Arthur Christopher Orme Plummer is a Canadian actor whose career has spanned six decades, beginning with his film debut in Stage Struck. He is known for portraying Captain Georg von Trapp in The Sound of Music, has portrayed numerous major historical figures, including Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington in Waterloo, Rudyard Kipling in The Man Who Would Be King, Mike Wallace in The Insider, Leo Tolstoy in The Last Station, Kaiser Wilhelm II in The Exception, J. Paul Getty in All the Money in the World. Plummer has received various accolades for his work, including an Academy Award, a Genie Award, two Emmy Awards, two Tony Awards, a Golden Globe Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, a British Academy Film Award, he won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor at the age of 82 for Beginners, becoming the oldest actor to win an acting award, he received a nomination at the age of 88 for All the Money in the World, making him the oldest person to be nominated in an acting category. Plummer was born on December 1929 in Toronto, Ontario.
He is the only child of Isabella Mary, an artist, secretary to the Dean of Sciences at McGill University, John Orme Plummer, who sold stocks and securities. His great-grandfather on his mother's side was Canadian Prime Minister Sir John Abbott, his father's uncle was patent lawyer and agent F. B. Fetherstonhaugh. Plummer is a second cousin of British actor Nigel Bruce, known as Doctor Watson to Basil Rathbone's Sherlock Holmes, his parents divorced shortly after his birth, he was brought up in the Abbott family home in Senneville, Quebec outside of Montreal. He speaks both French fluently. Plummer began studying to be a concert pianist, but he developed a love for theatre at an early age, he began acting while he was attending the High School of Montreal, he attended McGill where he took up acting, after watching Laurence Olivier's film Henry V. In 1946, he caught the attention of Montreal Gazette's theatre critic Herbert Whittaker with his performance as Mr. Darcy in the Montreal High School production of Pride and Prejudice.
Whittaker was amateur stage director of the Montreal Repertory theatre, he cast Plummer at age 18 as Oedipus in Jean Cocteau's La Machine infernale. Plummer made his Broadway debut in January 1953 in The Starcross Story, a show that closed on opening night, his next Broadway appearance, Home is the Hero, lasted 30 performances from September to October 1954. He appeared in support of Broadway legend Katharine Cornell and film legend Tyrone Power in The Dark is Light Enough, which lasted 69 performances from February to April 1955; the play toured several cities, with Plummer serving as Power's understudy. That same year, he appeared in his first Broadway hit, opposite Julie Harris in Jean Anouilh's The Lark. After appearing in Night of the Auk, not a success, Plummer appeared in Elia Kazan's successful Broadway production of Archibald MacLeish's Pulitzer Prize-winning play J. B.. Plummer appeared less on Broadway in the 1960s as he moved from New York to London, he appeared in the title role in a 1963 production of Bertolt Brecht's The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, which did not succeed, but he had a great success in Peter Shaffer's The Royal Hunt of the Sun, playing conquistador Francisco Pizarro to David Carradine's Tony Award-nominated Atahuallpa.
From May to June 1973, he appeared on Broadway as the title character in Cyrano, a musical adaptation of Edmond Rostand's 1897 play Cyrano de Bergerac by Anthony Burgess and Michael J. Lewis. For that performance, Plummer won the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical and a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Performance; that year, he played Anton Chekhov in Neil Simon's adaptation of several Chekhov short stories, The Good Doctor. In the 1980s, he appeared on Broadway in two Shakespearean tragedies, playing Iago to James Earl Jones' Moor, the title role in Macbeth with Glenda Jackson playing his lady, his Iago brought him another Tony nomination. He appeared with Jason Robards in the 1994 revival of Harold Pinter's No Man's Land and had great success in 1997 in Barrymore, which he toured with after a successful Broadway run, his turn as John Barrymore brought him his second Tony Award and a Drama Desk Award as Outstanding Actor in a Play. He was nominated for a Tony Award and a Drama Desk Award for his 2004 King Lear and for a Tony playing Henry Drummond in the 2007 revival of Inherit the Wind.
Plummer made his debut at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in 1956, playing the title role in Henry V, which subsequently was performed that year at the Edinburgh Festival. He played the title role in Hamlet and Sir Andrew Aguecheek in Twelfth Night at Stratford in 1957; the following year, he played Leontes in The Winter's Tale, Bardolph, in Henry IV, Part 1, Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing. In 1960, he played Philip the Bastard in King John and Mercutio in Juliet. In 1962, he played the title roles in both Cyrano de Bergerac and Macbeth, returning in 1967 to play Mark Antony in Antony and Cleopatra. In 2002, he appeared in a lauded production of King Lear, directed by Jonathan Miller; the production transferred to New York City's Lincoln Center in 2004. He returned to the stage at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in August 2008 in a critically acclaimed performance as Julius Caesar in George Bernard Shaw's C
Paul Winchell was an American ventriloquist, actor, voice artist and inventor whose career flourished in the 1950s and 1960s. From 1950 to 1954, he hosted The Paul Winchell Show, which used two other titles during its prime time run on NBC, The Speidel Show, What's My Name?. From 1965 -- 1968, Winchell hosted Winchell-Mahoney Time. Winchell made guest appearances on Emmy Award-winning television series from the late 1950s to the mid 1970s, such as Perry Mason, The Dick Van Dyke Show, McMillan & Wife, The Donna Reed Show, two appearances as Homer Winch on The Beverly Hillbillies in 1962. In animation, he was the original voice of Tigger, Dick Dastardly and other characters. Winchell, who had medical training, was an inventor, becoming the first person to build and patent a mechanical artificial heart, implantable in the chest cavity, he has been honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his work in television. He retired from acting in 1999. Winchell was born Paul Wilchinsky in New York City on December 21, 1922, to Solomon Wilchinsky and Clara Fuchs.
His father was a tailor. Winchell's initial ambition was to become a doctor, but the Depression wiped out any chance of his family's ability to afford medical school tuition. At age 13, he contracted polio. Back at school, he asked his art teacher, Jero Magon, if he could receive class credit for creating a ventriloquist's dummy. Mr. Magon was agreeable, Winchell named his creation Jerry Mahoney, by way of thanks. Winchell went back to reading magazines, gathering jokes from them and putting together a comedy routine, which he took to the Major Bowes Amateur Hour in 1938, winning first prize. A touring offer, playing various theaters with the Major Bowes Review, was part of the prize. Bandleader Ted Weems saw the young Winchell while on tour. Winchell accepted and became a professional at age 14. Winchell's best-known ventriloquist dummies were Knucklehead Smiff. Mahoney was carved by Chicago-based figure maker Frank Marshall. Sometime Winchell had basswood copies of Jerry's head made by a commercial duplicating service.
One became the upgraded Jerry Mahoney, seen throughout Winchell's television career. The television versions of Jerry and Knucklehead featured Winchell's innovation of actors slipping their hands into the sleeves of the dummies, giving the visual effect of gesturing with their hands while "conversing" with each other, he modified two other copies to create Knucklehead Smiff. The original Marshall Jerry Mahoney and one copy of Knucklehead Smiff are in storage at the Smithsonian Institution; the other two figures are in the collection of illusionist David Copperfield. Winchell's first show as a ventriloquist was on radio with Jerry Mahoney in 1943; the program was short-lived, however. Winchell created Ozwald, a character that resembled Humpty Dumpty; the effect was accomplished by painting eyes and a nose on his chin adding a "body" covering the rest of his face, electronically turning the camera image upside down. In 1961, Berwin Novelties introduced a home version of the character that included an Oswald body, creative pencils to draw the eyes and nose and a "magic mirror" that automatically turned a reflection upside down.
In 1948, Winchell and Joseph Dunninger were featured on Floor Show on NBC. Recorded via kinescope and replayed on WNBQ-TV in Chicago, the 8:30-9 p.m. Central Time show on Thursdays was the station's first mid-week program. During the 1950s, Winchell hosted children's and adult programs with his figures for NBC Television, for syndication; the NBC Saturday morning program, sponsored by Tootsie Roll, featured a clubhouse motif and a theme song co-written by Winchell and his longtime bandleader and on-air sidekick, Milton DeLugg. The theme song was entitled "HOORAY, HOORAH" which featured the secret password "SCOLLY WALLY DOO DOO". An ending song entitled "Friends, Friends" was sung by the children in the audience. In October 1956 Winchell moved to ABC, hosting Circus Time on Thursday evening for one season before returning to Winchell-Mahoney on Sunday afternoons. On one episode, The Three Stooges appeared on the show to promote their joint feature film venture, Stop and Laugh, in late 1959, he made an appearance on Nanny and the Professor as a "mean old man".
In 1996, Winchell contracted with figure maker Tim Selberg to construct a more contemporary version of Jerry Mahoney, which Winch described as "Disney-esque". Winchell used the new figure version to pitch a new TV series idea to Michael Eisner. In 2009 Winchell was featured in the comedy documentary I'm No Dummy, directed by Bryan W. Simon. Winchell's career after 1968 included various voice roles for animated television series. For Hanna-Barbera, he played the character Dick Dastardly in multiple series, he provided the voice of Bubi Bear in Help!... It's the Hair Bear Bunch! in 1971, the voice of Revs on Wheelie and the Chopper Bunch, as Moe on The Robonic Stooges (a role he played on The New Scooby Doo Movi
Mulan (Disney character)
Fa Mulan is a character, inspired by an actual historic figure, who appears in Walt Disney Pictures' 36th animated feature film Mulan, as well as its sequel Mulan II. Her speaking voice is provided by actress Ming-Na Wen, while singer Lea Salonga provides the character's singing voice. Created by author Robert D. San Souci, Mulan is based on the legendary Chinese warrior Hua Mulan from the poem the Ballad of Mulan; the only child of an aging war veteran, Mulan disregards both tradition and the law by disguising herself as a man in order to enlist herself in the army in lieu of her feeble father. Disney had conceived Mulan as an oppressed young Chinese woman who elopes to Europe to be with a British prince. However, director Tony Bancroft, inspired by the well-being of his own daughters, wanted Mulan to be a different, unique kind of Disney heroine – one, strong and independent, whose fate does not depend upon a male character. Thus, the relationship between Mulan and Captain Li Shang was relegated to that of a minor subplot, while Mulan's bravery and strength were emphasized in order to ensure that she remained the hero of her own story.
Mulan's supervising animator was Mark Henn, who deliberately designed the character so that she would appear less feminine than her predecessors. Reception towards Mulan's personality has been positive, with critics praising her bravery and heroism. However, some commentators have accused Disney of Westernizing the character, while her romantic relationship with Shang has been accused of compromising Mulan's heroism. Mulan was conceived as an animated short in 1994, in which a miserable Chinese girl elopes to the West to be with a British prince. While developing a series of treatments based on traditional stories and folk tales, children's book author Robert D. San Souci discovered the Ballad of Mulan, an ancient Chinese poem about Hua Mulan – a Chinese woman who replaces her ailing father in the army by disguising herself as a man. Fascinated by Hua Mulan's story, San Souci suggested the poem to Disney. Mulan explores the age-old theme of remaining true to oneself, with co-director Tony Bancroft summarizing the character's role in the film as "the story of a girl who can't help who she is but she exists in a different society that tells her who she is supposed to be."
Because the Ballad of Mulan is such a beloved and well-known story, San Souci longed to maintain the character's integrity. However, certain creative liberties were taken with the story in regards to Mulan's role, such as the character neglecting to ask her parents' permission prior to enlisting herself in the army. Additionally, Mulan's surname was changed from "Hua" to "Fa." Mulan's true identity is discovered much earlier in the film, soon after the army's initial encounter with the enemy, whereas her comrades remain ignorant throughout their entire 12 years at war until after Mulan has returned home. In addition, unlike preceding traditional Disney animated feature films, the developing romantic relationship between Mulan and Li Shang is treated as more of a subplot as opposed to a traditional central plot, as observed by film critic Andy Klein of Animation World Network. Klein commented, "Mulan isn't waiting for her prince to someday come. Throughout the movie they are working towards helping each other change into better and truer versions of themselves in order to achieve their true potential.
Mulan's speaking voice is provided by Chinese-American actress Ming-Na Wen. Because the character "represented Chinese values" and is depicted as being "dramatic... close to her father respectful," Bancroft believed that Wen possessed the "perfect" voice for Mulan, which he additionally described as "very Chinese." Born and raised in Macau, Wen was much familiar with both the legend of Hua Mulan and the Ballad of Mulan at the time of her audition for the role, having grown up being read the poem by her mother. Wen explained, "I think every Chinese kid grows up with this story," additionally likening the poem's popularity in China to that of the Western Parson Weems fable in which American president George Washington chops down his father's beloved cherry tree. Mulan served as Wen's first voice-acting role. In an interview with IGN, the actress elaborated on the recording process the fact that she was required to record the majority of the character's dialogue in isolation, saying, "I just loved the story so much and identified so much with the character of Mulan it was easy for me.
I loved using my imagination. I felt like I was a little kid again, being silly with an imaginary sword and riding on an imaginary horse and talking to an imaginary dragon. So it was a lot of fun for me." In spite of the fact that, throughout the film, Mulan shares several intimate scenes with her guardian, a miniature Chinese dragon named Mushu, voiced by American actor and comedian Eddie Murphy and her co-star never encountered each other while working on Mulan due to the fact that they recorded their respective dialogue at separate times in separate locations. Upon being cast as Mulan's speaking voice, Wen was informed by Disney that she would not be providing the character's singing voice; the actress took no offense to this decision, commenting jokingly "I don't blame them." The directors hired Filipina singer and actress Lea Salonga to dub the character's respective singing voice, heard in the film's songs "Reflection", "I'll Make a Man Out of You" and "A Girl Worth Fighting For", on Wen's behalf.
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Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas
Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas is a 1997 American direct-to-video animated Christmas musical fantasy film produced by Walt Disney Television Animation. The film sold 7.6 million VHS tapes in 1997. The film starts out with everybody getting prepared for Christmas. Lumiere and Cogsworth argue about. Chip begs Mrs. Potts to be the narrator of the story. After hesitating she agrees. Soon everyone is gathered around Mrs. Potts as she tells the events of what happened after Beast saved Belle from the wolves... The story is made into a full-length flashback of when the Prince is the Beast and his servants are the Enchanted Objects. Belle is still a prisoner in Beast's castle. All the servants are trying to figure out a way for them to fall in love with each other, with Christmas coming up, they look at this as a great opportunity to bring them together. Belle is excited about Christmas, but Beast is not happy seeing how it is the anniversary of his spell being cast upon the castle. Belle offers to teach him ice-skating.
Meanwhile, in an unknown part of the castle, an enormous pipe organ is composing rhythmic music while a small piccolo applauds. The organ is the court composer for the musicians during his human years; the organ player though is not in the mood to be human again, so he decides to figure a way for the Beast to steer clear of falling in love with Belle. He believes that he has more use and power in his enchanted form, he tells Fife that he has written a solo for a piccolo in his opera, which persuades Fife to be forced to break up the merriment between Belle and the Beast. Fife is able to interrupt the Beast's skating, causing them to crash into the snow; when Belle makes a snow angel and the Beast get up in the snow to see their snow figures, but when the Beast smiles at Belle's angel while rubbing his head he makes a low growl and looks at his own snow print. While looking, he assumes that this is the shadow of a monster. Enraged, he roars, thrashes around through the snow and storms off in a fit of rage, leaving Belle and the others outside.
When Fife chuckles and hopes that Forte is going to be so proud of him, the Beast stomps back into the castle in fury and depression. Belle has no idea why she bothers, as she flops back into the snow, she assumes that the Beast is "worse than ever", but Mrs. Potts tells her not to lose heart. Inside the castle, Forte is playing gloomy music, while the Beast stomps into the West Wing and looks at the enchanted Rose the Enchantress gave him. After assuming that he hates Christmas, the Beast sits on his chair by the fire, when Forte tells him that the music helps, the Beast mumbles to the pipe organ that his music is the only thing that will help him forget. Forte tells the Beast. Believing that Christmas will brighten the Beast's mood, Belle creates a wonderful new book for him, with a little persuasion for Cogsworth, Christmas is being prepared; the gang goes to the highest tower in the castle, which serves as a storage room for old decorations. In one of them lies Angelique with a number of other animated baubles, who once served as the Royal Decorator.
However, she is not pleased to hear about Christmas, arguing that she will not raise her hopes again in a belief that they could all get together in celebration, until they are destroyed by the Beast's foul temper and hatred for the holiday, despite Cogsworth's misgivings. Belle sings to them about how "hope is the greatest gift", saying that there is always hope for breaking the spell, there will "always be a time when the world is filled with peace and love". Angelique reluctantly agrees. However, Fife rushes off to tell Forte; when the Beast finds out, he is far from pleased, wants Christmas to be depleted. Forte plays along, saying that "the girl doesn't care how you feel about Christmas", separating the two more; the Beast reflects on his past: Christmas was the day he was most selfish, it was on that day that the Enchantress put the spell on him and the castle. Belle meets Axe, head of the boiler room, she tells him she needs a Yule Log and he tells her to help herself. Beast demands to know what is going on.
She explains that it is a great tradition: "one log is chosen everyone in the house touches it, makes a Christmas wish". The Beast, claims that wishes are stupid, bellows at Belle, "You made a Christmas wish last year! Is this what you wished for?!" He shouts that she has no idea what it is to be a true prisoner. Having had enough, he hates Christmas once again and storms out, despite Cogsworth's misgivings. Belle refuses to give up, concludes that they will have Christmas with or without the Beast, but not before sending him her gift, the storybook. Belle and Chip take Axe with them to go look for a Christmas tree, but none on the grounds are promising. Beast finds his gift, he explains that everyone understands how Beast feels about the holiday, but giving a gift to another is a way of saying "I care about you". The Beast gets in the mood, demands Forte to compose a song as a present, who agrees unhappily; when he leaves, Forte puts his plans in motion, plays beautiful music, attracting Belle to his room.
Forte manipulates the situation, telling her that the tree has always been Beast's favorite part of Christmas, that she would find a much better tree in the Black Forest, the woods outside the castle. Getting the tree would break Belle's promise never
South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut
South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut is a 1999 American adult animated musical black comedy film based on the Comedy Central animated television series South Park. The film was directed by series creator Trey Parker and stars the regular television cast of Parker, Matt Stone, Mary Kay Bergman, Isaac Hayes, with George Clooney, Eric Idle and Mike Judge in supporting roles; the screenplay was written by Parker and Pam Brady. It follows the four boys Stan Marsh, Kyle Broflovski, Eric Cartman, Kenny McCormick as they sneak into an R-rated film featuring Canadian actors Terrance and Phillip and begin cursing incessantly, their mothers pressure the United States to wage war against Canada for corrupting their children, giving Cartman and Kyle no choice but to unite the other children, fight their own parents, put both America and Canada back into control and rescue Terrance and Phillip themselves while Kenny tries to stop a prophecy when Satan and Saddam Hussein conquer the world. The film tackles issues of censorship and bad parenting, parodies the animated films of the Disney Renaissance as well as musicals such as the West End's Les Misérables, satirizes the controversy surrounding the show itself.
The film heavily lampoons the Motion Picture Association of America. A writing team consisting of Parker and Pam Brady was assembled, they conceived numerous plot ideas, with Stone's being the one developed into a film. The film features twelve original songs with additional lyrics by Stone; the film was produced by Scott Rudin Productions and Braniff Productions. South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut was released theatrically in the United States on June 30, 1999 by Paramount Pictures, with Warner Bros. handling international distribution. The film received positive reviews from critics, with praise for its writing and themes, is regarded as one of the best animated films of all time. Produced on a $21 million budget, it went on to gross $83.1 million worldwide, making it the highest-grossing R-rated animated film of all time, until it was surpassed by Sausage Party in 2016. The song "Blame Canada" earned Parker and Shaiman a nomination for Academy Award for Best Original Song at the 72nd Academy Awards.
One sunday, the profanity-prone quartet of boys - sensitive straight man Stan Marsh, his zealous best friend Kyle Broflovski and muffle-mouthed Kenny McCormick, the self-absorbed, overweight Eric Cartman - go to a cinema to see Asses of Fire, which stars the boys' favorite Canadian comedy duo Terrance and Phillip. However, the boys are refused entry due to the film being R-rated, so they pay a homeless man to accompany them; the following day after the movie, the boys begin swearing everywhere. The other children are impressed and all see the movie as well - except for Wendy, the girl Stan likes, who spends her time with brilliant exchange student Gregory; the children swear profusely in school, which infuriates their teacher Mr. Garrison and leads to their mothers finding out; the children are forbidden from seeing the movie again, but after attending a class with school counselor Mr. Mackey that "cures them", they sneak out and watch it again anyway. Cartman bets Kenny $100 that he can't set his fart on fire like Terrance in the film - his attempt goes too far and he immolates himself and dies, leading to the surviving boys being grounded for two weeks for seeing the Terrance and Phillip film once again.
Kenny is sent to Hell for skipping Sunday church. He is tormented by Satan and his new partner, the deceased Saddam Hussein. Kenny learns that Saddam and Satan have a dysfunctional relationship, Saddam dominates and demeans Satan. Back on Earth, all the parents in South Park organize a boycott against Canada and Terrance and Phillip, led by Kyle's mother, Sheila. Terrance and Phillip are arrested as war criminals; when the United States refuses to release the duo, Canada retaliates by bombing the residence of the Baldwin brothers. Sheila and President Bill Clinton announce that the United States will go to war with Canada and have Terrance and Phillip executed at a USO show. After she overhears Cartman degrading her in a song, Sheila has Dr. Vosknocker implant him with a V-Chip, a device that administers an electric shock every time he swears. In Hell, Kenny hears Satan declare that the war is a sign of the Apocalypse and that when the blood of the two innocent Canadians touches American soil, he will invade Earth.
Kenny attempts to persuade Satan to to no avail. A ghostly Kenny visits Cartman to warn him. Unable to reason with their parents, the three boys form La Résistance so that Stan can win over Wendy as well as free Terrence and Philip. Gregory develops a rescue plan, he tells Stan to recruit a God-hating French expert on covert operations named "The Mole". La Résistance infiltrate the USO show using the Mole's expertise, but Kenny's ghost scares Cartman again and he fails to deactivate an alarm; the Mole is discovered and killed by guard dogs, so the remaining boys attempt to warn their mothers about Kenny's prophecy and an attack by Satan and Saddam. They are laughed off, Terrence and Philip's electric chairs activate; the Canadian Army attacks a battle ensues between the two armies. In the confusion, the boys are able to free Terrance and Phillip - in the process, Cartman is electrocuted and his V-chip begins to malfunction; the mothers, seeing the destruction their movement has incited, decide to give up and look for their ch
Henry Albert Azaria is an American actor, voice actor and producer, known for his voice characterizations as a variety of characters in the animated sitcom The Simpsons, which include Moe Szyslak, Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, Chief Wiggum, Comic Book Guy, Carl Carlson and others. After attending Tufts University, he had joined the series 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. In addition to his work on The Simpsons, Azaria became more known for his live-action appearances in feature films such as The Birdcage, Mystery Men, America's Sweethearts, Shattered Glass, Along Came Polly, Run Fatboy Run, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian and The Smurfs. Since 2017, he has starred as the title character in Brockmire. Azaria had recurring roles on the television series Mad About You and Friends, played the title character in the drama Huff and appeared in the popular stage musical Spamalot.
Known as a comedic actor, he has taken on more dramatic roles, including the television films Tuesdays With Morrie and Uprising. He has won a SAG Award, he was married to actress Helen Hunt from 1999 to 2000 and has been married to actress Katie Wright since 2007. Azaria was born in Queens, New York City, the son of Eastern Sephardic Jewish parents and Albert Azaria, his grandparents on both sides hailed from Thessaloniki, Greece's Spanish Jewish community established there after the 1492 exile from Spain. His family's spoken language at home was the Ladino language, which Azaria has described as "a strange, antiquated Spanish dialect written in Hebrew characters."Azaria's father ran several dress-manufacturing businesses, while his mother raised him and his two older sisters 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. During his childhood, Azaria would "memorize and mimic" the scripts of the films and stand-up comedy routines that he enjoyed.
Azaria attended The Kew-Forest School in Forest Hills. He decided to become an actor after performing in a school play at the age of 16, becoming, at the expense of his academic studies, "obsessed with acting." Both of his parents loved all forms of show business. He studied drama at Tufts University from 1981 to 1985, where he met and befriended actor Oliver Platt and noted that "Oliver was a better actor than I was in college, he inspired me." Together they both starred in various college stage productions, including The Merchant of Venice, before Azaria trained at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Although he did not expect the endeavor to be successful, Azaria decided to become a professional actor, so that in his life, he would not regret not having tried. Azaria's first acting job was an advertisement for Italian television when he was seventeen years old, he worked as a busboy. Azaria intended to work predominantly as a theatrical actor, he and Platt set up their own company, named Big Theatre, although Harold Pinter's The Dumb Waiter was the only thing they performed.
He decided that television was a better arena and offered more opportunity so, after being offered work with talent agent Harry Gold, Azaria moved to Los Angeles. Azaria got along with Gold, lukewarm about working with him, but after a woman Azaria had "worked with in New York got furious with him because he said he'd work with me and didn't", Gold sent him out for auditions, he made his television debut with a role in the pilot episode of the 1986 ABC comedy-drama series Joe Bash, with Peter Boyle. His part—a one-line role as the police officer Maldonado—was edited out before the show was broadcast, although the role secured him admission to the Screen Actors Guild. Azaria appeared in the TV film Nitti: The Enforcer, about the gangster Frank Nitti, appeared in the failed pilot Morning Maggie alongside Matthew Perry, with whom he became good friends, he played Joe in an episode of the sitcom Family Ties in 1988 in which he had one line, the following year he played Steve Stevenson in an episode of Growing Pains.
Azaria has described his career progression as being gradual. In Los Angeles, Azaria was trained by acting coach Roy London. Between acting jobs he performed as a stand-up comedian, worked as a bartender for a catering firm. Azaria became famous for his voice work in the ongoing animated television series The Simpsons, he joined the show having performed only one voice-over—as the titular animated dog in the failed Fox pilot Hollywood Dog, a show he described as "sort of Roger Rabbit-esque, where the dog was animated, but everybody else was real." The first voice he performed on The Simpsons was that of town bartender Moe Szyslak, replacing Christopher Collins who had recorded the character's voice. Having known him from Hollywood Dog, casting director Bonita Pietila called Azaria and asked him to audition for the voice of Moe. At the time he was performing the role of a drug dealer in a play, utilizing a voice based on actor Al Pacino's performance in the film Dog Day Afternoon, he 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".
Groening and Simon thought the resultant voice was ideal for Moe and took Azaria over to the Fox recording studio. Before he had seen a script