Forgetting Sarah Marshall
First gaining notice from TV audiences as Nick on Judd Apatow’s acclaim series “Freaks and Geeks” (1999-2000), from which he picked up a Young Artist nomination, American talented comic actor Jason Segel was soon on his way to achieving stardom thanks to his partnership with the noted producer/writer/director. Segel rejoined Apatow in the short-lived “Undeclared” (2001-2002). He received a major boost to his career with his memorable supporting role in the Seth Rogen blockbuster “Knocked Up” (2007). He received further recognition as the star of the comedy “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” (2008), which he also wrote. For his fine acting job, Segel received a Teen Choice nomination. Aside from being a regular member of the Apatow repertory company, the 6' 4” performer is famous for his work on the CBS sitcom “How I Met Your Mother” (2005-present, as Marshall Eriksen) and the movie “I Love You, Man” (2009, opposite Paul Rudd). He will star in the upcoming films “Gulliver's Travels” and “Despicable Me” (both 2010).
Segel had dated actress Linda Cardellini for several years.
Childhood and Family:
Jason Jordan Segel was born on January 18, 1980, in Los Angeles, California. The middle child of three, he was raised in Pacific Palisades, California, with his older brother Adam and younger sister Alison. There, he frequently acted in plays staged at the Palisades Playhouse. Jason graduated from Harvard-Westlake School, the same school attended by Jake Gyllenhaal. An accomplished basketball player, he helped his school's basketball team win a state competition in California. When he was young, Jason idolized James Dean and Robert DeNiro.
Jason is a huge fan of Disney and Disney theme parks. He also loves puppets. He plays the piano and enjoys listening to reggae and classic rock music. Jason is Jewish.
“Yeah, I've just loved puppets since I was a little kid. I remember watching the old ‘Muppet Show’ and seeing like Peter Sellers on there and Dudley Moore and thinking, 'This is what I want to do when I get older.' And so I've had Muppet and puppets in my house my whole life and so when I got to do this movie and have the Henson Company design our puppets, it was truly a dream come true. And then to parlay that into writing the new Muppet movie with Nick the director is basically, it's a little boy's dream come true.” Jason Segel
How I Met Your Mother
As a teenager, Jason Segel appeared in local theater productions at the Palisades Playhouse and moved to the big screen and television in the late 1990s. His first film roles were in “Dead Man on Campus” (1998), a comedy directed by Alan Cohn, and “Can't Hardly Wait” (1998), which starred Jennifer Love Hewitt, Lauren Ambrose and Seth Green. He then received the role Mike in the James Merendino-directed comedy “SLC Punk” (also 1998), opposite Matthew Lillard, Michael A. Goorjian, Annabeth Gish, Devon Sawa and Adam Pascal, and appeared with Kelsey Grammer in the independent film “New Jersey Turnpikes” (1999), which was helmed by Bryan Buckley.
In 1999, Segel made a promising TV debut in the Judd Apatow-produced new comedy series “Freaks and Geeks,” where he was cast in the costarring role of Nick Andropolis, an aspiring drummer. Debuting on September 25 on NBC, the show received praise from critics and won an Emmy for Outstanding Casting for a Comedy Series. However, it was canceled after only 12 episodes. After strong protests from fans, the NBC network broadcasted three more episodes in July 2000. For his work on the series, Segel earned a Young Artist nomination for Best Performance in a TV Series - Young Ensemble, a nomination he shared with costars like John Francis Daley, James Franco, Samm Levine, Seth Rogen and Linda Cardellini. Segel and Cardellini had also previously worked together in “Dead Man on Campus” and would later be reunited on “How I Met Your Mother” and other projects. They were also romantically linked for several years.
After “Freaks and Geeks” left the airwaves, Segel was reunited with Apatow for the unsold pilot “North Hollywood” (2001) for ABC, and then on the comedy series “Undeclared” (Fox, 2001-2002). On the show, he played the recurring role of Eric, the belligerent and obsessive former boyfriend of Lizzie Exley (played by Carla Gallo). Apart from Segel, “Undeclared” also rejoined many other actors from “Freaks and Geeks,” such as Seth Rogen and Samm Levine.
Segel returned to films with “Slackers” (2002), where he starred as a swindle artist named Sam Schechter. Among his costars in the comedy were Devon Sawa, Michael C. Maronna, Jason Schwartzman and Jaime King. He was then cast in the Cannes Film Festival-premiered “11:14” (2003), alongside Hilary Swank, Colin Hanks, Patrick Swayze and Rachael Leigh Cook, and as a janitor in the 18-minute short “Certainly Not a Fairytale” (2003), which was directed by Vivi Friedman and written by Deborah Hewett Elson.
After starring in the unaired pilot “Harry Green and Eugene” (2004), Segel was cast in “LolliLove” (2004), directed, co-written and starring Jenna Fischer. Also in 2004, he took time off from comedy to play the recurring role of Neil Jansen in three episodes of CBS' “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.” The next year, he made a guest appearance in one episode of the J.J. Abrams-created action series “Alias” and teamed up with Nathan Stevens, Cameron Richardson and Jorge Garcia for the high school film “The Good Humor Man” (2005), which was written and directed by Tenney Fairchild.
Segel returned to series TV as a regular character in the CBS sitcom “How I Met Your Mother.” Debuting on September 19, 2005, the show also starred Neil Patrick Harris and Alyson Hannigan and became a hit. It currently is in season four (2009).
Segel next appeared with Benjamin Bryan, Seymour Cassel, Ted Danson and Lolita Davidovich in the short “Bye Bye Benjamin” (2006), but it was his next film project that really launched his film career. He received the role of Jason in the successful comedy “Knocked Up” (2007), which was directed and written by Judd Apatow and starred Seth Rogen and Katherine Heigl. The film debuted at No. 2 at the U.S. box office and has grossed over $148 million domestically and over $70 million worldwide. The film also earned primarily positive reviews from critics and has been hailed as the best Judd Apatow work since “Freaks & Geek.”
Following the success of “Knocked Up,” Segel graduated to a leading role in the Apatow-produced “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” (2008), which he also wrote. In the movie, he starred as Peter Bretter, a composer who takes a Hawaii vacation to recover from his recent break-up with his girlfriend Sarah (played by Kristen Bell). He was nominated for a 2008 Teen Choice in the category of Choice Movie Breakout Male for his work in the film. Like “Knocked Up,” the romantic comedy also did well at the box office by grossing more than $105 million with an original budget of $30 million.
Recently, Segel costarred with Paul Rudd in the John Hamburg-helmed comedy “I Love You, Man.” It opened No.2 at the box office and has grossed over $58 million.
As for his upcoming project, Segel will star with Emily Blunt, Jack Black, James Corden and Catherine Tate in the comedy “Gulliver's Travels,” which is slated for a 2010 release. Rob Letterman is set to direct the film. The 29-year-old actor is also scheduled to do voice-over work for the animated film “Despicable Me,” which will be released in 2010 as well. The film will also star the voices of Will Arnett, Steve Carrel and Julie Andrews.