Childhood & Early Life
Adrian Grenier was born on July 10, 1976, in Santa Fe, New Mexico, to an unwed mother Karesse Grenier and her lover John Dunbar who didn’t stay in her life for long. His single mother raised him in New York City.
His father, who was from Ohio, has English, German, Indian, and Irish ancestry.His mother was from New Mexico, and is of Mexican and French descent. A DNA test on the television series ‘Finding Your Roots’ showed that Adrian has 8% Native American ancestry and his direct matrilineal line is Native American.
He graduated from Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts. He then studied molecular biology in Bard College in New York, but dropped out to begin a career in acting.
In 1997, Adrian Grenier started his film career, and made his film debut in ‘Arresting Gena’. In 1999, he was featured opposite Melissa Joan Hart in ‘Drive Me Crazy’, a teen romantic comedy based on the novel ‘How I Created My Perfect Prom Date’ by Todd Strasser.
In 2001, he appeared in James Toback's ‘Harvard Man’, a crime comedy-drama thriller film. He later played Vincent Chase in ‘Entourage’, an American comedy-drama television series that premiered on HBO in 2004 and concluded in 2011, after eight seasons.
Also a producer, he started ‘Reckless Productions’, a company focused on producing socially minded films. The first film under this banner, which was also his directorial debut, was ‘Shot in the Dark’. It is about his journey to reconnect with his estranged father, Dunbar, with whom his mother broke up when he was a baby. After 18 years, they reunited and continue to remain in contact.
He played Nate Cooper in ‘The Devil Wears Prada’, a 2006 American comedy-drama film based on Lauren Weisberger's novel of the same name.
In 2008, he produced a television series, ‘Alter Eco’, which was premiered in June 2008. The series aired on the Discovery channel, Planet Green. The series featured Adrian and a team of green experts, and showed how to live an eco-friendly lifestyle.
The documentary ‘Teenage Paparazzo’, directed and produced by him, was premiered in September 2010 on HBO. It was also premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. The film focused on a 13-year-old paparazzo, Austin Visschedyk, and the celebrity obsessed world in which he operates.
An advocate of sustainable living, Adrian founded the lifestyle brand SHFT.com in 2010, along with his business partner, film producer Peter Glatzer. SHFT promotes sustainability through film, art and culture, and design—both online and offline. It aims to introduce sustainable ideas and products into pop culture and inspire modern, sustainable ways of life.
SHFT has partnered with prominent brands like Ford Motor, AOL/Huffington Post, Virgin America, The Weather Channel, The W Hollywood, and Estée Lauder. It bagged two Webby Awards for best website in its category.
In 2010, he began working on a full-length feature documentary, ‘How to Make Money Selling Drugs’, as a producer with producer Bert Marcus and director Matthew Cooke. The film highlighted one of the worst domestic policy failures in America, and featured actual dealers, as well as celebrities commenting on the subject. The documentary was released in 2013 on Amazon.com and iTunes.
Adrian Grenier is also a talented musician and plays guitar, drums, bass, and harmonica. He was a member of two New York bands: he was the lead singer in Kid Friendly and the drummer in The Honey Brothers. He created Wreckroom, a music incubator and recording studio in May 2012, and The Skins was one of the first bands to record in the Wreckroom.
In 2013, he starred in the film ‘Goodbye World’, a post-apocalyptic film directed by Denis Hennelly and written by Hennelly and Sarah Adina Smith. The film was premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival, where it received good reviews.
In 2014, Adrian and Glatzer partnered with Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture to create SHFT Mobile Kitchen Classroom, a teaching kitchen on wheels for high school students. Through lessons on cooking, science, technology, and sustainability, it aims to help teenagers understand how food choices can make them healthy.
In 2015, he reprised his role of Vincent Chase in the ‘Entourage’ film adaptation. The film was released in June.
In 2009, Adrian Grenier launched an eco-themed app—Ecohero—for iPhone and Android mobile platforms. It has a barcode-scanning technology to help consumers know about different products’ environmental and health impact.
In 2012, he founded Churchkey Can Company, a microbrewery, with former Nike designer Justin Hawkins. He is an investor and advisor to MONTAJ, a mobile video app, which allows anyone to create videos, joining small video clips using a smartphone camera.
Adrian Grenier founded the Lonely Whale Foundation in 2015 as a platform to inspire empathy and action for protecting the ocean environment and marine life. Dell supports his social and environmental efforts including powering his Lonely Whale expedition and “Cry Out: The Lonely Whale Experience.”
In 2015, he took on the role as Dell’s first Social Good Advocate, advocating healthier and sustainable choices through digital storytelling and advocacy. Together Dell and Adrian launched the NYC Tech Takeback program to help people in New York recycle their used electronics through Dell Reconnect program. He also partners with Dell to advance the company’s 2020 Legacy of Good program that advocates adoption of circular economy.
In 2016, they launched the Legacy of Good Short Documentary Film Contest to explore the challenges and benefits of a circular economic model. Together, they have kicked off a study to explore the use of ocean plastics in Dell packaging.
He supports‘Little Kids Rock’, a national nonprofit that aims to restore music education in disadvantaged public schools. Adrian is a Board Member at React to Film, a non-profit that promotes social responsibility and encourages civic engagement.