Childhood & Early Life
Simon Helberg was born on December 9, 1980, in Los Angeles, California, into a family deeply rooted in the American entertainment industry. His mother, Harriet Helberg, was a famous casting director, and his father, Sandy Helberg, was a fairly popular actor.
With a family that was highly involved in the film industry, Simon was naturally drawn to acting. He watched a lot of TV and dreamed of becoming a TV actor someday. As a child, he would often complete his homework as early as he could, so that he could watch TV every night.
He also trained in karate, and by the time he was 9 years old, he had earned a black belt in karate.
Simon also trained in music. He began a few music bands in middle school. However, he was the only skilled musician in his bands. He attended ‘Crossroads School’ in Santa Monica, California.
While in high school, Simon became passionate about a career as a professional actor. Soon, he enrolled at New York’s famous ‘Tisch School of Arts.’ He was trained at the ‘Atlantic Theater Company.’
After graduating from the world’s most popular film school, Simon arrived in Los Angeles and started gearing up for a career in comedy. He started his career with comedian Derek Waters.
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Simon started his career in 1999, with an appearance in the film ‘Mumford,’ where he played a small, uncredited role of a college roommate. In 2001, he began his TV career with small appearances in series such as ‘Popular’ and ‘Cursed.’ The same year, he also starred in the pilot of the series ‘Ruling Class,’ but the series was never aired.
In the early 2000s, Simon began appearing in comedy sketches with comedian Derek Waters. The duo became famous for their on-stage chemistry and their perfect comic timing.
He also continued to work on TV and donned several avatars. In 2002, he signed with ‘MADtv’ and subsequently played various roles in their comedy sketches. Simon appeared in five episodes and earned significant critical appreciation for his performances.
Simon appeared in the 2002 romantic comedy ‘Van Wilder,’ which featured him as one of the geeky kids in class. The film starred Ryan Reynolds in the lead role and was a major critical disaster. However, it still managed to make some money at the box office.
In 2003, Simon starred as ‘Jerry,’ a bully, in the romantic comedy ‘Old School.’ He was offered similar roles due to his unconventional appearance and his ease of doing such roles. The film ‘Old School’ was a moderate critical and commercial success.
In 2004, he was offered a supporting role in the sitcom ‘Joey,’ which was a spin-off of the cult classic sitcom ‘Friends.’ However, the series did not receive good ratings and was soon discontinued.
The same year, he starred in ‘A Cinderella Story,’ which also starred Hilary Duff. It was a critical disaster. By that time, his partnership with Derek Waters had become famous. They decided to write and direct their own short film, ‘Derek & Simon: A Bee and a Cigarette.’ After its success, they made another short film, ‘The Pity Card.’
In 2006, he was offered a supporting role in the series ‘Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip,’ created by Aaron Sorkin. The show received mixed reviews, but it could not be extended for a second season. It became the only Aaron Sorkin show to run for only one season.
In 2007, Simon collaborated with his long-term friend and comedian Derek Waters, for a web series named ‘Derek & Simon.’ The series appeared on the website ‘Super Deluxe’ and became a super successful web series at a time when web series were not taken seriously.
In 2007, Simon starred in a career-defining role. He was offered one of the key roles in the sitcom ‘The Big Bang Theory.’ The sitcom features a group of young American science nerds and their daily lives. Simon was cast as ‘Howard Wolowitz,’ an aerospace engineer. The series became popular and earned Simon a ‘Critics’ Choice Television Award’ for the ‘Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series.’
While he remained busy with ‘The Big Bang Theory’ for most of the next decade, he continued to appear in films and on TV shows. In 2007, he appeared in films such as ‘Evan Almighty’ and ‘Mama’s Boy.’
In 2009, he had a major image makeover when he appeared as a rabbi in ‘A Serious Man.’ The film turned out to be a massive critical and commercial success.
In 2012, he appeared as ‘Frank’ in the comedy drama ‘Let Go.’ The film was a critical and commercial failure and is known as one of the worst films of Simon’s career.
In 2014, Simon wrote, directed, and produced the comedy drama ‘We’ll Never Have Paris,’ which also starred him. The film received extremely bad reviews, and Simon never donned the director’s cap after the debacle.
In 2016, Simon appeared in the film ‘Florence Foster Jenkins.’ He played one of the leads, alongside Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant. The film was a critical and commercial success and earned Simon a ‘Golden Globe Award’ nomination.