Joseph Leonard Gordon-Levitt was born February 17, 1981 in Los Angeles, California, to Jane Gordon and Dennis Levitt. His parents worked for the Pacifica Radio station KPFK-FM and his maternal grandfather, Michael Gordon, had been a well-known movie director. After working for several years as a child actor, Joseph became better known for starring on the hit television series rd Rock from the Sun (1996), for which he earned two Hollywood Reporter Young Star Awards. In addition, the show earned three Screen Actors Guild Award nominations for Outstanding Peformance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series. Prior to his success on television, Joseph had already worked steadily in feature films, debuting in the Robert Redford film A River Runs Through It (1992). He won a Young Artist Award for the latter film. During the 1990s, he also co-starred in the films Angels in the Outfield (1994), The Juror (1996), Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998), and Things I Hate About You (1999).
Following his work on rd Rock from the Sun (1996), Joseph took time off from acting to attend Columbia University. In the early 2000s, he broke from the mold of his television and film comedy supporting roles by appearing in a string of intense dramatic roles, mostly in smaller, independent films such as Manic (2001), with Don Cheadle; Mysterious Skin (2004), for writer/director Gregg Araki; Rian Johnson's award-winning debut film, Brick (2005); Lee Daniels' Shadowboxer (2005); the crime drama The Lookout (2007), which marked Scott Frank's directorial debut; John Madden's Killshot (2008), with Diane Lane and Mickey Rourke; and the controversial drama Stop-Loss (2008), in which he starred with Ryan Phillippe, under the direction of Kimberly Peirce. By 2009, Joseph was officially established as one of the leading men of indie cinema with his Golden Globe-nominated role in the comedy-drama Days of Summer (2009), for which he also received an Independent Spirit Award nod. He also adapted the Elmore Leonard short story Sparks into a 24-minute short film that he directed (Sundance Film Festival 2009).
In 2010, he headlined the indie drama Hesher (2010) and also established himself as a mainstream star in Christopher Nolan's Inception (2010). Balancing both independent and Hollywood film, Joseph scored another Golden Globe nod for the cancer drama /50 (2011), directed by Jonathan Levine and also starring Seth Rogen, Anna Kendrick, and Bryce Dallas Howard. He worked again with director Nolan on The Dark Knight Rises (2012) (for which he received a People's Choice Award nomination for Favorite Movie Actor), and snagged leading roles in both Premium Rush (2012), directed by David Koepp, and Looper (2012), for which he reunited with his Brick director, Rian Johnson, and starred opposite Bruce Willis and Emily Blunt. Also in 2012, he played Abraham Lincoln's son Robert in Steven Spielberg's Oscar-nominated Lincoln (2012), with Daniel Day-Lewis and Sally Field.
Awards: Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 21 wins & 60 nominations
Known For: Inception (2010) | The Dark Knight Rises (2012) | Looper (2012) | 500 Days of Summer (2009)