In 1994, Liev Schreiber made his first film, Mixed Nuts, and for the next several years he established himself in independent films. Schreiber entered the mainstream in 1996 in Wes Craven's Scream horror trilogy. He portrayed Orson Wells in the HBO production of RKO 281 and has been Emmy-nominated for his television work in Showtime's 'Ray Donovan.'
Isaac Liev Shreiber was born on October 4, 1967, in San Francisco, California. His parents, Tell, a stage actor, and Heather, a painter, divorced in the early '70s. Liev was raised on New York's Lower East Side by his mother, who also drove a cab part-time to support her son.
Schreiber attended Brooklyn Tech High School and later trained at London's Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts and Yale School of Drama, from which he graduated in 1992. He originally intended to be a playwright, but prior to applying to Yale a teacher encouraged him to pursue acting instead. In 1993, he made his Broadway debut with In the Summer House, followed by numerous off-Broadway productions.
In 1994, Schreiber made his first film, Mixed Nuts, playing a transvestite opposite Steve Martin. For the next several years, Schreiber established himself in independent films, including Denise Calls Up and Party Girl (1995), co-starring Parker Posey; Walking and Talking (1996), featuring Catherine Keener and Anne Heche; and Stanley Tucci's sleeper comedy Big Night (1996), co-starring Minnie Driver and Isabella Rossellini. Schreiber again teamed with Posey and Tucci in 1997's well-received The Daytrippers.
Schreiber entered the mainstream in 1996, playing Cotton Weary in Wes Craven's horror trilogy Scream (1996), Scream 2 (1997) and Scream 3 (2000). Shortly after the original Scream, he appeared in the Mel Gibson thriller Ransom (1996). These high-profile films opened even more doors for him in Hollywood. He was featured in Phantoms (1998) with Ben Affleck; Twilight (1998), sharing scenes with Hollywood veterans Paul Newman, Susan Sarandon and Gene Hackman; and Sphere (1998), with Samuel L. Jackson and Sharon Stone.
On Stage and Screen
Despite his success in film, Schreiber is proudest of his theatrical work. He is an accomplished Shakespearean actor, and has worked with the Public Theater's New York Shakespeare Festival on critically acclaimed productions of The Tempest (1995), Macbeth and Cymbeline (1998); and in 1999, he played the title role in Hamlet. Also in 1999, Schreiber returned to his independent-film roots, starring as the cuckolded husband in Tony Goldwyn's poignant drama, A Walk on the Moon, with Dianne Lane. He portrayed Orson Wells in the HBO production of RKO 281, a film for which he earned Golden Globe and Emmy award nominations for outstanding lead actor in a miniseries or movie. In 1999, Schreiber worked with Ned Beatty on Spring Forward, a film shot throughout the four seasons of New England (and released in 2000). That year he also appeared in the Oscar-nominated The Hurricane, starring Denzel Washington.
In 2000, Schreiber appeared as Laertes in the film version of Hamlet, starring Ethan Hawke as the Danish prince. He returned to Broadway to star in a production of Harold Pinter's Betrayal, directed by David Leveaux, and co-starring Juliette Binoche (in her Broadway debut, for which she received a Tony nomination) and John Slatterly. In a New York Times review of his performance, Ben Brantley called Schreiber "one of the most gifted and complex actors of his generation." Other film projects include Dial 9 for Love, with Katie Carr and Jeanne Tripplehorn; and Kate and Leopold, with Meg Ryan and Natasha Lyonne.
In recent years, Schreiber has continued to work on a variety of projects, from small independent films to big-budget action movies to television series. He wrote and directed the 2005 film adaptation of Johathan Safran Foer's Everything Is Illuminated. In 2009, Schreiber took on the comic book character Sabretooth in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. In 2013, he played Lyndon B. Johnson in the acclaimed, Lee Daniels-directed film The Butler. That same year, he took on the title role of a new Showtime series, Ray Donovan, playing a professional "fixer" for celebrities who find themselves entangled in crime. The series proved to be popular with both viewers and critics. Schreiber received Golden Globe and Emmy nominations in 2014, 2015 and 2016 for his work on the drama.
In addition to his successful television work, Schreiber appeared in the 2013 relationship drama A Perfect Man with Jeanne Tripplehorn. In 2015, he played chess champion Boris Spassky opposite Tobey Maguire as Bobby Fischer in the biopic Pawn Sacrifice.
Outside of acting, Schreiber is a devoted father. He and girlfriend Naomi Watts have two sons, Alexander Pete and Samuel Kai.
In September 2016 Watts and Schreiber announced they would be parting ways after 11 years together.
"Over the past few months we've come to the conclusion that the best way forward for us as a family is to separate as a couple," the couple said in a statement to E! News. "It is with great love, respect, and friendship in our hearts that we look forward to raising our children together and exploring this new phase of our relationship."
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