Jeremy Piven is a popular American actor who is famous for his role as ‘Ari Gold’ on the hit television series, ‘Entourage’. His parents established the Piven Theatre Workshop, from where he received training in acting. He is a three-time Primetime Emmy Award-recipient for his role as the most-loved agent on ‘Entourage’. He had a typical middle-class upbringing and through his formative years, he was taught the importance of being honest with his work, which shows through the roles he chooses to play on-screen and through his acting abilities. Apart from acting, he has also donned the hat of a producer for several features. Some of his memorable performances were in the films, ‘Serendipity’, ‘The Kingdom’, ‘Scary Movie 3’ and ‘The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard’. Aside films, he has also appeared in the television shows, ‘Carol & Company’, ‘The Larry Sanders Show’, ‘Seinfeld’, ‘Cupid Grace’, ‘Ellen’ and ‘Mr. Selfridge’. Known for his deadpan delivery and attitude on screen, Piven has starred in a wide assortment of films and series’ and has made his mark in Hollywood as a bankable actor. Apart from his acting career, this Manhattan boy is an avid drummer and has played the drums for most part of his life. He is also an ardent supporter of the Chicago Bears.
Childhood & Early Life
Jeremy Samuel Piven was born to Byrne Piven and Joyce Hiller Piven, in Manhattan, New York City. He was raised in Chicago, where he attended and graduated from Evanston Township High School.
As a teenager, he was a part of the Harand Theater Camp in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. He was soon put into the family theatre group, ‘Piven Theatre Workshop’, which was founded by his parents.
He studied at Drake University in Iowa, where he was a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha guild. During this time, he also spent one university semester at the National Theater Camp in Wisconsin.
After being trained in acting, he was cast as ‘Spike’ in his first movie, ‘Lucas’, in 1986. The same year, he also appeared in a small role for the film, ‘One Crazy Summer’.
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In 1990, he appeared in ‘The Grifters’ and was also cast as ‘Kahn’ in the film, ‘White Palace’, which released the same year.
He got his first big break in 1992, when he was selected as a regular cast member for ‘The Larry Sanders Show’. The next year, he played the character of George Constanza for an episode of ‘Seinfeld’.
In 1993, he appeared in ‘Twenty Bucks’ and the action thriller film, ‘Judgment Night’. He appeared in the latter with Cuba Gooding Jr., and Stephen Dorff. The subsequent year proved to be an extremely productive one for the actor. He starred in ‘Floundering’, ‘Car 54, Where Are You?’, ‘Twogether’ and ‘PCU’.
In 1995, he was seen in a few episodes of ‘Chicago Hope’ and ‘Pride & Joy’. He also appeared in the movies, ‘Miami Rhapsody’, ‘Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde’ and ‘Heat’.
1996 to 1998 was the apex of Piven’s career with a number of film projects and television series in his kitty. He was a regular on ‘Ellen’, the television show and was also seen in other television shows including ‘The Drew Carey Show’, ‘Grace Under Fire’, ‘Coach’, ‘Don King: Only in America’ and ‘Cupid’.
Around the same time, he was also cast in the films, ‘Larger than Life’, ‘Just Write’, ‘Grosse Pointe Blank’, ‘Kiss the Girls’, ‘Very Bad Things’, ‘Music From Another Room’ and ‘Phoenix’.
In the new millennium, he was cast as Det. Steve Menteer in ‘The Crew’ and as Arnie in ‘The Family Man’. The following year, he was seen in the blockbuster films, ‘Serendipity’, ‘Rush Hour 2’ and ‘Black Hawk Down’.
In 2003, he was cast in ‘Old School’, ‘Runaway Jury’ and ‘Scary Movie 3’. The next year would go onto become one of the biggest breakthrough years in his acting career. He was cast as ‘Arti Gold’ for the comedy-drama American series, ‘Entourage’. He also appeared in the film, ‘Chasing Liberty’ in 2004.
From 2005 to 2008, he appeared in a series of average films including, ‘Two for the Money’, ‘Scooby-Doo! In Where’s My Mummy?’, ‘Smokin’ Aces’, ‘Cars’ and ‘The Kingdom’. He continued to appear as ‘Ari Gold’ in ‘Entourage’ during this period.
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In 2009, he was cast as ‘Don Ready’ in ‘The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard’ and two years later, he was seen in ‘I Melt With You’ and ‘Spy Kids: All the Time in the World’. He remained a regular actor till the concluding season of ‘Entourage’ in 2011 and went on to appear in ‘The Pirates! Band of Misfits’, an animated comedy the next year, followed by Miley Cyrus’ ‘So Undercover’.
In 2013, he appeared in 10 episodes of ‘Mr. Selfridge’ as Harry Gordon Selfridge.
In 2014, he starred in ‘Sin City: A Dame to Kill For’, a crime thriller and sequel to the 2005 film ‘Sin City’.
One of his best roles till date is that of ‘Ari Gold’ in ‘Entourage’ which ran from 2004 to 2011. The series became a huge hit in the United States and his role as ‘Gold’, led to several nominations and Emmy Awards for the actor. The character of ‘Ari’ is based on the real life agent, ‘Ari Emanuel’. He was nominated for four consecutive times for ‘Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series’ for the Emmys and went on to win a number of prestigious accolades for himself.
Awards & Achievements
He won the Primetime Emmy Award for ‘Outstanding Supporting Actor- Comedy Series’ for ‘Entourage’ in 2006, 2007 and 2008.
In 2008, he won the Golden Globe Award for ‘Best Supporting Actor- Series, Miniseries or Television Film’ for ‘Entourage’.
Personal Life & Legacy
Jeremy Piven considers himself a Jewish Buddhist.
He suffered from mercury poisoning, which was a result of eating too much sushi for 20 years of his life. He was given herbal remedies to cure the high mercury levels.
This American actor of the ‘Entourage’ fame suffered from malaria while filming ‘PCU’ and had to be immediately rushed to the hospital.