Before They Were Stars: J.K. Simmons in “Popeye Doyle”

Even though recent Academy Award winner J.K. Simmons has been one of Hollywood’s busiest character actors these past two decades, the first several years of his career were primarily spent on the stage and the only film or television credit on his filmography before 1994 is the failed television pilot, Popeye Doyle. Made in 1986, Popeye Doyle featured a pre-Married with Children Ed O’Neill stepping into Gene Hackman’s shoes to play the iconic title character from the French Connection movies. The plan was turn Popeye Doyle into a TV series, but the original pilot was never picked up and O’Neill went on to become Al Bundy instead. Anyway, at the 12:40 mark of this clip, you can see J.K. Simmons (credited as “Jonathan Simmons”) pop up as a patrolmanĀ and even though you can’t clearly see his face, you’ll definitely recognize his distinctive voice.

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