As the quirky Dr. Sheldon Cooper of The Big Bang Theory, Jim Parsons rules the roost, earning the tag of the world’s highest paid TV actor for two consecutive years
Fans of the popular television series, ‘The Big Bang Theory’ know why Jim commands such a top rating. He topped the Forbes’ 2016 list of television’s highest-paid actors second time in a row with a $25.5 million take earned between June 1, 2015 and June 1, 2016. He is closely followed by other stars of the series, with Johnny Galecki earning the number two slot with $24 million; Simon Helberg with $22.5 million; and Kunal Nayyar with $22 million.
Capitalising on the popularity of the series, CBS network is now developing a spinoff, with co-creators Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady overseeing the project. According to sources in the television industry, only Parsons will be involved in the prequel series, which is said to be a single-camera comedy, unlike The Big Bang Theory.
“The Big Bang Theory has completely changed my life,” Parsons is quoted to have said, and it is obvious why. 43-year old James Joseph ‘Jim’ Parsons, born in Houston, Texas, found fame with the CBS sitcom as Sheldon Cooper. But it was during his junior year, that a role in a play ‘Noises Off’ made him realise his calling. He recalls that role as the one that helped him connect with who he was playing on stage and truly understand what it meant to be honest on stage. During his undergraduate years at the University of Houston he appeared in 17 different plays and regularly appeared at the Stages Repertory Theatre. He later enrolled in graduate school at the University of San Diego and was one of seven students accepted into a special two-year course in classical theater.
He moved to New York following his graduation and worked in Off-Broadway productions and was seen in several television shows. He auditioned for around 30 television pilots before the breakthrough role in The Big Bang Theory came about. His audition for the role of Sheldon Cooper was so impressive, that the series creators got him to replicate it again, just to see if he had the potential to repeat the performance. He was cast as Sheldon Cooper, a physicist with social apathy, who is required to ‘rattle off line after line of tightly composed, rhythmic dialogue, as well as then do something with his face or body during the silence that follows.’
Recalling his audition, Parsons confesses that he did not feel any sort of relationship with the character of Sheldon Cooper, but was enchanted by the dialogue structure and the way the writers used words to create a kind of rhythm. “The rhythm got me. It was the chance to dance through that dialogue, and in a lot of ways still is,” he’d said.
His sense of comic and his spot on acting has received rave reviews from critics and experts in the entertainment industry. In 2009, Parsons won the Television Critics Association award for individual achievement in comedy. He was nominated for Primetime Emmy Awards’ Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series for six consecutive years, from 2009to 2014; he won it in 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014. In January 2011, he won the Golden Globe award for Best Actor in a Television Series – Comedy.
Parsons has also made his presence in films – he appeared in the comedy film The Big Year in 2011 and was also seen as the human alter ego of Walter in The Muppets the same year. In 2015 he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.