18 Things to Know About Jewish Actor Paul Rudd

The "Ant-Man" actor has said that he isn't a practicing Jew — he's perfected it.

As evidenced by the saying “two Jews, three opinions,” Jewish people seemingly cannot agree on anything. But there does seem to be one exception to that rule: Jewish actor Paul Rudd. On the list of celebrities that the Jewish community heartily claims, Rudd is at the very top for his talent, hilarity, charm, good looks, Jewish pride and general unproblematic king status.

So, without further ado, here are 18 things to know about Paul Rudd.

1. Paul was born in Passaic, New Jersey on April 6, 1969 to English-born Jewish parents.

2. Both of his parents hail from London and are the descendants of Ashkenazi Jewish immigrants from Belarus, Poland and Russia. They are actually second cousins!

Listen to Paul talk about it on “Finding Your Roots”:

3. Rudd is not his actual family name! Paul’s grandfather shortened it from the original “Rudnitzky.”

4. Despite being born in New Jersey, Paul actually grew up in Kansas.

I always felt a little bit like an outsider, not only because I was Jewish, but because my parents are European; they’re both from England,” Paul told the Jewish Journal, later elaborating that he also didn’t go to school with a lot of Jews.

5. He became a bar mitzvah in Ontario, Canada!

6. Paul graduated from Shawnee Mission West High School in 1987 and later attended University of Kansas, where he studied theater. He also studied acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and the British American Drama Academy.

What a scholar!

7. Before he made it as an actor, Paul worked as a Bar/Bat Mitzvah DJ!

And folks, we have video evidence:

8. He made his film debut in 1995 in the movie “Clueless” as Josh, step-brother and love interest of Cher!

9. Paul was in another cult classic in 2001: “Wet Hot American Summer.”

Check out this iconic scene:

10. Starting in 2002, Paul was on “Friends” as Mike, Phoebe’s eventual husband!

11. In 2003 he married his now-wife Julie Yaeger. Together, they have a son, Jack, and a daughter, Darby.

12. Paul has a very Jewish way of dealing with pain.

Anything traumatic in my life, I’ve always dealt with through jokes and comedy,” he told a reporter.

Too real, Paul. Too real.

13. Paul isn’t a practicing Jew… he’s perfected it:

14. Paul has been in six Judd Apatow movies! They are “Anchorman,” “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” “Knocked Up,” “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” “This Is 40” and “Anchorman 2.”

15. He has a very strong Jewish identity.

“My whole family is Jewish; my wife, Julie, is Jewish — there isn’t anyone in my family who isn’t Jewish,” he said in an interview. “I was bar mitzvahed Reform; we were pretty laid back, but it’s like, oh yeah, I went to synagogue. I know what it’s like to look for matzah (laughs). I know the culture and I know the food. I know what a Haggadah is!”

16. Paul was PEOPLE’s Sexiest Man Alive in 2021!

Mazels, Paul!

17. He’s a member of the SNL Five-Timers Club.

18. Paul is a Marvel hero! Since 2015, he’s played Ant-Man and has been in the movies “Ant-Man,” “Ant-Man and the Wasp” and “Avengers: Endgame.”

AND, he’ll be appearing in the third Ant-Man movie, slated to come out in February 2023:

Evelyn Frick

Evelyn Frick (she/they) is a writer and associate editor at Hey Alma. She graduated from Vassar College in 2019 with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature. In her spare time, she's a comedian and contributor for Reductress and The Onion.

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