J.K. Simmons

With an uncanny ability to go from understated to over-the-top, seemingly with the flip of a switch, actor J.K. Simmons became an ever-present fixture in film and on television via a tireless work ethic and nuanced performances. Although his early interest was primarily in musical composition, Simmons made a name for himself in the theater, not only as a vocalist, but as an actor of merit. After a run of shows on Broadway and in touring productions, Simmons began making small appearances in films like "The Ref" (1994) and "The Scout" (1994). The talented actor was also landing parts on various television series, most notably two recurring, diametrically-opposed characters appearing simultaneously on two different shows. On the brutal prison drama "OZ" (HBO, 1997-2003), Simmons played a white supremacist with frightening authenticity, while on "Law & Order" (NBC, 1990-2010) he was the embodiment of empathy and rationality as state psychiatrist Dr. Emil Skoda. Steadily gaining prominence in a variety of feature film work, Simmons landed the plum role of cantankerous tabloid editor J. Jonah Jameson in Sam Raimi's "Spider-Man" (2002), earning high marks from legions of comic book fans. In addition to reprising the part for "Spider-Man" sequels, Simmons was seemingly everywhere, popping up in the features "Thank You for Smoking" (2006), "Juno" (2007) and "Burn After Reading" (2008). Transcending the category of character actor, Simmons became a welcome addition to any cast, ensuring a performance that was often affecting, frequently surprising, and always memorable. He unexpectedly made the move to mainstream star when his powerful performance in the drama "Whiplash" (2014) won him Best Supporting Actor awards at both the Golden Globes and the Oscars. Following that career high point, Simmons continued working steadily in films ranging from family-friendly animated hit "Zootopia" (2016) to tense Boston Marathon bombing drama "Patriots Day" (2016).