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.
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 Johnsons award-winning debut film, Brick (2005); Lee Daniels Shadowboxer (2005); the crime drama The Lookout (2007), which marked Scott Franks directorial debut; John Maddens 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).