See "Taxi" Star Judd Hirsch Now at 86
He won two Emmys for playing Alex Reiger on the classic sitcom.
In 1978, a sitcom about a group of New York City cabbies premiered and went on to become a huge success, running for five seasons and winning 13 Emmys. Taxi featured an ensemble cast of actors whose performances were all acclaimed: Marilu Henner, Jeff Conaway, Andy Kaufman, Danny DeVito, Tony Danza, Christopher Lloyd, Carol Kane, and, of course, Judd Hirsch as career driver Alex Reiger. Two of the show's Emmys belong to Hirsch, who was nominated five times for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series. At 86, the actor has continued to steadily work, both onscreen and on stage. He's reflected on his time on the now-classic sitcom, as well. Read on to find out about Hirsch's life today.
Judd Hirsch wasn't even sure he wanted to do Taxi.
Hirsch was courted for the role of Alex by legendary producer James L. Brooks, but it wasn't an easy sell on Brooks' part. Though he had played roles in TV movies and shows like Rhoda, the actor still thought his future was on Broadway. "I didn't think television was for me," Hirsch told Closer Weekly in 2018. "I had just become a father and wanted to concentrate on the stage. I was 40, and thought maybe the series would last two years."
Luckily, Brooks, who had seen Hirsch in a Neil Simon play, was able to convince him to take on the key role. The rest is TV comedy history.
He's never stopped working.
When Taxi went off the air, Hirsch was a famous face in his late 40s. During and after the show, he appeared in films including Ordinary People, for which he scored an Oscar nomination, Running on Empty, Independence Day, A Beautiful Mind, and Uncut Gems. He returned to the character of Alex for a cameo in the 1999 Kaufman biopic Man in Moon, which starred Jim Carrey as his enigmatic former co-star. As for TV, he's starred in other sitcoms, from Dear John in the late 1980s to Superior Donuts in the late 2010s, and made appearances in everything from Hunters to The Big Bang Theory.
Hirsch didn't give up his passion for the stage, either. He has two Tony Awards for Best Actor in a Play, one for 1988's I'm Not Rappaport, and another for 1992's Conversations with My Father.
Being in his mid-80s hasn't slowed the actor down one bit. His IMDB profile currently lists four movies in post-production, including The Fabelmans, an autobiographical movie Steven Spielberg is making about his own childhood.
He's a father of three.
Hirsch married his first wife, Elisa Sadaune, in 1963 and welcomed a son, Alex, with her before they split in 1967. In 1992, he and designer Bonni Sue Chalkin got married. Though they divorced in 2005, they share two kids, daughter Montana and son London. Hirsch is now married to fellow actor, Kathryn Danielle, though it's not clear exactly when they walked down the aisle.
While it doesn't seem like they were ever serious, Hirsch also dated Taxi co-star Henner when they were working together on the show. It was long rumored, probably because their characters had a will-they-won't-they dynamic, but in 2018, Henner confirmed the gossip to Closer.
"Within three weeks, Tony Danza and I were dating," she said. "I mean, c'mon! Oh, and I dated Judd Hirsch, too, the same year. Why not? There were 77 guys on set and me! You think I wasn't going to date at least two of them in five years? Please!"
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He's reunited with his Taxi co-stars over the years.
Kaufman and Conaway passed in 1984 and 2011, respectively, but the remaining Taxi ensemble members have reunited over the years. In 2016, they got together as part of an NBC special to honor Burrows. In 2018, they celebrated the 40th anniversary of Taxi through various appearances and interviews. And in 2020, during the COVID shutdown, they reunited virtually for the webseries Stars in the House, which raises money for the Actors Fund.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter in 2018, the cast talked about the parties they would throw every week after they filmed the latest episode in front of a studio audience.
"We all wanted to have something to do after the show because we didn't want to go home," Hirsch said of his castmates. "We wanted to be together more than anything else."