Joseph Leonard Gordon-Levitt was born February 17, 1981 in Los Angeles, California, to Jane Gordon and Dennis Levitt. Joseph was raised in a Jewish family with his late older brother, Dan Gordon-Levitt, who passed away in October 2010. His parents worked for the Pacifica Radio station KPFK-FM and his maternal grandfather, Michael Gordon, had been a well-known movie director. After working for several years as a child actor, Joseph became better known for starring on the hit television series 3rd Rock from the Sun (1996), for which he earned two Hollywood Reporter Young Star Awards. In addition, the show earned three Screen Actors Guild Award nominations for Outstanding Peformance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series. Prior to his success on television, Joseph had already worked steadily in feature films, debuting in the Robert Redford film A River Runs Through It (1992). He won a Young Artist Award for the latter film. During the 1990s, he also co-starred in the films Angels in the Outfield (1994), The Juror (1996), Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998), and 10 Things I Hate About You (1999). Following his work on 3rd Rock from the Sun (1996), Joseph took time off from acting to attend Columbia University. In the early 2000s, he broke from the mold of his television and film comedy supporting roles by appearing in a string of intense dramatic roles, mostly in smaller, independent films such as Manic (2001), with Don Cheadle; Mysterious Skin (2004), for writer/director Gregg Araki; Rian Johnson’s award-winning debut film, Brick (2005); Lee Daniels’ Shadowboxer (2005); the crime drama The Lookout (2007), which marked Scott Frank’s directorial debut; John Madden’s Killshot (2008), with Diane Lane and Mickey Rourke; and the controversial drama Stop-Loss (2008), in which he starred with Ryan Phillippe, under the direction of Kimberly Peirce. By 2009, Joseph was officially established as one of the leading men of indie cinema with his Golden Globe-nominated role in the comedy-drama 500 Days of Summer (2009), for which he also received an Independent Spirit Award nod. He also adapted the Elmore Leonard short story Sparks into a 24-minute short film that he directed (Sundance Film Festival 2009). In 2010, he headlined the indie drama Hesher (2010) and also established himself as a mainstream star in Christopher Nolan’s Inception (2010). Balancing both independent and Hollywood film, Joseph scored another Golden Globe nod for the cancer drama 50/50 (2011), directed by Jonathan Levine and also starring Seth Rogen, Anna Kendrick, and Bryce Dallas Howard. He worked again with director Nolan on The Dark Knight Rises (2012) (for which he received a People’s Choice Award nomination for Favorite Movie Actor), and snagged leading roles in both Premium Rush (2012), directed by David Koepp, and Looper (2012), for which he reunited with his Brick director, Rian Johnson, and starred opposite Bruce Willis and Emily Blunt. Also in 2012, he played Abraham Lincoln’s son Robert in Steven Spielberg’s Oscar-nominated Lincoln (2012), with Daniel Day-Lewis and Sally Field. In 2013, Joseph Gordon-Levitt starred in his critically-acclaimed feature film directorial debut, Don Jon, from a script he wrote, opposite Scarlett Johansson and Julianne Moore. He was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for “Best First Screenplay” for the film. Gordon-Levitt provided the voice of Jiro Horikoshi in the 2014 English-language version of Hayao Miyazaki’s Academy Award-nominated animated feature The Wind Rises, and appeared in Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller’s Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (2014), in which he played Johnny, a character Miller created for the film. Gordon-Levitt founded and directs hitRECord, an open collaborative production. hitRECord creates and develops art and media collectively using their website where anyone with an internet connection can upload their records, download and remix others’ records, and work on projects together. When the results of these RECords are produced and make money, hitRECord splits the profits 50/50 with everybody who contributed to the final production. hitRECord has published books, put out records, gone on tour and has screened their work at major festivals including Sundance and TIFF. “RegularJOE” (as he’s known on the site) is leading the community of over 300, 000 artists in its biggest collaboration yet, a new take on a variety show called “HitRecord on TV!” The half hour series, which Gordon-Levitt hosts, premiered in January on Participant Media’s new cable network, Pivot and has been renewed for a second season.
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