David Lawrence Schwimmer (born November 2, 1966) is an American actor and director of television and film. Born in New York, he moved to Los Angeles at the age of two, and began his acting career performing in school plays at Beverly Hills High School. In 1988, he graduated from Northwestern University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in theater and speech. After graduation, Schwimmer co-founded the Lookingglass Theatre Company. For much of the late-1980s, he lived in Los Angeles as a struggling, unemployed actor.
He appeared in the television movie A Deadly Silence in 1989. He then appeared in a number of television roles, including L.A. Law, The Wonder Years, NYPD Blue, and Monty in the early-1990s. Schwimmer later gained worldwide recognition for playing Ross Gellar in the situation comedy Friends. Aside from appearing in television, he starred in his first leading role in The Pallbearer (1996), which was followed by roles in Kissing a Fool (1998), Six Days Seven Nights (1998), Apt Pupil and Picking Up the Pieces (2000). He was then cast in a miniseries Band of Brothers (2001) as Herbert Sobel.
Following the series finale of Friends in 2004, Schwimmer was cast as the titular character in the 2005 drama Duane Hopwood. Other film roles include the computer animated film Madagaskar (2005), the dark comedy Big Nothing (2006), the thriller Nothing But the Truth (2008), and Madagaskar: Escape 2 Africa (2008). Schwimmer made his London stage debut in the leading role in Some Girl(s) in 2005, for which he received critical reviws. In 2006, he made his Broadway debut in The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial. Schwimmer made his feature film directorial debut with the 2007 comedy Run Fatboy Run. The following year he made his Off-Broadway directorial debut in the 2008 production Fault Lines.
David Lawrence Schwimmer was born on November 2, 1966 in Queens, New York, to Jewish parents, attorneys Arthur and Arlene Colman-Schwimmer. He has an older sister named Ellie (born 1965). He lived in Valley Stream, Long Island until he was two years old. His family subsequently moved to Los Angeles, where Schwimmer had his first experience of acting at the age of 10 when he was cast as the fairy godmother in a Jewish version of Cinderella. In 1979, Schwimmer went to a Shakespeare workshop given by English actor Ian McKellen in Los Angeles. He recalls that he was riveted with the experience. Schwimmer then entered a contest in the Southern California Shakespeare Festival three years in a row, winning two first prizes.
Following his mother`s successful career as a divorce lawyer, in which she represented Elizabeth Taylor and Roseanne Barr in their divorce settlements, the family moved to Beverly Hills, where Schwimmer attended Beverly Hills High School. Schwimmer admitted to being an outside during his time at the school. Also a troublemaker and a bully, he did not fit in with the other kids. "When I was there I always felt: `this is not me, I`m surrounded by people with a different value system. And I just wanted to get out of California.`" He was best at the subjects of science and math and thought he would become a doctor. Schwimmer enrolled in a drama class, in which he appeared in stage productions. Encouraged by his school drama teacher to further his acting, he flew off to Chicago for an acting workshop. He noted, "It was both enlightening and exhilarating."
In 1984, Schwimmer graduated from Beverly Hills High, and wanted to go straight into acting, but his parents insisted he go to college first so he would have something to fall back on, in case his acting career did not work out. Schwimmer moved to Chicago to attend Northwestern University, where he had attended a summer drama course when he was 16 years old. At the university, he enrolled as a theater major, joining Delta Tau Delta Fraternity and Arts Alliance. After graduating in 1988, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in theater and speech, Schwimmer co-founded the Lookingglass Theatre Company. Subsequently, he returned to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career.
Full Name at Birth
David Lawrence Schwimmer
David L Schwimmer
Date of Birth
Claim to Fame
He played "Ross" on Friends
The Gersh Agency, Inc.
Other Family Members
Favorite TV Shows