(Charles Danner) ability
to transform himself into a multitude of characters has made him one of the most sought-after actors today.
Azaria recently starred in Universal's feature "Mystery Men," based on the Dark Horse Comic series. Later this year, Azaria will be seen in "Cradle Will Rock," written and directed by Tim Robbins. The film is based on the true story of a 1938 federal theatre production—directed by Orson Welles—that was banned for its socialist views.
This November, he stars with Jack Lemmon in the ABC telefilm "Thesdays With Morrie." Produced
by Oprah Winfrey Presents, Azaria portrays Mitch Albom, a journalist inspired by his ailing former teacher and mentor's lessons about life. This true story is based on the novel of the same name which has been on the New York Times best-seller list for almost two years.
In 1998, Azaria starred in Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin's "Godzilla" for 20th Century Fox and in TriStar's "Homegrown," a black comedy about a trio of pot plantation workers. He also portrayed Gwyneth Paltrow's straight-laced fiance in Fox's modern-day adaptation of "Great Expectations" and appeared in Woody Allen's "Celebrity."
Azaria received critical acclaim and a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for his memorable turn as Agador Spartacus, the scene-stealing Guatemalan houseboy, in Mike Nichols' smash hit "The Birdcage." His portrayal of television producer Al Freedman in Robert Redford's Academy
Award-nominated "Quiz Show" also garnered him critical praise.
His other feature credits include "Heat," "Grosse Pointe Blank," "Now and Then" and "Pretty Woman." He also lent his voice to Fox's animated feature "Anastasia," as Bartok the comical bat. This November, Azaria reprises that role in "Bartok the Magnificent." He also serves as producer on the animated feature.
Azaria provides the voices for several key characters on the animated hit comedy series "The Simpsons." Last year he won an Emmy for his work on the show. Azaria was also nominated for an Emmy for his recurring role as Nat the dog walker on NBC's "Mad About You."
Azaria trained at the prestigious American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York and played Hamlet in a production of "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead" at Columbia University. He continued his theatre studies at Tufts University, appearing in such plays as "Uncle Vanya," "The Merchant of Venice," "The Ballad of the Sad Caf&' and "The Dumb Waiter."
After moving to Los Angeles, Azaria studied under the direction of Roy London. Experimenting in improv and sketch comedy, he became a favorite at the local comedy clubs and co-wrote "An Evening on Thin Ice," which was presented at Theatre-Theatre. Azaria also won a Dramalogue
Award for his performance in "Conspicuous Consumption."
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