January 25, 1930
Jack Axelrod made a startling career move in 1970 when the 40-year-old architect abruptly decided to become an actor. Moving to New York, he seemed to luck out, landing a plum role in a Broadway play called "Gandhi" and a supporting bit in Woody Allen's political satire "Bananas." But the play closed after a single performance, and no other screen roles presented themselves. Rather than becoming discouraged, Axelrod buckled down and spent the next six years studying with revered acting teacher Uta Hagen. From then on, he has had growing success as a guest actor on dozens of television shows, and earned his first recurring role on the iconic primetime soap "Knot's Landing." As Axelrod has aged, he has become increasingly in demand, as evidenced by his three-episode stint on "Grey's Anatomy," where he was billed simply as "Really Old Guy." He also played the grandfather in the short-lived WB series "The Help." He is perhaps best known to viewers for his role on the quirky NBC sitcom "My Name Is Earl," where he appeared as a town denizen who spoke through an electronic voice box. When not appearing on television, Axelrod works as an acting coach, carrying on the legacy of his own teacher.