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J.K. Simmons, Award Winner –

J.K. Simmons, with co-star Miles Teller, in Whiplash (2014) — for
which he won the Motion Picture Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

J.K. Simmons:
Best Supporting Actor, 2014:

About J.K. Simmons (1955 – )

whiplash-poster Whiplash (Drama – R)

J.K. Simmons won the Best Supporting Actor Award from the Motion Picture Academy for his performance in the 2014 film Whiplash, playing the demanding and abusive conductor, Terence Fletcher, who relentlessly pushes and harangues his students at a prestigious New York jazz conservatory.

Jonathan Kimble Simmons was born on January 9, 1955, the son of Patricia, an administrator, and Donald William Simmons, a middle school music teacher, in Grosse Pointe, a suburb of Detroit.

From there his family moved to Worthington, Ohio, when he was ten and moved again when he was 18, to Missoula, Montana. His father assumed the position of Director of the School of Music at the University of Montana. In 1978 Simmons graduated from the U of M with a degree in music. Originally he'd planned to be a singer, and also studied to become a composer.

Simmons married Michelle Schumacher in 1996. They are still together, and have two children.

His first big break came when he snared the roles of Captain Hook and Mr. Darling opposite gymnastics Olympian Cathy Rigby in the Broadway revival of Peter Pan.

He has worked in such TV shows as Law & Order, where he played police psychiatrist Dr. Emil Skoda in three of the four incarnations of the long-running police procedural, and as sadistic neo-Nazi inmate Vernon Schillinger in the prison ensemble Oz. He starred as Ralph Earnhardt, father of race-car driver Dale Earnhardt, in 3: The Dale Earnhardt Story, and as Aaron Eckhart's tobacco industry boss B.R. in the edgy Jason Reitman comedy Thank You For Smoking. He was widely praised for his performance in Juno as "Mac" McGuff, the eponymous character's father. In The Closer he starred as Assistant LAPD Chief Will Pope. Prior to joining Law & Order in the Dr. Skoda role, Simmons made an appearance in an episode of Homicide: Life on the Street, as a criminal in a cross-over Law & Order episode.

In all three of director Sam Raimi's Spider-Man movies, Simmons portrayed J. Jonah Jameson (as well as in the extended video game adaptation of Spider-Man 3). He also played an army general in the TV sitcom Arrested Development, and Dan the Barber in the surrealistic children's show The Adventures of Pete & Pete. In 2008, Simmons portrayed a bemused CIA functionary in the Coen Brothers comedy Burn After Reading and appeared as Candidate Wells in Postal. He also made an appearance in I Love You, Man.

Simmons is a regular in the films made by his friend Jason Reitman, including Thank You for Smoking, Juno, Up in the Air, and Jennifer's Body. In 2013, he played Mr. Jervis in Reitman's film Labor Day. He was also the blind lawyer "Mel Fisher" in Growing Up Fisher.

Simmons frequently plays patriarchal figures, including, typically, fathers and family men. His emotional range runs from great friendliness and warmth on the one hand to terrifyingly short-tempered on the other, convincingly demonstrating that in the role of J. Jonah James, Peter Parker's hot-tempered boss, and even more strikingly this past year in Whiplash, when he won much critical acclaim, and a Best-Supporting Actor Oscar, for his spectacular performance as Terence Fletcher, the intensely demanding conductor at the fictional Schaffer Conservatory of Music, who bullies and protagonist Andrew Neiman, played by Miles Teller. He followed that up in January 2015 by winning the leading role in the upcoming film Kong: Skull Island.

J.K. Simmons's movie credits include...

Year Movie Role
1994 The Ref Siskel
1994 The Scout Assistant Coach
1996 The First Wives Club Federal Marshal
1996 Extreme Measures Dr. Mingus
1997 Love Walked In Mr. Shulman
1997 Crossing Fields Guy
1997 The Jackal FBI Agent Timothy I. Witherspoon
1997 Anastasia
1998 Celebrity Souvenir Hawker
1998 Above Freezing Hoyd
1999 Hit and Runway Ray Tilman
1999 The Cider House Rules Ray Kendall
1999 For Love of the Game Frank Perry
1999 I Lost My M in Vegas Yellow (voice)
2000 Autumn in New York Dr. Tom Grandy
2000 The Gift Sheriff Pearl Johnson
2001 The Mexican Ted Slocum
2002 Spider-Man J. Jonah Jameson
2003 Disposal Older Hunter
2003 Off the Map George
2004 Hidalgo Buffalo Bill Cody
2004 The Ladykillers Garth Pancake
2004 Spider-Man 2 J. Jonah Jameson
2005 Thank You for Smoking B. R.
2005 Pom Poko Seizaemon (voice)
2005 Harsh Times Agent Richards
2006 First Snow Vacaro
2006 The Astronaut Farmer Jacobson
2007 Spider-Man 3 J. Jonah Jameson
2007 Postal Candidate Welles
2007 Juno Mac MacGuff
2007 Rendition Lee Mayer
2008 Burn After Reading CIA Superior
2009 The Vicious Kind Donald Sinclaire
2009 New in Town Stu Kopenhafer
2009 The Way of War Sergeant Mitchell
2009 Red Sands Lt. Col. Arson
2009 Juno Father
2009 I Love You, Man Oswald Klaven
2009 Aliens in the Attic Skip (voice)
2009 Post Grad Roy Davies
2009 Extract Brian
2009 Up in the Air Bob
2009 Jennifer's Body Mr. Wroblewski
2010 4192: The Crowning of the Hit King Narrator
2010 Crazy on the Outside Ed
2010 An Invisible Sign Mr. Jones
2010 A Beginner's Guide to Endings Uncle Pal
2010 Megamind Warden (voice)
2010 True Grit Lawyer Daggett (voice)
2010 Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore Gruff K-9 (voice)
2011 The Music Never Stopped Henry Sawyer
2011 The Good Doctor Detective Krauss
2011 Blackstone Detective Burke
2011 Young Adult Mavis' Publisher (voice)
2012 The Words Mr. Jansen
2012 Contraband Captain Redmond Camp
2013 Whiplash Band Teacher
2013 3 Geezers! J Kimball
2013 Jobs Arthur Rock
2013 Labor Day Mr. Jervis
2013 Dark Skies Edwin Pollard
2013 The Heeler Roscoe
2013 The Magic Bracelet The Shaman
2014 Whiplash Terence Fletcher
2014 Barefoot Dr. Bertleman
2014 Break Point Jack
2014 The Boxcar Children Dr. Moore (voice)
2014 Murder of a Cat Sheriff Hoyle
2014 The Rewrite Dr. Lerner
2014 Men, Women & Children Mr. Doss
2014 Ava & Lala General Tiger (voice)
2015 Terminator Genisys
2015 Still Punching the Clown Jay Warren
2016 Rock Dog Khampa (voice)
2016 La La Land bill
2016 The Late Bloomer James Newmans
2016 The Accountant Ray King
2016 Patriots Day Sergeant Jeffrey Pugliese

J.K. Simmons's television credits include...

Year Show Role
1986 Popeye Doyle Patrolman in Park
1994 Law & Order Jerry Luppin
1995 New York News
1995 The Adventures of Pete & Pete Barber Dan
1996 Homicide: Life on the Street Col. Alexander Rausch
1996 Swift Justice Mel Turman
1996, 1998 New York Undercover Sgt. Treadway / Dr. Emil Skoda
1997 Face Down Herb Aames
1997 Spin City Kevin Travis
1997–2003 Oz Vernon Schillinger
1997–2010 Law & Order Dr. Emil Skoda
1998 Remember WENN Captain Amazon
1999 Saturday Night Live Vernon Schillinger
2000 Third Watch Frank Hagonon
2000–2001 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Dr. Emil Skoda
2002 Path to War CIA Briefer
2002 Law & Order: Criminal Intent Dr. Emil Skoda
2002 Homeward Bound Jim Ashton
2003 John Doe Lucas Doya
2003 Everwood Phil Drebbles
2004 3: The Dale Earnhardt Story Ralph Earnhardt
2004 ER Gus Loomer
2004 The D.A. Dep. Dist. Atty. Joe Carter
2004 Without a Trace Mark Wilson
2004 The Jury Ron Stalsukilis
2004 Nip/Tuck Ike Connors
2004–2006 Justice League Unlimited General Wade Eiling (voice)
2005 Arrested Development General Anderson
2005 Jack & Bobby Cyrus Miller
2005 Numb3rs Dr. Clarence Weaver
2005–2012 The Closer Assistant Chief Will Pope
2006 The West Wing Harry Ravitch
2006–2007 The Simpsons Tabloid Editor (voice)
2007 Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee James McLaughlin
2007 Queens Supreme Ernest Fingerman
2007 Kim Possible Martin Smarty (voice)
2007–2011 American Dad! Judge / McCreary (voices)
2008 Phineas and Ferb J.B. (voice)
2008 Ben 10: Alien Force Magister Ghilhil (voice)
2009 The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack Poseidon / Captain (voices)
2009–2010 Party Down Leonard Stiltskin
2010 The Life & Times of Tim O'Flaherty Sr. (voice)
2010 Batman: The Brave and the Bold Evil Star (voice)
2010 Ben 10: Ultimate Alien Magister Ghilhil (voice)
2010–2013 Generator Rex White Knight (voice)
2011 NTSF:SD:SUV Frank Forrest
2011 Raising Hope Bruce Chance
2011 Desert Car Kings Narrator
2011–2013 Pound Puppies Lieutenant Rock / Mr. Withers (voices)
2011–2014 Robot Chicken Vern Schillinger / Master Chief (voices)
2012 Best Friends Forever Don
2012 Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes J. Jonah Jameson (voice)
2012 The Venture Bros. Ben (voice)
2012–2014 The Legend of Korra Tenzin (voice)
2012–2015 Ultimate Spider-Man J. Jonah Jameson (voice)
2012–2014 Men at Work P. J. Jordan
2013 Lego Marvel Super Heroes: Maximum Overload J. Jonah Jameson (voice)
2013 Parks and Recreation Mayor Stice
2013 Family Tools Tony Shea
2013–2015 Avengers Assemble J. Jonah Jameson (voice)
2013–2015 Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. J. Jonah Jameson (voice)
2014 Growing Up Fisher Mel Fisher
2014 Chozen Gary Cullens (voice)
2014-2016 BoJack Horseman Lennie Turtletaub (voice)
2015 Saturday Night Live Host
2016 Archer Detective

Nominations/Awards won by J.K. Simmons include...

Year Movie Award
2014 Whiplash Nominated for and Won Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor

Memorable Quotes

“I like to act. Every other aspect of show business I find uninteresting.”

“I'm not a fan of any genre but am a fan of movies that are intelligent and/or funny. That goes across all genres: a horror movie, a zombie movie, alien invaders, chick flick, or raunchy comedy. If it's well done, I'm a fan.”

“The best complement I ever got from the public or producers or directors is that I just totally blend in and become the character and they don't notice me and that the play happens or the movie happens or the TV show happens.”

“[on winning the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Whiplash] Wow, thank you. Thank you to the Academy. Thank you to everyone involved in the making of Whiplash. And I am grateful everyday for the most remarkable person I know: my wife, the wonderful Michelle Schumacher. I'm grateful for your love, your kindness, your wisdom, your sacrifice and your patience. Which brings me to the above-average children-even though I may try their patience more. Joe and Olivia, you are extraordinary human beings. Smart, funny, kind, loving people and that's because you are a reflection of your mother. And if I may, call your mom, everybody. I've told this to, like, a billion people, or so. Call your mom, call your dad. If you're lucky enough to have a parent or two alive on this planet, call 'em. Don't text. Don't email. Call them on the phone. Tell 'em you love 'em, and thank them, and listen to them for as long as they want to talk to you. Thank you. Thank you, Mom and Dad.”

Did You Know

Simmons has been the voice of the yellow peanut M&M in M&M commercials since replacing John Goodman after the original commercials in 1995.

He is fluent in German, having learned it as part of his musical education. However, he says he's better at comprehending it than speaking it.

Simmons has been in all the feature films of director Jason Reitman.


J.K. Simmons (with co-star Ellen Page) in Juno (2007).


Simmons in Thank You for Smoking (2005).