stage musical Spamalot. Originally more of a comic actor, in recent years Azaria has taken on more dramatic roles including Tuesdays With Morrie and Uprising. Married to Helen Hunt from 1999 until 2000, he has won four Emmys and a Screen Actors Guild Award.
Azaria was born and grew up in Forest Hills, Queens, New York, the son of Judaeo-Spanish-speaking Sephardic Jewish parents from Thessaloniki, Greece. His father, Albert, ran several dress-manufacturing businesses, while his mother raised him and his two older sisters, Stephanie and Elise. Before marrying his father, Azaria`s mother had been a publicist for Columbia Pictures, promoting films in Latin American countries, as she was fluent in both English and Spanish. Both of his parents loved all forms of show business, which spurred him on to become an actor. Azaria graduated from The Kew Forest School in Forest Hills, and later studied drama at Tufts University until 1985, before training at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. There he met Oliver Platt, with whom he became best friends; Azaria noted that "Oliver was a better actor than I was in college, and he really inspired me." Together the pair starred in various college stage productions including The Merchant of Venice. Azaria originally hoped to become a full-time theater actor so he and Platt set up their own company: "Big Theatre". A stage production of Harold Pinter`s The Dumb Waiter was the only thing they ever performed. Azaria`s first job was a commercial advertising Italian television when he was seventeen years old. He soon realised that television was a better calling and moved to Los Angeles. Before leaving New York, Azaria worked for several years as a bartender.
In the early 1990s, Azaria was engaged to actress Julie Warner. In 1994, Azaria began a relationship with actress Helen Hunt, and married her in a traditional Jewish ceremony at the couple`s home in Southern California on July 17, 1999. Azaria had appeared in Mad About You with Hunt, as well the Simpsons episode "Dumbbell Indemnity" when Hunt played Moe`s girlfriend Renée. After a year of marriage, Azaria moved out of their home and began staying in a Bel-Air hotel. After being separated for six months, citing "irreconcilable differences" Hunt filed for divorce, which went through on December 18, 2000. Azaria remains best friends with Oliver Platt and is godfather to Platt`s son George. Politically Azaria supports the Democratic Party, enjoys the music of Elvis Costello, and would be a therapist if he were not an actor. He 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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Kew-Forest School, Forest Hills, NY
BFA Drama, Tufts University (1987)
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Hank Albert Azaria
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Henry Albert "Hank" Azaria (ə-ZAIR-ee-ə; born April 25, 1964) is an American film, television and stage actor, director, voice actor, and comedian. He is noted for being one of the principal voice actors on the animated television series The Simpsons (1989–present), on which he performs the voices of Moe Szyslak, Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, Chief Wiggum, Comic Book Guy, Carl Carlson and numerous others. Azaria, who attended Tufts University, joined the show with little voice acting experience, but became a regular in its second season. Many of his performances on the show are based on famous actors and characters; Moe's voice, for example, is based on actor Al Pacino.
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