Following his training at the North Carolina School of the Arts, actor Judge Reinhold worked in regional repertory, dinner theaters, and "outdoor" dramas. He gained prominence in TV roles as gawky teenagers, notably the lead in the syndicated Capital Cities Special A Step Too Slow. In films from 1979, Reinhold's first major role was high schooler Brad in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. He hit his stride in 1984, playing the nice-guy detective sent to trail Eddie Murphy in Beverly Hills Cop (1984). Though he has proven a convincing villain when the need has arisen, Judge Reinhold has thrived in parts calling for decency and dependency. Reinhold's career slowed down a bit during the '90s and in the early part of the decade he seemed destined to be relegated to B-movies and television films such as Four Eyes and Six Guns (1993), but in 1994, he appeared in two major features, Beverly Hills Cop III and The Santa Clause.
Biography by Hal Erickson
- Given nickname Judge when he was two weeks old by his father, a lawyer, who claimed his infant son's frowns reminded him of an old judge.
- Caught acting bug in high school and after graduating, earned his first paycheck at the Manatee Dinner Theatre in Port Salerno, FL (which was financed by Burt Reynolds before he opened his own theater in Jupiter in 1979).
- Landed first Hollywood role in a 1979 episode of Wonder Woman, but fame came a few years later in Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982) and Beverly Hills Cop (1984).
- In 2008, became an advocate for suicide prevention in his wife's home state of Arkansas after learning about the number of National Guard soldiers who have taken their own lives.