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Jake Gyllenhaal Bio

Over the last decade and a half Jake Gyllenhaal has gone from child actor, to indie cult flick favourite to a break out star and one of Hollywood’s favorite leading men. The 31-year-old actor has a reputation for seeking out challenging roles and being involved with social change efforts and political activism. Find out more in his Kidzworld Bio!

A Family in Film

Far from being a stranger to the film industry Jacob (Jake) Benjamin Gyllenhaal is the son of director Stephen Gyllenhaal and screen writer Naomi Foner. His father’s background is Swedish and his mother is Jewish, and Jake has always said that he identifies with the New York Jewish culture of his mom’s side of the family. His older sister Maggie is also an actress. Jake was interested in acting from a young age and appeared in a couple of his father’s films; however, even though his parents let him audition for roles they often made him turn them down even if he won the part so it didn’t disrupt his life, for example he was supposed to be the kid hockey classic The Mighty Ducks, but because he would have to leave home for two months his parents made him turn it down.

Columbia and a Cult Classic

After high school Jake enrolled at Columbia University where both his sister and mom went, but soon got distracted from his studies after two years when parts started rolling in. His break out performance according to critics was in the film October Sky, followed by the cult classic Donnie Darko, a dark time travel mystery where he and his sister Maggie played brother and sister. He also starred in The Good Girl opposite Jennifer Aniston to critical acclaim.

Blockbusters and Brokeback

Jake followed up his indie success with some lighter movies like the comedy Bubble Boy, and then tried his hand at a Hollywood blockbuster when he starred in The Day After Tomorrow. Jake also honed his onstage skills by appearing in theatrical performances in London, and took on difficult and varied roles such as the movie adaptation of the touching play Proof, about a genius math professor, his student and her daughter as well as the movie adaptation of Jarhead, a biographical drama based on the memoirs of ex-American soldier Anthony Swofford.

Jake truly earned his place as a leading man and a multi faceted actor when he starred as a cowboy in love with another cowboy (Heath Ledger) in the Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain.

Jake dated actress Kristen Dunst for 2 years and has also been involved with actress Reese Witherspoon and country singer Taylor Swift. He also very politically active, having shot a commercial for Rock the Vote and is involved with environmental and social change, he donates money every year to have trees planted in Mozambique as part of Future Forests.

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