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Why Judd Hirsch Almost Turned Down His Role in ‘Taxi’? A Look at the Actor’s Most Iconic Role

Christell Fatima M. Tudtud
Jun 15, 2022
07:15 A.M.
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Judd Hirsch gained fame on the iconic TV series "Taxi." The 87-year recently wowed audiences with his latest poignant film "Hollywood Stargirl," which received high-rating fan reviews.

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Judd Hirsch recently showed off his exceptional acting skills in the film "Hollywood Stargirl" with actress Grace VanderWaal. He plays a retired film producer, while VanderWaal plays aspiring singer Stargirl Caraway.

Years before his latest film, Hirsch gained prominence in the "Taxi" and revealed that he almost turned down the role of Alex Reiger for a valid reason. Here's what he had to say about his famed show.

Judd Hirsch at the "Hollywood Stargirl" Premiere on May 23, 2022, in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images

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JUDD HIRSCH CRAZY STORY ABOUT GETTING CAST IN 'TAXI'

Hirsch had an unlikely story about landing a role in "Taxi," an Emmy-winning 1978 to 1983 comedy series about the lives of a group of struggling New York taxi drivers.

During the casting process for his characters, series creator James L. Brooks had his eye on Hirsch, who was then a Broadway star. Brooks regarded Hirsch as "one of the best actors in the country."

Judd Hirsch at the 57th New York Film Festival on October 3, 2019, in New York City. | Source: Getty Images

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Brooks, keen to cast Hirsch, jumped at the chance to cast him as the series' lead, Alex Reiger. On the other hand, Hirsch nearly turned down the opportunity and expressed doubts about appearing on TV. Hirsch said:

"I had just become a father and wanted to concentrate on the stage. I was 40, and thought maybe the series would last two years."

The cast of the TV series "Taxi" in Los Angeles, California in 1979. | Source: Getty Images

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Despite his doubts, Hirsch accepted Brooke's offer to play Alex Reiger, which later catapulted him to instant stardom after the series won three Emmy awards for best comedy series.

Hirsch broadened his career in Hollywood after winning two Emmys for "Taxi," appearing in many famous TV shows and movies.

Judd Hirsch, Jeff Conaway, Danny DeVito, Tony Danza, James L. Brooks, and Carol Kane, at the Medallion Award for "Taxi" on April 14, 2007. | Source: Getty Images

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JUDD HIRSCH FAVORITE 'TAXI' EPISODE AND THE CAST PARTIES

During the 40th anniversary of the acclaimed series in 2018, Hirsch and his co-stars recounted their time in the show. He starred in the series with actors Marilu Henner, Tony Danza, Danny DeVito, Jeff Conaway, Christopher Lloyd, and Andy Kaufman.

Hirsch shared that his favorite part of the show was the "Alex Goes Off the Wagon" episode, where his character, Alex, and Lloyd's character Jim Ignatowski, gambled for fun.

The cast recalled having a party every Friday night after they finished filming. Hirsch stated they all wanted to do something after the show because they didn't want to go home.

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Judd Hirsch at the "Uncut Gems" premiere on September 9, 2019, in Toronto, Canada. | Source: Getty Images

JUDD HIRSCH WAS ON MANY GREAT TV SHOWS AND MOVIES

Hirsch broadened his career in Hollywood after winning two Emmys for "Taxi," appearing in many famous TV shows and movies. He starred in the hit NBC sitcom "Dear John" from 1988 to 1992 and in theatre productions.

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He received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in the 1980 film "Ordinary People." The film had a 90 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, a leading online aggregator of movie and TV show reviews.

Meanwhile, Hirsch received critical recognition with the 1988 picture "Running on Empty," which had a 79 percent rating, and his most recent film, "Hollywood Stargirl," received a perfect score of 100 percent.

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