The Untold Truth Of Jim Parsons

Most people probably recognize him him as Sheldon Cooper – the incredibly nerdy physicist who never runs out of snippy comebacks — but actor Jim Parsons has had a career spanning stage, network television and Netflix. Aside from his time as Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory, Parsons has acted in films like Hidden Figures, appeared in the Broadway show The Normal Heart, and even made cameos on television shows like Family Guy and iCarly. Yet, it is still his role as Sheldon that's taken up the majority of his career.

Since making millions from the CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory, Parsons has made the transition from television to streaming services, starring in Ryan Murphy's Netflix miniseries Hollywood as Henry Willson. In addition to appearing on screen, Parsons has also stepped behind the camera from time to time, executive-producing a Fox comedy titled Call Me Kat, per PeopleIn 2015, Parsons' work in Hollywood earned him a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, proving that the actor is way more than just his Big Bang character.

Jim Parsons was a theatre major

Some of Hollywood's greatest actors simply stumbled upon acting and discovered a million-dollar talent, while others started out in odd jobs and ended up in front of the camera. For Jim Parsons, his rise in Hollywood is largely thanks to his studies. 

Born in 1973, Parsons first caught the acting bug when he was in "grade school," per CBS, "starring in school productions." Parsons' time on stage in his early years seemingly made a big impact on the actor, who went on to study theater at the University of Houston. In 2001, The Big Bang Theory alum received his master's degree in classical theater at the University of San Diego.

Just six years after graduating, Parsons landed a career-defining role, that of Sheldon Cooper on CBS' The Big Bang Theory. While playing Sheldon, Parsons nabbed four Emmys, one Golden Globe an a hefty paycheck at reportedly $1 million an episode. So what happened between those years? Parsons worked off-broadway as a stage actor and appeared in multiple television commercials.

Jim Parsons' fame is thanks to 'The Big Bang Theory'

Despite his years on the stage, Jim Parsons' biggest career jump came on the television screen as Sheldon Cooper on CBS' hit show The Big Bang Theory. The show began in 2007 with Penny (played by Kaley Cuoco) moving in across the hall from two brainiac physicists, Sheldon and Leonard Hofstadter (played by Johnny Galecki). 

In a 2009 interview with Chron, Parsons said that he "felt very strongly about the structure of [Sheldon's speech] and the way they laid out the character and the way he talked." His ability to step into the role of Sheldon wowed producer Chuck Lorre from Parsons' first audition, per CBS. Parsons eventually landed a spinoff show called Young Sheldon, which you guessed it, followed Sheldon as a child. The spinoff show began in 2017, a little over a decade from The Big Bang Theory's pilot premiere. 

The Big Bang Theory, which ran for 12 years, inspired kids to become scientists and even developed its own scholarship fund. So why did it end, and what did Parsons have to do with it? Let's dig in.

Did Jim Parsons cause 'The Big Bang Theory' to end?

When news broke that after 12 seasons, CBS' hit sitcom The Big Bang Theory would come to an end, fans were left wondering why end a good thing? The show was dubbed "TV's longest-running multicamera comedy in history with 279 episodes," according to The Hollywood Reporter. So what was the issue? Allegedly, Jim Parsons.

Once the actor decided he no longer wanted to do the show, the network reportedly just couldn't continue the sitcom without its main star character Sheldon. The U.K.'s Metro reported that the show was slated to run for "two more years." However, no Sheldon meant no show. Once the final season ended, Parsons wrote a heartfelt letter via Instagram to his castmates, sharing how "terribly grateful for the cast" he was.

"You are all my playmates that I have fallen in love with and who have become a part of my life on set and off," Parsons wrote. "You are my playmates when we don't feel like playing but have to because it's our job to get out there and communicate and pretend we're these other fictional people and we look into each other's eyes and say these words and end up creating this weird, other reality that has enriched my life more than I will fully ever understand."

He ended with: "I will miss all of you and all of this more than I can say and more than I can know at this time."

Jim Parsons left the show due to 'exhaustion'

With Jim Parsons at the center of why CBS ended The Big Bang Theory, it's not surprising that fans wanted to know why he left. The answer is a series of events that led Parsons to realize he was "exhausted." In an interview on the David Tennant Does a Podcast With... podcast in August 2020, Parsons explained it began with the death of his dog. After the eleventh season of The Big Bang Theory finished filmingParsons moved to New York hit the stage in The Boys In The Band on Broadway. Shortly after he arrived, his dog grew ill.

"He just looked so bad and I was so tired and I just started crying," Parsons said on the podcast. "I was like, 'This dog's going to die while I'm off working and I feel so bad.'" The bad luck didn't end there. Dealing with the pain of having to say goodbye to his pet, Parsons continued to work while feeling like he was "at the edge of a cliff." Then, the actor broke his foot. 

Parsons told the podcast host that he began to think about his late father who died at the age of 52, an age that was just six years away for him when he wrapped Season 12 of TBBT. "It was clarity thrust upon you, as Shakespeare might have said," Parsons explained. "I didn't know that I was searching for it but between the dog and the foot, I was just like ... 'Okay. Let's take charge here.'"