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Matthew Broderick (born March 21, 1962) is a Tony Award-winning American film and stage actor who is perhaps best known for his role as the title character in Ferris Bueller's Day Off. He also received considerable acclaim for his role as Leo Bloom in The Producers.
Broderick's first major acting role came in a role in an HB Studio workshop production of playwright Horton Foote's On Valentine's Day, playing opposite his father James, who was a friend of Foote's. This was followed by a lead role in the off-Broadway production of Harvey Fierstein's Torch Song Trilogy; a good review by New York Times theater critic Mel Gussow brought him to the attention of Broadway. Broderick commented on the effects of that review in a 2004 60 Minutes II interview:
" Before I knew it, I was like this guy in a hot play. And suddenly all these doors opened. And it's only because Mel Gussow happened to come by right before it closed and happened to like it. It's just amazing. All these things have to line up that are out of your control. "
He followed that with the role of Eugene Morris Jerome in two Neil Simon plays: Brighton Beach Memoirs and Biloxi Blues, both plays are part of what is known as the "Eugene Trilogy" . His first movie role was also written by Neil Simon. Broderick debuted in Max Dugan Returns (1983). His first big hit film was WarGames, a summer hit in 1983. Broderick auditioned for the role of Alex P. Keaton on the NBC sitcom Family Ties and was offered the role, but he had to turn it down because of his movie schedule. Broderick then got the role as the charming, clever slacker in Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Broderick, who in real life was in his mid 20s, played a high school student who, with his girlfriend and best friend, explores Chicago while avoiding the clutches of the dean of students, who is eager to catch Bueller in the act. The movie remains an 80s comedy favorite today. In 1989's Glory Broderick received good notices for his portrayal of the American Civil War hero Robert Gould Shaw in a script largely written by his mother.
Broderick in the 1990s took two dark comedy roles. The first was that of a bachelor who attracts the friendship of an insane and lonely cable repairman (played by Jim Carrey) in The Cable Guy. The second was that of an Omaha high school teacher determined to stop an overachieving student (played by Reese Witherspoon) from becoming class president in Alexander Payne's Election. Election had also been a coming-of-age role for Broderick; his fans from Ferris Bueller's Day Off noted that where Broderick played a popular student who took an easygoing approach to school, in Election he played a popular teacher who is trying to convince students there is more to education than simply grades and looking good for college admission boards.
Broderick returned to Broadway as a musical star in the 1990s, most notably his Tony Award winning performance in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and his Tony Award nominated performance in the Mel Brooks' stage version of The Producers in 2001. He also continues to make feature films, including the 2005 adaptation of The Producers. Broderick played the role of Leopold "Leo" Bloom, an accountant who co-produces a musical designed to fail, but which turns out to be successful. In "The Producers" Broderick sings several songs, both alone and with other characters.
Broderick reunited with his co-star from The Lion King and The Producers, Nathan Lane, in The Odd Couple, which opened on Broadway in October 2005. He has won two Tony Awards, one in 1983 for his featured role in the play Brighton Beach Memoirs, and one in 1995 for his leading role in the musical How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. He was also nominated for The Producers, but lost to co-star Nathan Lane.
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