Jake Gyllenhaal Headshot
Report a problem with this profile
[email protected]

Jake Gyllenhaal        

Academy Award-nominated and BAFTA Award-winning American actor

Jake Gyllenhaal was born in Los Angeles, California, the son of director Stephen Gyllenhaal and producer/screenwriter Naomi Foner Gyllenhaal. His father grew up in the Swedenborgian religion and is a descendant of the Swedish noble Gyllenhaal family. His mother is from a New York City Jewish American family; she is the ex-wife of Eric Foner, a history professor at Columbia University. His sister Maggie Gyllenhaal is an actress. Jake was raised Jewish and had a bar mitzvah at a homeless shelter, as his parents wanted to instill a sense of gratitude for his privileged lifestyle.

He graduated from the Harvard-Westlake School in Los Angeles in 1998, then studied eastern religions at Columbia University for two years, but dropped out to concentrate on his acting career.

Jake Gyllenhaal made his film debut at age eleven in City Slickers (1991) and was in October Sky (1999) before being cast in the title role in Donnie Darko (2001), for which he was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for best actor. Jake's performance as a troubled psychotic won him excellent reviews and the film quickly acquired cult status. He played opposite Jennifer Aniston in another Sundance favourite in 2002's The Good Girl and once again earned critical acclaim for his role in Lovely and Amazing with Catherine Keener. Jake also starred in the Touchstone Pictures romantic comedy Bubble Boy. Loosely based on the story of David Vetter, the film portrays the title character's adventure outside the confines of his bubble as he goes after the woman he loves before she marries the wrong man. He also starred in The Day After Tomorrow (2004), which co-starred Dennis Quaid.

His sister Maggie is also an actress and played his sister in Donnie Darko, as well as appearing with him in the film A Dangerous Woman.

They both appeared on an episode of Molto Mario (an Italian cooking show on the Food Network featuring Chef Mario Batali).

In Jarhead (2005) Jake played against type, displaying a markedly hostile masculinity as a violent Marine during the first Gulf War, while balancing this with the sensitive, conflicted vulnerable qualities of the lead character.

Brokeback Mountain (2005), which stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger as sheep herders who secretly fall in love in the 1960s won the coveted Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival (2005). The film went on to win four Golden Globes, four BAFTA Awards and three Academy Awards. It is officially the most honored film in cinematic history. He was nominated for an Academy Award in the category of Best Supporting Actor for this performance. He also won the Best Supporting Actor BAFTA for the same role and received a Best Supporting Actor nomination and Best Film Ensemble nomination from the Screen Actors Guild.

Jake has expressed some mixed feelings about the experience of being directed by Ang Lee on Brokeback Mountain, but overall has had more praise than criticism for his directing style. While he has had complaints about the way in which Lee tends to disconnect with his actors once filming has begun, he has also had much praise for other aspects of his filmmaking style, especially the in-depth preparations that Lee makes with the actors before filming begins, and the sensitivity with which he approaches the material in the film. At the Director's Guild of America awards on January 28, 2006, Jake also praised Lee for "his humbleness and his respect for everyone around him."

When asked about the kissing scenes with Heath Ledger in Brokeback Mountain, Jake stated that "As an actor, I think we need to embrace the times we feel most uncomfortable." He also commented that "I've never really been attracted to men sexually, but I don't think I would be afraid of it if it happened.".

Jake Gyllenhaal dated Rilo Kiley singer Jenny Lewis in 2001. But his most notable relationship has been with actress Kirsten Dunst. Introduced through his sister, the two began dating in September 2002 and were reported to have officially broken up in July 2004; however, the relationship remained off and on until August 2005. Together they own a German Shepherd named Atticus Finch and Jake also owns a Puggle named Boo Radley, after characters from the Harper Lee novel, To Kill a Mockingbird.

Jake's sister Maggie Gyllenhaal is engaged to actor Peter Sarsgaard, Jake's co-star in Jarhead, and they announced in April 2006 that they are expecting their first child in October.

His godmother is Jamie Lee Curtis

He is the godfather of Matilda Rose Ledger, the daughter of Heath Ledger and Michelle Williams, both of whom co-starred with him in Brokeback Mountain.

Jake Gyllenhaal, who is internationally viewed as a sex symbol, was officially made so when he made the list of People Magazine's "50 Most Beautiful People 2006". He also made the list of People`s Hottest bachelors of 2006.


Jake Gyllenhaal to Receive Acting Honor at Hollywood Film Awards ...

Jake Gyllenhaal, one of the most highly regarded young stars in Hollywood, will receive the Hollywood Supporting Actor Award at the 17th annual Hollywood ...

NEWS/ Everest: Jake Gyllenhaal, Jason Clarke Talk About the Good (and the Bad!) of Filming the New Adventure Flick
Jake Gyllenhaal Brightens St. Patrick's Day for an Injured Boston Hockey Player

Jake Gyllenhaal's surprise St. Patrick's Day visit at a Boston hospital made several patients feel like they had the luck of the Irish.

Jeff Bauman, Jake Gyllenhaal Chosen As Co-Captains Of Boston Medical Center’s Marathon Team

Marathon bombing survivor Jeff Bauman and actor Jake Gyllenhaal will be the honorary co-captains of the hospital’s running team for the 120th Boston Marathon..

Related Speakers View all

More like Jake