Childhood & Early Life
Ventimiglia was born on July 8, 1977, in Anaheim, California, USA, to Carol and Peter Ventimiglia. The youngest of three children, Ventimiglia has two older sisters, Leslie and Laurel.
Graduating from ‘El Modena High School’ in Orange, California, in 1995, he attended a summer program at the ‘American Conservatory Theater.’ He attended UCLA as a theatre major.
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He landed his first starring role as ‘Jason,’ a gay teenager in ‘Must Be the Music,’ a1996 short film.
He had minor roles in television series, such as ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel Air,’ ‘CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,’ ‘Sabrina, the Teenage Witch,’ ‘Law and Order: Special Victims Unit,’ and ‘Boston Public.’
He played the main character, ‘Jed Perry,’ a 15-year-old boy who moves to California with his father shortly after the death of his mother, in the short-lived FOX TV series ‘Opposite Sex’ in 2000.
In the final season of the NBC drama ‘American Dreams’ (2004–2005), he played ‘Chris Pierce,’ the rebellious boyfriend of Meg Pryor who evades the draft and eventually escapes with Meg to California.
In 2006, he starred in the mid-season replacement series ‘The Bedford Diaries,’ where he played ‘Richard Thorne.’ The show lasted only eight episodes.
In ‘Cursed,’ a 2005 horror-comedy film directed by Wes Craven, he played the supporting role of ‘Bo.’ The film received largely negative reviews and failed miserably at the box-office.
‘Stay Alive,’ a 2006 horror film directed by William Brent Bell, saw this actor play the role of ‘Loomis Crowley.’ The film received negative reviews from the critics, but was a commercial success.
‘Intelligence,’ a short film starring the young actor, was directed by Allen Martinez. It was showcased in several film festivals in 2006. The background of this politically charged story is based on true historical events.
In ‘Dirty Deeds,’ a 2005 comedy film, he portrayed ‘Zach Harper’ who sets out to complete the ten ‘Dirty Deeds’ on the Friday night of his high school's homecoming weekend.
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In 2006, he played the role of ‘Robert,’ a struggling corporate employee and son of Rocky, in the sixth installment of the ‘Rocky’ franchise, ‘Rocky Balboa.’
He became a director in 2007 with ‘It's a Mall World,’ an original short comedy series made exclusively for ‘American Eagle Outfitters.’ The series explores the lives and relationships of two record store employees.
In ‘Kiss of the Damned,’ a vampire film by Xan Cassavetes, he played the supporting role of ‘Paolo.’ The film was showcased at the 2013 ‘SXSW Film Festival’ and was then released in theaters.
‘Mob City’ is a neo-noir television series created by Frank Darabont for TNT. In the series, he starred as ‘Ned Stax,’ a lawyer who works for a mobster named Cohen.
‘Chosen’ is an action-adventure television series, starring Ventimiglia as ‘Ian Mitchell,’ a small-time defense lawyer struggling to raise his daughter in the aftermath of a messy separation from Laura Mitchell.
From 2014 to 2019, he appeared in supporting roles in movies like ‘Grace of Monaco’ (2014), ‘Wild Card’ (2015), ‘Sandy Wexler’ (2017), and ‘Second Act’ (2018).
In the meantime, he also did recurring roles in series like ‘Gotham’ (2015), ‘The League’ (2015), and ‘Relationship Status’ (2016). He also had a main role in the science fiction drama ‘The Whispers’ (2015).
In 2016, he landed the lead role of ‘Jack Pearson’ in the NBC comedy drama series ‘This Is Us.’ The series follows the lives of the Pearson family and their children in different time frames.
He was cast as the lead in the 2019 comedy-drama ‘The Art of Racing in the Rain’ opposite Amanda Seyfried. The movie generally received positive reviews and did well at the box-office too.
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From 2001 to 2004, Ventimiglia played ‘Jess Mariano’ in ‘Gilmore Girls’ — he was introduced in the second season as a main cast member, and appeared in a couple of episodes in the sixth season.
He starred in his biggest role to date as ‘Peter Petrelli,’ a young hospice nurse-turned-paramedic who is blessed with the power to absorb and mimic the powers of other people, in NBC’s ‘Heroes’ from 2006 to 2010.
His next big outing came in the form of his role in the comedy drama series ‘This Is Us’ where he played ‘Jack Pearson,’ a supportive husband of Rebecca and the father of three. The show, which premiered on NBC, was renewed for three additional seasons.
Personal Life & Legacy
Ventimiglia has dated his ‘Gilmore Girls’ co-star Alexis Bledel and ‘Heroes’ co-star Hayden Panettiere in the past. He is a Lacto-vegetarian, a teetotaler, and does not smoke cigarettes.
Ventimiglia took a ‘United Service Organization’ tour in 2008 in support of American troops in Kuwait, Iraq, and Afghanistan. He is also active on behalf of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.
He was named the sexiest vegetarian in 2009 by the ‘People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’ (PETA).