Date of Birth : Oct 26th 1977
American actor and filmmaker. He is known for his portrayal of the title character in 2004’s Napoleon Dynamite. He has also appeared in The Benchwarmers, School for Scoundrels and Blades of Glory.
Heder was born in Fort Collins, Colorado, one of six children of family practice physician Dr. James Heder and his wife Helen, the second-born of a pair of identical twins (his brother is Dan Heder). He has an older sister and brother, Rachel and Doug, and two younger brothers, Adam and Matt. Heder graduated from Walker Middle School and South Salem High School in Salem, Oregon in 1996. He is a former member of the swim team at South Salem High School. In addition, he was a staff member of the Lit-Art Magazine, AVATAR, in 1995. In the issue, there is a piece of art by Jon Heder that resembles a liger.
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.
A 2002 alumnus of Brigham Young University, Heder worked on the short CG animated film “Pet Shop” 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 his 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. Napoleon’s trademark frizzy hair is actually a perm created for the character by Kristi Jarvis, contributing to his quirky image. In June 2005, Heder received the MTV Movie Awards for Best Musical Performance and Breakthrough Male Performance for the role. On October 8, 2005, he hosted Saturday Night Live with musical guest Ashlee Simpson. Since his success with Dynamite, for which he was paid only $1,000, 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.
He had a supporting role in the romantic comedy Just Like Heaven. He also starred alongside Rob Schneider and David Spade as part of the trio 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; as the voice of the character Skull in the animated film Monster House; and in the comedy School for Scoundrels, opposite Billy Bob Thornton and Jacinda Barrett. With the exception of the Academy Award nomine Monster House, Heder’s post-Dynamite movies were widely panned 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 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.
Heder was mentioned in a positive light in the infamous South Park episode, Trapped in the Closet, where Stan Marsh tells Tom Cruise he’s not as good an actor as “the Napoleon Dynamite guy”.