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Judd Hirsch Movies and TV Shows: The 12 Best Projects Featuring the Veteran Actor, Ranked

From 'Taxi' to 'The Fabelmans'

Judd Hirsch is an acclaimed actor known for his versatility and compelling performances across both television and film, with roles in comedies and dramas alike. Over the course of his decades-long career, he has portrayed a range of characters in sitcoms, dramatic series and blockbusters, earning him much praise.

When asked how he got into acting, Hirsch said, “It was a great need for attention when I was in school. I went to so many schools that nobody knew who I was, because I couldn’t make a friend. We moved 12 times before I was in third grade, and I went to about four schools.” Lucky for us, he was a natural and his career took off.

Whether he’s playing Alex Rieger on the delightful sitcom Taxi or Alan Eppes on the crime drama Numb3rs, he always hits the mark — and we’re always glad to see him in a movie.

Here, we look back the best Judd Hirsch movies and TV Shows.

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12. Forever (2014-2015)

This short-lived crime drama centers on Dr. Henry Morgan, an immortal medical examiner. Hirsch played Abe, Dr. Morgan’s friend and confidant. The show also stars Ioan Gruffudd and Alana de la Garza. The series was praised for its unique premise and strong performances.

In a flashback, Hirsch’s character was played by David Krumholtz, who previously played Hirsch’s son in Numb3rs.

11. Independence Day (1996): Judd Hirsch movies and TV shows

In this sci-fi blockbuster, earth is under attack by a powerful alien race. Hirsch played Julius Levinson, the eccentric father of a computer genius who helps devise a plan to save humanity. The movie also stars Will Smith, Bill Pullman and Jeff Goldblum, and it became a massive box office hit and a pop culture phenomenon.

10. A Beautiful Mind (2001)

This biographical drama follows the life of John Nash, a brilliant mathematician who struggles with schizophrenia. Hirsch played Dr. Helinger, a supportive professor who recognizes Nash’s genius. The film also stars Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly and Ed Harris. It was directed by Ron Howard and won the Academy Award for Best Picture.

9. Numb3rs (2005-2010): Judd Hirsch movies and TV shows

This drama revolves around a mathematician who helps his FBI agent brother solve crimes using mathematical theories. Hirsch played Alan Eppes, the father of the two main characters. Hirsch’s portrayal of the wise and caring father added emotional weight to the series. The show also starred Rob Morrow and David Krumholtz.

8. The Goldbergs (2015-2023)

This sitcom is set in the ’80s and follows the Goldberg family. Hirsch played Ben “Pop Pop” Goldberg, the cranky but loving grandfather. Hirsch’s character quickly became a fan favorite for his humor and wisdom. The show also stars Wendi McLendon-Covey, Jeff Garlin and Sean Giambrone.

7. The Fabelmans (2022): Judd Hirsch movies and TV shows

Written and directed by Steven Spielberg and based on his childhood, the film follows the young Sammy Fabelman, who aspires to become a filmmaker while growing up in the ’50s and ’60s. While exploring his craft, he soon uncovers a shattering family secret that involves his mother and his father’s best friend.

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The movie stars Michelle Williams and Gabriel LaBelle. Judd Hirsch played the role of Boris, Sammy’s quirky and creative great uncle, and was nominated for an Oscar for his scene-stealing performance. Hirsch was previously nominated for his role in the 1980 film Ordinary People, making him the actor with the longest gap between nominations in Oscar history.

6. The Meyerowitz Stories (2017)

This smart dramedy revolves around an estranged family coming together in New York for an event celebrating the artistic work of their father. Hirsch played L.J. Shapiro, a friend of the family. The all-star cast includes Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller and Dustin Hoffman.

5. Dear John (1988-92): Judd Hirsch movies and TV shows

This comedy series starred Judd Hirsch as John Lacey, a divorced man who tries to get his life back in order after losing everything to his ex-wife. He joins a support group for divorced and windowed spouses and together, they help each other come to grips with their situation while offering moral support and humor.

4. Damages (2011-2012): Judd Hirsch movies and TV shows

This legal thriller series focuses on the complex relationship between a mentor lawyer and her protégée. Hirsch played Bill Herndon, a whistleblower with crucial information. The drama also stars Glenn Close, Rose Byrne, Tate Donovan and Ted Danson.

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3. Running on Empty (1988): Judd Hirsch movies and TV shows

This poignant film follows a family on the run from the FBI due to the parents’ anti-war activities in the ’70s. Hirsch played Arthur Pope, the father trying to keep his family together while evading capture. The film also stars River Phoenix (who was nominated for an Oscar for his role) and Christine Lahti.

2. Ordinary People (1980)

This drama explores the disintegration of an upper-middle-class family following the accidental death of one son and the attempted suicide of the other. Hirsch played Dr. Berger, a compassionate psychiatrist who helps the surviving son, Conrad, deal with his guilt and grief.

The movie also stars Donald Sutherland, Mary Tyler Moore and Timothy Hutton. Directed by Robert Redford, Ordinary People received both commercial and critical acclaim, including winning the Academy Award for Best Picture. Hirsch was also nominated for an Oscar for his work in the film.

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1. Taxi (1978-1983)

Who didn’t love Taxi, a classic workplace sitcom that followed the lives of a colorful group of New York City cab drivers? The show was known for its sharp writing and strong performances by lead actors including Judd Hirsch, who played Alex Rieger, the moral center of the show. Hirsch won two Emmy Awards for his performance. The show also starred Danny DeVito, Marilu Henner, Tony Danza and Christopher Lloyd.

Hirsch knew right away that Taxi would be a hit, but was initially reluctant about starring in it, as he was already in his 40s and didn’t want to be tied down to a TV show. We’re glad he decided to take the role, and over 40 years later, the show remains a comforting classic and our favorite of his many great performances.

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