Johnny Galecki said goodbye to his beloved character Leonard Hofstadter—and he did it on his real-life birthday. The Big Bang Theory star spent his 44th birthday on April 30 on the set of the CBS sitcom as he taped the Emmy-winning series’ historic final episode, according to TV Line.
Galecki joined the Big Bang Theory cast and crew to tape the show’s final episode on the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank, California. Things got emotional for Galecki and fellow birthday boy Kunal Nayyar, the actor who plays Rajesh Koothrappali on the series. Nayyar turned 37-years-old on April 30.
Johnny Galecki’s TV wife Kaley Cuoco (Penny on the show) posted a sweet Instagram message to Galecki and Nayyar, noting that she has spent their last 12 birthdays with them through Big Bang’s incredible run.
“How incredible to spend it together shooting our final episode tonight!” Cuoco captioned throwback pics with her co-stars. “Just wow @sanctionedjohnnygalecki I love you tv husband & @kunalkarmanayyar you are a light, my friend… cheers to you both!! This one will for sure be unforgettable!”
The shoot will indeed be unforgettable for fans of The Big Bang Theory as it marks the final act for the quirky characters they’ve grown to know and love.
Johnny Galecki later took to Instagram to post a final photo of his character, Leonard Hofstadter, Ph.D. Galecki was dressed in character with Leonard’s thick black eyeglasses as he sat on the steps for the goodbye shot.
In 2014, Johnny Galecki told AV Club he had “a level of comfort” playing Leonard Hofstadter, and he credited the show’s writers for trusting the brainy character in his hands. The Big Bang Theory star also explained why his character had to grow and change over the years.
“Over time, in terms of storylines, there are things that happen—you’d be irresponsible, both as a storyteller and an actor, if you didn’t mature these characters. I mean, I couldn’t play Leonard the same way after Penny told him she didn’t love him. That changes a person. So, there have been storylines that have been turning points. It doesn’t mean you wouldn’t recognize Leonard in the next episode, but they do need to grow.”
Indeed, Galecki’s Leonard Hofstadter, an experimental physicist, started out in a California apartment complex in Apartment 4A as the roommate of colleague Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons). Leonard later engaged in an on-and-off romance with their across-the-hall neighbor Penny (Cuoco), who he first felt was out of his league. By the ninth season, Penny and Leonard got hitched in Las Vegas and eventually returned to live in the apartment where it all began, Apartment 4A.
The Big Bang Theory finale will air with a two-part, one-hour finale on CBS on May 16 at 8 p.m., followed by the CBS retrospective, Unraveling the Mystery: A Big Bang Farewell. The follow-up will feature Johnny Galecki and Kaley Cuoco as they take viewers behind the scenes of the 279-episode comedy series.