“Life, uh, finds a way.”—Jeff Goldblum as Dr. Ian Malcolm in Jurassic Park.
Jeff Goldblum is likely best known for his appearances in the Jurassic Park series, but he’s also had memorable turns as Seth Brundle in The Fly, as David Levinson in Independence Day, and as the Grandmaster in Thor: Ragnarok, among many others. There’s something about Goldblum’s presence, both onscreen and off, that seems to attract attention and reverence in a way that’s similar to a beloved star like Bill Murray. Goldblum’s Hollywood presence stretches back to the ‘70s, so there’s a lot that many fans might not know about his life and lengthy career. Here are 42 suave facts about Jeff Goldblum.
Aside from acting, Goldblum isn’t bad on the piano. He’s has been playing jazz piano since he was in his teens and has been performing jazz shows since the 1990s, but his first album, The Capital Studio Sessions, was recently released on November 9, 2018.
Goldblum has now performed at venues such as London’s Cadogan Hall. The album came about “organically” as Goldblum and his band, the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra, began playing and gaining more attention. The album features Goldlbum singing on some of the tunes, like the duet he does with Sarah Silverman on “Me and My Shadow.”
41. Red Carpet
Goldblum has gained some attention off-screen for his fashion choices, having been deemed a “fashion icon.” Goldblum didn’t get much fashion attention back in the ‘90s but it appears that his taste only gets better with age. Goldblum even won InStyle’s 2018 Man of Style title. Keep upping your game, Goldblum.
Goldblum credits his style to his wife, Canadian Olympic gymnast Emilie Livingston, who he says has “impeccable taste with what she wears.” Goldblum also credits the work of stylist Andrew Verroto, who went through his closet and gave him style suggestions back in 2014.
40. Just Wing It
Most of Goldblum’s work in Thor: Ragnarok was the result of improv. Goldblum credits director Taika Waititi for how well his scenes came out, saying Waititi’s improv and editing skills helped to bring the best out of him. Each scene was filmed about 10 times, with Goldblum giving Waititi a different interpretation of the scene each time.
39. Da Vinci
Goldblum’s busy schedule stretching from 2017 to present, including Independence Day: Resurgence, and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is sometimes referred to as the “Goldblumaissance.”
Goldblum recognizes that every actor has a “coming and going” and he believes he is “lucky” to be getting “nourishment” at the moment. He also theorizes that his kids might have brought him some good luck.
Jeff Goldblum’s acting teacher, Sandy Meisner of the Neighborhood Playhouse, has had some other distinguished pupils, including Steve McQueen, Naomi Watts, Sandra Bullock and Jeff Bridges.
Goldblum lives by Sandy’s doctrine: “It takes 20 years to even call yourself an actor, and then a lifetime to get better.”
37. Can You Keep a Secret?
By the time he was ten, Goldblum knew he wanted to be an actor. However, he was reluctant to share this “romantic” desire with his family or anyone he knew growing up in Pittsburgh. It wasn’t until Goldblum left home and headed to New York that he truly embraced trying to become an actor. He also says he might have made a full-time career of jazz piano if acting didn’t work out, or possibly teaching.
36. All Natural
Jeff Goldblum is known for playing characters that are somewhat offbeat or “quirky.” Some of that may be the writing, but a big part of it is his own personality. Goldblum knew early on that he didn’t want his quirkiness to hold him back in Hollywood so he was quick to embrace it and put a stamp on his characters.
35. It Was a Good Day
Goldblum made his stage debut when he was 18 years old, while studying at the Neighborhood Playhouse. His first performance was in a chorus for Two Gentlemen of Verona. He also admitted that he lost his virginity that night. Some of the cast and crew had dinner after the show, and Goldblum hooked up with an older woman who worked in the costume department.
34. Close Call
One of Goldblum’s most iconic roles, that of Dr. Ian Malcolm in Jurassic Park, nearly didn’t happen. Spielberg was considering cutting Malcolm out of the film. The director was considering merging the characters of Dr. Alan Grant and Dr. Malcolm, likely as a way to save screen time. Spielberg arranged a meeting with Goldblum to advise him of the possible change, but it was actually Goldblum’s personality that convinced him to keep Malcolm in the film.
Goldblum got his first jobs playing jazz piano when he was 14 years old. The young teen showed some initiative by locking himself in the family study and calling every cocktail lounge in Pittsburgh. He would use his “most adult voice” and say he was calling about a piano gig. Most would advise him he was mistaken, but some were open to having someone play. The strategy worked, and he ended up playing at a few different local cocktail lounges.
32. Don’t Want to Miss a Thing
If you caught an Aerosmith show back in 1994, you might have seen Jeff Goldblum on stage with them. Goldblum and his friend Tom Arnold were filming Nine Months at the time. Arnold was close friends with the band members, and Goldblum had met them a year prior on Saturday Night Live. Arnold arranged for a helicopter to bring he and Goldblum to the concert, where they got backstage passes. Near the end of the show, Steven Tyler let Goldblum take over the keyboard and play a few songs.
31. Counter Culture
Goldblum doesn’t drink alcohol or caffeine anymore, but he was pretty adventurous back in the day. His parents smoked, and his mother even grew it in their backyard at one point. Goldblum remembers trying it for the first time with his brother, who was “kind of a hippy.”
The actor has also admitted to trying a few other substances a handful of times, but his forays into that type of fun ended in 1971.
Since then, he has only used grass a few times, but admits he is sensitive to it and doesn’t like it much. Goldblum would also drink before his early performances—usually a shot—to calm his nerves, but cut that habit out decades ago.
30. Draw Me Like…
Fans may remember the scene in Jurassic Park where an injured Dr. Malcolm is laying down with his shirt open, hitting the camera with a come hither look. The pose and clothing was recreated for a statue erected near London’s Tower Bridge. The 25-foot statue was a tribute to Jurassic Park’s 25-year anniversary. It was displayed during July 2018, with the display ending July 19. Goldblum has admitted he “gets a kick” out of it.
Goldblum has said that what he values most, as a celebrity, are the moments he gets to share with his jazz audiences. Goldblum will often go to each table and greet guests personally before a show, and thank them for their attendance. He seeks to break down the barrier between performer and audience and create a “communion.”
28. Bad and Bougee
Goldblum met Quavo of Migos in January when the two were shopping at Yves Saint Laurent.
Goldblum was “very thrilled” to meet Quavo and has said he is open to doing a musical collab with the group so maybe we’ll have a jazz/rap album coming out sometime.
27. Life Finds a Way
Goldblum is open to doing more Jurassic Park/World films, realizing that it all hinges on what the writers and directors come up with. However, he has also said that he could end his Jurassic Park career satisfied at this point.
Although Hollywood might be viewed as a hostile and competitive place, Goldblum views it as a safe haven. He was bullied growing up and feels like Hollywood offers an arena for “freedom and expression, not hostility.”
25. Animal Whisperer
Filming for The Fly required some live baboons, which made director David Cronenberg uncomfortable, due to their strength and size. However, Cronenberg felt like Goldblum’s physique led the baboons to treat Goldblum with respect and affection.
In particular, Cronenberg recalls one of the baboons getting spooked by flashing lights and breaking the door off one of the telepods. Cronenberg and the baboon wrangler (yes, that’s a real job) credit Goldblum for being able to dominate the baboon and de-escalate the situation.
24. No. 2
One of Goldblum’s odd jobs was selling office supplies to correctional facilities. Goldblum fell ill while working at the job, and saw that as a sign that he would stick to auditions and continue trying to become an actor.
23. Mad Genius
Despite being a fashion icon, Goldblum has now played two different characters who wear the same outfit every day. Seth Brundle (The Fly) and Ian Malcolm (Jurassic Park) both wear the same outfits every day in order to save time when it comes to picking their clothes in the morning.
22. First Time
Emma Thompson can vividly recall her first sex scene, filmed with Goldblum in The Tall Guy. Thompson can vividly recall “shagging on the piano” and having toast stuck to her rear-end at one point; experiences she recalled on the podcast My Dad Wrote a Porno. When the movie came out, the scene did earn some unexpected respect from the Campaign Against Pornography since the campaign appreciated the humor of the scene.
21. Cool as Ice
Goldblum credits his early jazz piano performances for helping his nerves on camera. Goldblum never felt nervous performing piano, since he views it as an activity he does for fun, and he was able to transfer that confidence over to his acting.
20. Singing in the Shower
Since Goldblum wanted to keep his acting desires a secret, the only place he wrote his wish down was the shower. When the steam built enough to write on the glass shower, Goldblum would write “Please God, let me be an actor.”
19. Didn’t Think This Through
Goldblum suggested that his real-life girlfriend, Geena Davis, star alongside him in The Fly. Director David Cronenberg was hesitant but was convinced after seeing Davis read her lines. Goldblum’s plan backfired when he was forced to watch his girlfriend film a steamy scene with John Gets. He was ultimately removed from the set so that his reaction wouldn’t interfere with the scene.
18. Nailed It
Goldblum got spliced with a fly in The Fly, so a fan asked Goldblum what animal he would want to be spliced with in real life. Goldblum, in typical Goldblum fashion, responded that he would splice himself with a dolphin. Goldblum also added that he would be called Surf Goldblum.
What’s your favorite Jurassic Park meme? Goldblum has his nailed down. He loves the edited video where Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill) is resting on Goldblum’s chest and is “riding the waves of my breath.” In the original video, Grant’s head is resting on a triceratops’ stomach.
16. Professor Goldblum
Goldblum co-founded Playhouse West, an acting school, with Robert Carnegie in 1981. Goldblum later became a teacher at the school, with Jim Carrey being one of his most famous pupils.
15. Book Club
Goldblum never watches his own films, which is probably why he reads a lot. His favorite books include 100 Years of Solitude, The Catcher in the Rye, The Power of Now, The Great Gatsby and American Pastoral. Goldblum had a copy of The Great Gatsby with him on his first date with his wife, and he ended up reading some of it aloud to her at a restaurant.
Nowadays, Goldblum mainly uses sleep to keep himself well rested and youthful. However, there was a period where he and his wife would do juice cleanses for a week at a time, and Goldblum claims he grew tired of them since they would turn his excrement orange.
13. Silver Screen
Aside from his work on film and onstage, Goldblum has also ventured into TV. He received an Emmy nomination for his 2005 guest-starring role on Will & Grace, and then went on to star in Law & Order: Criminal Intent in 2009.
Goldblum’s distinct delivery, which often has pauses and a slow delivery, can be traced back to his role in 1978’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers. One of Goldblum’s lines was “I never thought they would come in metal ships.” The line came out as “I-I-I-I never thought they would come in… metal ships.” The director liked the take and Goldblum was then convinced that he’d found a good rhythm for himself.
Goldblum’s personality has led some writers and directors to basically ask him to play himself on screen, such as his role in Thor: Ragnarok. Director Taiti Waititi created the part of the Grandmaster with Goldblum’s persona in mind, saying “I want Jeff Goldblum in makeup for that role.”
Goldblum embraces this trend, stating he wants to avoid becoming a “skeevy reality-TV version” of himself, but also saying there are plenty of great roles that are tailor-made for him.
10. The Gram
Goldblum is active on social media and he often searches #JeffGoldblum to find art, tattoos, and other things that people have shared of him. Goldblum will screenshot the pieces that interest him, such as a “very nipply” balloon that someone made.
Although Goldblum kept his acting desires a secret from his dad until his late teens, his dad actually wanted to be an actor when he was young as well. His dad quit his acting pursuits after joining an acting class and realizing the atmosphere was not for him. In the end, Mr. Goldblum was happy to see his son pursue his dream.
8. Cute Pet
While filming The Fly, Goldblum wanted to make sure he incorporated physical cues from flies. Hence, keeping a fly in a plastic bag during filming so that he could study its movements.
Goldblum has been fortunate to work with directors like Steven Spielberg and Wes Anderson. In the future, Goldblum would like to work with Paul Thomas Anderson and the Coen Brothers.
6. Dr. Goldblum
Goldblum’s roles as scientists in The Fly and Jurassic Park actually went hand-in-hand with his own fascination with science. Goldblum’s interest is piqued even more after having two children, since he views facts about the human body and the universe as being “poetical and inspirational and transformational.”
5. Silver Fox
Goldblum has a reputation for being a flirt, or just having an aura that oozes sexuality. According to Independence Day co-star Vivica A. Fox, Goldblum “has a way of melting the panties off…he’s very sensuous…And you’re like, ‘Okay, did I just get seduced.’”
Nick Offerman elaborates, saying that Goldblum has a “natural timbre that vibrates the pelvic bone of whomever he’s making eye contact with.”
4. Early Start
Goldblum once stole five dollars from his dad’s wallet. What for? To try to get the services of an, ahem, “lady of the night.” 13-year-old Goldblum took a trip down to Pittsburgh’s Red Light District and walked around for a bit before selecting a partner. As the two were walking to the bedroom he asked her what time it was, then checked his watch and said: “I’ve got to go but I will come back.” Goldblum didn’t go back.
3. Rumors of My Demise…
Goldblum vividly remembers the year 2009, when stories about his death were circulating in the news. Reports said that he fell off a cliff in New Zealand, and Goldblum can remember having to call his mother to comfort her and let her know he was alive. Goldblum recognizes the broader issue of poor journalistic standards and sensationalist reporting and says, “we should be very vigilant about rejecting it.”
2. That’s Not My Name
His family name is often mispronounced because of the way its spelled. On a talk show, he clarified that its pronounced Gold-“bloom” and not Gold-“blumb.”
1. Late Bloomer
Goldblum had his first child in 2015 with Livingston at the tender age of 62. Goldblum followed up his first son with another one in 2017. While he says the timing was right for him to start a family, he does admit that his own mortality is now front and center on his mind, since he has two young ones to look after, saying “…and when I buy a watch, I wonder who’s going to get it [after I die].”
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