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Zachary Israel "Zach" Braff (born April 6, 1975) is an Americamarker actor, director, screenwriter, and producer. Braff first became known in 2001 for his role as John 'J.D.' Dorian on the popular TV series Scrubs, which earned him his first Emmy nomination. Braff remained working on Scrubs for eight years, until he announced he will be leaving the show in 2009.

In 2004, Braff made his directorial debut with Garden State, a coming of age film. Braff returned to his hometown of New Jerseymarker to shoot the film, which was produced on a budget of $2.5 million. The film made over $35 million at the box office as well as profiting from DVD sales, and was praised by critics, giving Braff his first financial success and critical acclaim in film work. As well as directing, Braff also wrote and starred in the film, and selected and produced the soundtrack record, for which he won a Grammy Award for Best Soundtrack Album in 2005.

Braff is also known for starring in the films The Last Kiss and The Ex, and for his vocal work on Chicken Little. He states that he will continue to write and direct films in the coming years.

Early life

Braff was born in South Orange, New Jerseymarker, to a Jewish family. His parents, Hal Braff, a trial attorney and sociology professor, and Anne Brodzinsky, a clinical psychologist, divorced and re-married others during Braff's childhood. One of his siblings, Joshua, is an author. Braff has wanted to be a filmmaker since his early childhood and has described it as his "life dream." Braff was diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder at age 10.

As a teen, Braff attended Stagedoor Manormarker Performing Arts Training Center in upstate New York. He graduated from Columbia High Schoolmarker, in Maplewoodmarker, where he worked in the school's television station. Braff graduated from Northwestern Universitymarker with a Bachelor of Science in film where he was a member of the Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity. While attending Northwestern, Braff met singer-songwriter Cary Brothers and Joshua Radin whose music is featured on Braff's comedy series, Scrubs.


Braff began his career behind the scenes as a janitor assistant during William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night and Macbeth (as Malcolm) at New York City's Public Theatermarker, and also appeared in Woody Allen's 1993 film Manhattan Murder Mystery. Braff was briefly on the Disney program The Baby-sitters Club in an episode titled "Dawn Saves the Trees." He, along with many Scrubs cast members, also has a small role playing himself in It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie.

Braff is also the voice of the puppy narrator in advertisements for Cottonelle, as well as the narrator for the Pur Water Filter Commercials of 2009.


Braff has played the role of protagonist John "J.D." Dorian on the television show Scrubs since the show's debut in 2001. The role was Braff's first major part in a television show. Braff has been nominated for three Golden Globes and an Emmy for his role as the offbeat doctor.

In March 2007, Braff signed a one-year deal with NBC for the seventh season of Scrubs. He reportedly earned $350,000 an episode, making him one of the highest-paid actors on television, alongside House's Hugh Laurie and Two and a Half Men star Charlie Sheen. However, Braff claims that these reports "have not been very accurate."In late October 2008, Bill Lawrence confirmed Braff will star in the eighth, and what was expected to be the final season of Scrubs, before adding that Scrubs could continue with a new cast. However, in 2009 and after the eighth season finale of Scrubs aired, it was announced that Braff, along with other regular cast members, would star in six episodes of the show's ninth season to help to transition the show to its new format. For the ninth season Braff will also act as an Executive Producer of Scrubs. Braff has directed several episodes of Scrubs, including its one-hundredth.

Garden State

In addition to directing several episodes of Scrubs, Braff wrote, directed, and starred in 2004's Garden State, which was filmed in his home state of New Jersey, in various towns such as South Orange, Maplewoodmarker and Tenaflymarker. Producers were initially reluctant to finance the film, which Braff wrote in six months. After its success, he was sent a large number of scripts that he rejected because they were the kinds of films that he "would never go see or have any interest in being in."In February 2005, he won a Grammy Award for Best Compilation Soundtrack for a Motion Picture for the Garden State soundtrack, on which he also served as the compilation producer.

Voice acting

Braff has done voice acting, providing a voice for the title character in the Disney animated film Chicken Little (2005), as well as being credited for voice acting in the video game Kingdom Hearts II. Braff has also done voice overs for commercials, including the PUR water ad campaign, Wendy's TV commercials in 2007 and '08, and Cottonelle commercials, in which he portrays the Cottonelle puppy. One Cottonelle ad features a very brief live-action cameo of Braff himself.

Other work

In 2005, Braff was featured on Ashton Kutcher's Punk'd when he was tricked into chasing a supposed vandal who appeared to be spray-painting his brand new Porsche. He then proceeded to hurl expletives at the young boy until Ashton Kutcher showed up. The episode aired March 20, 2005. Braff has also made a couple of guest appearances on the show Arrested Development as Phillip Litt, a parody of Girls Gone Wild creator Joe Francis, who produces a film series called Girls with Low Self Esteem.

Braff has directed several music videos: Gavin DeGraw's "Chariot," Joshua Radin's "Closer" and "I'd Rather Be With You," and Lazlo Bane's "Superman," the theme song from Scrubs. Winning a Grammy Award for assembling the soundtrack album of Garden State and directing three music videos, Braff has said that he "loves music and knows a lot about it." His music production has resulted in newfound success for some of the artists featured on his film soundtracks, such as The Shins, who were prominently featured on the Garden State soundtrack and the Scrubs soundtrack, resulting in the expression the "Zach Braff effect."

On May 19, 2007, Braff hosted the 32nd season finale of Saturday Night Live, where in one sketch, he plays a high school student who tries to explain to the two snobby heads of the prom committee (Amy Poehler and Maya Rudolph) how Garden State is an important film to his peers.

Braff was in talks to star in the film Fletch Won and had signed on to play the role eventually played by Dane Cook in Mr. Brooks, but dropped out of both roles to work on Open Hearts, which he adapted from a Danishmarker film and will direct. He has also co-written a film version of Andrew Henry's Meadow, a children's book, with his brother, and was scheduled to direct one of the segments for the film New York, I Love You. However, he was not among those who directed the film, scheduled to be released in October.

In July 2009, he signed on as an executive producer for the documentary Heart of Stone to "help spread the word about it."

The Last Kiss

Braff starred in the romantic drama The Last Kiss, which opened on September 15, 2006. Braff, who tweaked several parts of Paul Haggis' script for the film, wanted the script to be as "real as possible" and "really courageous" regarding its subject matter. The film's director, Tony Goldwyn, compared Braff to a younger version of Tim Allen, describing Braff as "incredibly accessible to an audience... a real guy, an everyman."

As with Garden State, Braff was involved with the film's soundtrack; he served as executive producer and selected lesser known artists such as Frou Frou, Joshua Radin, Schuyler Fisk, and Rachael Yamagata, as well as Remy Zero, Coldplay, Snow Patrol, Turin Brakes, The Shins and Aimee Mann, to appear on the track.

The Last Kiss grossed approximately $11 million at the North American box office, and was considered a commercial disappointment; however, worldwide box office receipts and DVD rentals added $35 million to the take, bringing in nearly twice the production cost of $20 million for the film.

The Ex

In 2007, Braff starred in the film The Ex, which he has described as a "silly comedy," and which was released on May 11, 2007 and also starred Amanda Peet, Charles Grodin and Jason Bateman. Braff said on his blog that "the movie didn't do as well as he expected."

Open Hearts

Braff's next directorial project is the upcoming, 2011 film Open Hearts, a remake of a 2002 Danish film of the same name. The project has been put in limbo due to Braff's work on Scrubs. The film will focus on a woman, shocked by her fiance's paralysis in a car crash. She ends up having an affair with her husband's doctor, whose wife caused the original accident. The original film starred Mads Mikkelsen, Sonja Richter, Nikolaj Lie Kaas, and Paprika Steen. The cast for Braff's remake have not been revealed yet. It was first revealed that Zach Braff was planning to remake Open Hearts in 2006, at the same time Braff's film The Last Kiss was being released. The film will be produced by Paramount Pictures.

On his blog, Zach Braff announced that directing the film had been delayed due to his show Scrubs being renewed. The production of the film has been put in limbo several times due to Braff returning to film the seventh and eighth seasons of Scrubs, and in 2006 it was revealed that Braff had put the project on hold for a year after difficulties surrounding casting. The picture was to be filmed in New Jerseymarker, Braff's hometown and location of Garden State, in the summer of 2006 This date has been changed but the location is believed to remain the same.


Zach Braff announced via his Facebook page that he is working on the script of the film "Swingles", which he will direct and star in alongside Cameron Diaz.

Personal life

In early 2006, unnamed sources told In Touch Weekly magazine that Mandy Moore and Braff were engaged. Moore's representative denied the engagement. In the summer of 2007, Braff started to date Roswell star Shiri Appleby.

In November 2008, Braff earned his pilot's license flying a Cirrus SR20. Braff's step-sister is Jessica Kirson, a New York stand-up comedienne. His brother is author Joshua Braff.


Year Title Role Notes
1993 The Babysitters Club David Cummings One episode only
1993 Manhattan Murder Mystery Nick Lipton
2000 Broken Hearts Club Benji
Blue Moon Fred
2001-2010 Scrubs Dr. John Michael "J.D." Dorian (Narrator) Main character for 172 Episodes.

Scheduled to appear in 6 episodes in season 9.
2002 It's A Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie Dr. John Dorian
2004 Garden State Andrew Largeman Writer/Director/Soundtrack Producer
2005 Chicken Little Chicken Little Voice only
2006 The Last Kiss Michael
2007 The Ex Tom Reilly
2010 Andrew Henry's Meadow Andrew Henry
2011 Open Hearts TBA
2011 Swingles TBA
2011 8 Track TBA

Episodes of Scrubs directed

Altogether Braff has directed 7 episodes of Scrubs so far.


  2. Zach Braff Biography (1975-2009)
  3. The next Woody Allen? - Film -
  4. Keller, Joel Zach Braff says he's not a jerk TV Squad (June 26, 2007). Retrieved on 2-13-09.
  5. As stated on Last Call with Carson Daly.

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