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Jon Heder
Born Jonathan Joseph Heder
October 26, 1977 (1977-10-26) (age 32)
Fort Collins, Colorado, U.S.
Occupation Actor, filmmaker, screenwriter
Years active 2004–present
Spouse(s) Kirsten Bales (2002-present)

Jonathan Joseph "Jon" Heder (born 26 October 1977)[1] is an American actor, filmmaker and screenwriter. He is best known for playing the title character of the 2004 comedy film Napoleon Dynamite. He has also acted in the films The Benchwarmers, School for Scoundrels, Blades of Glory, Mama's Boy, and When in Rome, and provided voice talents in the animated films Monster House and Surf's Up.


Early life

Heder was born in Fort Collins, Colorado, and is one of six children of family practice physician Dr. James Heder and his wife Helen.[2] His paternal grandparents, Swedish immigrants, changed the family surname from "Olafsen" to "Heder".[3] Heder has an identical twin brother, Dan, as well as an older sister and brother, Rachel and Doug, and two younger brothers, Adam and Matt. Heder is the nephew by marriage of former NFL running back and current WCAU sportscaster, Vai Sikahema.[4]

Heder attended Walker Middle School in Salem, Oregon, and graduated from South Salem High School in 1996, where he was on the swim team and was a member of the Drama Association.

Heder is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and served an LDS mission in Japan, for which he learned to speak Japanese. He, his brothers and father are Scouting enthusiasts with Heder and several of his brothers becoming Eagle Scouts.[5] He currently serves as a Scoutmaster.[5]

A 2002 alumnus of Brigham Young University, Heder worked on the short CGI animated film "Pet Shop", written by Logan Deans, which earned a non-traditional animation student Emmy in 2005. After his movie career took off, he did not return to complete the work he started on the short, although his name does appear in the credits. Also, while attending BYU he befriended Jared Hess and starred in Hess' short film Peluca, which was later expanded into Napoleon Dynamite. Peluca received rave reviews on the BYU campus after showing at a few college and local film festivals and competitions.


Napoleon Dynamite, filmed in Preston, Idaho, earned more revenue than almost any other Sundance movie.[citation needed] In June 2005, Heder received the MTV Movie Award for Best Musical Performance and Breakthrough Male Performance for the role. On 8 October 2005, he hosted Saturday Night Live with musical guest Ashlee Simpson. After his success with Napoleon Dynamite, for which he was paid only $1,000[citation needed], Heder and his film co-star Efren Ramirez filmed a series of commercials to promote the 2005 Utah State Fair. They appear as their characters from Napoleon Dynamite; in at least one commercial, they are shown with the FFA medals that they won in the context of the movie.

Heder appeared in the film The Sasquatch Gang. He had a supporting role as a clerk in a new age bookstore in the romantic comedy Just Like Heaven. Heder also appeared with Rob Schneider and David Spade in producer Adam Sandler's The Benchwarmers (2006), a comedy about three grown men making up for lost chances by creating their own Little League baseball team. He was the voice of the character Skull in the animated film Monster House, and starred in the comedy School for Scoundrels, opposite Billy Bob Thornton and Jacinda Barrett. With the exception of the Academy Award-nominee Monster House, Heder's post-Dynamite movies were widely panned[citation needed] and he risked becoming a one-hit wonder until he co-starred in 2007 with Will Ferrell in the well-received Blades of Glory (2007). Like many of Heder's films, Blades of Glory is an absurd, slapstick caricature, in this case revolving around male figure skaters who must team up in a pairs competition.

Heder's second turn at voice acting came in 2007 when he voiced the character of Chicken Joe, a surfing chicken, in the animated film Surf's Up. His first foray into web television was in the 2008 web series Woke Up Dead starring and produced by Heder.[6] Woke Up Dead is a web-based, live-action sci-fi comedy thriller about Drex, a twenty-something USC student who wakes up underwater in the bathtub one morning and suspects that he might be dead.

Jon and his twin brother Dan star together as villains in the fourth installment of the popular internet martial arts comedy series Sockbaby.

Heder's performance in When in Rome garnered unusual praise from New York Times critic A. O. Scott: "Jon Heder as a goofy street magician is the funniest of the bunch."[7]

Personal life

Heder lives with his wife Kirsten Heder in Los Angeles, California. The two have been married since 2002. The couple had a girl, Evan Jane Heder, on 6 April 2007.[8]

Heder appeared on the 2 February 2010 edition of late-night TV show Lopez Tonight, where he discussed his "Straight Edge" lifestyle, explaining that he avoids drugs, alcohol and caffeine, in keeping with his Mormon faith.

Jon and Dan

Jon stated during an appearance on Late Show with David Letterman that he and his identical twin, Dan, think alike and, as children, often finished each other's sentences (a common occurrence with identical twins). When Letterman asked him whether being an identical twin is a good experience, Dan replied that it is mostly good and that as children "we caused a lot of trouble by pretending to be the other, the memories still give me a good chuckle."[citation needed]


Year Film Role Notes
2000 The Wrong Brother Audience Member
Funky Town Officer Hardy as Jonathan Heder
2003 Peluca Seth
2004 Napoleon Dynamite Napoleon Dynamite Main Role, co-writer (uncredited)
2005 Just Like Heaven Darryl Supporting Role
Tankman Begins Batman TV movie
2006 The Benchwarmers Clark Reedy Main Role
Monster House Reginald "Skull" Skulinski Voice Role
School for Scoundrels Roger Main Role
2007 The Sasquatch Gang Lazer Tag Employee Supporting Role
Blades of Glory Jimmy MacElroy Main Role
Surf's Up Chicken Joe Voice Role
Moving McAllister Orlie Main Role
Mama's Boy Jeffrey McMannus Main Role
2010 When in Rome Lance
For Ellen TBA (pre-production)
Alive and Well Oliver Vale (pre-production)
Three Men Seeking Monsters TBA in development
Loudermilk TBA in development
Mr. Machine TBA in development



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