Judd Apatow is a popular award-winning American comedian, director, producer, screenwriter, and actor. Born and raised in New York in the United States, Apatow began his career as a stand-up comedian. He later gained prominence for ‘The Ben Stiller Show’, a comedy TV program on which he served as a writer. Though the show was cancelled shortly after, his exceptional writing for the show won him an Emmy Award. Over the years he worked in several films in various capacities and earned major international fame for directing comedy films, such as ‘The 40-Year Old Virgin’, ‘Funny People’, and ‘This is 40’. His contributions to films have won him several awards and nominations. He is known to frequently collaborate with the same cast and crew in his projects, with Seth Rogen, Will Ferrell, and Paul Rudd being some of his most frequent collaborators. Also known for his philanthropic works, he supports ‘Bogart Pediatric Cancer Research Program’ and ‘Children's Cancer Research Center at Children's hospital’.
Childhood & Early Life
Judd Apatow was born on 6th December 1967 in Flushing, Queens, New York. His mother Tami Apatow used to manage record labels while his father Maury Apatow was a real estate developer. He has two siblings, a brother, Robert and a sister, Mia.
His parents divorced when he was just twelve. He lived with his grandparents for some time and later with his father. On weekends he used to visit his mother who worked for some time at a comedy club. It was during this time that Judd was exposed to live stand-up comedy in which he developed a keen interest.
Inspired by renowned comedians like Steve Martin, Bill Cosby, and the Marx Brothers, he made up his mind to become a comedian. He attended Syosset High School, where he hosted a program called ‘Comedy Club’ on the school’s radio station.
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Judd Apatow’s career as a stand-up comedian began while he was only seventeen and in his senior year of high school. After finishing his graduation, he moved to Los Angeles. He enrolled at the University of Southern California to study screenwriting. During his time at the university, he used to organize on-campus "Comedy Night" events. He dropped out after two years.
Soon he was introduced to comedian and producer Garry Shandling, after which he was hired as a writer for that year's Grammy Awards, which was hosted by Shandling.
Shortly after, Apatow and Ben Stiller co-created the show 'The Ben Stiller Show' which aired on Fox network. His writing for the show earned him his first award. However the show was cancelled after a short time.
Apatow then started working as a writer and executive producer for Garry Shandling's 'The Larry Sanders Show'. He worked with the show for several seasons and his performance won him multiple nominations for the Emmy Awards.
In 1995, he became a co-writer for the film 'Heavyweights'. He also helped in rewriting the script for the film 'The Cable Guy' though his work was uncredited.
A few years later, he worked in two acclaimed television series, 'Freaks and Geeks' which started airing in 1999 and 'Undeclared', which aired from 2001.
In 2004, he produced the American comedy 'Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy'. The film was a commercial success and was loved by both the audience and critics.
The following year, he made his directorial debut with ‘The 40-Year-Old Virgin’ which he also produced and wrote. The film was a commercial success, and also received appreciation from the critics. It earned Apatow a nomination for ‘Best Original Screenplay’ by the Writers Guild of America.
In 2007, he produced the teen comedy film ‘Superbad’, which was a huge commercial success. He also wrote, directed, and produced the American romantic comedy ‘Knocked Up’. The film did quite well commercially and won several awards. However, it gained controversy and was accused of sexism.
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The same year, he also produced and wrote the comedy film ‘Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story’. The film was a commercial failure.
In 2009, he earned appreciation for the comedy film ‘Funny People’, in which he was the writer, director, and producer. The film, however, was a commercial failure.
In 2011, he produced the comedy film ‘Bridesmaids’, which was a huge hit. Not only did it do well commercially, but also received an Oscar nomination. The following year, he produced the comedy film ‘Wanderlust’. It was a commercial failure.
Meanwhile he worked on several TV series as well. He was also a producer and writer for the TV series ‘Girls’ which aired on HBO from 2012.
His latest film as a director was the 2015 film ‘Trainwreck’, which he co-produced with Barry Mendel. The film was a commercial success.
The Larry Sanders Show’, was an American comedy TV series which aired on HBO. Judd Apatow was a writer and consulting producer on the show which was a huge success, and ranked at number 38 on ‘TV Guide’s 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time’. The show won several significant awards, including three Emmys.
The film ‘The 40-Year-Old Virgin’ is one of Apatow’s most significant works. The film also marked his directorial debut. He co-produced the film along with Clayton Townsend and Shauna Robertson, and co-wrote it with Steve Carell. The story revolved around a middle-aged man, who is yet to lose his virginity. The film starred actors Steve Carell, Catherine Keener, Paul Rudd, Romany Malco, and Seth Rogen. It was a commercial success, grossing more than $177 million on a budget of $26 million. It received positive reviews.
‘Trainwreck’ is an American comedy film, which was directed and co-produced by Apatow. The film is one of his most recent works. Starring Amy Schumer, Bill Hader, Brie Larson and Colin Quinn, the film revolves around a promiscuous and commitment-phobic writer, who finally gets into a serious relationship. The movie was commercially successful and grossed more than $144 million on a budget of $35 million. It was also met with positive reviews.
Awards & Achievements
Judd Apatow has received several awards and nominations throughout his career. He received a Primetime Emmy Award for his writing in ‘The Ben Stiller Show’. He also received multiple nominations for the Emmy Award for his work in the ‘Larry Sanders Show’.
He received an ‘American Film Institute Award’ for the film ‘Bridesmaids’ in 2011.
Judd Apatow married American actress and comedian Leslie Mann in 1997. The couple has two daughters named Maude and Iris. His wife and daughters have also appeared in several of his works.
He is also known for his philanthropic works.
He has an estimated net worth of $90 million.