Born on October 19, 1966, in Queens, New York, Jon Favreau went on to pursue a multidisciplinary career in film and television. He starred in and wrote the screenplay for the indie hit Swingers and later directed various films that include Elf, Zathura, Chef and The Jungle Book, as well as the blockbuster Iron Man and its sequel. He's also acted in an array of screen projects, such as The Replacements, Love & Sex and Identity Thief.
Background and Early Career
Jonathan Kolia Favreau was born on October 19, 1966, in Queens, New York, the only child of schoolteachers Madeleine and Charles Favreau. Favreau attended the Bronx High School of Science before enrolling at Queens College and working on Wall Street. By the mid-1980s, he had relocated to Chicago, Illinois, to take part in the comedy and improv scene there.
Favreau eventually made his way to Hollywood, California, appearing in films like Folks! (1992) and Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle (1994), as well as on the popular TV show Seinfeld.
After his father gave him screenwriting software as a gift, Favreau penned a script about his experiences as an actor on the Hollywood scene; it was eventually picked up by director Doug Liman, made on a small budget and distributed by Miramax. The final product, 1996's Swingers, became an indie fave and starred Favreau along with his real-life close friend, actor Vince Vaughn.
Favreau went on to be featured in several films throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, including Deep Impact (1998), Love & Sex (2000) and Something's Gotta Give (2003). He also earned a recurring part on the beloved sitcom Friends during its third season, playing Pete, a computer mogul romantically linked to Monica (Courteney Cox). Favreau later starred in the 1999 Showtime biopic Rocky Marciano.
In the summer of 2001, Jon Favreau made his feature film directorial debut with Made, a Mafioso comedy in which he co-starred once again with Vaughn. (The two would work together in additional films over the years, including 2006's The Break-Up and 2008's Four Christmases.)
In November 2003, Favreau made his sophomore effort behind the camera with the holiday hit comedy Elf, starring Will Ferrell. Two years later, Favreau directed another big-screen project: the fantasy film Zathura, which showcased a magical board game and its far-flung effects.
Favreau continued his TV work as well, serving as producer and host of Dinner for Five, an IFC program which premiered in 2002 and served up Hollywood insiders talking about the biz. The show was nominated for a 2005 Emmy Award for outstanding nonfiction series.
Global Blockbuster: 'Iron Man'
Favreau entered the comic book world with a small part in Batman Forever (1995) and via his depiction of Franklin Nelson in 2003's Daredevil, which starred Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner. Years later, he took the reins as director and executive producer of Iron Man (2008), a big-budget film adaptation of the Marvel Comics series of the same name.
Starring Robert Downey Jr. as inventor Tony Stark, Iron Man was a major success among moviegoers, paving the way for the 2010 sequel that Favreau also helmed. The two films earned more than $1 billion combined at the global box office. Favreau again pursued sci-fi themed concepts with 2011's Cowboys & Aliens, starring Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford, though the box office returns were more modest.
'The Jungle Book'
Having worked as executive producer on 2012's The Avengers and the TV series Revolution, Favreau returned to his armored icon series as producer and actor, once again playing the part of security guard Happy Hogan in Iron Man 3 (2013).
Between his directing and producing duties, Favreau has appeared in other film projects as an actor and performed voiceover work. 2014 saw the release of his next directorial effort, the drama/comedy Chef, in which he played lead opposite Sofia Vergara and John Leguizamo. Favreau then returned to big budget adventure with the spring 2016 Disney relaunch of The Jungle Book, inspired by the Rudyard Kipling children's novel.
Favreau married physician Joya Tillem in 2000. The couple has three children.
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