Actor/filmmaker Zach Braff reached the pinnacle of his career with the romantic comedy Garden State (2004), for which he served as the director, screenwriter, compilation soundtrack producer, and actor (played Andrew Largeman). Thanks to his brilliance, Braff won numerous awards, such as an Independent Spirit Award, a Chicago Film Critics Association Award, a National Board of Review Award, a Hollywood Film Festival’s Hollywood Discovery Award, as well as a Grammy Award for his soundtrack work.
For TV viewers, Braff may be famous as Dr. John “J.D.” Dorian, an intern in the now-airing sitcom “Scrubs” (show began in 2001), in which he was nominated for an Emmy and a Golden Globe. The voice of the titular character in Disney’s Chicken Little (2005) currently has several projects in the works, including Fast Track (2006, will star as Tom Reilly), 8 Track (2007, will co-write), and Open Hearts (2007, will serve as director, writer, co-producer and actor).
Apart from his ever-rising movie career, Braff apparently also directed several music videos, like Joshua Radin’s “Closer,” Cary Brothers’ “Ride,” Gavin DeGraw’s “Chariot” and Lazlo Bane’s “Superman.” Outside the limelight, Braff, who also appeared in an ESPN promotional ad, is a member of the Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity at Northwestern.
As for his romantic life, Braff once had a relationship with Garden State actress Bonnie Somerville (born on February 24, 1974, together while filming Garden State) and actress/musician Mandy Moore (born on April 10, 1984, from 2004 to 2006). Now, the actor/director reportedly is in a relationship with singer Jessica Simpson, although their representative denies the rumor.
Childhood and Family:
Born on April 6, 1975, in South Orange, New Jersey, Zachary Ivan Braff is the youngest of four children to Hal Braff (attorney) and Anne Braff Brodzinsky (clinical psychologist). His siblings are Adam J. Braff (writer), Joshua Braff (novelist) and Shoshanna Braff (fashion designer).
Little Zachary began a curiosity toward acting after watching his father work in a community theater. At age 11, he joined the children’s acting camp StageDoor Manor and met a talent manager who helped him begin a professional career. He then kicked off his acting career while attending Columbia High School in Maplewood. Continuing his studies, Zach graduated with a B.A. in Film from the Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.
18-year old Zach Braff appeared in Hollywood with an episodic appearance as David Cummings in the family series “The Baby-Sitters Club” (1993). The same year, he was also cast as Nick Lipton, the son of Woody Allen and Diane Keaton’s characters, in the crime comedy movie Manhattan Murder Mystery (1993). Acquiring a more prominent role, Braff starred as a chauvinist boy going undercover as a maid in the TV film My Summer As a Girl (1994, as Tony).
As a student of a film school, Braff made his first directing attempt with the 20-minute short film Lionel on a Sunday (1997). He then tried the stage and carried out the role of Fleance in the Public Theater’s production of “Macbeth” (1998), starring Angela Bassett and Alec Baldwin, before costarring as Wesley, opposite Heather Matarazzo, in the indie comedy drama Getting to Know You (1999). A year later, he was cast as party boy Benji in the gay-themed ensemble comedy The Broken Hearts Club: A Romantic Comedy (2000).
Braff quickly gained attention with his scene-stealing portrayal of fresh-faced intern Dr. John “J.D.” Dorian in the now-running medical sitcom “Scrubs” (show began in 2001), in which his fine performance brought home an Emmy and a Golden Globe nomination. Later, the actor also served as the director for some episodes of the hospital-set series, as well as performed two songs (“Faith” and “Down Under”) for the soundtrack. Outside his work in the sitcom, the actor also voiced two guest characters in the animated comedy series “Clone High” (2002, voiced X-Stream Mike and Paul Revere).
Among all of his screen work, it was the romantic comedy Garden State (2004) that became his groundbreaking effort. Serving as the director, screenwriter and the actor (starred as Andrew Largeman), Braff excelled and received many awards, like a Chicago Film Critics Association and a National Board of Review for Best New Director, a Central Ohio Film Critics for Breakthrough Film Artist, an Independent Spirit for Best First Feature, a Hollywood Film Festival’s Hollywood Discovery award for Breakthrough Directing, and a Florida Film Critics Circle’s Pauline Kael Breakout award. Additionally, his task as a compilation producer for the movie soundtrack brought him a Grammy for Best Compilation Soundtrack Album. Adding to the list of critical applause, he was nominated for the 2004 Sundance Film Festival’s Grand Jury Prize, a Writers Guild of America’s Best Screenplay, and an Independent Spirit’s Best First Screenplay.
Braff next entertained younger audiences by voicing the titular character of a secluded chicken facing an alien family in Disney’s animated feature Chicken Little (2005). He also re-voiced the chicken character for video game Kingdom Hearts II (2005), which also featured the voice of Haley Joel Osment, Jesse McCartney, Mena Suvari, Rachael Leigh Cook and many more. Recently, he played Micheal in the romantic drama The Last Kiss (2006).
The actor is assigned to star as Tom Reilly, the husband of Amanda Peet’s character, in the comedy drama Fast Track (2006) and will take on the duty of executive producer and screenwriter for Andrew Henry’s Meadow (2006). Braff, who reportedly will play Irwin Fletcher in Fletch Won (2007, a prequel to the 1985 hit movie Fletch), will co-write the action comedy drama 8 Track (2007), with Shawn Corridan.
Braff will also resume his directing efforts with Open Hearts (2007), the remake of a Danish film centering on two couples whose lives are intertwined after a car crash. Aside from directing, the actor will also write, co-produce, and take the lead role.