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"I now, more and more, appreciate when I'm in a group of good people and get to work in good movies and projects. I'm wildly grateful and appreciative."
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Jeffrey Lynn Goldblum (born October 22, 1952) is, uhh, an American actor, uh, known for his portrayal of, uhh, quirky/nerdy characters, as well as his, um, unique form of, uh, di-dialo—delivery! Which, uh, has became one of the most memorable aspects of his, uh, career, averting the, um, t-trope that Realistic Diction Is Unrealistic. He, uh, also is a f-frequent subject of internet memes, g-going all the way back to the, um, late 1990s when a, uh, sc-sc-sc-screenshot from, uh, The Fly was given the, uh, caption Jeff Goldblum is watching you poop! Uh, fame.

And he is, um, actually alive, despite what, uh, G-Google tells you. He was eulogized on Colbert, and Goldblum paid respects to himself.

Though, uh, typically typecast as um, nerdy —Nerdy! — eccentric intellectual types, his offscreen behavior suggests, uh, that-that there is some Truth in Television th-there.

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Now pushing 70, Goldblum is still an unlikely sex symbol in the U.S., which is reflected in his private life: His second wife was none other than his Fly co-star Geena Davis, and he had a long relationship with Laura Dern, whom he met on the set of Jurassic Park. A more-accurate description would be bon vivant; he's not that nerdy in-person, and if you beat the PlayStation game based on The Lost World: Jurassic Park with 100% of all collectibles, a Shatner-esque cutscene of Jeff on a beach will appear telling you to get a life. What a terrible reward to a game. "Get lost!" He sounds like a really sarcastic and disappointed drunk—well, moreso than usual. After appearing in Thor: Ragnarok (his character belongs to a group of cosmic beings who are known for their personal obsessions), a meme came about from his incoherent answer to a red carpet question about behind-the-scenes tensions in the MCU that he clearly has no idea about.

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    Jeff Goldblum has appeared in such productions as (arranged alphabetically): 

Films

Television series:

Television guest/recurring appearances:

Theatre

  • The Music Man (2004 Pittsburgh Civic Light Operanote  staging — the 2006 Mockumentary Pittsburgh is constructed around this actual production)
  • The Pillowman (2005 Broadway version)
  • The Prisoner of Second Avenue (2010 West End staging)
  • Seminar (second cast of the 2011-12 Broadway staging)
  • Speed-the-Plow (2006 L.A. Theater Works recording and 2008 West End revival)
  • Twelfth Night (1989 Shakespeare in the Park staging, New York City; as Malvolio)
  • Two Gentlemen of Verona (1971 Broadway musical adaptation; as a chorus member, his first professional acting credit)

Video Games

Western animation (both television and feature films)


Tropes, ahem, commonly associated with Jeff Goldblum's work:

  • Actually Pretty Funny: He's quite amused by the impressions, parodies, and memes he's inspired over the years, such as David Duchovny's impression of him in a "Celebrity Jeopardy" sketch on Saturday Night Live (which suggested that his verbal affectations were a cover for illiteracy) and the various goofs on the infamous Shirtless Scene in Jurassic Park. This isn't surprising given how prone he is to Adam Westing.
  • Adam Westing: Frequently since the Turn of the Millennium, especially on talk shows.
    • In the Friends episode "The One with the Mugging", he plays Leonard Day, a fictional famed actor whom Joey is auditioning to star alongside, poking fun at his own acting style in the process. In a gentle poke at Goldblum's work in Advertising Campaigns, Joey accidentally offends the classically-trained Leonard by saying how much he loves the goofy cellphone commercials he does, Leonard declaring in response "I believe in those phones! I almost lost a cousin because of bad wireless service!" But upon realizing Joey is sincere, he relaxes and admits "Well, I do bring a certain credibility to the role."
    • The Mockumentary Pittsburgh claims that his participation in the 2004 Music Man staging (see Theatre subheading above) was only to help a girlfriend get a green card.
    • A Late Night with Conan O'Brien skit from 2006 has him lured onstage with a salt lick, as O'Brien narrates the resultant rare footage of a celebrity in the wild. Among other things, he scavenges the guest chair cushions for awards (but only turns up a People's Choice Award) and woos a female of the species (Rachel Dratch).
    • Early-in-the-episode The Colbert Report appearances which usually end with a blatant plug for Law & Order: Criminal Intent, as his tenure on that show was running concurrently with Report. Most famously, when Michael Jackson's death in June 2009 led to subsequent copycat rumors of Goldblum's death, he appeared to dispel the rumors...only to see Australian TV footage that reported his death as a fact. Upon realizing he was dead, he went on to deliver a eulogy for himself!
    • He was one of several Law & Order franchise alumni to appear in the Last Week Tonight with John Oliver spoof Law & Order: Civil Asset Forfeiture Unit.
    • A comic promotional video for Independence Day: Resurgence dispels the in-universe conspiracy theory that David Levinson and Jeff Goldblum are the same person by having them meet. While Levinson doesn't know much about Goldblum (confusing him for both Dabney Coleman and Bowser from Sha Na Na), Goldblum is a total fanboy, even praising Levinson's mahogany eyes!
    • A 2018 Jeep commercial (a Super Bowl Special) is built around the famous "Must go faster" chase from Jurassic Park, as the 25-years-older Goldblum imagines himself using the newest model to outwit the T-Rex.
    • The Alamo Drafthouse theater chain's "No Talking or Phones" Warning for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom has him reveal that he's personally arranged for a velociraptor named Sheila to come for anyone in the audience who breaks the rules.
    • Samantha Bee's Holidays on ICE Christmas Special was promoted with a spoof of Love Actually's famous placard scene in which Bee accidentally visits Goldblum's house instead of that of an unnamed crush. Luckily she's an Ian Malcolm fangirl and ready to hit on him instead with those placards.
    • The Late Late Show with James Corden loves to work with him. Goldblum has so far...
    • The trope is also likely the reason behind The World According to Jeff Goldblum, with him exploring the world with his trademark quirky persona.
  • Adorkable: He's played several characters of this stripe, often contrasted with another character who decidedly averts the trope.
    • In Tenspeed and Brown Shoe, Lionel Whitney is an ex-stockbroker who establishes a detective agency to live out his detective novel-fueled dreams of being a hardboiled gumshoe. His inexperience with the criminal world, tendency to see things in terms of melodramatic genre tropes and act accordingly, and distinct lack of menace even when he warns heavies that he's a black belt in karate (which isn't a lie, incidentally) causes him a lot of trouble that his savvy partner E.L. Turner (an ex-con) has to get him out of. In turn his pure-hearted nature serves as a needed counterbalance to Turner's flexible morality, which causes its own problems.
    • In The Fly (1986), Seth Brundle is a shy scientist who's lived in isolation for six years working on a teleportation project, coming out of his shell just as the film begins to flirt with a beautiful journalist at a press event. While Veronica is initially interested in the project once she sees it in action, his sweetness and passion for his work endear him to her as a person and they become lovers, much to the ire of her obnoxious editor/ex-lover Stathis. This Love Triangle inadvertently leads to a Tragic Mistake on Seth's part that begins mutating him into a monster from the inside out. Notably one of the things that warns Veronica that something is wrong with him is that, due in part to feeling Drunk with Power over the initial positive side effects of the transformation, he stops being this trope and becomes aggressive and quick to anger.
    • In Independence Day, David Levinson is a Jewish and Nerdy, scruffy satellite technician toiling away at a cable company, a sharp contrast to the film's other two "core" characters — the noble, idealistic, ex-fighter pilot President of the United States Thomas J. Whitmore (whom David's ex-wife now works for!) and the wisecracking hotshot jet pilot Captain Steven Hiller. The third act pairs David and Steven up to much comic effect.
  • Advertising Campaigns: He has participated in quite a few of these, starting with serving as an Apple spokesman in the late 1990s as the company made its comeback with the iMac. His work in these ranges from simple voiceovers to Adam Westing (for Jeep; see above) to playing original whimsical characters such as Brad Bellflower in a long-running Apartments.com campaign and, in a Tim & Eric-helmed ad for General Elecric, "Terry Quattro, Famous Person". For the 2019 holiday season, he was turned loose in a Tiffany and Co. men's-specific pop-up shop.
  • Affably Evil: The Grandmaster in Thor: Ragnarok is the most obvious example among his characters; others include Milton Krampf in Mortdecai (who is scheming to acquire a rare painting) and Hotel Artemis (the feared "Wolf King" of Los Angeles's underworld). David Jason in Deep Cover starts this way, but the lack of respect he gets from those who rank higher than he seriously gets to him...
  • Antiquated Linguistics: In interviews and public appearances, he's prone to complex phrasings and out-of-use words/expressions, some of which were common when he was young, mostly for fun. "I'm nothing if not conscientious" is a favorite phrase of his and "Gee" or "Golly" turn up quite a bit in his fumfering. This Guest Host monologue from The Late Late Show with James Corden drips with such language.
  • Based on a True Story: Jeff has played actual people in several films, mostly made for television:
    • Ernie Kovacs: Between the Laughter (1984), which deals with Kovacs's early career in television and the concurrent fight to reclaim his two daughters from his first wife.
    • Life Story (aka The Race for the Double Helix, 1987), as James Watson, one of the scientists who figured out the structure of DNA.
    • One of the Hollywood Ten (2000), about the travails of writer-director Herbert Biberman, victim of The Hollywood Blacklist.
    • Spinning Boris (2003) as George Gorton, one of several American political consultants who were hired by Russian President Boris Yeltsin's 1996 reelection campaign.
  • The Cast Showoff: invoked Whenever he has a chance to play the piano, such as in The Fly and Law and Order: Criminal Intent. He is very serious about this, having turned it into a side career; his longstanding weekly gig at the Rockwell club in Los Angeles was parlayed into an album of jazz standards, Jeff Goldblum and the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra: The Capitol Studios Sessions, in 2018, which sold so well that a followup, I Shouldn't Be Telling You This, arrived a year later.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: He has quite the reputation for being incredibly out there in person, as discussed in this 2017 oral history, although he is also regarded as The Charmer. (In one Conan appearance, Conan O'Brien caught him fiddling around with his watch mid-interview and hilariously called him out for it.) He is up for virtually anything thrown at him by filmmakers, talk show hosts, fans, etc. — so long as it's interesting to him — and has turned that eagerness and affection for his fanbase to his career advantage in The New '10s. The World According to Jeff Goldblum takes advantage of this, based as it is on the premise of his travelling America just to learn more about things that interest him and interact with the people who create those things — such as ice cream, sneakers, tattoos, jewelry, etc.
  • Cold Ham: He vocally channels his constant enthusiasm — on and offscreen — less through yelling and more through speaking quickly and intensely with verbal pauses, unusual syllable/word emphasis, and almost musical cadence (as Mel Brooks, who executive produced The Fly (1986), put it, he speaks in "mounting scales"). He also is prone to Milking the Giant Cow with his gangly body and has wide, expressive eyes, making it possible for him to communicate intense emotions even if his character has little or no dialogue (Nashville, Earth Girls Are Easy). He can chew the scenery when a part requires it (the second act of The Fly has him do it to invoke O.O.C. Is Serious Business), but more often than not his intensity is enough to steal a scene or movie. Thor: Ragnarok is an excellent example of this: where the Asgardian characters are all of a World of Ham, his decadent, cheerful despot Grandmaster plays it cool.
  • Cool Old Guy: He became this in The New '10s as he entered his sixties, thanks to his continued cultivation of his Cloud Cuckoolander and Charmer tendencies (in particular, his getting a personal stylist and from there becoming an eccentric fashion plate), deep affection for his multigenerational fanbase, frequent Adam Westing, and ongoing colorful body of work. He often refers to himself as "a late bloomer", and is more popular now than he was in the Summer Blockbuster days of The '90s.
  • DVD Commentary: Participated in commentaries for Beyond Suspicion (aka Auggie Rose) — one of his more obscure films, to the point it went direct-to-cable in the U.S. — and The Grand Budapest Hotel once it became part of The Criterion Collection. Both team him up with the films' directors.
  • Faux Affably Evil: The titular Mister Frost, who appears to be a polite Yuppie but is actually Satan in human form...albeit as charming and coolly hammy as one might wish(?) for.
  • Gibbering Genius: His Characteristic Trope. Starting with 1981's Threshold, in which he plays the designer of an artificial heart, he's played intense, fast-talking, realistically-dictioned men of science in both comic and dramatic contexts: Dr. Sidney Zweibel / New Jersey (neurosurgeon), Dr. Seth Brundle (inventor of teleportation technology / Professor Guinea Pig), Dr. Ian Malcolm (mathematician), Donald Ripley (high school physics teacher), David Levinson (satellite technician), and Professor Charles Brody (Professor Guinea Pig for a cure for dog allergies). Even his iMac commercials had him rambling about such things as how nobody picks the color beige as their favorite. Having invoked this trope so frequently and successfully — his Star-Making Role and most popular role both qualify, after all, while the Independence Day filmmakers wrote the role of David with him in mind — Goldblum is its patron saint. Occasionally there are variations:
    • Averted in Into the Night: He plays an aerospace engineer who's dealing with insomnia and his job isn't important to the plot. As a result, he's perpetually weary and speaks at a normal pace or slower.
    • In The Mountain, his character, inspired by lobotomist Walter Jackson Freeman II, has a normal, soothing pace of speech — which is useful when talking to medical staff and especially patients. Interestingly when he's off the clock, unwinding and hitting on women, there's more energy and verbal pauses when he speaks. Perhaps he used to be this trope and going to seed slowed him down?
  • Goofy Suit: He experienced an inversion of this trope as his very first onstage experience as a third grader, when he was tapped to play the Goodwill Industries mascot Good Willy at a school assembly and ended up loving the experience of being unrecognizable in a full-body costume until a Dramatic Unmask at the end. (An interview clip in which he recounts this story can be found as an Easter Egg on the special edition DVD/Blu-Ray releases of The Fly (1986), with him drawing a line from the Goofy Suit to his finding his star-making role in a rubber monster one.)
  • Method Acting: He studied under Sanford Meisner, who taught an instinct-based version of method acting. Although he's moved away from this trope over the years, he's still extremely committed to his roles whether he is given room to improvise (as in Thor: Ragnarok) or not (his work with Wes Anderson, in which he cannot change a single word — not even an article). As an example of how far he's capable of going for a role, for The Fly (1986) he regularly worked out with weights to achieve Seth's initial post-fusion physique and was able to do most of the start and endpoints of the acrobatic routines that were otherwise performed by doubles who were professional gymnasts. He also drank a great deal of coffee to achieve the "speedy little tempo rhythm" of a fly and even kept one in a plastic bag to observe its movements! And all of this was on top of the physical contortions and hours of makeup needed for the later stages of his Slow Transformation.
  • Milking the Giant Cow: His Verbal Tics are so famous that it's easy to overlook his dramatic, even extravagant, hand gestures both on and offscreen, to the point that the term "floating hands" is affectionately used in the fanbase. Sofia Boutella was disappointed that his character in Hotel Artemis was confined to a gurney at the time their scene together took place because it meant she wouldn't be able to watch him gesture in person!
  • Motor Mouth: Even if his given character isn't a Gibbering Genius, he may well be a fast talker. Such characters are often exposition-dumpers (Fay Grim), specialize in deception (Man of the Year), are trying to sell something (Harold Hill, some of his Portlandia characters), or are prone to being excitable/flustered (Jack Bellicec, Lionel Whitney in Tenspeed and Brown Shoe).
  • Mr. Fanservice: This article argues that his being a shining example of "geek sexiness" in sci-fi and horror filmmaking is one of the keys to his enduring popularity. His Shirtless Scene in Jurassic Park became one of its most famous images in The New '10s — to the point that it's inspired everything from a tongue-in-cheek oil painting to, in 2018, both a Funko Pop! limited edition figure and a giant statue placed near Tower Bridge in London! (It was also this page's image until September 2019.)
  • Must Have Caffeine: He used to be a downplayed example, often using coffee as an aid when working (particularly on The Fly (1986)). However, he gave it up in The New '10s, partially because he doesn't care for the taste. This is humorously explored in the "Coffee" episode of The World According to Jeff Goldblum.
  • Nerd Glasses: He is myopic and as the page image above shows, in The New '10s has turned to wearing the "chunky black frames" version of this trope, bearing in mind his Cloud Cuckoolander intellectualism. If he wants to get a really close look at something/someone, he may do a Glasses Pull (he's done this enough on Conan O'Brien's shows that it's been joked about).
  • Older Than They Look: His hair may have gone grey, but he still looks pretty good for someone born in 1952. In fact, the grey just made "Silver Fox" a popular descriptive term for him in the fanbase, though "Zaddy" (which has similar "attractive older man" connotations) is more commonly used.
  • Playing Against Type: invoked With his "type" being "eccentric intellectual with Motor Mouth" and/or a Tall, Dark, and Snarky member of an ensemble, it can be quite noticeable when he plays roles outside that mold. For instance, The Grand Budapest Hotel is notable for being one of the few films in which he does not stutter or have weird syllable emphasis at all, instead speaking in a very precise speech pattern full of Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness.
  • Puppy-Dog Eyes: When people comment about his "odd" appearance, beyond his height they're usually consciously or unconsciously referring to the way his eyes are, as described by film critic/podcaster Steven Benedict in an episode discussing The Fly (1986), naturally "slightly protruding". One reason that film served as his Star-Making Role was because his expressive eyes served so well as indications for his increasingly hideous character (in fact, one looks even larger [via a contact lens] in his final humanoid stage). During a 1987 Tonight Show interview, guest host/personal friend Garry Shandling had Geena Davis sit down with them as well, and quipped:
    See Jeff, you look in love...yeah, although you're looking at me, which is confusing! He has that, he has that look in his eyes, you know, like a dog gets when you save them from the Humane Society, that they just, you know...'Please take me home!' You know that look? That's what he has. You know, that kind of searching, distressed look.
  • Role Reprise: He returned as David Levinson in Independence Day: Resurgence and reprised his role as Dr. Ian Malcolm for two brief scenes in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. He also provides a voiceover as Malcolm in the video game Jurassic World: Evolution.
  • Running Gag:
    • "Must go faster." First appeared in Jurassic Park's famous Jeep chase scene, and was later incorporated into the climax of Independence Day at the director's request.
    • Many of his characters suffer from some sort of physical ailment, including nose bleeds, sea sickness, insomnia, motion sickness, air sickness, various allergies, dog allergies, and canine flu. In an extreme example his character in Adam Resurrected, a survivor of a Nazi death camp who subsequently lost his mental bearings, suffers from a variety of psychosomatic ailments (in particular spontaneous bleeding), perplexing the head doctor at the mental hospital he cycles in and out of.
    • The three regular TV roles he's had to date are all quirky detectives. Lionel Whitney of Tenspeed and Brown Shoe gives up his stockbroker job to open a detective agency and be the sort of hardboiled private eye he loves to read about; he's Adorkable but more than competent when it counts the most. Michael Raines solves murders by way of hallucinations of the victims. Zachary Nichols of Law and Order: Criminal Intent has a dry, often black sense of humor and keen talent for getting under the skin of suspects due to his understanding of psychology. On top of that, The World According to Jeff Goldblum is a documentary show that has him referring to himself as a detective, albeit one who investigates Serious Business.
    • He's also played a lot of writers, working in such fields as music criticism (Between the Lines), poetry, celebrity journalism, Lurid Tales of Doom (Transylvania 6-5000), screenwriting (Twisted Obsession and One of the Hollywood Ten), and essays (Le Week-End). Dr. Ian Malcolm has also had books published.
    • In interviews, etc. at any given moment he will bring up a movie and/or actor he likes/is reminded of. It happens about Once an Episode in The World According to Jeff Goldblum. (Seth Mac Farlanes Cavalcade Of Cartoon Comedy parodied this — years before his memetic reputation truly took off — in the "Jeff Goldblum Crackers" short, as the snack asks the eater if she's seen No Country for Old Men.)
  • "Sesame Street" Cred: Appeared as himself on the trope namer in 1990 as part of all-star versions of the songs "Monster in the Mirror" and "Sing" (the latter with Geena Davis, his wife at the time, as part of a tribute special to songwriter Joe Raposo). However, his best-known appearance on the show was as an original character that same year: Bob's Adventurer Archaeologist brother Minneapolis Johnson in "The Golden Cabbage of Snufertiti" street story.
  • Tall, Dark, and Handsome: At 6'4½", he's one of the tallest A-list actors in Hollywood, second only to Tim Robbins' and Vince Vaughn's 6'5". This plays into his sometimes being cast as...
  • Theme Naming: His two sons by his third/current wife Emilie Livingston are named Charlie Ocean and River Joe.
  • Verbal Tic: He tends to stutter and "um" and "uh" while speaking. Contrary to assumptions, this is not a speech impediment but an affectation known as fumfering. It still lends a bit of irony to casting him as Aaron, the brother of Moses, in The Prince of Egypt, as in the original book, Moses begs for Aaron to speak for him because he lacks his stutter.

"And, uh, like that, we didn't expect a troper to suddenly-suddenly reach the end of this page. Here I am now by myself, um, talking to myself. That's-that's Chaos Theory."

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