Jim O'Heir

Jim O'Heir
Born (1962-02-04) February 4, 1962
Chicago, Illinois, United States
Residence Los Angeles, California
Occupation Actor/Comedian
Years active 1987-present

James O'Heir (born February 4, 1962) is an American actor and comedian best known for co-starring as Jerry Gergich on the NBC sitcom Parks and Recreation.

O'Heir first became active in Chicago theater and improv during the late 1980s and early 1990s as part of the comedic theater troupe "White Noise", and appeared in such plays as The Book of Blanche, Stumpy's Gang and Ad-Nauseam with the group. O'Heir has appeared in several films and made guest appearances on such shows as Friends, Boston Legal, Malcolm in the Middle, Star Trek: Voyager, 3rd Rock from the Sun, ER, and Parenthood.

In 2000, he starred in a regular role in the Comedy Central series Strip Mall as Harvey Krudup, the unattractive husband of protagonist Tammi Tyler, who was played by Julie Brown. In 2009, O'Heir became a regular supporting cast member of the NBC comedy series Parks and Recreation, playing Jerry Gergich.

Early life and theater work

Jim O'Heir is a graduate of the Thornton Fractional South High School in Lansing, Illinois and a graduate of Loyola University Chicago.[1] O'Heir was active in the Chicago theater during the late 1980s and early 1990s, training and performing improvisational comedy at Chicago's Second City and as a member of the six-person sketch comedy troupe "White Noise", which formed in 1987.[2] The group wrote and produced comedic plays that often employed bizarre humor or black comedy.[3] Starting in November 1988, O'Heir appeared in White Noise's production of The Book of Blanche, about a woman who falls through a television screen and ends up in a fantasy world influenced by various television show genres.[4] In July 1989, O'Heir appeared in the Chicago premiere of the Tom Griffin play The Boys Next Door at the Edgewater Theatre Center. O'Heir played Norman Bulansky, a childlike middle-aged mentally handicapped man who works at a doughnut shop.[5]

Starting in 1990, O'Heir appeared in White Noise's Stumpy's Gang, a one-act black comedy play by Patrick Cannon.[6] The show played at Stage Left and Strawdog Theatres in Chicago, where it developed a cult following.[7] O'Heir played Frank Bubman, the janitor for a genetics laboratory whose job is to destroy the unsuccessful experiments, which are portrayed by puppets.[8] Frank secretly uses the experiments to stage private shows reminiscent of early television programs. Mary Shen Barnidge of the Chicago Reader said of his performance, "The grotesquely sexy Jim O'Heir adds a new dimension to the role of the enfant terrible with his uninhibited and enthusiastic portrayal of Frank, who will break your heart even as he turns your stomach."[8] Ernest Tucker of the Chicago Sun-Times described O'Heir's performance as very funny and "unforgettable",[3] and said he "held together this funny yet sick apocalyptic fantasy".[7] Stumpy's Gang closed in the fall of 1991.[7] Also with White Noise, O'Heir appeared in the play Ad-Nauseam, about a pair of writers who create an ad campaign about a character named Rim Shot, played by O'Heir. Rim Shot, dressed as a gladiator costume made up of bristle brushes and toilet detritus.[9] O'Heir appeared in the 1996 baseball comedy film Ed,[10] and 1998 fantasy television film Harvey.[10]

Television work

O'Heir has appeared in several television shows throughout the 2000s, including Malcolm in the Middle, Just Shoot Me, Star Trek: Voyager, Suite Life of Zack and Cody and ER.[10] Starting in 2000, O'Heir starred in a regular role in the Comedy Central series Strip Mall as Harvey Krudup, the unattractive husband of protagonist Tammi Tyler, who was played by Julie Brown. The character was the owner of the Starbrite Cleaners business, and Tammi married him under the false assumption that he was rich.[11][12] After learning Harvey is not wealthy, Tammi makes numerous attempts to have him murdered.[13]

In November 2003, he made a guest appearance in the tenth season episode of Friends, "The One With the Birth Mother", where he played the manager of an adoption agency.[10] On November 28, 2004, he appeared in the Boston Legal episode "Loose Lips", where he played a man fired from being a department store Santa Claus because he is a cross dresser.[14] O'Heir also continued appearing in plays during this time, and played the inmate Dale Harding in Dale Wasserman's stage adaption of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest at The Theatre District in Hollywood, California. Backstage writer Terri Roberts said O'Heir stood out among the show's cast.[15] He also appeared in the 2007 family drama film Welcome to Paradise.[1]

Starting in 2009, Jim O'Heir became a regular supporting cast member of the NBC comedy series Parks and Recreation.[16][17][18] He originally auditioned for the role of Ron Swanson,[19] before being cast as Jerry Gergich, a clumsy employee at a local government parks department who is often routinely mocked by his fellow co-workers. Although the character has been featured in the series since the first episode, he started to become more fully developed and play larger roles in the episodes during the second season.[17][18] The episode "Park Safety", in which Jerry pretends to have been mugged in order to avoid being made fun of for an injury, was focused almost entirely around Jerry and drew positive reviews for O'Heir's comedic performance.[18][20] In 2011, O'Heir made a guest appearance on the NBC comedy-drama series Parenthood as a bar owner.[21]

In 2013, he guest starred on Good Luck Charlie as a couch surgeon and the owner of a couch store, and later in the year he had a main role in the Ion Television movie My Santa,[22] as Jack, Santa's right-hand man. That same year, he appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live as real-life Toronto mayor Rob Ford, who had recently been involved in a crack-smoking scandal. O'Heir will be playing Scientist Hathaway in the upcoming movie, Range 15. In 2016, he voiced the character "Aiden" on Harvey Beaks, the grandfather of the titular character. In 2016, he appeared as Sheriff Reynolds in two episodes of Brooklyn Nine-Nine and as Constable Jim in four episodes of the YouTube series Edgar Allan Poe's Murder Mystery Dinner Party.


  1. 1 2 Clark, Mike (April 16, 2008). "High School Spotlight: TF South". Chicago Sun-Times. p. 64.
  2. http://splitsider.com/2013/10/talking-to-jim-oheir-about-playing-jerry-on-parks-and-recreation/
  3. 1 2 Tucker, Ernest (September 28, 1993). "White Noise Tale a Muted Effort". Chicago Sun-Times. p. 37.
  4. Hevrdejs, Judy (November 11, 1988). "'Book of Blanche' A Wacky Subscription". Chicago Tribune. p. CN2.
  5. Christiansen, Rrichard (July 20, 1989). "A drab 'Boys' seems to sour from the outset". Chicago Tribune. p. C22.
  6. Hilsman, Hoyt (November 2, 1994). "Stumpy's Gang (Zephyr Theatre, West Hollywood; 75 seats; $ 15 top)". Daily Variety.
  7. 1 2 3 Tucker, Ernest (August 20, 1993). "White Noise Will Go on 'Ad-Nauseam'". Chicago Sun-Times. p. 27.
  8. 1 2 Barnidge, Mary Shen (May 10, 1990). "Stumpy's Gang...A Comic Mutilation". Chicago Reader. Retrieved March 27, 2010.
  9. Smith, Sid (September 2, 1993). "'Ad-Nauseam' comedy runs out of steam". Chicago Tribune. p. 10F.
  10. 1 2 3 4 Starr, Michael (November 3, 2003). "Starr Report". The New York Post. p. 85.
  11. Kuklenski, Valerie (July 25, 2000). "'Strip' Tease; Julie Brown Kids the Valley...All in Fun". Los Angeles Daily News.
  12. Gallo, Phil (June 19, 2000). "Strip Mall". Variety. p. 35.
  13. Brooks, Tim; Marsh, Earle (2003). The complete directory to prime time network and cable TV shows, 1946-present. Ballantine Books. p. 1142. ISBN 0-345-45542-8.
  14. Starr, Michael (November 29, 2004). "Starr Report". The New York Post. p. 89.
  15. Roberts, Terri (June 16, 2005). "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest at The Theatre District". Back Stage West. p. 17.
  16. Ryan, Maureen (March 15, 2010). "News bits on 'Bones,' 'Battlestar' alumni and 'Archer'". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved March 27, 2010.
  17. 1 2 Weiner, Jonah (2009-12-02). "You really should be watching NBC's Parks and Recreation". Slate. Retrieved 2010-01-01.
  18. 1 2 3 Sepinwall, Alan (March 19, 2010). "Parks and Recreation, 'Park Safety': Andy Samberg, park ranger". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved March 22, 2010.
  19. Lehman, Daniel (March 8, 2012). "John Lutz and Jim O'Heir Play the Punching Bags on NBC Sitcoms". Backstage. Retrieved Aug 17, 2012.
  20. Gonzalez, Sandra (March 19, 2010). "'Parks and Recreation' recap: Let's hear it for the schlemiel and schlemazel". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved March 22, 2010.
  21. Sepinwall, Alan (March 2, 2011). "Review: 'Parenthood' - 'Qualities and Difficulties': The play's the thing". HitFix. Retrieved March 21, 2011.
  22. Pennington, Gail (November 27, 2013). "Snowed under: Christmas comes early, often on TV". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved December 2, 2013.
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