Hank Azaria

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Henry Albert "Hank" Azaria[1] (born April 25, 1964) is an American film, television and stage actor, director, and comedian. He is noted for being one of the principal voice actors on the animated television series The Simpsons, on which he performs the voices of Moe Szyslak, Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, Police Chief Clancy Wiggum, Comic Book Guy and numerous others.

He became more widely known through his appearances in films such as The Birdcage, Godzilla, and Along Came Polly. He starred in the drama Huff, playing the titular character, to critical acclaim, as well as appearing in the popular stage musical Spamalot. Originally more of a comic actor, in recent years Azaria has taken on more dramatic roles including Tuesdays With Morrie and Uprising. Azaria was married to Helen Hunt from 1999 to 2000. He has won four Emmys and a Screen Actors Guild Award.

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Early life

Azaria was born and grew up in Forest Hills, Queens, New York,[2] the son of Sephardic Jewish parents from Thessaloniki, Greece.[3] His father, Albert, ran several dress-manufacturing businesses, while his mother raised him and his two older sisters, Stephanie and Elise.[4][5] Before marrying his father, Azaria's mother had been a publicist for Columbia Pictures, promoting films in Latin American countries, as she was fluent in both English and Spanish.[4] Both of his parents loved all forms of show business, which spurred him on to become an actor.[4] Azaria graduated from The Kew-Forest School in Forest Hills, and later studied drama at Tufts University until 1985,[6] before training at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.[5][7] There he met Oliver Platt, with whom he became best friends; Azaria noted that "Oliver was a better actor than I was in college, and he really inspired me."[8] Together the pair starred in various college stage productions including The Merchant of Venice.[9] Azaria originally hoped to become a full-time theater actor so he and Platt set up their own company: "Big Theatre".[7] Harold Pinter's The Dumb Waiter was the only thing they ever performed.[7] Azaria's first job was a commercial advertising Italian television when he was seventeen years old.[4] Before leaving New York, Azaria worked for several years as a bartender.[5] He soon realized that television was a better calling and moved to Los Angeles.[7]

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