Aaron Paul Sturtevant is an award winning American actor best known for his portrayal of the crystal meth dealer Jesse Pinkman on the AMC crime drama series 'Breaking Bad'. He has won three 'Primetime Emmy Awards' and three 'Saturn Awards', among others, for his role – the first actor to achieve both feats in the respective categories. Early on, he dropped his last name to make it easier for casting directors to pronounce his name. Starting as a day-player doing small cameos in movies and appearing as guest in several television series, he went on to secure the main role in 'Breaking Bad' and became the steering factor for the show's success. Before bagging this role, he did a major role in the HBO series 'Big Love'. His success on television earned him roles in movies, such as, 'Smashed', 'Need for Speed' and 'A Long Way Down'. He then worked with legendary director Ridley Scott and critically acclaimed actor Christian Bale in the biblical epic 'Exodus: Gods and Kings', where he played Joshua, the Hebrew slave. He has most recently appeared in the film 'Triple 9' and is working on the television series 'The Path', which he also produced.
Childhood & Early Life
Aaron Paul was born on August 27, 1979, in Emmett, Idaho, to Darla and Robert Sturtevant. His father is a retired Baptist minister. He comes from a closely knit family and has four older siblings.
As a child, he began participating in church plays. Later, when he was in eighth grade, he enrolled in the theatre department of his school and decided to pursue an acting career.
He graduated from Centennial High School in Boise, Idaho, in 1998. Even before graduating, he dreamt about moving to Los Angeles, and worked on five jobs together to raise money. After graduating, he moved to LA with his mother in his '82 Toyota Corolla, with the $6,000 he had saved.
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Aaron Paul struggled for about a decade after moving to LA. He signed with a talent scout after finishing runner-up in a competition for the International Modeling and Talent Association. During this time, he also worked as an usher at Universal Studios Movie Theater in Hollywood.
He did a number of commercials for Juicy Fruit, Corn Pops, and Vanilla Coke, before appearing in small roles in a couple television movies. In 2000, he participated on the television competition, 'The Price is Right', as a contestant.
His first notable role was in an episode of the television series 'Beverly Hills, 90210'. In the next few years, he did short roles in many other TV shows like 'Melrose Place', 'The X-Files', 'Judging Amy', 'CSI: Miami' and 'Point Pleasant'.
He continued to appear in commercials and featured on two music videos for Korn's song 'Thoughtless' and the Everlast song 'White Trash Beautiful'. He also bagged short roles in a number of Hollywood feature films, playing the estranged son of Jeff Bridges in the film 'K-Pax' (2001) and portraying Tom Cruise’s brother-in-law in 'Mission: Impossible III' (2006). He also acted in 'Whatever It Takes' (2000), 'Choking Man' (2006) and 'The Last House on the Left' (2009).
His big break came in 2007, when he was cast in a recurring role in the HBO drama series 'Big Love'. He played Scott Quittman, the husband of Sarah Hendrickson, played by Amanda Seyfried. He was still paid as a day-player, but started to get work regularly.
In 2008, while still working on 'Big Love', he got the role of a lifetime when he was cast as Jesse Pinkman on the AMC series 'Breaking Bad'. After auditioning, he had his doubts whether he would get the role and whether the show will go on air at all. Moreover, his character was supposed to die during the first season. However, once it started to air, Paul won over everyone with his performance and became a main cast member of the show.
After his success on television, he moved back to the big screen and acted in the film 'Smashed' in 2012.
In 2014, he appeared in the movie 'Need for Speed' as a vengeful street racer recently released from prison. The same year, he starred alongside Christian Bale in Ridley Scott's biblical epic 'Exodus: Gods and Kings'.
In 2016, he appeared in the ensemble cast crime thriller 'Triple 9', did voice acting for the protagonist, Nyx Ulric, in 'Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV', and starred in a bunch of other movie and television series. He is currently a part of the Hulu series 'The Path'.
Despite his spectacular performance in a number of movies and TV shows, Aaron Paul is cherished by the audience for his role as the charming meth addict in 'Breaking Bad'. He acts as the moral compass for the show, which portrays the dark sides of drug addiction, rather than glorifying it. The show has been named one of the greatest television shows of all time by many critics, with ratings skyrocketing every season till it reached 99 out of 100 in the final season.
Awards & Achievements
During the five-year run of 'Breaking Bad', Aaron Paul has bagged a bunch of prestigious awards, including three Emmys, for his role of Jesse Pinkman. He won the award for 'Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series' in 2010, 2012 and 2014, becoming the only actor to win it three times.
Personal Life & Legacy
Aaron Paul married Lauren Parsekian on May 26, 2013, in Malibu, California. The two first met in 2010 at the Coachella Music Festival in Indio, California, and got engaged on 1st January, 2012 in Paris.
He and his wife are involved with the Kind Campaign, an anti-bullying initiative co-founded by his wife in 2009. They raised $1.8 million for the campaign through a contest and offered the winners tickets to the screening of the final episode of 'Breaking Bad'.
To commemorate the last day of filming 'Breaking Bad', he and his co-star Bryan Cranston got the name of the show tattooed. Interestingly, to commemorate his own achievements, governor of Idaho, Butch Otter, declared October 1st as 'Aaron Paul Sturtevant Day'.
In 'Breaking Bad', the girlfriend of his character dies in her sleep after taking heroin, for which he blames himself. Aaron Paul relates to the episode on a personal level as he was close to a young woman who became addicted to drugs and all his attempts to help her had failed. While playing a drug dealer in the show, he admitted to have experienced taking drugs once in his youth, but watching what it did to that woman made him stop.
He had a 1920s Parisian carnival-themed wedding where the music was provided by 'Foster the People' and John Mayer. He made the guests learn the song 'Beauty' by 'The Shivers' so that they could sing along during the ceremony.