5 Things We Don't Know About Paul Rudd

Photo Credit: DreamWorks SKG
January 19th, 2014

Paul Rudd is an American actor known for his work on comedies, such as "The 40-year-old Virgin" and "Anchorman." He has also made appearances on several television shows, including "Friends," "Parks and Recreation" and "Sisters." Here are some little known facts about one of America's favorite funny guys.

Family History

Paul was born in Passaic, N.J., to British parents. His mother, Gloria, was a sales manager at a television studio. His father, Michael, was a historical tour guide and former vice president for Trans World Airlines. They were both Jewish, British-born and descended from Polish and Russian immigrants. Paul's sister, Julie, was born three years after him. The family's last name was originally Rudnitzky but was changed to Rudd by Paul's grandfather. At the age of ten, his father's job landed the family in Overland Park, Kan., where Paul grew up. Paul has maintained ties to Kansas to this day. He has been a huge fan of the Kansas City Royals baseball team. He threw out the first pitch before a game in 2012.

In 2003, Paul married his girlfriend, Julie Yaeger, in upstate New York. They later had a son, Jack, in 2006. They have since lived in Manhattan.


Paul went to Shawnee Mission West High School, where he was student body president. He graduated high school in 1987 and then went on to attend University of Kansas, where he joined the Sigma Nu fraternity. After completing two years of honors work, he earned the Spencer Tracy scholarship to study at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Los Angeles, where he practiced his craft alongside fellow actor Matthew Lillard. Paul also traveled to England for a semester to study at an intensive workshop in Jacobean drama under the guidance of Michael Kahn at Oxford, and he was quite happy during the time he spent there.


One of the longest-running pranks in late-night television has been pulled off by Paul Rudd. Any time Paul makes an appearance on Conan O'Brien's talk show to promote a new film, he is asked to show the audience a clip of the movie. Instead of showing the clip of his movie, he shows the same clip every single time: an excerpt from the 1988 movie "Mac and Me." The only exception has been when he came to promote the 2007 film "Knocked Up," when director Judd Apatow attended to make sure Paul did not do it.

In 2013, while promoting "Anchorman 2," Conan O'Brien confronted Paul about his prank, saying, "You've been showing that stupid clip on my show for, I think, 15 years, and you always convince me you're not going to show it again." Paul apologized and thanked Conan for playing along before playing the clip again.

Cult Classic

The underground hit television show "Party Down" on the Starz network was co-created by Paul Rudd. He was originally part of the cast and starred in the first pilot but had to step back for the full show due to prior obligations with films. "Party Down" followed a group of aspiring Hollywood actors and writers, who took small-time catering jobs while waiting for their break. The show took more than six years to create, and almost all of the plots were conceived before shooting started. "Party Down" was on the air from 2009 until 2010, when it was canceled by Starz due to low ratings. A film adaptation of the show has been in the works, expected to pick up where season two ended. The film is expected to star much of the original cast.

Before Hollywood

Celebrities all begin as regular people waiting for their big break, and Paul is no exception. Before he was famous, Paul Rudd was a DJ at bar mitzvahs in California. One video in particular has gone viral, showing Paul in a sunny yellow blazer, black shorts and gym socks as he leads young teenagers in toasts with soda and the limbo. The birthday girl in the video says she took an immediate liking to the DJ. Paul also spent time glazing hams at the Holiday Ham Company in Overland Park, Kan., while he was growing up.

Paul got his big break with a recurring role on the television show "Sisters" and a starring role in the hit movie "Clueless," but before that he was just a regular person trying to get his foot in the door of Hollywood. He is a man with a lot of hometown pride, and his story shows that all it takes to achieve dreams is hard work and dedication.