David Lawrence Schwimmer (born November 2, 1966) is an American actor and director.
Schwimmer began his acting career performing in school plays at Beverly Hills High School. In 1988, he graduated from Northwestern University with a Bachelor of Arts in theater and speech. After graduation, Schwimmer co-founded the Lookingglass Theatre Company. For much of the late 1980s, he lived in Los Angeles as a struggling, unemployed actor, until he starred in the television movie A Deadly Silence in 1989 and appeared in a number of television roles in the early 1990s, including L.A. Law, The Wonder Years, NYPD Blue, and Monty.
Schwimmer gained worldwide recognition for playing Ross Geller in the sitcom Friends, for which he received a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series in 1995. While still acting in Friends, his first leading film role was in The Pallbearer (1996), followed by roles in Kissing a Fool, Six Days, Seven Nights, Apt Pupil (all 1998), and Picking Up the Pieces (2000). He was then cast in the miniseries Band of Brothers (2001) as Herbert Sobel.
After the series finale of Friends in 2004, Schwimmer branched out into a variety of new acting formats beyond television. He was cast as the title character in the 2005 drama film Duane Hopwood, and voiced Melman the Giraffe in the computer-animated Madagascar film franchise, acted in the dark comedy Big Nothing (2006), and the thriller Nothing But the Truth (2008). Schwimmer made his West End stage debut in the leading role in 2005’s Some Girl(s), in 2006, he made his Broadway debut in The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial, his feature film directorial debut followed in 2007 with the comedy Run Fatboy Run, and the following year, he made his Off-Broadway directorial debut in Fault Lines.
In 2016, he starred as lawyer Robert Kardashian in American Crime Story, for which he received his second Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie.