Inside USD

Big Bang Theory’s Jim Parsons Wins Emmy for Best Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

Sunday, August 29, 2010

When the “Big Bang Theory”’s Jim Parsons ’01 (MFA) stepped onto the glittering stage of the Nokia Theater at the 62nd  Annual Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday night, his smile was incandescent.

Why not? He’d just won the Emmy for Best Lead Actor in a Comedy Series.

“As Jim Parsons walks to the stage,” intoned comedian/announcer John Hodgman, “Nerds across America are taking to the streets in joy, setting cars on fire, and then backing away, using their inhalers.”

Parsons charmed his audience with a disarming mix of modesty, star power and awkward sincerity. “Now I realize how much I did not think this was going to happen,” he said, looking genuinely thrilled and touched. “Thank you, thank all of you. Some of you apparently voted for me, and that was very sweet.”

The odds were tough. He’d been up against the crème de la crème of 2010 comedic talent: Steve Carrell (“The Office”), Alec Baldwin (“30 Rock”), Larry David (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”) and Matthew Morrison (“Glee”). And Parsons had been here before: In 2009, he got an Emmy nod for his role in the critically-acclaimed CBS sit-com as uber-geek Sheldon Cooper, but the award went to Baldwin. Not so, this time out.

The actor, who earned his MFA at USD through the College of Arts and Sciences’ partnership with the Old Globe Theatre, credits much of his success to his studies at USD. “The Shakespeare classes were three or four intensive plays in a row,” he recalled in a 2009 USD Magazine interview. “It’s interesting to be that submerged. I learned more about Shakespeare than I ever had in my entire life, but I just felt more prepared in general, as an actor, from it.”

And tonight, as he tried to find a way to put his feelings into words without exceeding the strict time-limit for speeches, Parsons summed up his feelings succinctly: “I feel so lucky to be working at all, but to be working on this character is really beyond fortunate.”

— by Julene Snyder

To read a profile of Jim Parsons in the Summer 2009 issue of USD Magazine, click here.

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