Tall, gangly, and oddly handsome, stage, screen, and television actor Jeff Goldblum is an unlikely sex symbol. But for many women, especially those fond of eccentric intellectual types, he fits the role perfectly. Known for the range of quirky, often otherworldly characters he has portrayed, Goldblum is adept at playing lead and supporting roles in dramas and comedies alike.
A native of Pittsburgh, PA, where he was born October 22, 1952, Goldblum moved to New York at the age of 17 to pursue an acting career. He got his start at Sanford Meisner's distinguished Neighborhood Playhouse, and in the '70s began performing in a wide variety of on and off-Broadway productions. When he was 22, Goldblum made his film debut with a small role as a rapist in Michael Winner's brutal revenge drama Death Wish (1974). He was performing on-stage in the El Grande de Coca Cola review when Robert Altman gave him a small part in California Split (1974) and a slightly larger role in Nashville (1975). Afterwards, Goldblum was steadily employed as a bit player in both major and minor features, turning in one of his most notable performances as a nervous houseguest struggling to remember his mantra in the Los Angeles-set segment of Annie Hall (1977).
In 1980, Goldblum branched out into television, starring opposite Ben Vereen in the short-lived television detective comedy Tenspeed and Brown Shoe. As Brown Shoe, Goldblum played an uptight stockbroker trying to make it as a hardboiled private detective. Although the role may have given him greater recognition, the actor gained his first really favorable reviews playing a tabloid magazine reporter in The Big Chill (1983). This led to leading roles in such films as Into the Night (1985), where Goldblum played an aerospace engineer opposite Michelle Pfeiffer, and Silverado (also 1985), which cast him as a villainous gambler. In 1986, he had his first hit movie with David Cronenberg's terrifying sci-fi-horror film The Fly (1986), playing a driven scientist whose research turns him into a gruesome mutant. His co-star was his then-wife, Geena Davis, whom he met while they were on the set of the comedy-thriller Transylvania 6-5000 (1985). The couple divorced in the early '90s and Goldblum then embarked on a highly publicized relationship with actress Laura Dern that broke up in the mid-'90s.
In 1989, Goldblum made a favorable transatlantic impression in the British romantic comedy The Tall Guy, playing a perpetually unemployed actor who is cast as the lead of a musical about the Elephant Man. He continued to work steadily throughout the subsequent decade, appearing in films of markedly varying quality. He found great success in Steven Spielberg's Jurassic Park, playing a mathematician in one of the decade's biggest blockbusters. He reprised his role for the film's 1997 sequel. In 1996, Goldblum again explored blockbuster territory with a leading role as a computer genius in Independence Day. He repeated his role from Jurassic Park in that film's sequel. He starred opposite Eddie Murphy in the notorious bomb Holy Man.
At the beginning of the next decade Goldblum worked primarily in independent films such as Burr Steers' debut Igby Goes Down, and playing the romantic and professional rival to Bill Murray in Wes Anderson's The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. In 2006 he scored a role in his most mainstream film in quite sometime as part of the impressive ensemble in Barry Levinson's satire Man of the Year.
In 2009, Goldblum joined the cast of Law & Order: Criminal Intent in the show’s eighth season to play the role of Detective Zach Nichols. 2010 found the actor co-starring with Harrison Ford and Diane Keaton for the showbiz comedy Morning Glory. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi