Photo of Jim Parsons Jim Parsons

A breakout TV star who rose to fame playing übergeek Sheldon Cooper on the hit sitcom "The Big Bang Theory," Jim Parsons was born March 24, 1973, in Houston. The acting bug nipped him in first grade, and he went on to study the craft at the University of Houston, later earning a master's degree from the University of San Diego.

Parsons got his career start with a 2002 guest appearance on "Ed" and then shifted gears to feature films with a small but memorable part in director Zach Braff's Garden State (2004), among other projects. A recurring role on "Judging Amy" followed, but Parsons wouldn't hit the big time, critically speaking, until joining the "Big Bang" cast, playing opposite Johnny Galecki in a priceless odd-couple pairing that garnered Parsons an Emmy in 2010 and a Golden Globe Award the next year.

Other screen credits on the actor's résumé include the zany 2006 comedy School for Scoundrels.

Jim Parsons in The Big Bang Theory

The Big Bang Theory

2007 TV-14

Quarks fly when ultra-geeky Caltech physicists Sheldon and Leonard (Jim Parsons and Johnny Galecki) discover that they have a new neighbor: Penny (Kaley Cuoco), a sexy actress who inspires the lads to try a relationship with something other than their particle accelerators. This science-savvy hit sitcom co-stars Simon Helberg and Kunal Nayyar as friends and fellow nerds who reveal they also have a thing or two to learn about the fairer sex.

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