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Jeff Goldblum talks about his childhood and love of music: 'Life itself is musical'

The 'Jurassic World: Dominion' actor sat down with Willie Geist to discuss his life in front of the camera and behind the piano.

This summer, Jeff Goldblum is heading back to Jurassic Park in "Jurassic World: Dominion."

The star is reprising his iconic role as Dr. Ian Malcolm. While the "Jurassic" series made Goldblum an international star, his career in acting started long before the first film made him an icon.

Goldblum said he feels "lucky" to be continuing his part in the Jurassic story, and that performing was always in his blood, even if his hometown of Pittsburgh was not a place known for churning out actors.

Jeff Goldblum and Willie Geist on July 3, 2022.
Jeff Goldblum and Willie Geist on July 3, 2022.Nathan Congleton / TODAY

"I was obsessed by it," he told Sunday TODAY's Willie Geist about his urge to perform. His father, Harold, was a doctor and his mother, Shirley, was in appliance sales. Goldblum grew up with his three siblings but there was always something pulling him toward a creative life.

He recalled coming home from a summer program as a ninth grader and being "all jazzed up" telling his parents what he had learned in a mime course.

"They were okay with it and supported it, and then before long I started to get jobs and make a living at it," he said.

Goldblum knew if his parents had insisted on him going to college, his career might have taken a completely different trajectory.

"Thank you to Shirley and Harold, they did well," he said.

At 17, Goldblum moved to New York to pursue acting and had small but notable roles in "Annie Hall" and "The Big Chill." His career really took off when he was cast as the lead in the 1986 sci-fi horror film, "The Fly."

Then things got even more exciting in the nineties with blockbuster performances in "Jurassic Park" and "Independence Day."

These days, when Goldblum isn't making movies or spending time with his wife and two young sons, he's at the piano making music. The actor has released two albums and plays regular gigs with his jazz ensemble. When it comes to this side hustle, he's fine just making it up as it goes along.

Goldblum told Geist that his love of music also goes back to his childhood, as he and his siblings all had music lessons.

"I didn’t have summer jobs or anything like that," he said. "I'd get the Yellow Pages and look up cocktail lounges around Pittsburgh. I was 15 and I'd cold-call them and say, 'You know, I hear you’re looking for a piano player.'"

Sometimes Goldblum would be told he was misinformed, that there was not even a piano at the bar he was calling. But other times he had more luck.

"[They'd say], 'Well, yes, we have a piano but who is this? How old are you?'" Goldblum was elated when he was told to come on down and show what he could do. "I got a couple of jobs that way. My parents drove me."

Jeff Goldblum and Willie Geist on July 3, 2022.
Jeff Goldblum and Willie Geist on July 3, 2022.Nathan Congleton / TODAY

The star says that music is "a tonic" and that he doesn't see it as separate from other aspects of his career.

"It’s all overlapping," he said. "Life itself is musical," he said, explaining that at its best, music drives you like a pulse and is as natural as breathing in and out.

"I’m kind of non-careerist, when it comes to acting, but I still want to put my best foot forward, it’s still my livelihood," he explained.

Music, on the other hand, is something that he does just for fun. "I really don’t have to try too hard to just have fun for its own sake."

When Goldblum begins his morning playing music, it changes the course of his day.

"We could call it meditative," he said.  "It's a sweet, pleasant thing."