Max Greenfield will forever be known for his portrayal of Schmidt on New Girl. We’re kind of in love with the Jewish actor, so it’s time for 18 things to know about him.
1. Max Greenfield was born and raised in Dobbs Ferry, a town in Westchester, New York.
2. He had a Saturday Night Live-themed bar mitzvah. As he told GQ, “I don’t know how I got away with this because most of my childhood was so embarrassing… On every table there was like the SNL logo with the faces of the different cast members who were currently on the show. So I think at the time it was like Spade, Chris Farley, Dennis Miller, Chris Rock, all those guys. It was the only cool thing I had going for me at the time. And then we had a Blues Brothers cake.”
His second choice was “jazz”:
Thanks to everyone who watched New Girl tonight. The theme of my real life barmitzvah was Saturday Night Live. My second choice was jazz 🙂
— max greenfield (@iamgreenfield) November 30, 2011
3. He attended college “sort of,” and dropped out after getting a 0.67 GPA his freshman year. “There was an acceptance that college went very wrong for me,” he once told a group of college students.
4. When he dropped out, his parents were furious. “So pissed. So mad. But I think they were just terrified,” Greenfield recalls. “I knew what I wanted to do. It wasn’t like I was dropping out like, ‘I’m not sure.’ I was like, ‘I’m gonna try to be an actor.’ I think they just, statistically, were like, the odds of that happening are very slim. I’m sure they thought, ‘How many years is he going to waste before he decides, ‘Oh, this is not going to work,’ and then what does he do?’ It’s a scary thing.”
5. He soon moved to Los Angeles in 1998, at age 18, and landed his first role in 1999 on a three-episode arc on MTV’s Undressed.
6. He met his now-wife, Tess Sanchez, at age 22. They married in 2008 and have two kids: Lilly and Ozzie.
Here they are at their wedding:
And here’s a very adorable photo of Max with his kids:
7. Throughout social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic, Greenfield posted hilarious videos and photos of himself and his 11-year-old daughter, Lilly, doing her schoolwork:
8. He appeared in one episode Gilmore Girls in season 4 as Lucas, a drunk patron in Luke’s diner, and Gilmore Girls fans still tweet at him about the two-second appearance.
9. Max Greenfield also briefly appeared on Boston Public and The O.C., but his first big role was on Modern Men, a WB sitcom that only aired seven episodes.
His big recurring roles? As Michael, Calvin’s (Paul James) boyfriend, in Greek; as Nick Pepper in Ugly Betty; and Leo, one of Veronica’s boyfriends, on Veronica Mars.
He reprised his role in the Veronica Mars Movie:
10. In Greek, he actually made history: “Paul James and I on Greek had the first gay kiss on ABC Family, and we went to the GLAAD Awards and everything. It means a lot, because you guys have the best taste. Listen, if the gay community thinks you’re doing a good job, you’re in. I don’t think anything gets done in this business without the gay community — at least not anything good.”
11. But let’s talk about New Girl, right?! Of the similarities between him and his character Schmidt, he says, “a lot of the neuroses. Style-wise, we’ve gone in very different directions.”
12. On Schmidt’s particular cadence: “I hate to give myself credit for anything, but I will say I really enjoy, as an actor, and especially with comedy stuff, playing with different rhythms and with different ways around a joke. There’s always an obvious route and there’s one that maybe is a little bit different. For every rhythmic choice that people respond to, there’s ten more that I was asked to please say it normally. A common note that I’ll get from directors and writers on the show is, ‘Can you please say that like a normal human being?'”
Do you need a “best of Schmidt” compilation? You do:
13. “When I first moved out to L.A. from New York, I still had an accent,” Greenfield said. “I remember auditioning for shows like ‘Everwood,’ and they were like, ‘No man, we can’t put you on this show.’ […] I remember my wife telling me at the time like ‘You have got to get rid of this fucking accent.’”
On New Girl, he was still trying to get rid of his Westchester accent. So, he continued, “When I would be nervous, especially in an audition, I would tend to really commit [to the new voice]. I think the way I was able to move through some of those larger stretches of dialogue [was] from me over-annunciating every word and shedding any trace of any accent, which sort of then creates its own accent.”
14. He made an online dating video for Schmidt, which is absolutely worth watching, set to the tune of “Unwritten” by Natasha Bedingfield:
15. Post-New Girl, he starred in the sitcom The Neighborhood and had recurring roles on The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story and A Series of Unfortunate Events.
16. He also starred in the film Hello, My Name Is Doris as Sally Field’s love interest. It was incredible to work with her, he said. “It really did not disappoint. It’s not like she’s a superhero or anything, but she still really loves acting and loves the process of making films. The goal was always to make a great film, but she elevates that goal to a level you probably didn’t think was capable. And because of that, we ended up having just an awesome time on the movie.”
Other film appearances include The Big Short and a scene-stealing turn in Promising Young Woman.
17. His Twitter bio simply reads, “Party Animal.” And according to a 2016 tweet, these are his seven favorite films:
Dog Day Afternoon
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
— max greenfield (@iamgreenfield) August 16, 2016
18. And perhaps the most random fun fact? Max Greenfield was once co-stars with Meghan Markle in a film released over a decade after shooting: