Zachary Israel "Zach" Braff (born April 6, 1975) is an American actor, screenwriter, producer and director. Braff first became known in 2001 for his role as Dr. John Dorian on the TV series Scrubs, which earned him his first Emmy nomination. Braff remained working on Scrubs for eight years, until he announced his departure as an actor, his last episode airing in December 2009. Braff did, however, take an executive producer's role on the series.
In 2004, Braff made his directorial debut with Garden State, a coming of age film. Braff returned to his home state of New Jersey to shoot the film, which was produced on a budget of $2.5 million. The film made over $35 million at the box office as well as profiting from DVD sales, and was praised by critics, giving Braff his first financial success and critical acclaim in film work. Braff wrote the film, starred in it, and selected and produced the soundtrack record, for which he won a Grammy Award for Best Soundtrack Album in 2005.
Braff made his film debut in 1993 with a supporting role in Woody Allen's Manhattan Murder Mystery. He is also known for starring in the films The Last Kiss and The Ex, and for his vocal work on Chicken Little. Braff has stated that he will continue to write and direct films.
Braff was born in South Orange, New Jersey, to a Jewish family. His parents, Hal Braff, a trial attorney and sociology professor, and Anne Brodzinsky, a clinical psychologist, divorced and re-married others during Braff's childhood. One of his siblings, Joshua, is an author. Braff has wanted to be a filmmaker since his early childhood and has described it as his "life dream." Braff was diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder at age 10.
As a teen, Braff attended Stagedoor Manor Performing Arts Training Center in upstate New York. Braff has frequently mentioned that is where he cultivated his acting talents. He graduated from Columbia High School, in Maplewood, New Jersey, where he worked in the school's television station along with fellow classmate and Singer/Actress Lauryn Hill. Braff graduated from Northwestern University with a Bachelor of Science; there, he was a member of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity. While attending Northwestern, Braff met singer-songwriter Cary Brothers and Joshua Radin whose music is featured on Braff's comedy series, Scrubs as well as his directoral debut Garden State.
Braff began his career behind the scenes as a janitor assistant during Shakespeare's Twelfth Night and Macbeth (as Malcolm) at New York City's Public Theater, and also appeared in Woody Allen's 1993 film Manhattan Murder Mystery. Braff was briefly on the Disney program The Baby-sitters Club in an episode titled "Dawn Saves the Trees." He, along with many Scrubs cast members, also has a small role playing himself in It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie.
Braff has played the role of protagonist John "J.D." Dorian on the television show Scrubs since the show's debut in 2001. The role was Braff's first major part in a television show. Braff has been nominated for three Golden Globes and an Emmy for his role as the offbeat doctor.
In March 2007, Braff signed a one-year deal with NBC for the seventh season of Scrubs. He reportedly earned $350,000 an episode, making him one of the highest-paid actors on television, alongside House's Hugh Laurie and Two and a Half Men star Charlie Sheen. However, Braff claims that these reports "have not been very accurate."
Braff has directed several episodes of Scrubs, including its one-hundredth, "My Way Home".
In late October 2008, Bill Lawrence confirmed Braff would star in the eighth, and what was expected to be the final season of Scrubs, before adding that Scrubs could continue with a new cast. In 2009 and after the eighth season finale of Scrubs aired, it was announced that Braff, along with other regular cast members, would star in six episodes of the show's ninth season to help to transition the show to its new format. For the ninth season Braff also acted as an Executive Producer of Scrubs.
In addition to directing several episodes of Scrubs, Braff wrote, directed, produced, and starred in 2004's Garden State, which was filmed in his home state of New Jersey, in various towns such as South Orange, Maplewood and Tenafly. Producers were initially reluctant to finance the film, which Braff wrote in six months. After its success, he was sent a large number of scripts that he rejected because they were the kinds of films that he "would never go see or have any interest in being in." In February 2005, he won a Grammy Award for Best Compilation Soundtrack for a Motion Picture for the Garden State soundtrack, on which he also served as the compilation producer.
Braff has done voice acting, providing a voice for the title character in the Disney animated film Chicken Little (2005), as well as being credited for voice acting in the video game Kingdom Hearts II. Braff has also done voice overs for commercials, including the PUR water ad campaign, Wendy's TV commercials in 2007 and 2008, and Cottonelle commercials, in which he portrays the Cottonelle puppy. One Cottonelle ad features a very brief live-action cameo of Braff himself.
In 2005, Braff was featured on Ashton Kutcher's Punk'd when he was tricked into chasing a supposed vandal who appeared to be spray-painting his brand new Porsche. He then proceeded to hurl expletives at the young boy until Ashton Kutcher showed up. The episode aired March 20, 2005. Braff has also made a couple of guest appearances on the show Arrested Development as Phillip Litt, a parody of Girls Gone Wild creator Joe Francis, who produces a film series called Girls with Low Self Esteem.
Braff has directed several music videos: Gavin DeGraw's "Chariot," Joshua Radin's "Closer" and "I'd Rather Be With You," Cary Brothers' "Ride," and Lazlo Bane's "Superman," the theme song from Scrubs. Winning a Grammy Award for assembling the soundtrack album of Garden State and directing three music videos, Braff has said that he "loves music and knows a lot about it." His music production has resulted in newfound success for some of the artists featured on his film soundtracks, such as The Shins, who were prominently featured on the Garden State soundtrack and the Scrubs soundtrack, resulting in the expression the "Zach Braff effect."
Braff was in talks to star in the film Fletch Won and had signed on to play the role eventually played by Dane Cook in Mr. Brooks, but dropped out of both roles to work on Open Hearts, which he adapted from a Danish film and will direct. He has also co-written a film version of Andrew Henry's Meadow, a children's book, with his brother, and was scheduled to direct one of the segments for the film New York, I Love You. However, he was not among those who directed the film, scheduled to be released in October.
In July 2009, he signed on as an executive producer for the documentary Heart of Stone to "help spread the word about it."
The Last Kiss
Braff starred in the romantic drama The Last Kiss, which opened on September 15, 2006. Braff, who tweaked several parts of Paul Haggis' script for the film, wanted the script to be as "real as possible" and "really courageous" regarding its subject matter. The film's director, Tony Goldwyn, compared Braff to a younger version of Tim Allen, describing Braff as "incredibly accessible to an audience... a real guy, an everyman."
As with Garden State, Braff was involved with the film's soundtrack; he served as executive producer and selected lesser known artists such as Imogen Heap, Joshua Radin, Schuyler Fisk, and Rachael Yamagata, as well as Remy Zero, Coldplay, Snow Patrol, Turin Brakes, The Shins and Aimee Mann, to appear on the track.
The Last Kiss grossed approximately $11 million at the North American box office, and was considered a commercial disappointment; however, worldwide box office receipts and DVD rentals added $35 million to the take, bringing in nearly twice the production cost of $20 million for the film.
In 2007, Braff starred in the film The Ex, which he has described as a "silly comedy," and which was released on May 11, 2007 and also starred Amanda Peet, Charles Grodin and Jason Bateman. Braff said on his blog that "the movie didn't do as well as he expected."
The High Cost of Living
Braff will star in an upcoming Canadian indie film with Quebec actress Isabelle Blais. The film was shot in Montreal and principal photography wrapped on March 9, 2010. Braff stated he enjoyed filming in the country in which The Last Kiss also shot.
Braff's next directorial project is the upcoming, 2011 film Open Hearts, a remake of a 2002 Danish film named "Elsker dig for evigt", meaning "I love you forever", directed by Susanna Bier. The project has been put in limbo due to Braff's work on Scrubs. The film will focus on a woman, shocked by her fiance's paralysis in a car crash. She ends up having an affair with her husband's doctor, whose wife caused the original accident. The original film starred Mads Mikkelsen, Sonja Richter, Nikolaj Lie Kaas, and Paprika Steen. The cast for Braff's remake have not been revealed yet. It was first revealed that Zach Braff was planning to remake Open Hearts in 2006, at the same time Braff's film The Last Kiss was being released. The film will be produced by Paramount Pictures.
On his blog, Zach Braff announced that directing the film had been delayed due to the renewal of his show Scrubs. The production of the film has been put in limbo several times due to Braff returning to film the seventh and eighth seasons of Scrubs, and in 2006 it was revealed that Braff had put the project on hold for a year after difficulties surrounding casting. The picture was to be filmed in New Jersey, Braff's homestate and location of Garden State, in the summer of 2006 This date has been changed but the location is believed to remain the same.
Projects outside film and television
Mermaid Oyster Bar
In 2009 Zach Braff opened up the restaurant Mermaid Oyster Bar in New York City with his high school friend, Chef Laurence Edelman. It was recently rated "Best new seafood restaurant" by Time Out New York.
In early 2006, unnamed sources told In Touch Weekly magazine that Mandy Moore and Braff were engaged. Moore's representative denied the engagement. In the summer of 2007, Braff started to date Roswell star Shiri Appleby.
Braff is a member of the Democratic party; on his official website he encouraged people to vote for Barack Obama in a wall post dated November 3, 2008.
|1993||Manhattan Murder Mystery||Nick Lipton|
|1999||Getting to Know You||Wesley|
|The Broken Hearts Club: A Romantic Comedy||Benji|
|2002||It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie||John "J.D." Dorian||TV film|
|2004||Garden State||Andrew Largeman|
|2005||Chicken Little||Chicken Little||voice only|
|2006||The Last Kiss||Michael|
|The Pursuit of Happyness||Worker in Homeless Shelter||uncredited|
|2007||The Ex||Tom Reilly|
|2010||The High Cost of Living||Henry|
|Andrew Henry's Meadow||Andrew Henry|
|1993||The Baby-Sitters Club||David Cummings||1 episode|
|1994||CBS Schoolbreak Special||Tony / Tammy||1 episode|
|2001–2010||Scrubs||John "J.D." Dorian||Main character (175 episodes)|
|2002||Clone High||Paul Revere / X-Stream Mike||2 episodes (voice only)|
|2005–2006||Arrested Development||Phillip Litt||2 episodes|
|2009||Scrubs: Interns||John "J.D." Dorian||1 webisode|
|1997||Lionel on a Sunday||short film|
|2008||Night Life||TV film|
|1997||Lionel on a Sunday||short film|
|Off - Broadway|
|Trust||Harry||July 23 - September 5, 2010||2nd Stage Theater|
- "Garden State – Trailers – Movie Reviews – Rotten Tomatoes". Uk.rottentomatoes.com. Retrieved April 5, 2010.
- Dawson, Angela (September 6, 2006). "Braff's 'Kiss'". AZ Central. Retrieved May 24, 2007.
- Bloom, Steven M. (July 15, 2004). "Back in the ‘The Ex’". NEW JERSEY JEWISH NEWS. Retrieved May 24, 2007.
- "Zach Braff Biography (1975–2009)". Filmreference.com. Retrieved April 5, 2010.
- "Life After `Garden State'". CTNow.com. September 9, 2006. Retrieved May 24, 2007. Cite error: Invalid
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- "The next Woody Allen? – Film". www.smh.com.au. November 26, 2004. Retrieved April 5, 2010.
- "60 SECONDS: Zach Braff". Metro.co.uk. October 19, 2006. Retrieved May 9, 2007.
- Braff, Zach (March 30, 2007). "Blog. Cog. Snog. Frog. Oh my Gog!". Zach Braff.com. Retrieved May 24, 2007.
- Erstein, Hap (September 10, 2006). "Goodbye, Scrubs?". The Oxford Press. Retrieved May 9, 2007.
- Keller, Joel Zach Braff says he's not a jerk TV Squad (June 26, 2007). Retrieved on 2-13-09.
- "Braff Busted Beating Up Teen on 'Punk'd'". Hollywood.com. September 14, 2006. Retrieved July 1, 2008.
- ""Punk'd" Episode #4.3 (2005)". IMDB.com. March 20, 2005. Retrieved April 15, 2007.
- Braff, Zach (March 21, 2005). "Warning: Not Funny!". Zach Braff's Garden State Blog. Retrieved May 24, 2007.
- As stated on Last Call with Carson Daly.
- Leopold, Todd (September 26, 2008). "Singer has some fame, but no 'Zach Braff effect'". CNN.com (CNN). Retrieved September 26, 2008.
- Lester, Paul (March 16, 2007). "Frodo gets funky". The Guardian (London). Retrieved September 26, 2008.
- Kepnes, Caroline (May 23, 2007). "Dane Cook: Employee of the Month. I'm Serious". E! Online. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. Retrieved May 24, 2007.
- Goldberg, Matt (May 21, 2009). "Zach Braff hangs with SWINGLES". Collider.com. Retrieved September 16, 2009.
- "Niet compatibele browser". Facebook. Retrieved April 5, 2010.
- Adler, Shawn (September 7, 2007). "Can This Love "Last"?". MTV Movies. Retrieved April 15, 2007.
- "THE LAST KISS". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved May 23, 2007.
- Murray, Rebecca (September 8, 2007). "Zach Braff Discusses Fletch Won". About.com. Retrieved April 15, 2007.
- Eric Lavallee. IonCinema "The High Cost of Living" Check
|url=value (help). IonCinema.
- Brendan Kelly. Montreal Gazette "The High Cost of Living" Check
|url=value (help). montreal gazette.
- "Open Hearts Movie - Zach Braff to Direct Open Hearts - About.com". Movies.about.com. Retrieved April 5, 2010.
- "Niet compatibele browser". Facebook. Retrieved April 5, 2010.
- Sciretta, Peter; grez868 (May 21, 2009). "Braff to direct and star alongside Cameron Diaz". Retrieved October 13, 2009. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- Shelley Ng. Pix 11 Morning News "Mermaid Oyster Bar" Check
|url=value (help). Pix 11 Morning News / November 17, 2009 News.
- Readers’ choice. Time Out New York "Mermaid Oyster Bar" Check
|url=value (help). Time Out New York / Issue 758 : Apr 8–14, 2010.
- "ZACH + MANDY TO WED?". Contact Music. February 1, 2006. Retrieved May 24, 2007.
- "Correction: Braff and Moore Not Engaged". IMDB.com. February 9, 2007. Retrieved May 24, 2007.
- "Braff Back With Ex Appleby". recent WENN news. wenn.com. August 7, 2008.
- Beth Hilton (August 10, 2008). "Braff reunites with ex-girlfriend". digitalspy.co.uk.
- "www.rodale.com". Bestlifeonline.com. Retrieved April 5, 2010.
- "NJJN – Back in the Garden State". Njjewishnews.com. Retrieved April 5, 2010. C1 control character in
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- http://www.zachbraff.com/ on a wall post beneath his Facebook announcement he encourages people to vote for President Obama in the 2008 Election
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- Template:Title without disambig at the Internet Movie Database
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- Zach Braff on Myspace
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