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Jim Parsons
MFA alumnus earns Emmy nomination

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Jim Parsons

Parsons was "already a gifted natural comedian, Jim came to USD to become a classical actor. Over the next two years of training he proved he could attain the extraordinary range and versatility that has quite rightly led to his current success."

Program Director Richard Seer

When Jim Parsons '01 came to the Old Globe/USD Master of Fine Arts Theatre program he never dreamed he would be starring in a hit comedy show on prime time television. When you add in his recent Emmy nomination Parson’s reality exceeds his wildest dreams. It is Parson’s role as Sheldon Cooper, the brainy, socially inept physicist Ph.D. in The Big Bang Theory that earned him an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series.

Sheldon’s charm seems to be his off-the charts IQ coupled with his complete naivety of most social situations. Whether he is maneuvering the ins and outs of friendships, learning how to drive, experiencing his first cup of coffee or ordering food to go, Sheldon demonstrates an endearing hopelessness in these basic life skills, yet he does it in the most matter of fact fashion. When discussing the responsibility of keeping a friend’s secret he stated, "Well, I am sorry, but you would have had to have expressed that desire before revealing the secret, so that I could choose whether I wanted to accept the covenant of secret-keeping. You can't impose a secret on an ex-post-facto basis."

With lines like these, it is easy to understand why Parsons openly states that there is no ad-libbing the character of Sheldon Cooper. Sheldon describes himself as “a published theoretical physicist with two doctorates and an IQ which can't be accurately be measured by normal tests. How much scarcer could I be?” For Parsons, playing the character of a genius of physics requires a strong ability to memorize lines, a talent that he credits to his time at USD.

This is not the only talent that Parsons acquired while at USD. Parsons grew immensely as an actor during his two years of classical training at USD and The Old Globe. Program Director Richard Seer remembers that although Parsons was "already a gifted natural comedian, Jim came to USD to become a classical actor. Over the next two years of training he proved he could attain the extraordinary range and versatility that has quite rightly led to his current success."

After receiving his MFA from USD Parsons appeared in films, most notably the 2004 film Garden State, and held small reoccurring roles in television, such as his role in Judging Amy. The Big Bang Theory is the first show in which Parsons has held a leading role, earning him his first Emmy nomination.

-Lyndsey Scully