Jack Black

Jack Black Biography

(1969–)
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Film actor Jack Black appeared in the popular comedy films 'Shallow Hal,' 'High Fidelity' and 'Tropic Thunder' and is also the voice of 'Kung Fu Panda.'

Who Is Jack Black?

Jack Black was born on August 28, 1969, in Santa Monica, California. His breakthrough role came in 2000's High Fidelity, and he starred opposite Gwyneth Paltrow in 2001's Shallow Hal, before headlining the widely praised School of Rock in 2003. Black's animated film project Kung Fu Panda scored big at the box office in 2008 — the same year the actor appeared in the comedy Tropic Thunder. More recently he appeared in R.L. Stine's Goosebumps (2015) and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017). Black also serves as one half of the Grammy-winning comedy rock duo Tenacious D.

Early Life

Actor, musician and comedian Jack Black was born Thomas Jacob Black on August 28, 1969, in Santa Monica, California. One of the more popular character actors of recent years, Black's acerbic wit and high-energy antics have made him a standard bearer for the Generation X demographic.

Black attended UCLA, where he became a member of Tim Robbins' Actors Gang, a Los Angeles-based performance troupe that also spawned John Cusack. Black would make his film debut with Robbins and later play opposite Cusack in a highly memorable role.

Movies

'Bob Roberts,' 'Jesus' Son'

In Robbins' political spoof Bob Roberts (1992), Black had a small but critically noted role as a fanatical supporter of the titular presidential hopeful. He went on to land a steady stream of bit parts in feature attractions such as Waterworld (1995), Dead Man Walking (1995), The Cable Guy (1996), Mars Attacks! (1996), The Jackal (1997), Enemy of the State (1998) and Cradle Will Rock (1999). But it was in more independently oriented projects that Black's talents were given free rein. His brief turn in HBO's Mr. Show and his critically acclaimed performance as a pill-popping hospital attendant in Jesus' Son (1999) bolstered his reputation as a comic force.

'High Fidelity'

Black's breakthrough came with the 2000 adaptation of the popular Nick Hornby novel High Fidelity. As Barry, a hyper-pretentious record store clerk, Black showcased his knack for brutally acerbic wit. Although only a member of the supporting cast, Black's performance was one of the most memorable attributes of a film that was a critical success.

'Shallow Hal,' 'Orange County'

Capitalizing on his newfound notoriety, Black starred opposite Gwyneth Paltrow in the romantic comedy Shallow Hal (2001). The film, directed by the Farrelly brothers of There's Something About Mary fame, received mixed reviews. Black followed with Orange County (2002), another big-budget comedy in which he played a prototypical slacker figure.

'School of Rock,' 'King Kong,' 'Nacho Libre'

Black hit it big with School of Rock (2003), earning a Golden Globe nomination for his role as a rebellious music teacher. He then starred in the 2005 remake of King Kong, opposite Naomi Watts, and in the Mexican wrestling comedy Nacho Libre the following year.

'Kung Fu Panda'

On May 14, 2008, Black let the news slip that co-star Angelina Jolie was pregnant with twins during a joint interview at the Cannes Film Festival in France to promote their animated movie Kung Fu Panda. Despite Black's accidental revelation, Kung Fu Panda went on to score big at the box office, earning more than $630 million worldwide and producing two sequels.

'Tropic Thunder,' 'Gulliver's Travels'

Later that summer, Black appeared in Tropic Thunder with Ben Stiller and Robert Downey Jr. Then in 2009 he starred in the comedy Year One with Michael Cera. He also provided the voice of Eddie Rigs in the video game Brütal Legend. Black's other notable films from this period include Gulliver's Travels (2010), Richard Linklater's Bernie (2011), The Muppets (2011) and Sex Tape (2014).

'Goosebumps'

After appearing in a number of TV series, Black once again returned to the big screen in Goosebumps, an adaptation of a popular children's series by R.L. Stine that finds the horror writer's creatures unleashed upon a neighborhood. The movie debuted in October 2015 and soared to No. 1 at the domestic box office, earning more than $23 million on opening weekend.

'Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle'

Black enjoyed a prominent role in the blockbuster adventure comedy hit Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017), costarring Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart. The film would go on to earn over $962 million in worldwide ticket sales. He followed in 2018 with the comedy drama Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot, based on John Callahan's memoir, as well as the fantasy film The House with a Clock in Its Walls, an adaptation of John Bellairs' 1973 novel.

Music Career With Tenacious D

In 1994, Black teamed up with friend and fellow actor Kyle Gass to form Tenacious D, a tongue-in-cheek musical ensemble lovingly, if sarcastically, dubbed the "Greatest Band on Earth." The duo landed an HBO series in the late 1990s, before releasing their self-titled debut album — featuring Dave Grohl on drums — in 2001.

Their second album, The Pick of Destiny (2006), served as the soundtrack to a film that fizzled at the box office, but they rediscovered their mojo for Rize of the Fenix (2012), which earned a Grammy nomination for Best Comedy Album. In 2015, Tenacious D won a Best Metal Performance Grammy, for their cover of Dio's "The Last in Line." 

Black and Gass went on to create the animated series Tenacious D in Post-Apocalypto, its songs eventually surfacing on the group's 2018 album Post-Apocalypto.

Wife & Kids

Black and his wife Tanya Haden welcomed a son, Samuel, in 2006 and a second son named Thomas David in 2008.

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