Simon Helberg

Simon Helberg made a career out of playing lovable nerds, but always with a twist. He honed his skills on the long-running sketch comedy series "MADtv" (Fox, 1995-2009) and on the fictional show-within-a-show "Studio 60 on the Sunset Trip" (NBC, 2006-07), where he did impressions of more experienced comics like Ben Stiller and Jimmy Fallon. But it was his turn as the bowl-cut physics nerd Howard Wolowitz on "The Big Bang Theory" (CBS, 2007- ) that made Helberg a star. His overly confident character fancied himself a ladies' man, and sported a look that the actor once described as "Jewish mod": super-tight pants, bright turtlenecks and Vans shoes. The series steadily gained mass appeal, as did Helberg, whose wacky antics and slow, believable shift from a would-be cad into a devoted husband gave Hollywood plenty of reasons to expect a long and successful career out of the talented comedian.