Big Bang Theory: Who are Sheldon and Leonard named after? Meet the Hollywood star

The Big Bang Theory is the American sitcom series which ran from 2007 until 2019. The Emmy award-winning show centred on the lives of Sheldon Cooper (played by Jim Parsons) and Leonard Hofstadter (Johnny Galecki), two physicists at Caltech who also live together.

Who are Sheldon and Leonard named after?

He is one of TV’s most memorable characters but Sheldon Cooper was actually supposed to have an entirely different name.

Sheldon was originally going to be named Kenny and the series itself was going to be titled Lenny, Penny and Kenny after the three main characters.

However, Kenny became Sheldon following the death of Sheldon Leonard Bershad, a legendary actor, producer and director from New York.

As a result, The Big Bang Theory creators decided to name its two leading men after him.

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Who is Sheldon Leonard Bershad?

Sheldon Leonard Bershad was an American film and television actor, producer, director and writer.

Bershad produced and directed several iconic shows including The Danny Thomas Show, The Andy Griffith Show, The Dick Van Dyke Show and I Spy.

Bershad was also an actor. He starred as the bartender Nick in It’s A Wonderful Life in 1946 and as Harry the Horse in Guys and Dolls in 1955.

His other acting credits include To Have and Have Not, Open Secret and Decoy.

He was well known for acting which his signature thick New York Accent.

In the 1950s and 1960s, he established a reputation as a successful producer and director.

In 1992 he was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame, after receiving five Emmy awards for his producing/directing efforts.

In 1995 he received a lifetime membership into the Director’s Guild of America.

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Bershad died on January 11, 1997, six weeks before his 90th birthday.

Speaking to Variety, Big Bang Theory co-creator Bill Prady said he and Chuck Lorre decided to name Sheldon and Leonard after him as they were “fans of his work.”

Prady also revealed the tribute was co-creator Chuck’s idea.

Kenny became Sheldon Cooper and Lenny became Leonard Hofstadter.


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Sheldon and Leonard were the only two characters from the original pilot, to star in the series.

After the unsuccessful first pilot, creators Bill Prady and Chuck Lorre were given a second chance to produce a new pilot, where they cast Kaley Cuoco as Penny, Simon Helberg as Simon and Kunal Nayyar as Raj.

In season four, Melissa Rauch who played Bernadette and Mayim Bialik who starred as Amy were promoted to series regulars, making up the show’s ensemble for the remaining nine seasons.

All 13 seasons of The Big Bang Theory are available to stream and download on Netflix now.

Netflix has a download option which means you can binge-watch episode of The Big Bang Theory on the go via the Netflix app.

The Big Bang Theory is streaming on Netflix now

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