Whether it’s blockbusters like Independence Day or his role as Marc’s dad Larry on Maron, Judd Hirsch has done it all, becoming one of the most recognizable actors of our time. With Larry joining Marc on his post-rehab amends tour this week, we thought we’d look back at just a few of our favorite roles from Judd Hirsch’s nearly five decades in entertainment.
5. John Lacey, Dear John
’80s kids likely remember this show’s catchy theme song (listen to it above and try not to sing along) which still pops into our head when we least expect it. The story of a divorcee who seeks solace in the arms of a support group for lonely people, Dear John ran for four seasons on NBC, including a couple where it followed Cheers on the Peacock Network’s once powerhouse Thursday night line-up. It’s best remembered today for a solid ensemble that included Hirsch and Breaking Bad‘s Jere Burns. And for that theme song, which we will be humming even on our death beds.
4. Julius Levinson, Independence Day/Independence Day: Resurgence
Has there ever been a less likely action movie star than lapsed rabbi Julius Levinson, back in theaters this summer after a 20-year hiatus? With his kvetching and parental concern in the midst of an alien invasion, Hirsch stands out by providing humor and heart in a pair of movies in dire need of both. Somehow, he manages to take a Jackie Mason impression and imbue it with enough humanity to hold his own against citywide explosions and Will Smith one-liners.
3. Larry, Maron
As Marc’s estranged former doctor dad who now peddles homemade erection pills, Hirsch’s Larry Maron helps connect the dots on why our neurotic hero has turned out the way he has. Playing Maron Sr. as a RV-dwelling womanizer who only visits when he needs something, Hirsch is clearly having the time of his life on the show, even if Marc isn’t. But then again, who wants to see happy Marc?
2. Bill Herndon, Damages
As Bill Herndon, a former high powered lawyer who’s sunk into depression and addiction since being disbarred, Hirsch got one of the meatiest roles of his career. The part was originally envisioned as a guest star, but once the showrunners saw the sparks Hirsch was bringing, they kept writing more and more for his character.
1. Alex Reiger, Taxi
The role that made him a household name, Hirsch’s Alex Reiger was the pragmatic center of the classic sitcom Taxi that all the other oddballs and weirdoes circled around. The protagonist of a true ensemble, Reiger wasn’t as flamboyant as dopey Tony, stoned Revered Jim or sweet natured foreigner Latka. But with his heart, compassion and killer deadpan, playing Alex would help win Hirsch two Emmys.
Check out a scene from this week’s brand new Maron below: