Dads

Hank Azaria: Preemie son stopped my selfishness

Jan. 15, 2014 at 3:16 PM ET

Video: The voice actor known famously on “The Simpsons,” is taking on a new role as dad in a docu-series on AOL called “Fatherhood,” which documents his dealing with as a dad and the health of his premature son.

Actor Hank Azaria used to think of kids as “annoying short people.” That changed after he became a father in 2009 for the first time, going through some tense moments when the baby arrived.

His son Hal was born 10 weeks early, weighing just over 2 pounds when he came into the world and had to spend seven weeks in a neonatal intensive care unit.

“I had a lot of selfish concerns even in the pregnancy, like how is it going to change my life? How am I going to deal with screaming in the house and diapers?” Azaria told TODAY’s Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb on Wednesday.

“And then when you're faced with, ‘What if he's not okay?’ -- that put it all in context. I'm just grateful he's all right.”

Azaria is known for his voice work on "The Simpsons" and roles in films including "The Birdcage" and "Along Came Polly." His newest project – a web series on AOL, titled “Fatherhood" -- is all about being a dad, described as the journey of “a man who is not even sure he wants to have kids,” to a father going through the joys, trials and tribulations of being a parent.

His reaction to finding out his girlfriend – now his wife – was pregnant with Hal was captured on camera while filming the show.

“You don't know until that moment how you're going to really feel and it was a big joy reaction,” Azaria said.

As part of the series, Azaria interviewed celebrity fathers and said Kevin Bacon offered some of the best parenting advice, telling him the various phases of a child’s life would drive him up the wall, but to remember that each phase -- whether he loved it or hated it -- would pass. 

Kathie Lee Gifford then suggested Azaria could star in a series focused on a mom's perspective when he and his wife decide to have a second child.

"If she wants," he replied.

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