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Hank Albert Azaria (born April 25, 1964 in Queens, New York) is a four-time Emmy Award-winning American actor, comedian and voice artist.
Azaria is most famous for his voice work on the animated television show The Simpsons. He has provided the voices for over 160 characters on the show including those of Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, Moe Szyslak, Police Chief Clancy Wiggum, Comic Book Guy, Cletus the Slack-Jawed Yokel, Duffman, Professor Frink, Dr. Nick Riviera, Lou, Snake, Kirk Van Houten, the Sea Captain, Superintendent Chalmers. He provided the voices of Gabbo, Legs, Akira, Luigi, Doug, Raphael ("Wiseguy"), Pyro, Drederick Tatum, Dean Peterson, Frank Grimes, Shelbyville Milhouse, Knightboat and Arthur Fortune. Azaria says he based Moe Szyslak's voice on Al Pacino, who has the same birthday as Azaria. Officer Lou sounds like Sylvester Stallone, Chief Wiggum is based on Edward G. Robinson, Apu is based on Peter Sellers' character Hrundi V Bakshi in The Party, and Dr. Nick Riviera is "a bad Ricky Ricardo impression". The voice of Snake Jailbird is based on an old roommate from college who would speak in the same style as the character (integrating "woah" and "like" into every sentence) when describing his drug experiences. Hank based one of his geekier characters, Comic Book Guy, on another college roommate who was called F and spoke in a manner similar to Comic Book Guy. It's been speculated the roommate was actor Oliver Platt. Professor Frink is based on Jerry Lewis's performance in the original The Nutty Professor.
He also provided the voice of Eddie Brock/Venom in the Spider-Man animated series of the mid-1990s.
He has also appeared in movies such as Godzilla, The Birdcage, Mystery Men, America's Sweethearts and Heat and on television starring as psychiatrist Craig "Huff" Huffstodt in Huff, which was broadcast on Showtime in the US and FX in the UK. Earlier in his career, he appeared in Herman's Head as Jay Nichols, in The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, where he appeared in a season one episode as cop Jerry and on Friends where he played the recurring character David, one of Phoebe's boyfriends. His first appearance was in the 10th ever episode, and his final appearance was over 200 episodes later when he finally managed to propose to Phoebe in Barbados. He left the show after getting turned down. He also had a recurring role on Mad About You as Nat, the dogwalker. In 2002, he was given his own sitcom, Imagine That. It was cancelled after only two episodes had aired.
Azaria has also shown his talents on stage. In 2003 he appeared in London's West End as Bernard in Sexual Perversity in Chicago. Matthew Perry and Minnie Driver also starred. Other movies he has played minor characters in include Along Came Polly and Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story.
He also appeared as Sir Lancelot, the French Taunter, and other characters in the musical version of Monty Python and the Holy Grail entitled Spamalot which opened in Chicago in December 2004 and has since moved to Broadway. He took a break from the show in June of 2005 to work on Huff and The Simpsons (his role was filled by Alan Tudyk), and returned in December 2005. In 2005, he was nominated for the Tony Award for "Best Actor in a Musical" for his work in Spamalot. In a news interview, Azaria admitted that, during his performances of Spamalot, he has a hard time holding in laughter on stage throughout the show. His secret is to carry keys in his costume and painfully jab himself (unnoticeable to the audience) to stop from breaking character mid-performance. "It really hurts..." he jokes in the interview.
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