Jake Cannavale is an American actor and musician, best known for his role as the son of a character played by his real-life father, actor Bobby Cannavale, in the award-winning medical comedy–drama series ‘Nurse Jackie.’ The 24-year-old has also appeared as a stage actor in the ‘Broadway’ comedy ‘Fish in the Dark,’ alongside comic and TV legend Larry David. Despite swearing not to follow in his father's footsteps, Jake ended up making his ‘Broadway’ debut while still in his teens, thus becoming the fourth generation of his illustrious family to perform on ‘Broadway,’ after his father, Bobby; his maternal grandfather, legendary filmmaker Sidney Lumet; his great-grandfather, actor Baruch Lumet; and his mother’s maternal grandmother, legendary singer and thespian Lena Horne.
Childhood & Early Life
Born Jake Lumet Cannavale, on May 1, 1995, in Manhattan, New York City, to actor Bobby Cannavale and screenwriter Jenny Lumet, Jake belongs to an extraordinary American entertainment family, largely from his mother’s side. Besides being the grandson and great-grandson of Hollywood legends Sidney Lumet and Lena Horne, respectively, he is also most likely a descendant of South Carolina politician John C Calhoun.
His maternal grandparents are journalist and author Gail Lumet Buckley, daughter of Lena Horne, and ‘Academy Award’-winning filmmaker Sidney Lumet, famous for making classics such as ‘12 Angry Men,’ ‘Network,’ and ‘Dog Day Afternoon.’ His paternal grandparents are Isabel and Salvatore Cannavale. Jake is from a rare mixed multi-ethnic background that includes Cuban, Northern Europe, Italian, Ashkenazi Jew, Senegalese, and Native American roots.
Jake attended the famous ‘Emerson College’ in Boston to pursue screenwriting, as “craftingpoetry or short stories had always been a passion.” Apparently, he was quite sure that he did not want to major in acting.
He found his bandmate and collaborator Gene Meyer at his college in Boston. They formed a heavy metal duo named ‘Piss.’ The two met at a student-organized stand-up comedy night where Meyer, a senior, was performing jokes about metal. Cannavale, then a freshman, went up to him, and the two had a chat about music. That is how the band was conceived.
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Cannavale first appeared on celluloid as a 9-year-old in a cameo in John Turturro’s big-ticket Hollywood musical ‘Romance & Cigarettes’ (2005). His father, Bobby, was part of the ensemble cast of the musical.
His first real acting project came his way in his mid-teens, when he was cast as ‘Charlie Cruz,’ a recurring character in the multiple ‘Golden Globe’-nominated medical comedy–drama ‘Nurse Jackie.’ He appeared in seven episodes of the critically acclaimed TV series and received a ‘Screen Actors Guild Award’ nomination for ‘Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series’ along with the rest of the cast.
In 2015, he took a leave of absence in his sophomore year at ‘Emerson College’ to make his debut on ‘Broadway,’ with the comedy ‘Fish in the Dark,’ written by and starring Larry David, the creator of the enormously successful TV shows ‘Seinfeld’ and ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm.’ The production featured him as the son of the multi-faceted and multi-talented Rosie Perez.
Between 2014 and 2016, Cannavale featured in several short films, such as ‘Interior Teresa,’ ‘Grapes,’ ‘Fade,’ and ‘Send.’ He was also part of ‘Untitled Jenny Lumet Project’ in 2017, in which he played the role of ‘Keith.’ Later that year, he became part of the short ‘Moths & Butterflies,’ playing the role of ‘Bumphrey Hogart.’ The film was recently reported as officially completed.
In 2018, he wrote five episodes of an indie comedy series named ‘The Elevator’ and appeared in a guest role in one of its episodes. He also appeared in a leading role in a short named ‘Limit of Wooded Country’ later that year.
The last few years have been relatively busy for Cannavale, due to his involvement in several projects in various stages of production. He has been part of the pilot for the TV series ‘Misfits,’ the zombie comedy ‘Eat, Brains, Love,’ and the drug-related drama ‘God. The Crackhouse and the Devil’ (in which he plays a character named ‘Lonzo’).
Jake appeared with Bobby Cannavale in a ‘Hugo Boss’ ad campaign for Father’s Day in 2019, “posing in fitted suits, polo shirts, and no socks.” Talking about his father during the shoot, the young actor said, “Something he taught me without teaching me was the importance of being genuine and being true to yourself.”
Family & Personal Life
His parents’ marriage ended in a divorce in 2003, and although they still share cordial ties, both Bobby and Jenny have started new families with their current spouses.
Hollywood actor Rose Byrne is his stepmother. She started dating his father, Bobby Cannavale, in 2012. Jake now has two baby half-brothers: Rocco and Rafa (named after Spanish tennis champion Rafael Nadal), born in February 2016 and November 2017, respectively.
His mother, Jenny Lumet, married Alexander Weinstein in 2008. Jake has a kid half-sister from that marriage.
When he was a teenager, Jake’s father would often ask him to help him with rehearsing his lines. On one such reading, Jake really took to the character he was filling in for and wondered if he could audition for the role, exclaiming, “it would be kind of funny if I was playing your son on a TV show.” This is how he ended up bagging his role in 'Nurse Jackie.’
Two days before his audition for ‘Nurse Jackie,’ his first-ever acting test, he took a chance and dyed his hair green. The gimmick worked in his favor and helped him land the role.
Jake apparently felt no pressure when he got his break on ‘Broadway,’ alongside Larry David. “I think it's great because me and him are the only ones who are making our Broadway debut right now. The dude hasn't done theatre since he was like in eighth grade or something...It's very reassuring to know that I'm not the only rookie,” he once said jokingly in an interview.
‘Pig Destroyer’ and ‘Dying Fetus’ are two of his favorite metal bands that he takes inspiration from for his own music.
His relatives often jokingly call Bobby “his wife.” The actor says that his father calls him several times a day whenever he stays with his mom.