Jake Gyllenhaal (born Jacob Benjamin Gyllenhaal, 19.12. 1980)
Jake Gyllenhaal is an American actor, who rose to prominence with the success of the independent film Donnie Darko, in which he played the title role.
Jake Gyllenhaal: Childhood
Jake Gyllenhaal was born in Los Angeles, to Stephen Gyllenhaal, a film director and Naomi Foner, a film producer and screenwriter. His sister, Maggie Gyllenhaal is also an actress. Maggie and Jake starred alongside each other in Donnie Darko. Jake's father is descended from Swedish nobility and his mother is from a Jewish New York family.
Jake Gyllenhaal has been raised as Jewish and his Bar Mitzvah took place at a homeless shelter because his parents wanted him to appreciate his privileged lifestyle. As a teenager, Jake had a number of summer jobs, including a lifeguard and a busboy in a restaurant.
Jake Gyllenhaal: Acting Career
Jake Gyllenhaal's film debut came with his appearance in Billy Crystal's City Slickers. It was 1991 and Gyllenhaal was aged 11. His parents would not allow him to take a part in the Mighty Ducks as it would have involved Jake being away from home for too long.
In 1993, Jake and Maggie both appeared in A Dangerous Woman. The following year, Jake had a part in a 1994 episode of Homicide: Life on the Street, as well as the 1998 comedy entitled Homegrown. Jake was also allowed to act in Josh and S.A.M., a children's adventure film.
Jake Gyllenhaal briefly attended Columbia University, but he dropped out to focus on his acting career and his first lead role came in October Sky, an adaptation of the Homer Hickam autobiography Rocket Boys. The film was a commercial success and many consider it to be Gyllenhaal's breakthrough performance.
Gyllenhaal's second major film performance was in Donnie Darko. The film became a slow-burning success and is now considered a cult classic.
Although his next film, Highway was a flop, Jake went on to star opposite Jennifer Aniston in The Good Girl, which had its premier at 2002's Sundance Festival. He then went on to star opposite Catherine Keener in Lovely & Amazing. Unfortunately for Gyllenhaal, his next role, in Bubble Boy, was widely panned by film critics and achieved little box office success.
Also in 2002, Jake Gyllenhaal starred alongside Susan Sarandon and Dustin Hoffman in Moonlight Mile. Having been briefly considered as a replacement as Spiderman in Spiderman 2, when Tobey Maguire fell ill, Gyllenhaal lost out on the part when Maguire recovered. However, he went on to star in The Day After Tomorrow, a successful blockbuster, with Dennis Quaid playing his character's father.
Jake Gyllenhaal made his theatrical debut in the revival of This Is Our Youth, in London. The play was a critical success and the eight-week run in London earned Gyllenhaal an 'Outstanding Newcomer Award' from the Evening Standard Theatre Awards.
In 2005, Gyllenhaal starred in three highly revered movies. Firstly, in Proof, Gyllenhaal stars alongside Gwyneth Paltrow and Anthony Hopkins in a drama about a problem puzzling a mathematical community. Secondly, Gyllenhaal features in the Gulf War film Jarhead, as an aggressive U.S. Marine. Thirdly, in Brokeback Mountain, Gyllenhaal stars alongside the late Heath Ledger, as a young cowboy who embarks on a homosexual relationship with another cowboy. The film was a huge success and won three Academy Awards. Jake Gyllenhaal was also nominated for the Best Supporting Actor Oscar but lost out to George Clooney for his role in Syriana.
2007 saw Gyllenhaal starring in Zodiac, based on the true story of a San Fransisco serial killer. The same year, he appeared opposite Reese Witherspoon and Meryl Streep in the political thriller Rendition.
Jake Gyllenhaal: Personal Life
Jake Gyllenhaal's godmother is the actress Jamie Lee Curtis. He himself is godfather to Heath Ledger and Michelle Williams' child, Matilda Rose Ledger.
Gyllenhaal and Reese Witherspoon have been dating since 2007 but the couple had refused to confirm the relationship until a Vogue interview with Witherspoon was published in November 2008.