Jason Jordan Segel (born January 18, 1980) is an American television and film actor, screenwriter, composer, puppeteer and musician, known for his work with producer Judd Apatow on the short-lived television series Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared, the films Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Knocked Up, I Love You, Man, Gulliver's Travels, and Despicable Me, and also for his role as Marshall Eriksen in the CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother.
Segel was born in Los Angeles, the son of Jillian (née Jordan), a homemaker, and Alvin G. Segel, a lawyer, and was raised in Pacific Palisades, California. His father is Jewish and his mother is Christian; he was raised in his father's religion, but also attended St. Matthew's Parish School, a Christian school. He has stated that he and his older half brother, Adam, were not close while growing up.
Following elementary school, Segel completed his middle and high school studies at Harvard-Westlake School, where his frame helped him as an active member of the 1996 state champion boys' basketball team. He was the team's backup center behind Jason Collins. Segel had hopes of becoming a professional actor while in college, and acted in local theater productions at Palisades Playhouse.
He is known for his role "Freak" Nick Andopolis on the short-lived NBC comedy-drama series Freaks and Geeks, about a group of suburban Detroit high school students circa 1980. He also personally wrote a song for his character, Nick, to sing to the lead female character, Lindsay (Linda Cardellini), in an episode of Freaks and Geeks. She and Segel dated for a few years following the show's cancellation. It was rumored that she broke up with him for gaining twenty pounds.. but it has since emerged that the statement was in fact a joke taken out of context.
Segel had recurring roles on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation as Neil Jansen and on Undeclared as Eric. He currently plays Marshall Eriksen on the CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother. Feature film appearances include Slackers, SLC Punk!, The Good Humor Man, and Dead Man on Campus. In 2007, he appeared in Knocked Up, directed by Freaks and Geeks creator Judd Apatow. Segel starred in the lead role of 2008's Forgetting Sarah Marshall, a film he wrote and Apatow produced with Shauna Robertson for Universal Pictures. In it, he appeared fully nude on camera. He also starred in I Love You, Man, which was released on March 20, 2009 by Dreamworks.
Along with director Nicholas Stoller, Segel has recently been enlisted by Disney to write the next Muppets film. In Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Segel's character writes a "Dracula" musical performed by puppets. During an interview with Opie and Anthony, when they were on 104.1 WBCN in Boston, he stated that the Dracula musical with puppets, as well as being broken up with while naked, were real experiences he wrote into the movie. Those cloth creatures were custom-made by the Henson puppeteers, and the experience emboldened Segel to pitch his concept for a Muppets movie. Segel performed his Dracula's Lament on the 1000th episode of Craig Ferguson's show, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.
For the 2010 comedy Get Him to the Greek, Segel co-wrote most of the soundtrack's music which was performed by the fictional band Infant Sorrow. He also appeared on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson and sang an original song entitled "Wonky Eyed Girl".
In 2010, he voiced main character Gru's arch-rival Vector in the Universal hit CGI movie Despicable Me. Later in the same year, Segel appeared as "Horatio" in a fantasy comedy film Gulliver's Travels directed by Rob Letterman and very loosely based on Part One of the 18th-century novel of the same name by Jonathan Swift.
Segel was scheduled to film Five-Year Engagement with Emily Blunt in Spring 2011, in Michigan. He appeared in Bad Teacher, starring Cameron Diaz, which opened in June 2011. He played gym teacher and thwarted suitor Russell Gettis.