jim-parsons-img
Jim Parsons | Biography 2021

Quick Information

  • Full Name James Joseph Parsons
  • Occupation Actor, Television Executive Producer
  • Nationality American
  • Birthplace Houston, Texas, USA
  • Birth Date Mar 24, 1973
  • Age 48 Years, 6 Months
  • Height 6 feet 1 inch (1.86 meters)
Sheldon Cooper in the American Comedy Television Sitcom 'The Big Bang Theory'

Jim Parsons | Biography 2021

Executive Produced 'Young Sheldon,' An Spin-off Prequel of 'The Big Bang Theory'

Parsons’s first appearance as Sheldon Lee Cooper was in September 2007. He played the role of a genius who worked as a theoretical physicist in Caltech. His portrayal of the character would lead some of his fans to believe that Parsons was as genius as his character.


Jim Parsons is an American actor famous for portraying Sheldon Lee Cooper in CBS’s comedy sitcom, The Big Bang Theory. s

Who is Jim Parsons?

Starting his career in theatre, Jim Parsons completed his Master’s degree in theatre from the University of San Diego. He ventured from stages to small screens before making it into the big screens of Hollywood. 

Parsons was the recipient of ‘Primetime Emmy Awards for ‘Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series’ in 2010, 2011. 2013 and 2014 and ‘Golden Globe Award’ for ‘Best Actor in a Television Series Musical or Comedy’ in 2010. He received all of these awards for his role as Sheldon Lee Cooper on The Big Bang Theory. According to Forbes, Parsons was the world’s highest-paid television actor, with an estimated annual salary of $26.5 million in 2018.

Early Life and Education

Born on 24 March 1973 in Houston, Texas, to Milton Joseph Parsons Jr., the then president of a plumbing supply company, and Judy Ann Parsons-McKnight, a teacher, James Joseph Parsons also has a sister, Julie Ann Parsons-Pruski. 

Parsons lost his father in a car accident in 2001. 

Early Interest in Performing Arts

Parsons showed a keen interest in performing arts in his early childhood when he began learning to play the piano. He would take piano classes for 14 years. He would also eventually show a budding actor’s signs, as he would develop his own script and stage productions in his home. 

Later, Parsons made his first appearance as a bird on stage in an elementary school play when he was six years old. 

He then attended Klein Oak High School in Spring, Texas, and graduated in 1991. He was also voted friendliest in his high school graduating class. At Klein Oak School, he took part and excelled in school productions. Later, Parsons attended the School of Theater and Dance at the University of Houston, from where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre in 1996. As a young undergraduate scholar at the university, he took part in 17 plays in three years. 

Later in 1999, he was enrolled in the University of San Diego. He was among the seven students who were accepted for a special two-year course in classical theater. The program was organized in collaboration with the Old Globe Theatre. But, Rick Seer, the Program Director, wondered if Parsons would fit into the program, “Jim is a very specific personality. He’s thoroughly original, which is one reason he’s been so successful. But we worried, ‘Does that adapt itself to classical theater? Does that adapt itself to the kind of training that we’re doing?’ But we decided that he was so talented that we would give him a try and see how it worked out.” 

Parsons completed his Master Of Fine Arts degree from the University of San Diego in 2001.

Early Career 

Parsons started his early career in New York City, where he worked in off-Broadway productions. He also began to make several television appearances, but all those appearances were minor roles. He made his television debut on Ed in 2002 in a guest role. But in 2004, he got a part of Rob Holbrook in the American legal drama television series Judging Amy. He played this character for seven episodes. He worked as Casting Assistant and actor for the French movie Happy End in 2003. He also played some minor roles in films such as Garden State (2004) and School for Scoundrels (2006). 

Later in 2006, his acting career began to blossom after meeting Chuck Lorre. Lorre was casting for his upcoming sitcom The Big Bang Theory when he first saw Parsons. In an interview with Toronto Stars, Lorre remarked that Parsons” nailed it from the moment he walked into the room. He nailed it so much, I had to ask him to come back and do it again, because I wasn’t sure if he had simply gotten lucky.”  

‘The Big Bang Theory’

Parsons’s first appearance as Sheldon Lee Cooper was in September 2007. He played the role of a genius who worked as a theoretical physicist in Caltech. His portrayal of the character would lead some of his fans to believe that Parsons was as genius as his character. Talking to Toronto Stars, he broke the hoax and said,” People always want to know if I’m as smart as Sheldon, it’s sweet that they feel compelled to ask. But sadly, no.” He shared. “I was very fascinated with meteorology at a young age. I lived on the Gulf Coast and hurricanes blew through there. That is the class I failed in college: meteorology. I didn’t have an interest in the particulars - but what a wonderful basis for a show.” 

With guest stars such as Stephen Hawking, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Stan Lee, LeVar Burton, and Bill Gates making appearances in the show, the show got rave reviews because of its quick-witted dialogue delivery and skillful actors who explored science, friendship, and relationships with humor. 

The show grew to become one of television’s top-rated sitcoms. Although handling all the scientific terms and jargon was not easy for Parsons, he covered them with so much grace and made it seem effortless. 

Exit from ‘The Big Bang Theory’ 

On 16 May 2019, Parsons last appeared as Sheldon Lee Cooper in CBS’s sitcom The Big Bang Theory. Despite the show running smoothly, he decided to call it quits as he had already agreed with his husband on leaving the show. On David Tennant Does a Podcast With..., he shared, “I was exhausted, and I was really upset about one of our dogs was getting really at the end of his life around then,” He said. “I’ll never forget that walk around the park to let him go to the bathroom before we went for the commercial shoot. He just looked so bad, and I was so tired, and (my husband) Todd was like … ‘we gotta go, we’ve scheduled this, they’ve fit everything around your schedule.’ And I just started crying.”

Parsons stated that he feared the suffering dog would die if he started working. Ultimately, his dog died at aged 14. After the heart-wrenching incident with his dog, he simultaneously went through an injury after he slipped on the stage and broke his foot while performing on Broadway. 

“It was the scariest moment for the next couple of days, cause I didn’t know … I felt like I was at the edge of a cliff, and I was teetering, and I saw something really dark below, between the death of the dog and … I don’t know what they would’ve done if I couldn’t have gotten back on for the play. But I did,” Parson Recalled.

In addition to his dog’s death and his broken foot, another reason that led him to depart from the popular show was his reflections about his father’s death. He said, “My dad had passed away. Years before, but he was 52, and I realised that at the end of Season 12 I would be 46. I’m not superstitious, or anything like that, but it was just a context thing…” He further said, “If you told me that, like my father, I had six years left to live, I think there’s other things I need to try and do. I don’t even know what they are, but I can tell you that I need to try.”

CBS had negotiated with Parsons to continue his role as Sheldon Cooper for another two seasons—Season 13 and 14. He was offered $1 million per episode, and his pay would have been $50 million for a further two seasons. But Parsons turned down the offer. So after Parsons’ departure, the show producers simultaneously concluded the show in Season 12.

The sitcom ended with 279 episodes in May 2019, making it the longest-running multi-camera comedy series in TV history. In its 12-year run, the sitcom earned 10 Emmy Awards and numerous nominations.

Side Projects

Parsons also used to get involved with other projects when he was on his production breaks from The Big Bang Theory. During such production breaks, he played the human version of the puppet Walter in The Muppets, which was produced in 2011. 

He also made an appearance in Zach Braff’s dramatic comedy, Wish I Was Here, in 2014. In 2015, he became a voiceover artist and lent his voice to the lovable alien, Oh, in the movie Home

In 2015, Parsons played the role of Dr. Mathison in Kevin Greutert’s dark thriller Vision. In 2016, he appeared as STG head engineer Paul Stafford in the Oscar-nominated American biographical drama, Hidden Figures, directed by Theodore Melfi. After the movie, he co-starred with Claire Danes for the indie drama A Kid Like Jake in 2018. The film was directed by Silas Howard and produced by himself. The movie was about parents being adaptive to having a transgender child. 

In 2019, Parsons played the role of prosecuting attorney Larry Simpson in Joe Berlinger’s crime drama film, Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, which is based on the life of a serial killer Ted Bundy. In 2020, he played the role of Michael in Joe Mantello’s The Boys in the Band. In 2021, he appeared as himself in an episode of the comedy TV series Staged.

‘The Boys in the Band’

The Boys in the Band is the 2020 Netflix movie adaptation of Mart Crowley’s play of the same name, which was first performed in 1968. The play was adapted into a film in 1970, and William Friedkin directed it. Later in 2018, the play was revived on Broadway for its 50th anniversary, in which Parsons performed the role of the party host, Michael. He would also reprise the role in the play’s Netflix movie adaptation in 2020.

Playwright Crowley wrote the play about seven gay friends reckoning their deep, conflicted, unspoken feelings and buried truths. According to Parsons, The Boys in the Band is a groundbreaking play. “From what I’ve read and the people I’ve heard talk about the significance of the play back in 1968, it was that it was one of the first times, if not the first time, that gay life, like the internal inside their homes when they were gathered together, not in front of other people in public, was represented on stage,” Parsons said. “I know that was Mart Crowley, the playwright’s, intent and wish. He wanted to show that. A lot of it was his own life he was showing through that play.”

Parsons played in the Netflix movie adaptation as Michael, the character which he had played for a long time on Broadway. About his character, he said, “I learned by playing Michael, the character, was that I saw so clearly the subconscious fear in myself about coming out as gay and it wasn’t about career and it wasn’t about anything other than losing the love of people that I cared for. This experience has led me to realize how much there was still part of me that actually still worried about that and I have to imagine that’s true again to varying degrees for many gay people and that’s where it reaches beyond gay and it can be for trans people and for maybe it’s about race or it’s about gender or it’s about who knows just anything about yourself that you feel that you’ve been taught in any way, shape or form that should be shameful, that fear of if you claim that then people won’t love you and you’ll be alone.”

Theater Works

Along with television series and movies, Parsons also used to portray theatre roles. Parsons has also appeared on Broadway many times. 

For the first time, Parsons appeared on Broadway in a revival of Larry Kramer’s AIDS drama The Normal Heart in 2011. He performed the role of Tommy Boatwright in the play. In 2014, Parsons was cast along with Julia Roberts, Matt Bomer, and Mark Ruffalo for the television adaptation of The Normal Heart.

In 2012, he appeared in a revival of Harvey as Elwood P. Dowd. In 2015, he starred in the comedic play An Act of God in the titular role, Creator at the Great White Way. He became part of yet another celebrated Broadway production in 2018. This time it was for the role of Michael on The Boys in the Band, which was a revival of the 1968 play by Mart Crowley.

‘Young Sheldon’

The character of Sheldon Lee Cooper received so much love from the viewer that a spin-off prequel had to be made about the character’s childhood. As a result, Parsons became the executive producer and the narrator of the new show, Young Sheldon, which started broadcasting on 25 September 2017. Chuck Lorre, one of the creators of the original show, stated that the development of the new show was already under discussion. “The origins of Sheldon [Cooper] have been something we’ve been interested in writing about for a couple hundred episodes on Big Bang,” he stated. “Last fall, Jim [Parsons] sent me an email discussing the possibility of taking it a step further and it just seemed like the best idea in the world.” In the show, Iain Armitage plays a younger version of the boy genius Sheldon Lee Cooper. 

Production Works

In addition to his acting career, Parsons has also served as an executive producer for several TV movies, series, mini-series, and documentaries. He executive produced the TV movie Bless Her Heart in 2016, the documentary First in Human in 2017, 81 episodes of Young Sheldon from 2017 to 2021, and seven episodes of the TV mini-series Hollywood in 2020. He also owns a production company named That’s Wonderful Productions with his partner, Todd Spiewak. 

Awards and achievements

Parsons received one of television’s top honors, ‘Emmy Award’ for ‘Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series’ in 2010. He won this title for his iconic role of Sheldon Lee Cooper in the popular sitcom ‘The Big Bang Theory. He later bagged three more ‘Emmy Awards’ for the same role in 2011, 2013 and 2014. He is also a recipient of the ‘Golden Globe Award’ for ‘Best Actor in a ‘Television Series Musical or Comedy’ in 2010. 

Parsons received a star on the ‘Hollywood Walk of Fame’ in 2015. 

Parsons’ Personal life

Parsons has said that he had refrained from disclosing his sexuality out of a fear that his career might suffer. In an interview with the New York Times in 2012, Parsons explained how he broke his silence for the first time and admitted being gay. He said, “I was doing an interview [in 2012] the summer after I had been in The Normal Heart on Broadway. I was doing Harvey in New York, and I was interviewed by Patrick Healy of The New York Times. I can’t remember the exact question, but he asked about something to the effect of, ‘Was it more meaningful to be a part of The Normal Heart being gay?’ I said yes. I remember leaving there going, well, I sort of just took the back door out, as it were. I remember thinking it was kind of poetically perfect.”

After being open about his sexuality, Parsons believed that it would create a lot of buzz. But, to his surprise, the news started to fade away very quickly, and things went back to how they were.

Initially, Parsons had come out to his friends, coworkers, and employers, who supported him. “I had been able to push it off because partly the age I was growing up in, the years in which I was discovering my own sexuality, when I was in college,” Parsons said on HFPA In Conversation podcast in September 2020. “I was in theater, I was surrounded by people who could not have cared less [so] I just didn’t consciosly see the hole in my life by not having my family in on my sexuality. All my friends knew, any coworkers knew, any employers. I never was hiding it in my daily life that I could see.” 

However, he said that telling his mother that he was gay was daunting. So, he avoided it for so long. 

By 2003, Parsons had met his future husband, Todd Spiewak. Since he was already living a successful life by then and also had found his love, he finally came out to his mother in 2003. “My mother’s life was really rocked. Whatever she did or didn’t suspect about my own sexuality going forward, just to have to hear me say it and all the worries and fears, I’m sure that brought up for her. In the south, she was very steeped in the negative perceptions, the hard, horrible life it could mean to claim your homosexuality. I think that was really hard for her to officially hear that her own child was going to claim it,” he shared.

Marriage & Husband

Parsons married Todd Spiewak, a graphic designer and an art director, on 13 May 2017 after 14 years. In his conversation with Daniel D’Addario for TIME magazine, he mentioned how his perception changed about gay marriage. He said, “I had an evolution on my feelings on gay marriage, in that I didn’t logically see the importance of it. One of the things that changed my feelings on that was when I thought about, ‘Oh my God, part of the reason you feel this way is because it was never a possibility and so you never dreamed about it.’” He further added, “it suddenly felt exciting to be a part of that and helping to change the world in your own personal, heartfelt way just by doing what you want to do.”

Later after marriage, Parsons said that marriage had not brought much of a change in his relationship with Spiewak. He remarked that he had never felt the pressure to get married during all that time he was only dating his partner. Instead, his relationship with Spiewak was going fine, and marriage was just a legal stamp to their relationship.

Covid

In September 2020, Parsons revealed on The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon that he and his husband had contracted COVID-19 in March that year, and they had lost their ability to smell and taste. He recalled, “We didn’t know what it was. We thought we had colds. And then it seemed less likely, and then finally we lost our sense of smell and taste.” Though he couldn’t taste anything at the time, he admitted that eating was the only thing he did when he was in quarantine at home. He expressed, “And when you’re in quarantine and there’s really nothing to do but eat, oh my God, that was brutal.” They later recovered from the coronavirus.

Net Worth: $1 million per episode

According to Forbes, his estimated annual net worth was $26.5 million in 2018, making him the highest-paid television actor of that time. As of 2020, Parsons’ had a net worth of $160 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth. He primarily accumulated his wealth from acting as Sheldon Lee Cooper in the CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory from 2007 to 2019. He earned $60,000 per episode for the first season of the sitcom. Then, his salary rose to $250,000 per episode for seasons two, three, and four. For seasons five through seven, he earned $350,000 per episode. Eventually, his salary was boosted to $1.2 million per episode for seasons eight through 10, but it was slightly decreased to $1 million per episode for the final two seasons 11 and 12. In total, he earned $177.7 million from The Big Bang Theory. 

What is Jim Parsons’ Height?

Parsons, who has a height of 6 feet 1 inch (1.86 meters), was the tallest leading cast member on The Big Band Theory. None of the other regular cast members were taller than 5 feet 7 inches.

Did You Know?

Parsons has a younger sister named Julie Ann Parsons-Pruski. Also a teacher by profession, she worked at the same school where her mother Judy taught. Both of them retired as teachers on the same day from the Klein Independent School District in 2017. 

Sharing to his Instagram audience and friends about his mother and sister’s retirement, Parsons made an Instagram post to praise the two most important women in his life. He wrote, “Congrats to my mom and my sister, two of the hardest working, most devoted teachers one could ever know. Today they cleaned the final files and books out of the first grade classroom they have shared for 11 years as they both retire from the teaching field. My mom taught for 41 years in total, my sister for 19. They touched literally thousands and thousands of young minds and the hearts of those children’s families and, even though they won’t be in the classroom anymore, the work they did lives on in all those people. I am very proud of both of them. And so happy for them, too! Now go get margaritas, both of you.”

and the narrator of the new show, Young Sheldon, which started broadcasting on 25 September 2017. Chuck Lorre, one of the creators of the original show, stated that the development of the new show was already under discussion. “The origins of Sheldon [Cooper] have been something we’ve been interested in writing about for a couple hundred episodes on Big Bang,” he stated. “Last fall, Jim [Parsons] sent me an email discussing the possibility of taking it a step further and it just seemed like the best idea in the world.” In the show, Iain Armitage plays a younger version of the boy genius Sheldon Lee Cooper. 

Production Works

In addition to his acting career, Parsons has also served as an executive producer for several TV movies, series, mini-series, and documentaries. He executive produced the TV movie Bless Her Heart in 2016, the documentary First in Human in 2017, 81 episodes of Young Sheldon from 2017 to 2021, and seven episodes of the TV mini-series Hollywood in 2020. He also owns a production company named That’s Wonderful Productions with his partner, Todd Spiewak. 

Awards and achievements

Parsons received one of television’s top honors, ‘Emmy Award’ for ‘Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series’ in 2010. He won this title for his iconic role of Sheldon Lee Cooper in the popular sitcom ‘The Big Bang Theory. He later bagged three more ‘Emmy Awards’ for the same role in 2011, 2013 and 2014. He is also a recipient of the ‘Golden Globe Award’ for ‘Best Actor in a ‘Television Series Musical or Comedy’ in 2010. 

Parsons received a star on the ‘Hollywood Walk of Fame’ in 2015. 

Parsons’ Personal life

Parsons has said that he had refrained from disclosing his sexuality out of a fear that his career might suffer. In an interview with the New York Times in 2012, Parsons explained how he broke his silence for the first time and admitted being gay. He said, “I was doing an interview [in 2012] the summer after I had been in The Normal Heart on Broadway. I was doing Harvey in New York, and I was interviewed by Patrick Healy of The New York Times. I can’t remember the exact question, but he asked about something to the effect of, ‘Was it more meaningful to be a part of The Normal Heart being gay?’ I said yes. I remember leaving there going, well, I sort of just took the back door out, as it were. I remember thinking it was kind of poetically perfect.”

After being open about his sexuality, Parsons believed that it would create a lot of buzz. But, to his surprise, the news started to fade away very quickly, and things went back to how they were.

Initially, Parsons had come out to his friends, coworkers, and employers, who supported him. “I had been able to push it off because partly the age I was growing up in, the years in which I was discovering my own sexuality, when I was in college,” Parsons said on HFPA In Conversation podcast in September 2020. “I was in theater, I was surrounded by people who could not have cared less [so] I just didn’t consciosly see the hole in my life by not having my family in on my sexuality. All my friends knew, any coworkers knew, any employers. I never was hiding it in my daily life that I could see.” 

However, he said that telling his mother that he was gay was daunting. So, he avoided it for so long. 

By 2003, Parsons had met his future husband, Todd Spiewak. Since he was already living a successful life by then and also had found his love, he finally came out to his mother in 2003. “My mother’s life was really rocked. Whatever she did or didn’t suspect about my own sexuality going forward, just to have to hear me say it and all the worries and fears, I’m sure that brought up for her. In the south, she was very steeped in the negative perceptions, the hard, horrible life it could mean to claim your homosexuality. I think that was really hard for her to officially hear that her own child was going to claim it,” he shared.

Marriage & Husband

Parsons married Todd Spiewak, a graphic designer and an art director, on 13 May 2017 after 14 years. In his conversation with Daniel D’Addario for TIME magazine, he mentioned how his perception changed about gay marriage. He said, “I had an evolution on my feelings on gay marriage, in that I didn’t logically see the importance of it. One of the things that changed my feelings on that was when I thought about, ‘Oh my God, part of the reason you feel this way is because it was never a possibility and so you never dreamed about it.’” He further added, “it suddenly felt exciting to be a part of that and helping to change the world in your own personal, heartfelt way just by doing what you want to do.”

Later after marriage, Parsons said that marriage had not brought much of a change in his relationship with Spiewak. He remarked that he had never felt the pressure to get married during all that time he was only dating his partner. Instead, his relationship with Spiewak was going fine, and marriage was just a legal stamp to their relationship.

Getting Covid

In September 2020, Parsons revealed on The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon that he and his husband had contracted COVID-19 in March that year, and they had lost their ability to smell and taste. He recalled, “We didn’t know what it was. We thought we had colds. And then it seemed less likely, and then finally we lost our sense of smell and taste.” Though he couldn’t taste anything at the time, he admitted that eating was the only thing he did when he was in quarantine at home. He expressed, “And when you’re in quarantine and there’s really nothing to do but eat, oh my God, that was brutal.” They later recovered from the coronavirus.

Net Worth: $1 million per episode

According to Forbes, his estimated annual net worth was $26.5 million in 2018, making him the highest-paid television actor of that time. As of 2020, Parsons’ had a net worth of $160 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth. He primarily accumulated his wealth from acting as Sheldon Lee Cooper in the CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory from 2007 to 2019. He earned $60,000 per episode for the first season of the sitcom. Then, his salary rose to $250,000 per episode for seasons two, three, and four. For seasons five through seven, he earned $350,000 per episode. Eventually, his salary was boosted to $1.2 million per episode for seasons eight through 10, but it was slightly decreased to $1 million per episode for the final two seasons 11 and 12. In total, he earned $177.7 million from The Big Bang Theory. 

What is Jim Parsons’ Height?

Parsons, who has a height of 6 feet 1 inch (1.86 meters), was the tallest leading cast member on The Big Band Theory. None of the other regular cast members were taller than 5 feet 7 inches.

Did You Know?

Parsons has a younger sister named Julie Ann Parsons-Pruski. Also a teacher by profession, she worked at the same school where her mother Judy taught. Both of them retired as teachers on the same day from the Klein Independent School District in 2017. 

Sharing to his Instagram audience and friends about his mother and sister’s retirement, Parsons made an Instagram post to praise the two most important women in his life. He wrote, “Congrats to my mom and my sister, two of the hardest working, most devoted teachers one could ever know. Today they cleaned the final files and books out of the first grade classroom they have shared for 11 years as they both retire from the teaching field. My mom taught for 41 years in total, my sister for 19. They touched literally thousands and thousands of young minds and the hearts of those children’s families and, even though they won’t be in the classroom anymore, the work they did lives on in all those people. I am very proud of both of them. And so happy for them, too! Now go get margaritas, both of you.”

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