At the The Big Bang Theory‘s PaleyFest panel on Wednesday, it was announced that the father of Johnny Galecki’s Leonard Hofstadter will make his first appearance on the show during the upcoming season 9 finale on May 12th; additionally, he will be played by none other than Taxi and Independence Day actor Judd Hirsch.
Galecki explained that the first time he met the actor was when he attended the tribute show to director James Burrows. He said, “We’re all honored to be invited to this James Burrows tribute… and we all had the opportunity to meet these incredible casts Jimmy directed, and I had the opportunity to meet Judd Hirsch.”
After talking with Hirsch about how he based certain elements of Leonard on his Taxi character Alex, Galecki said, “I shared that with him, and a lightning bolt struck… or another merlot… and I said, ‘Would you have any interest in playing my dad on the show?'”
Galecki went on to contact The Big Bang Theory producers about getting Hirsch involved, and they, being huge fans, decided to hire him for a guest spot.
Christine Baranski has appeared on the show before as Leonard’s mother, Dr. Beverly Hofstadter, and her role earned her multiple Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series Emmy nominations, so it seems likely that Hirsch’s appearance could earn him his first Emmy nomination since 1983, when he won for the last season of Taxi.
The veteran actor, over the course of his career, has also won two Emmys (six total nominations) and one Golden Globe. On top of that, he earned an Oscar nomination in 1981 for Ordinary People.