Paul Rudd

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3 mins read

Paul Stephen Rudd was born April 6, 1969 and is an American actor, comedian, screenwriter, and producer. He studied theater at the University of Kansas and the American Academy of Dramatic Arts before making his acting debut in 1992 with NBC’s drama series Sisters.

Rudd is known for his roles in the films Clueless (1995), Romeo + Juliet (1996), Wet Hot American Summer (2001), Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004), The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005), Knocked Up (2007), Role Models (2008), I Love You, Man (2009), Dinner for Schmucks (2010), ‘This Is 40 (2012), The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012), Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (2013), The Fundamentals of Caring (2016), Mute (2018), and Ideal Home (2018). He also has a notable role as Scott Lang / Ant-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, appearing in Ant-Man (2015), Captain America: Civil War (2016), Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018), Avengers: Endgame (2019), and currently stars in a dual role in the Netflix comedy series Living with Yourself (2019).

In addition to his film career, Rudd has appeared in numerous television shows, including the NBC sitcom Friends as Mike Hannigan, along with guest roles on Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! and Parks and Recreation, and has also hosted Saturday Night Live. He received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in July 2015.

He was born into a Jewish family in Passaic, New Jersey. His father, Michael Rudd (died 2008), was a historical tour guide and former vice-president of Trans World Airlines. His mother, Gloria Irene (née Granville), was a sales manager at the television station KCMO-TV in Kansas City, Missouri. His parents were both from London, with his father hailing from Edgware and his mother from Surbiton, and both were descended from Ashkenazi Jewish immigrants who had moved to England from Belarus, Poland, and Russia. Rudd’s father’s family’s original surname, “Rudnitsky”, was changed by his grandfather to “Rudd”, and his mother’s family’s surname was originally “Goldstein”. Rudd had a Bar Mitzvah service in Ontario. Growing up, he loved reading British comics The Beano and The Dandy, issues of which his uncle in the UK would send to him.

When he was 10 years old, Rudd’s family moved to Lenexa, Kansas. Because of his father’s occupation, his family also spent three years living in Anaheim, California. In the Kansas City metropolitan area, Rudd attended Broadmoor Junior High and graduated from Shawnee Mission West High School in 1987. He attended the University of Kansas, where he majored in theatre. He was a member of the Sigma Nu fraternity’s Nu Chapter there. He studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts with fellow actor Matthew Lillard. He also spent three months studying Jacobean drama at the British American Drama Academy in Oxford. While attending acting school, he worked as a DJ at Bar Mitzvahs. After graduation, he worked a variety of odd jobs, including glazing hams at the Holiday Ham Company in Overland Park, Kansas.

Rudd has also appeared in Broadway plays, the first being The Last Night of Ballyhoo as Joe Farkas in 1997. The next year he appeared in Twelfth Night with Kyra Sedgwick and Max Wright at the Lincoln Center Theatre. In 2006, he appeared in the Broadway production of Richard Greenberg’s Three Days of Rain with Bradley Cooper and Julia Roberts at the Bernard Jacobs Theater. In 2012, Rudd appeared in the Broadway production of Craig Wright’s Grace at the Cort Theatre. Starring alongside Rudd was Academy Award nominee Michael Shannon, Kate Arrington, and seven-time Emmy Award winner Ed Asner.

Rudd is a supporter of the Stuttering Association for the Young (SAY), a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping young people who stutter. He hosted the organization’s 6th Annual All-Star Bowling Benefit on January 22, 2018. Rudd told Vanity Fair that he became an advocate for stuttering awareness after portraying a character who stutters in a play. Rudd is also a founder of the charity The Big Slick, a celebrity studded sports-focused event held in Kansas City every June to support the works of Kansas City’s Children’s Mercy Hospital.

Since 2014, Rudd and fellow actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan have been co-owners of Samuel’s Sweet Shop, a candy store in the town of Rhinebeck, New York, that they saved from being closed after the previous owner, a friend of theirs, died suddenly.