Many Jewish parents hope their children will grow up to become doctors. Actor Josh Radnor grew up to play one on TV, currently operating as Dr. Jedidiah Foster, a surgeon in PBS’ new Civil War drama series "Mercy Street."
Radnor is perhaps best known for his role as Ted Mosby in "How I Met Your Mother," but his career spans television, theater, and film both behind and in front of the camera. He has written, directed, and starred in 2 films: "Happythankyoumoreplease" in 2010, which won the Sundance Film Festival Audience Award and was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize, and "Liberal Arts," which premiered at Sundance in 2012. Radnor also made his Broadway debut in 2014 as Isaac in "Disgraced."
Raised in Bexley, Ohio, a suburb of Columbus, Radnor attended Columbus Torah Academy, an Orthodox day school (though he describes his upbringing as American Conservative) and participated in Livnot U’Lehibanot, a hiking, volunteering, and community building program in Tzfat.
According to Radnor, his passion for acting relates back to his Jewish roots.
“I’ve always loved sitting around, reading text and talking about it,” he told The Forward in 2008. “I’ve thought, ‘You know, I would have been a good yeshiva bokher.’”
Radnor channeled this love of text study into "Unscrolled: 54 Writers and Artists Wrestle with the Torah." Released by Reboot, a network of Jewish artists and creators, the book features Radnor’s musings on B’reishit.
“I believe in God,” he writes before presenting the text of a prayer he composed. “I try to feel the room before I blurt that out in conversation, but … it’s a feature of my personality and a fact of my life.”