Jeff Goldblum always seems to be having the time of his life, whether he’s acting in a horror movie like The Fly, a beloved dramedy like The Big Chill or a crowd-pleasing blockbuster like Jurassic Park. Now 70, the actor, who got his start with small but memorable turns in classic ’70s movies like Nashville and Annie Hall, shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, Jeff Goldblum movies and TV shows have become more popular than ever in recent years, with a presence that’s equally welcome in Marvel movies and indie fare.
Goldblum is more than just an actor — he’s a pop culture icon known for his towering height (at 6’4” he’s one of the tallest men in Hollywood!) and distinctively laconic, deadpan delivery. He’s even a talented pianist and singer who’s released jazz albums and plays regular gigs.
He told Interview magazine that when it comes to his career, “I think of it as work-slash-play, because it’s the work of play. It’s a playtime,” and this quirky positive energy comes through in everything he does, whether he’s starring onscreen or singing a jazz standard.
How Jeff Goldblum got his start
Goldblum moved to New York City at age 17 to become an actor, and soon started appearing in plays. His first onscreen role was in the 1974 action film Death Wish — he played a character credited as “Freak #1.” Shortly after, he made brief appearances in two movies from acclaimed director Robert Altman, California Split and Nashville, and made an impression with just one line (“I forgot my mantra“) in Woody Allen’s 1977 classic Annie Hall.
In 1978, he’d act alongside none other than disco queen Donna Summer in Thank God It’s Friday, and a lead role in the remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers that same year got him more widely noticed.
Becoming a leading man
In 1984, Jeff Goldblum played a nerdy journalist in The Big Chill, and was a standout in an ensemble cast that also included Kevin Kline, William Hurt and Tom Berenger. The next year, he starred in the 1984 cult classic The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension, and not long after this came a defining moment in Goldblum’s professional and personal life.
The remake of The Fly he starred in in 1986 also featured Geena Davis, a co-star he worked with in two additional films – Transylvania 6-500 (1985) and Earth Girls Are Easy (1988). The two tall, charismatic actors married in 1987. They divorced in 1991, and in 2014, Goldblum married Emilie Livingston, a gymnast with whom he has two young sons.
Jeff Goldblum movies in the ’90s
By the ’90s, Jeff Goldblum was starring in some of the biggest blockbusters around. His role as the brilliant Dr. Ian Malcolm in Steven Spielberg’s T-Rex adventure Jurassic Park (1993) and its sequels became iconic, and his “Life finds a way,” speech in the first film is widely viewed as one of his defining moments as an actor.
Dr. Malcolm is an eccentric intellectual, like so many of Goldblum’s best characters. He’d play that type yet again in another ’90s blockbuster, Independence Day. He’s the guy you can count on to add a grounding force to mega-budget movies filled with elaborate special effects, and his offbeat humor and distinctive style make for memorable moments even among the chaos of dinosaurs and explosions.
Jeff Goldblum on the small screen
Not only is Jeff Goldblum great in movies, on 1980, he starred in the detective TV show Tenspeed and Brown Shoe. It only lasted one season, but it wouldn’t be his final small screen appearance. In the 2000s he’d show up in a number of TV shows, among them Friends, Will & Grace and Glee, playing typically eccentric characters. In 2009, he replaced Chris Noth’s character on Law & Order: Criminal Intent.
Given his growing popularity not just as an actor, but as a personality, it made perfect sense when Goldblum got his own show, aptly titled The World According to Jeff Goldblum, in 2019. The documentary show follows Goldblum as he explores all kinds of different subjects, including dogs, tattoos, ice cream, magic and more.
Goldblum’s instant recognizabilty also led to a variety of endorsement deals. He appeared in Apple ads in the ’90s and went on to be in commercials for Toyota and Apartments.com. Unsurprisingly, he’s also done a wide range of voiceover projects.
What he’s up to today
Goldblum’s filmography boasts over 100 credits, and his singular style means he’s always in high demand. In 2022, he reprised the role of Dr. Malcolm in Jurassic World Domination, and he’s appeared in a number of movies from the highly regarded director Wes Anderson, including The Grand Budapest Hotel, Isle of Dogs and, most recently, Asteroid City. He’s also kept up his blockbuster bona fides in the 2016 Independence Day sequel and the Marvel Universe role of the Grandmaster.
Goldblum is always himself, yet he’s a highly versatile performer, and we’re happy to see Jeff Goldblum in any movies and TV shows he pops up in. A 2018 GQ article proclaimed him “the coolest guy in Hollywood,” and we have to agree. He’s stylish, funny and unafraid to lean into his weird side, and it’s admirable to see an actor who’s been in the industry as long as he has find a new audience while also appealing to fans who’ve loved him for decades.
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