Zack Braff
  • Faith: Judaism
  • Career: Actor
  • Birthday:  April 07, 1975

Zach Braff is a filmmaker and actor. He played John Michael "J.D." Dorian on the TV series "Scrubs," for which he was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Leading Actor in a Comedy Series in 2005, as well as three Golden Globe Awards from 2005 to 2007. Braff starred in "The Broken Hearts Club: A Romantic Comedy,” "The Last Kiss,” "The Ex," and "In Dubious Battle." He's done voicework for "Chicken Little,” "Oz the Great and Powerful," and "BoJack Horseman." In 2004, Braff made his directorial debut with "Garden State," where he also starred. Additionally, he wrote the screenplay and compiled the soundtrack album.

Braff shot the movie in his home state of New Jersey with a budget of $2.5 million. The film made over $35 million at the box office and was praised by critics, leading it to gain a cult following. He won several awards for his directing work and also won the Grammy Award for Best Soundtrack Album in 2005. In 2014, he directed his second movie, "Wish I Was Here," which he partially funded with a Kickstarter campaign. Braff has appeared on stage in the dark comedy "All New People," in which he starred and wrote. The play premiered in New York City in 2011 before playing in London's West End. Braff also played the lead role in a musical adaptation of Woody Allen's "Bullets Over Broadway" in 2014.

Braff was born in 1975 in South Orange, New Jersey, and grew up there and in neighboring Maplewood. Braff's father was a trial attorney and alumnus at Rutgers Law School, while his mother worked as a clinical psychologist. Sadly, his parents divorced and remarried others during Braff's childhood. Braff's older brother is author Joshua Braff, and his other older brother, Adam, is a producer and writer. His step-sister, Jessica Kirson, is a stand-up comedian. Braff wanted to be a filmmaker since his early childhood and has described it as his “life dream.” When he was 10 years old, he was diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder. During his childhood, Braff was a friend of future Fugees member Lauryn Hill at Columbia High School in Maplewood.

Braff attended Stagedoor Manor, a performing arts “training center” for youth actors ages 10 to 18. Stagedoor was where he met and befriended actor Josh Charles. He also knows Stagedoor alums Natalie Portman, Joshua Radin, and Mandy Moore. He studied film studies at Northwestern University’s School of Communication, graduating in the class of 1997.

What religion is Zach Braff?

Braff's father was born into a Jewish family, and his mother was originally a Protestant but converted to Judaism before marrying his father. Braff said that he had a "very strong" conservative/orthodox Jewish upbringing." He had his bar mitzvah service at Oheb Shalom Congregation. In 2005, Braff said he wasn't a huge fan of organized religion, and in 2013, he said that Judaism doesn't necessarily work for him, although he still identifies as Jewish.

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