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Hank Azaria

Real name: Hank Alber Azaria
Birthdate: April 25, 1964
Status: Married
Partner: Helen Hunt

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Biography

Hank Albert Azaria (born April 25, 1964 in Forest Hills, Queens, New York, United States) is an American actor, director, comedian and voice artist. He is most famous for his long-running career as one of the main voice actors on the animated television series The Simpsons. He performs the voices of Moe Szyslak, Chief Wiggum, Apu Nahasapeemapetilon and numerous other characters. He became better known for starring in the one off drama Tuesdays With Morrie, and through his appearances in films including The Birdcage and Godzilla. He starred in the drama Huff, playing the titular character, to critical acclaim, as well as appearing in the popular stage musical Spamalot. Married to Helen Hunt for a year, he has won three Emmys and a Screen Actors Guild Award.

In addition to Moe's voice being based on Al Pacino, many of Azaria's other recurring characters are based on other people. He took Apu's voice from the many Indian and Pakistani convenience store workers in Los Angeles that he had interacted with when he first moved to the area. He also loosely based it on Peter Sellers' character Hrundi V Bakshi from the film The Party, who Azaria thinks has a similar personality to Apu. Originally, Apu being Indian was thought to be too offensive and stereotypical and was going to be changed, but due to Azaria's reading of the line "Hello, Mr. Homer" it stayed. Chief Wiggum's voice was originally a parody of David Brinkley but when Azaria was told it was too slow he switched it to that of Edward G. Robinson. Officer Lou is based on Sylvester Stallone, and Dr. Nick is "a bad Ricky Ricardo impression." The "Wise Guy" voice is "basically Charles Bronson," while Carl is "a silly voice always did." Two of the voices come from his time at college: Snake's is based on Azaria's old college roommate, while Comic Book Guy's voice is based on a student who lived in the room next door to Azaria's, who went by the name "F". Professor Frink is based on Jerry Lewis's performance in the original The Nutty Professor, and the Sea Captain's is based on English actor Robert Newton's portrayal of many pirates. Azaria based his performance as the one-time character Frank Grimes, from the episode "Homer's Enemy", on actor William H. Macy. He counts Grimes as the hardest, most emotional performance he has ever had to give in the history of The Simpsons.

In 1996, Azaria took on the role of gay Guatemalan housekeeper Agador Spartacus in the film The Birdcage, being nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award, and often being critically described as "scene stealing." For the role, he put on the best Guatemalan accent he could, and made himself sound as effeminate as possible. He had chosen two possible voices for the role, a "fruity" one and another tougher voice. After advice from a drag queen, he chose the fruity voice. Three weeks into production, he realised he sounded exactly like his grandmother, which aided his performance. Azaria appeared in several films, often as minor characters. After appearing in Heat and Grosse Pointe Blank, he was featured in the 1998 film Godzilla as photographer Victor "Animal" Palotti. He went on to appear opposite Gwyneth Paltrow, as Walter Plane in the 1998 adaptation of Great Expectations, and co-starred in Tim Robbins' Cradle Will Rock. He next starred in both Disney's Mystery, Alaska, and Universal's Mystery Men, in 1999.



 


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