David Shwimmer is an American actor, best known for his portrayal of ‘Ross Geller’ in the famous American sitcom ‘Friends.’ Born and raised in New York, David moved to Los Angeles for better career prospects, after graduating from the prestigious ‘Northwestern University’ in the late 1980s. For the next few years, he remained practically jobless. It was in the 1990s that he started getting offered significant roles that did justice to his talent. He made his full-fledged acting debut with the series ‘The Wonder Years,’ and in 1991, he appeared in his first film, ‘Flight of the Intruder.’ In 1994, he was selected to play the legendary role of ‘Ross Geller’ in the sitcom ‘Friends.’ This turned out to be a life-transforming stint for David, as the series became a cult classic. He also starred in other TV series, such as ‘Band of Brothers’ and ‘Web Therapy.’ Some of his notable films are ‘John Carter,’ ‘Nothing but the Truth,’ and ‘Hotel.’
Childhood & Early Life
David Schwimmer was born on November 2, 1966, in Queens, New York, to Arthur and Arlene. His mother was a successful divorce attorney. He was the second child in the family and had an elder sister. The family made a move to Los Angeles when he was 10 years old. This was David’s first tryst with the world of Hollywood.
Los Angeles fascinated him to a great degree. He started acting in school plays. One of such plays was ‘Cinderella,’ which saw him play the fairy godmother.
Around the same time, he attended an acting workshop by legendary actor Ian McKellen, which was another riveting experience for David. He was in awe of the sheer intensity of the art of performing. He then participated in the ‘South California Shakespeare Festival,’ where he won two top prizes.
He attended the ‘Beverly Hills High School,’ which had many big names of Hollywood as their alumni. However, David found it difficult to blend in and searched for solace outside his classrooms. Encouraged by his teachers, he focused on acting. He was good at math and science, and he once wished to be a doctor.
He participated in several drama workshops. After graduating from high school in 1984, he decided to try his luck in some serious acting. However, on the insistence of his parents, he started attending college. Soon, he received his BA in theater and speech from the ‘Northwestern University.’ Upon graduating, he founded the ‘Lookingglass Theatre Company.’ Following this, he moved back to Los Angeles to begin a full-fledged career in acting.
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In the late 1980s, Schwimmer auditioned for several roles without any significant success. He somehow managed to earn a supporting role in the lesser-known series ‘A Deadly Silence,’ and then starred in films such as ‘Flight of the Intruder’ and ‘Crossing the Bridge.’ He also starred in the series ‘L.A. Law’ and ‘NYPD Blue.’
In 1994, he bagged one of the first major roles of his career, in the series ‘Monty,’ which saw him portray ‘Greg Richardson’ in 14 episodes. His character was that of a liberal son of a conservative father and earned accolades. Ace Hollywood agents and producers finally started noticing him.
He had his major career breakthrough when he bagged the chance to star as ‘Dr. Ross Geller’ in the sitcom ‘Friends.’ The series revolved around the everyday lives of six 20-something American youths, their romantic quests, and other antics. David played a hopeless romantic, working as a paleontologist at a local museum.
David had initially refused to play the role of ‘Ross Geller,’ but he agreed when one of the executive producers, Kevin Bright, insisted that he join the show. Kevin stated that the role was written keeping David in mind. The show eventually went on to garner extremely positive reviews and earned a loyal fan-base. The phenomenal success of the series made David a household name. He also ended up directing 10 episodes scattered throughout the series.
David then appeared in the 1996 film ‘The Pallbearer,’ which had him portraying the role of a young man who falls in love with his best friend’s mother. The film received negative reviews, and it seemed that people had, by then, started expecting a lot from David. The success of ‘Friends’ had put the entire cast under heavy pressure to perform remarkably well.
In 1998, he starred in the film ‘Kissing a Fool, which also had him as an executive producer. He then starred in films such as ‘Apt Pupil,’ ‘Hotel,’ and ‘Picking up the Pieces.’ Although his films were received well by critics, they mostly struggled at the box office. His sitcom ‘Friends’ was still on air, and his audiences found it difficult to accept David in any other avatar than that of the goofy ‘Ross Geller.’
The path-breaking sitcom ‘Friends’ ended its 10-season run in 2004, and David moved on to other projects. He starred in the 2005 independent film ‘Duane Hopwood,’ which received mixed reviews from both critics and audiences. However, his performance as an alcoholic was appreciated.
He turned a full-time director with the 2007 British comedy film ‘Run Fatboy Run,’ which starred Simon Pegg in the leading role. The film helped David earn a nomination for the ‘Best Debut Director’ at the ‘British Independent Film Awards.’
In 2008, he appeared in the film ‘Nothing but the Truth,’ and in 2010, he returned to direction with the film ‘Trust.’ He also did guest appearances in the TV series ‘Entourage’ and ‘30 Rock.’ In 2008, he directed the British series ‘Little Britain USA.’ The series ran for two seasons and garnered mixed reviews.
In 2011, he appeared as a supporting cast member in the series ‘Web Therapy,’ which starred his ‘Friends’ co-star Lisa Kudrow, who also co-created the series. The series saw David portray ‘Newell Miller’ and ran for four seasons before being canceled.
In 2016, he played ‘Robert Kardashian’ in the series ‘American Crime Story: The People v O.J. Simpson.’ The same year, he appeared as one of the main leads in the series ‘Feed the Beast.’
David has also lent his voice to ‘Melman’ in the animated film series ‘Madagascar.’
David Schwimmer was said to be dating Zoë Buckman, a British artist, in 2007. Their relationship stood the test of time, and the couple announced their engagement in 2010. They got married in June 2010 and had a daughter, Cleo Buckman Schwimmer, in 2011. However, their relationship turned sour later. In 2007, David and Zoë announced that they had started living separately.
David has dated Natalie Imbruglia, Rochelle Ovit, and Mili Avital in the past.
David works as a director of the ‘Rape Treatment Center,’ located in Santa Monica, which works toward helping victims of child rape and date rape.