Oh, Paul Rudd. Where to even begin? Since the moment audiences laid eyes on him as Josh in Clueless, the world hasn’t been able to get enough of Paul Rudd’s rugged charm.
Despite having played characters that range from unhinged to silly whenever you think of Paul Rudd you can’t help but smile, right? Seriously, I challenge you to find someone who doesn’t smile at the thought of him: Hollywood’s “Mr. Good Guy.”
Yet somehow, it has gone largely unnoted that Rudd is not just Hollywood’s nice guy. He’s Hollywood’s ultimate nice Jewish boy.
Unpacked shared an image of Rudd on Father’s Day and some people were shook that he’s Jewish.
“Omg how did I not know this by now,” one user commented on a recent Tik Tok.
Here’s Paul Rudd setting the record straight:
He’s not a practicing Jew. He’s “perfected it.” Could he be any more iconic?
Here are 13 more fun facts about Paul Rudd and his Jewish identity:
He is the son of English-born Ashkenazi Jewish parents
His grandparents were Jewish immigrants who moved to London from Belarus, Poland and Russia.
He once sent in an interview: “Oh yeah, I went to synagogue. I know what it’s like to look for matzoh. I know the culture and I know the food. I know what a Haggadah is!”
He (mostly) grew up in Kansas
Rudd was born in Passaic, New Jersey and moved to Lenexa, Kansas, when he was 10.
His family moved around a lot growing up because of his father’s occupation. Michael Rudd, who passed away in 2008, was the vice-president of Trans World Airlines.
Rudd is short for…
Like so many Jewish families, Paul Rudd’s last name was shortened when his family left Europe. On his father’s side, the original family last name was Rudnitsky (changed by his grandfather to Rudd). His mother’s last name was originally Goldstein before it was changed to Granville.
Naturally, 13 year-old Paul Rudd had a Bar Mitzvah
Strangely, however, his Bar Mitzvah was held in Ontario, Canada.
“I technically became a man in Canada,” he said in an interview. He had family in Ontario and didn’t want to drag them out to Kansas City.
He’s a theater major
He majored in theater at the University of Kansas where he was also a member of the Sigma Nu fraternity. Rudd later studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and spent three months at the British American Drama Academy in Oxford.
“I did a play many years ago [in 1997] called The Last Night at Ballyhoo, which was a new play at the time, about Eastern European Jews and the anti-Semitism they faced by German Jews in the South. Alfred Uhry, the playwright, became somewhat of a surrogate father to me in New York. And every seder at Alfred’s house he would say, ‘You know, if you are Jewish, it almost doesn’t even matter how religious you are. If you’re Jewish, it’s just in the marrow of your bones.’ We have a lineage that is so many thousands of years old, that you just relate. It is a tribe; it’s like, ‘Oh, yeah, that’s my team,’ and I feel that for sure.”
While attending acting school, he worked many ‘odd jobs’ including as a Bat Mitzvah DJ
Check out this insanely wholesome footage of him limboing:
In typical Jewish fashion, he copes with humor
“I always felt a little bit like an outsider [growing up Jewish in the Bible Belt] not only because I was Jewish, but because my parents are European,” he said in an interview. “I didn’t go to a school where there were a bunch of Jewish kids, and I realized growing up that my way of not getting beaten up was to try and make people laugh — and to deal with any kind of trauma was to make people laugh. That’s still at work; it’s still very much part of my psyche. I did kind of realize at a young age that if I made Jewish jokes about myself, that a lot of kids in my school would laugh, like harder than other stuff. I never quite realized that maybe that was a little messed up.”
He definitely considers himself a member of the tribe.
“My whole family is Jewish; my wife, Julie, is Jewish – there isn’t anyone in my family who isn’t Jewish,” he’s said. “I was Bar Mitzvah-ed Reform, we were pretty laid back, but it’s like, oh yeah, I went to synagogue.”
Playwright Alfred Uhry was “somewhat of a surrogate father” to him in New York
“Every seder at Alfred’s house he would say, ‘You know, if you are Jewish, it almost doesn’t even matter how religious you are. If you’re Jewish, it’s just in the marrow of your bones.’ We have a lineage that is so many thousands of years old, that you just relate. It is a tribe; it’s like, ‘Oh, yeah, that’s my team,’ and I feel that for sure,” Rudd told the Jewish Journal.
He’s played many Jewish characters on-screen
Most recently, it was announced that he will play Dr. Isaac “Ike” Herschkopf, the psychiatrist in an 8-part series titled The Shrink Next Door alongside Will Ferrell. The series is based on a 2019 podcast about a Jewish psychiatrist on the Upper West Side of Manhattan who takes control of the life of one of his Jewish patients.
He doesn’t actually like being called nice
“Everybody is complex. I’m not a very public person. I think people should be generally nice to each other. But I’m probably not as nice as everybody might think,” he said in an interview with Elle. In This Is 40, I was doing a scene with Leslie Mann. It was a lot of improvisation. And I said, “Everybody thinks I’m so nice, but I’m really such a dick.” I said that knowing my wife would find particular pleasure in it.”
He was considered by many to be “the 7th friend” on Friends
Mike, played by Rudd, was the final love interest of Lisa Kudrow’s character, Phoebe Buffay. The couple was quirky and adorable. That’s why fans were not happy when Rudd was missing from the Friends Reunion special, which aired in May of 2021.
He doesn’t have any social media
“I don’t need things in my life to distract me from my life. As my world gets bigger, I try to keep it smaller,” he said.
Originally Published Jun 25 2021 09:33AM EDT