Jeff Goldblum is a well-known American actor who’s loved for his quirky personality and epic films, but who are his parents?
Jeff Goldblum was born in 1952 to Jewish parents in Pennsylvania. His mother, Shirley Jane Goldblum, ran a kitchen appliances firm and his father, Harold Leonard Goldblum, was a medical doctor.
Read on to learn more about Goldblum’s parents and his heritage.
How Did They Meet?
Jeff’s mother, Shirley, was born in Ohio whilst his father, Harold, was born in Pittsburgh and was the son of immigrant parents from Russia.
Prior to her engagement and marriage to Jeff’s father, his mother had been engaged to a Private, but they never wedded.
Their relationship is assumed to have been a whirlwind romance, as they married within a few months of Harold’s return from his service in World War 2.
They married in 1946 in a Pittsburgh synagogue and bought a home in the Highland Park neighbourhood where they could begin to raise a family. Harold would pursue a medical career and establish himself as a well-liked community doctor, with Jeff recalling that he had a “big work ethic”.
As for Shirley, she was a radio broadcaster who later ran a kitchen equipment sales firm.
Pittsburgh Art Patrons
Jeff’s parents had a definite artistic streak, which is hardly surprising given his own talents.
Of his parents he’s said, “my parents were kind of arty patrons of the arts in Pittsburgh”, adding “we would take road trips to New York to see arts cinema”.
His mother supposedly had dreams of being in show business when she was younger, and his parents’ artistic interest would influence Goldblum. He recalled to The Guardian that he became fascinated with the lives and work of actors and performers, after a trip to the theatre with his parents.
Jeff grew up in a Jewish household and had a Bah Mitzvah, although he wasn’t exactly diligent about attending sunday school and recalled, “we weren’t encouraged to participate much in anything”.
Jeff doesn’t often reflect on his early life, but he has spoken about his father’s treatment of his elder brother, Lee, who died aged 60.
Lee was gay and in an interview with The Times Magazine, Jeff recalled that he experienced many troubles, including substance abuse and issues with his weight. Jeff described Harold’s behavior as “conspicuously cruel”, remembering that he sent Lee to therapy to ‘fix’ his sexuality.
As for his mother, Jeff reportedly said, “my mom was kind of bombastic, vivacious, and had a temper, and would be dramatical and histrionic, here and there”. He added, “she raised us four kids and then took off after we left”.
His other elder brother, Rick, died tragically from kidney failure at the age of 23. In Jeff’s words, “he was a kind of Hemingway, a self-styled Hemingway. Travelling around and keeping a journal in Casablanca, Morocco, Agadir. Got something quick and perished”.
Jeff credits Rick for giving him both an interest in jazz music and a determination to focus and survive.
He also speaks fondly of his older sister, Pam, an artist and painter who he’s very close with and who has been delighted with his success, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
In summary of his childhood, Goldblum told New Statesman that he’s grateful to his parents for “having supplied exactly what I needed to create my life”, that being support for his work and a situation he ultimately wanted to get away from.
He further explained that he was anxious not to follow the same direction as his older brothers, in whom he saw a lack of independence and their own ideas. This would ultimately encourage Jeff to move to New York at 17, to pursue his acting career.
Watch Jeff Goldblum reflect on his illustrious career with Vanity Fair in the YouTube video below.