The Big Bang Theory has shown us quite a bit of Leonard’s mom. We know, mostly, that she’s basically a female Sheldon who is principally to blame for Leonard’s loveless childhood. But, we’ve never heard much about Leonard’s dad. Well, now, the audience will finally get to meet the elder Hofstadter when actor Judd Hirsch will originate the part on the show.
The casting was announced on Wednesday during the The Paley Center for Media’s annual PaleyFest, an event where the casts and creators of major television shows sit down for interviews in front of a packed theater of fans. The Paley Center used their Twitter page to release the information to the masses.
As the tweet notes, Judd Hirsch and Johnny Galecki, who plays Leonard, met at the recent Jim Burrows tribute, where Galecki invited Hirsch to come onto the show and fill the long ignored role. Hirsch has had a long career in film and television, winning two Emmy Awards along the way. The first of his 76 credits came in 1974 on a TV movie called The Law. Hirsch really made his mark on the business when he won the role of Alex Reiger on Taxi, a part he played from 1978 through 1983. He won Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Emmys in 1981 and 1983 for his performance on the show.
Judd Hirsch has had starring or co-starring parts on several TV series, including Dear John, George & Leo, Numb3rs, Damages and, most recently, Forever, Maron and The Goldbergs. The actor has also been in the films Ordinary People (for which he received a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination in 1981), Teachers, Running on Empty, Independence Day and its upcoming sequel Independence Day: Resurgence, and A Beautiful Mind.
Only sketchy bits of information are known about Leonard’s dad; we’ve never even heard his first name. But there are a few details that have been given out over the course of The Big Bang Theory’s nine seasons. We know that his parents are divorced, and it was briefly mentioned that Leonard’s father is an anthropologist who worked with famed archaeologist Louis Leakey. His dad even gave Leonard the middle name Leakey to pay tribute to the man. When Leonard mentions to Penny that his mom was so unaffectionate that he built a hugging machine as a child to compensate, he also notes that his father used to borrow the device for his own uses. Despite his desire to use the automatic hugger, though, his dad wasn’t very demonstrative towards him either, and Leonard once stated that he needed to compete with “the bones of an Etruscan kid” for his father’s love. Judd Hirsch is just as capable at playing lovable as he is at playing irascible, so the role of Leonard’s distant dad sounds like it’s a dream fit for him.
Ah, isn’t this an exciting development? If you’re a fan of The Big Bang Theory who’s always wanted to know about the man who helped bring Leonard into the world, you’re finally going to get your chance.