10 Things You Didn’t Know About David Schwimmer
Through his numerous roles and a career full of parts in various films and television series, David Schwimmer will always be known as Ross Geller from Friends. He has had a very successfull career outside of the series, however, and there is so much to know about the star and his life away from the cameras! Get to know the actor better with these 10 things you probably didn’t know about David Schwimmer:
10. Ross and Rachel Drama
Fans of Friends are well aware of all the drama that happened between Ross Geller and Rachel Green on the series, but the two actors had a whole lot of drama off-screen as well. Over the years a lot of strange rumors were spread about David Scwhimmer and Jennifer Aniston, including the fact that she wanted to get pregnant and wanted Schwimmer to be the donor for her artificial insemination. There was even more speculation about a one-time romance gone bad because Schwimmer was not invited to Aniston’s wedding to Justin Theroux. Regardless of what did or did not happen between the two, Friends creators originally didn’t attend for Ross and Rachel to be the central couple, but made it that way because of the amazing chemistry between Schwimmer and Aniston.
In 2001, David Scwhimmer joined the Rape Treatment Center in Santa Monica as a director on its board, which specializes in helping victims of date rape and child rape, and has been a long time advocate of banning drugs used in date rapes. Of his involvement with the Center, he has said, “To be perfectly honest, I feel I have a duty to use my celebrity status in a positive way. Most rape victims are women, so the bulk of the discussion is loaded towards women. I thought I could find a way to approach the subject of rape in such a way that men are going to respond to it. My most devastating moment was when a 13-year-old girl told me her story. At that moment, I realized just how important this center really is. Nothing else had ever made me connect with reality like that.”
8. Early Life
David Lawrence Schwimmer was born on November 2, 1966 in Flushing, Queens, New York City, to Arthur and Arlene Coleman-Schwimmer. He grew up with his older sister Ellie, and was raised by parents who were both attorneys. Due to his parents’ careers, the family ended up moving to Los Angeles and then to Beverly Hills, where Schwimmer attended Beverly Hills High School. “When I was there I always felt: This is not me, I’m surrounded by people with a different value system. And I just wanted to get out of California.” During these years, he enrolled in drama classes and soon discovered he had a passion for it.
7. Before Acting
Although he enjoyed acting and excelled at it, he never thought of it as a career option and because he was also very good at science and math, Schwimmer first had plans to become a doctor. However, his drama teacher encouraged him to pursue acting, so he did. He even flew to Chicago as a teenager for an acting workshop. After graduating high school, however, his parents insisted he go to college, so he moved to Chicago to attend Northwestern University. While in school, he joined an improv group with none other than Stephen Colbert, and eventually graduated in 1988 with a Bachelor of Arts in theater and speech.
6. The Lawsuit
Back in 2006, David Schwimmer won a defamation lawsuit aimed against charity fundraiser boss Aaron Tonken. At the time Tonken claimed that the actor demanded and received two Rolex watches just to appear at his own charity event. Of course, Schwimmer was offended by the comments and took legal action, winning the $400,000 case. Tonken was imprisoned on a five-year sentence in a separate case after he plead guilty to federal mail and wire fraud.
5. Landing ‘Friends’
After co-founding the Lookingglass Theatre Company, Schwimmer seriously got into acting with a small role on The Wonder Years in 1991, followed by parts in L.A. Law, NYPD Blue and Blossom, and only three years later landed his career defining role in Friends. As it turns out, Schwimmer was the first actor cast for the series because producer Kevin S. Bright had previously worked with the actor and had the character of Ross written with Schwimmer in mind. Before the role, Schwimmer auditioned for a starring tole in a TV pilot for the series Couples against actors such as Jon Cryer and Jonathan Silverman. ABC eventually decided to continue on with the show, but producers picked it back up and re-conceived the show as Friends, which NBC picked up and turned straight to David.
4. Personal Life
Over the years, Scwhimmer has been connected to many stars including Australian pop singer Natalie Imbruglia, Israeli Mili Avital, and American actress Rochelle Ovitt through the 2000s. In 2007, Schwimmer began dating British artist Zoe Buckman, and in March of 2010 they confirmed they were engaged. The two then got married in secret in a small private ceremony in June of 2010, and on May 8, 2011 the pair welcomed their daughter, Cleo Buckman Schwimmer.
3. Missed Roles
Even though 10 years of his career was dedicated to Friends, David Scwhimmer still found time to rack up 51 acting credits, which included some big roles. As it turns out, he was also up for some big roles that he ended up turning down. According to reports, the star turned down Ben Affleck’s role in Chasing Amy, and also turned down Will Smith’s role in 1997’s Men in Black.
2. Outside of Friends
Along with starting a theatre company and being an activist, Schwimmer has done a lot of other work within the industry outside of acting. After Friends ended in 2004, he did a stint on stage in London in the Neil LaBute production of “Some Girl(s),” and went on to Broadway in Herman Wouk’s “The Canine Mutiny Court-Martial.” In the years before he had dabbled in directing including 10 episodes of Friends and the TV movie Nevermind Nirvana, but in 2007 he made his feature directorial debut with the British comedy film Run Fatboy Run.
1. Affects of Fame
For the entire run of Friends, it seemed like possibly the best TV series to work on as all the stars had amazing chemistry, everything seemed so laid back and, best of all, they actually were all friends. In 2016, however, Schwimmer opened up about the other side to the fame, that wasn’t as positive as it all seemed. “It was pretty jarring and it messed with my relationship to other people in a way that took years, I think, for me to kind of adjust to and become comfortable with,” he said. “As an actor, the way I was trained, my job was to observe life and to observe other people, and so I used to walk around with my head up, and really engaged and watching people. The effect of celebrity was the absolute opposite: It made me want to hide under a baseball cap, not be seen. And I realized after a while that I was no longer watching people; I was trying to hide. So I was trying to figure out: How do I be an actor in this new world, in this new situation? How do I do my job? So that was tricky.” He also added, “I didn’t feel like my character had changed, but suddenly people were treating me in a very, very different way, that sometimes was flattering, but mostly very evasive. Because you are in their home. There’s something very approachable about actors on television, and I think especially in a half-hour comedy, where there’s something very comforting about it.”