Here’s Why David Schwimmer Disappeared From the Spotlight After the Success of ‘FRIENDS'
FRIENDS star David Schwimmer, who portrayed the endearing paleontologist Ross Geller, disclosed that his sudden celebrity status had made him wish to vanish from the public eye. "As an actor, the way I was trained, my job was to observe life and to observe other people, so I used to walk around with my head up, really engaged and watching people," he said. "The effect of celebrity was the absolute opposite: It made me want to hide under a baseball cap and not be seen," the Band of Brothers actor revealed during an exclusive interview on The Hollywood Reporter’s Awards Chatter podcast back in 2016. He also recalled how being famous and successful had 'messed' him up.
Schwimmer continued: "And I realized after a while that I was no longer watching people; I was trying to hide," he continued. "So I was trying to figure out: How do I be an actor in this new world, in this new situation? How do I do my job? That was tricky." As per Today, shortly after its 1994 premiere, FRIENDS rocketed to the top of the ratings and remained there until its 2004 finale. At its height, the sitcom drew an incredible 52 million viewers per week.
Schwimmer also chose not to pursue feature film roles after FRIENDS in contrast to his co-stars. Rather than accepting Will Smith's offer to star in Men in Black, the actor chose to stay out of the spotlight by working as a small-scale independent film director. In addition, he became a family man; in 2010, Schwimmer married British artist Zoe Buckman. 2011 saw the birth of their daughter, Chloe.
As per reports in The Guardian, post FRIENDS success, Schwimmer found himself typecast, which he hated; “I think I’m kind of over that,” he said. “There was a period that I was very, very frustrated by being pigeonholed in this one genre, this one idea. I got FRIENDS when I was 27 but I had done all this work on stage. But all that was just eradicated. As far as the public was concerned, I came out of the womb doing a sitcom. So that was frustrating, as if it obliterated all the other training, all the other roles I had done.”
"When I was cast in Band of Brothers, I thought, 'Aha! This will dispel Ross,'" he told The New York Times in 2011. "But I'm sure half the people who saw it thought I was Ross in the Army. With Trust, my thinking isn't that calculated. If I suddenly surprise people, great, and if not, I'm not counting on it. I hope to do this for another 40 years. Maybe I'll be 80, and they'll finally say, 'Oh, he's not Ross.'"
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Schwimmer only recently made a comeback to television, starring in the much-acclaimed series American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson on FX as the late Robert Kardashian, for which he received a second Emmy nomination. However, he also realized why stars from popular TV series like FRIENDS gain such fame and notoriety, unlike other celebrities. "You lived with us for 10 years, we are part of the family, in a way," he concluded.
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