|Played By||Sam Rockwell|
|Appearance||"The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy"|
|Occupation||President Of The Galaxy|
Zaphod Beeblebrox is a fictional character in the various versions of the humorous science fiction story The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy by Douglas Adams who based him on his Cambridge contemporary, Johnny Simpson.
He is from a planet in the vicinity of Betelgeuse, and is a "semi-cousin" of Ford Prefect, with whom he "shares three of the same mothers". Due to "an accident with a contraceptive and a time machine", his direct ancestors from his father (Zaphod Beeblebrox the Second) are also his direct descendants (see Zaphod Beeblebrox the Fourth).
This character is described across all versions as having two heads and three arms, though explanations of how he came to receive the extra appendages differed between versions. The original radio version never explained the second head, but did explain that Zaphod "grew" the third arm in the six months between meeting the character of Trillian on Earth, and the start of the series. The third radio series implies that he had a third arm whilst growing up - the fifth has him offer to Trillian that "I'd grow my third arm back for you, baby", when they first meet. In the novel, he said the third arm was "recently [...] fitted just beneath his right one to help improve his ski-boxing."
Zaphod, having been voted the Worst Dressed Sentient Being in the Known Universe for seven years in a row, wears clothes that are unique and contain a mixture of bright and contrasting colours, to make him stand out and be the centre of attention wherever he goes. In the television series, he wears the same outfit throughout each of the episodes, but in the movie his clothes, their style and their colour scheme change several times, although all of them are tasteless and attention-seeking.
Zaphod invented the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster, and is the only person able to drink more than three of them at one sitting. He was voted "Worst Dressed Sentient Being in the Known Universe" for seven years in a row. He's been described as "the best Bang since the Big One" by Eccentrica Gallumbits, and as "one hoopy frood" by others. In the seventh episode of the original radio series, the narrator describes Beeblebrox as being the "owner of the hippest place in the universe" (his own left cranium), as voted on in a poll of the readers of the fictional magazine Playbeing.
He was briefly the President of the Galaxy (a role that involves no power whatsoever, and merely requires the incumbent to attract attention so no one wonders who's really in charge, which is a role Zaphod was perfectly suited for). He is the only man to have survived the Total Perspective Vortex. However, it was established (in the books and first two radio series) that he survived only because the Vortex he was subjected to existed in an Electronically Synthesized Universe which was created specially for him. This made Zaphod the most important being in it. His brain-care specialist, Gag Halfrunt, also said, "Vell, Zaphod's just zis guy, you know?" He used his position as President of the Galaxy to steal the Heart of Gold, a spaceship taking advantage of Infinite Improbability Drive, at its unveiling.
As a character, Zaphod is hedonistic and irresponsible, self-centered almost to the point of solipsism, and often extremely insensitive to the feelings of those around him. In the books and radio series, he is nevertheless quite intelligent, though he sometimes prefers not to make this obvious, and can be briefly shamed into better behaviour. Douglas Adams has said that Zaphod is always desperately trying to appear relaxed. In the movie, however, he is not very bright (in fact, his opponent in the previous Presidential election had appeared to have graffitied a "Vote for Zaphod Beeblebrox" sign into a "Don't vote for Zaphod Beeblebrox stupid") and perhaps even more boorish than his previous portrayals. He is portrayed as a vacuous California surfer-type, and Sam Rockwell, the actor who played him in the film, cited Bill Clinton, Elvis Presley and Freddie Mercury as influences.