Jon Heder

Jon Heder Headshot

Actor

Birth Name: Jonathan Joseph Heder

Birth Date: October 26, 1977

Age: 46 years old

Birth Place: Fort Collins, Colorado

With his first-ever feature role as the gaping über-nerd "Napoleon Dynamite" (2004), actor Jon Heder became a cult hero overnight. The film did more than just propel the young actor into celebrity; it also galvanized an entire generation of nerds, geeks and dweebs who could relate to being shoved into lockers, playing lonely games of tetherball and their pocketful of Tater-Tots being smashed by class bullies.

The rabid fandom that arose from "Napoleon Dynamite" turned weird, however, when accounts of Heder's death began circulating the Internet, complete with fictitious quotes from his bereaved mom. Though most actors would have cringed at such notoriety, Heder took it all in stride, continuing to land plum comedic roles in such films as "The Benchwarmers" (2005), "School for Scoundrels" (2006) and "Blades of Glory" (2007). The latter was a box office hit and solidified his status as a rising comedic talent.

After playing one of Kristen Bell's suitors in the underwhelming romantic comedy "When in Rome" (2010), Heder returned to the role that made him famous with the animated series "Napoleon Dynamite" (Fox, 2012), which featured most of the main players from the original cast and promised Heder continued success.

Born in Fort Collins, CO on Oct. 26, 1977, Jonathan Joseph Heder was reared in Salem, OR since age two. Raised in a Mormon household that fostered an innocent and wholesome outlook on life, Heder attended Brigham Young University in Salt Lake City. There, he met future director Jared Hess and future producer Jeremy Coon, whom he would later work with on "Napoleon Dynamite."

Though Heder started off in BYU's film program, he later switched to computer animation, eventually earning his BFA in 1999. In 2003, his old friend Hess began casting his short film, "Peluca" (2003), a nine-minute comedy about a geeky outcast named Seth who is obsessed with ninja books, unicorns and fanny packs.

Frustrated by the lack of talent passing through his casting office, Hess remembered a class skit Heder had performed at BYU and decided the aspiring young animator would be perfect for the part. Based on director Hess' own experiences while growing up in Preston, ID, "Peluca" was shot over a period of two days on grainy black-and-white film stock.

Surprisingly, the short became a cult hit and was lauded at the 2003 Slamdance Film Festival. Audience response to "Peluca" was so overwhelming that Hess subsequently decided to write a feature-length version. Though the director would rename the character, he retained Heder in the role.

With $400,000 in the production coffers, thanks to "Peluca," Hess returned to Preston to film "Napoleon Dynamite," a comedy that followed a bespectacled, afro-sporting social reject partial to wearing moon boots and drawing pictures of "ligers." Among Napoleon's other idiosyncrasies were feeding ham to the family's pet llama, building an Internet-bought time machine, drinking raw eggs, and dancing freestyle to Jamiroquai.

Despite his quirks, however, Napoleon would reveal his inner goodness with his willingness to help his new pal, Pedro, in his bid to become class president. A strangely heartwarming film about friendship and being true to oneself, "Napoleon Dynamite" roused audiences at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival and was bought for a reported $3.5 million by Fox Searchlight Pictures. The movie went on to earn over $44 million at the box office and assured Hess and Heder future employment prospects.

After the success of "Napoleon Dynamite," Heder moved to Los Angeles and began fielding offers for other films. Out of respect for his upbringing, however, the actor had strict caveats about the types of characters he would play: no drinking, drugs, sex or profanity would be considered. Clearly unconcerned about being typecast, Heder immediately signed on to supporting roles in a few features.

In the supernatural romantic comedy "Just Like Heaven" (2005), starring Mark Ruffalo and Reese Witherspoon, Heder played the owner of a New Age bookshop. Though the role was initially meant to be much smaller, positive responses from test audiences for Heder's character prompted filmmakers to beef up his role.

Next came two projects in rapid succession. The first was "Monster House" (2005), an animated tale about three kids who think their neighbor's house is a monster, followed by "The Benchwarmers" (2005), a baseball comedy that starred David Spade and Rob Schneider.

Next up for Heder was "School for Scoundrels" (2006), director Todd Phillips' rather predictable comedy about an anxiety-ridden meter maid (Heder) who enrolls in a confidence-building seminar run by the suave, but underhanded Mr. P (Billy Bob Thornton). Heder fared better in his next project, the competitive ice-skating farce, "Blades of Glory" (2007). In it, Heder and co-star Will Ferrell played two rival ice skaters who exploit a loophole that allows them to compete as a pair. A behemoth hit at the box office, "Blades of Glory" would eventually skate off with a domestic take of $92.5 million.

The following year, Heder played a thirty-something slacker living at home in "Mama's Boy" (2007). Cast as the son of an angelic Diane Keaton, Heder finds his comfy existence threatened when she falls in love with a self-help guru played by Jeff Daniels. That same year, Heder also signed on to another animated feature, supplying his voice talents to "Surf's Up!" (2007), a mockumentary about penguins who may have actually invented surfing.

After producing and starring in the horror web series "Woke Up Dead" (2009), Heder was a street magician and potential suitor for Kristen Bell in the ill-received romantic comedy "When in Rome" (2010). Meanwhile, he reprised the role that made him famous - if only in voice - for the animated series "Napoleon Dynamite" (Fox, 2012), which featured a return for the entire original cast of the movie.

Credits

Thelma the UnicornStream

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2024

Access Daily With Mario & Kit

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2022

Funny Thing About Love

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Charlie
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2021

Pinocchio: A True Story

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Tybalt
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2021

My Sweet Monster

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Bogey
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2021

Uncool With Alexa Bliss

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2020

Tremors: Shrieker Island

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Jimmy
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2020

The Little Penguin: Pororo's Dinosaur Island Adventure

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2020

Tamron Hall

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2019

Pororo: Treasure Island Adventure

Voice
Movie
2019

When Jeff Tried to Save the World

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Jeff
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2018

The LadybugStream

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2018

The Unexpected Race

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Harry
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2018

Surf's Up 2: WaveMania

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Chicken Joe
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2017

Bling

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2016

Ghost Team

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Louis
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2016

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Alex Womack
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2016

Bobby the Hedgehog

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2016

At Midnight With Chris HardwickStream

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Game Show
2015

The Jason Show

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2015

Pickle and PeanutStream

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Pickle
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2015

Pickle and PeanutStream

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2015

Star vs. the Forces of EvilStream

Guest Voice
Oskar
Series
2015

Tiny Tiny Talk Show

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2015

Walt Before Mickey

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Roy Disney
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2015

Huevos: Little Rooster's Egg-cellent Adventure

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Mickey Mallard
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2015

Christmas Eve

Actor
James
Movie
2015

Saturday Night Live: Extras

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Show
2014

About a Boy

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Computer Virus Guy
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2014

ClarenceStream

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Randy
Series
2014

My Dad Is Scrooge

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Raffi
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2014

Réalité

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Dennis
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2014

Beyond Beyond

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Bill
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2014

The Visitant

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2014

A Monsterous Holiday

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Frankenstein
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2013

King of the NerdsStream

Judge
Game Show
2013

The Little Penguin: Pororo's Racing Adventure

Voice
Mango
Movie
2013

Studio CStream

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Reality
2012

The Legend of KorraStream

Guest Voice
Ryu
Series
2012
89%

Napoleon Dynamite

Voice
Napoleon Dynamite
Show
2012

Pinocchio

Voice
Leo the Cat
Movie
2012

For Ellen

Actor
Fred
Movie
2012

Legend of Kung Fu Rabbit

Voice
Fu
Movie
2011

ConanStream

Guest
Talk
2010

When in RomeStream

Actor
Lance
Movie
2010
17%

Lopez Tonight

Guest
Show
2009

Woke Up Dead

Actor
drex greene
Show
2009

ES.TV

Guest
Show
2009

Woke Up Dead

Actor
Drex Greene
Movie
2009

Surf's Up

Voice
Chicken Joe
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2007

Blades of GloryStream

Actor
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2007
70%

Mama's Boy

Actor
Jeffrey
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2007

Moving McAllister

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Orlie
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2007

Monster House

Voice
Skull
Movie
2006

The BenchwarmersStream

Actor
Clark
Movie
2006
13%

School for ScoundrelsStream

Actor
Roger
Movie
2006
27%

My Name Is EarlStream

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Joel Malone
Series
2005
82%

How I Met Your MotherStream

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Narshall
Series
2005
84%

Robot ChickenStream

Guest Voice
Series
2005

The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson

Guest
Talk
2005

Just Like HeavenStream

Actor
Darryl
Movie
2005
54%

Napoleon DynamiteStream

Actor
Napoleon Dynamite
Movie
2004
72%

Last Call With Carson Daly

Guest
Talk
2002

Kickin' It: With Byron Allen

Guest
Show
1998

Saturday Night LiveStream

Host
Series
1975

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