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THE BIG BANG THEORY: What the Actor’s Headshots Reveal [CBS]

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The Big Bang Theory Actor headshots are revealing. When one looks at the headshots of the cast members of CBS‘ The Big Bang Theory, they often look much different than the characters they play in the show, an interesting discrepancy.

Actors know about the importance of a headshot, but if you’re a non-actor, this is the eight-and-a-half-by-eleven photo that shows you from the neck up in close-up, a face portrait, and usually the first thing the casting director sees. The actors who play parts in The Big Bang Theory submitted photos through their agents to be cast in parts in the show. Often, the headshot reveals a person much different in look and demeanor than the character they play, with perhaps the exception of Jim Parsons (Sheldon Cooper).

Parsons’ headshot (and most successful actors have several), is pretty much the same look as the character in the show, the highly intelligent, wise-cracking nerd who constantly points out ironies and deficiencies in his friends, but does it with such an elegant touch, his pals are rarely offended.

The most different is Mayim Bialik (Amy Fowler). Bialik’s headshot shows a much more sophisticated and attractive woman than the frump she plays on the show (one guesses why Cooper would be interested in her)? Amy appears perhaps like she might be a washer woman from a rural area of an Eastern European country whose style of dress is 1930’s complete with shoe clogs. Obviously, the shows’ producers wanted to “dowdy” her down complete with glasses for comic relief.

Simon Helberg as Howard also has a radical makeover. In his head shot he looks like a bearded expatriate Polish immigrant professor at UCLA complete with tweed suit and tie, his dark hair combed straight back in a James Dean cut. Yet his appearance on the show regales him as a punky-looking Ringo-Starr-in-1964-type complete with bowl-style Teddy Boy haircut.

Johnny Galecki (Leonard), looking at him from the neck-up in the headshot, seems to indicate a more complex and possibly troubled character with twin strands of frazzled hair dipping over his forehead. In the show he appears as a somewhat conservative-looking Clark Kent (Superman) Middle America wholesome type.

One wonders what the casting directors thought when they envisioned the characters and when they first saw the player’s headshot? But remember, each actor had to come in and audition in person for the role.

Kaley Cuoco’s (Penny’s) headshot is blonde and straight glamor girl. Gorgeous. On a recent episode however, she has gone to a shorter, lightened haircut reminiscent of Vivian Leigh in the movie Psycho. The reason for moving to a more average look than the Marilyn Monroe aura she is capable of is known only to Cuoco and the show’s writers.

And finally, Kunal Nayyar as the East Indian Raj, has a headshot showing a more worldly traveler and handsome sophisticate than the rather dopey-dressed character he plays.

Interestingly, the way the characters are dressed in the show often makes them appear younger in age than their headshots.

In the next episode of The Big Bang Theory, The Anxiety Optimization, the gang tries to help Sheldon when he gets stuck in a rut by increasing his anxiety level. The show will air Jan. 29.

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About the author

John Sammon

John Sammon is a writer whose experience includes newspaper reporting, magazine writing, personality profiles, interviews, celebrity interviews (Clint Eastwood), historical pieces, investigative and crime. He was selected “Most Valuable Reporter” for California’s oldest continually operating newspaper, and covered the weekend crime beat for a daily newspaper in Nevada. If you beat your wife on Friday, he wrote about it and got you in deep trouble on Saturday.

He covered the Nevada brothel beat and did stories on wild horses. The publication of his investigative pieces led to a dishonest political candidate withdrawing from a statewide elective campaign, while another politician unsuccessfully sued him because he didn’t like an article Mr. Sammon produced. His articles led to government reforms, including a school district performing its first-ever financial audit, and a Nevada State Law rolling back home heating oil prices for fixed-income seniors who depended on it.

Mr. Sammon is also a humor writer of the website Sammonsays, a professional script writer, an actor and member of the Screen Actor’s Guild, a film narrator for the California State Parks system, a standup comedian, and the author of three novels and one nonfiction book.

He worked in his spare time with sick and wounded animals at the SPCA.

Mr. Sammon's latest book, "Sammon Says: Exposing American Empire," a compilation of over 100 political opinion columns written over several years and recounting America's involvement in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, was released in October 2013 by Dictus Publishing of Germany.

He is working on a new historical romance novel.

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