It might seem hard to believe, but actor Jeff Goldblum’s first movie role was back in 1974, nine years before his current spouse, Emilie Livingston, was even born. Interestingly, Goldblum is also an accomplished jazz pianist and made his acting/musical debut on Broadway. Is there anything this man can’t do? Judging by his impeccable performances in literally every genre, apparently, there’s not.
With his recognizable stammer, quick wit, and very distinguishable mannerisms, Goldblum has been delighting audiences for over 40 years. Crazy, right?! Here are 10 of the best Jeff Goldblum appearances, in no particular order.
10 Invasion Of The Body Snatchers
Invasion of the Bodysnatchers, released in 1978, was one of Jeff Goldblum’s earliest roles in which he starred alongside Donald Sutherland, Brooke Adams, and Veronica Cartwright. The film was a remake of the 1956 movie (based upon a book), in which aliens invade Earth by replacing humans with alien duplicates. Although Goldblum, who portrays Jack Bellicec, is not the star of the movie, his super fly trench coat, adorable stammer, and deep, trance-like voice made him one of the most recognizable characters in the film and set him up to be cast in future roles within the sci/fi genre.
9 The Fly
In the hit 1986 film, The Fly, Goldblum stars opposite Geena Davis and portrays a scientist who slowly morphs into a fly-like creature after his failed attempt to invent teleportation.
Despite the quirky storyline, Goldblum’s performance received massive acclaim by both critics and audiences and the film grossed $60.6 million at the box office (with only a $9 million budget). Even the makeup team won an Academy Award for their efforts, despite Goldblum resembling Michael Jackson in Thriller. Needless to say, it was a success for everyone involved.
8 The Big Chill
In 1983’s The Big Chill, Jeff Goldblum portrays Michael, a journalist for People magazine and one of five baby boomers that all reunite after one of their friend’s commits suicide. The film featured an all-star cast, including Tom Berenger, Glenn Close, William Hurt, and more. Although Goldblum’s role isn’t front and center, like his character in The Fly, he fits right in with his esteemed colleagues in this Oscar-nominated comedy-drama. Although the film won many prestigious awards, it is well known for having one of the best movie soundtracks of all time.
7 Jurassic Park
Even though Jeff Goldblum started appearing in movies in the 1970s, 1993’s Jurassic Park is considered by many to be the movie that launched Jeff Goldblum to worldwide fame (and made him a bonafide sex symbol).
In the film, Goldblum portrays Dr. Ian Malcolm, an eccentric mathematician invited to Jurassic Park by the park’s creator, John Hammond. Although he didn’t have the lead role, he was arguably the breakout star in the Jurassic Park franchise, providing much-needed comic relief with his witty one-liners, offbeat personality, and sexy professor vibes. (Hey, he looks great in black.)
6 Thor: Ragnarok
He might not have been the movie’s lead, but Jeff Goldblum totally slayed in his role as the Grandmaster in Thor: Ragnarok. Even in real life, Goldblum can be considered somewhat eccentric, so the MCU knew exactly what they were doing when they cast him as the bizarre and menacing leader of Sakaar, a planet of trash.
His portrayal was perfect in every way, from the stellar make-up job, the weird AF costumes, and his outlandish personality, and mannerisms. Goldblum can go from lovable to threatening with just one look, so he was perfect for the job.
5 Independence Day
Who can forget Jeff Goldblum’s sidekick role in 1996’s Independence Day, starring Will Smith? In the film, Goldblum plays the part of David Levinson, an MIT-educated technological expert and the brains behind the mission to protect the world from an alien invasion. Although this role is clearly a typecast following his performance in Jurassic Park, Goldblum is a master at giving memorable “second-fiddle” performances in blockbuster films throughout the decades.
Independence Day was the highest grossing film of 1996, and both Bill Pullman and Jeff Goldblum reprised their roles in 2016’s Independence Day: Resurgence.
4 The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou was a 2004 comedy-drama with quite the eclectic ensemble cast, including Jeff Goldblum, Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett, Anjelica Huston, Owen Wilson, and more. Steve Zissou (Bill Murray) is an oddball oceanographer with a personal vendetta against the jaguar shark who ate his partner, Esteban. In his mission to locate the shark, Zissou steals tracking equipment from Alistair Hennessy (Jeff Goldblum), his professional and personal nemesis. Although his role in the film is limited, Goldblum brings his infamous charm and quirky personality to the role, once again proving that he doesn’t need to be the lead to be a star.
Jeff Goldblum’s movie list is a mile long, but have you seen him in the sketch comedy TV series, Portlandia? If not, then you’re really missing out. Goldblum brings the laughs as Alan, the owner of Artisan Knots, in the show’s second season.
In the sketch, Goldblum plays a knot-connoisseur who helps a young couple (comedy powerhouse Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen) find a housewarming gift for their friend. Goldblum nails the character, as usual, proving that his quirky mannerisms and speech patterns can shine in literally any role he chooses.
2 The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Grand Budapest Hotel is a 2014 award-winning comedy written and directed by Wes Anderson, and although Goldblum plays a limited role, he nevertheless shines in all his Goldblum-glory. The film stars Ralph Fiennes as a concierge who has been framed for murder, and Goldblum plays the high-class attorney representing the estate of the victim (Tilda Swinton). I think we all recognize that Goldblum has found the fountain of youth, but thanks to the folks over in costume design, he is magically transformed into a bearded, cane-dependent old man- a true chameleon.
Jeff Goldblum can definitely be described as the hot, nerdy type, which explains why casting directors picked him for the role of Donald Ripley in the movie Powder, released in 1995.
In the film, Donald Ripley is a high school science teacher who discovers that his student, ‘Powder,’ is a genius with telepathic and supernatural powers. While Goldblum might not be the star of the film (I think we’re seeing a theme here), his character helps carry the movie. His performance is everything we’d expect from the wild-eyed and slightly offbeat actor.