Jake Gyllenhaal

Jake Gyllenhaal Biography

Jake Gyllenhaal is an Oscar-nominated actor known for his work in films like 'Donnie Darko,' 'Brokeback Mountain,' 'Prisoners' and 'Nightcrawler.'

Who Is Jake Gyllenhaal?

Born on December 19, 1980, in Los Angeles, California, Jake Gyllenhaal worked as a child actor in films like City Slickers and A Dangerous Woman before starring in the indie classic Donnie Darko in 2001. He later starred opposite Heath Ledger in Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain, for which Gyllenhaal received a supporting actor Oscar nomination. Other films on the Gyllenhaal roster include ProofJarhead, Prisoners and Nightcrawler as well as the Broadway production Constellations.

Jake Gyllenhaal

Jake Gyllenhaal

Early Life & Famous Sister

Actor Jacob Benjamin Gyllenhaal, better known as Jake Gyllenhaal, was born on December 19, 1980, in Los Angeles, California. The son of director Stephen Gyllenhaal and producer/screenwriter Naomi Foner, Jake and his sister Maggie have been acting since childhood. Some of Gyllenhaal's earlier films included City Slickers, in which he played Billy Crystal's son, and A Dangerous Woman, directed by his father. The young Gyllenhaal graduated from Los Angeles' Harvard-Westlake High School and studied for a year at Columbia University in New York before dropping out to pursue acting.


'Donnie Darko,' 'Brokeback Mountain'

In order to make the transformation from child to adult actor, Gyllenhaal purposefully passed over teen fare for such films as 1999's October Sky and Donnie Darko (2001), co-starring Drew Barrymore and sister Maggie, for which he earned an Independent Spirit Award nomination. Several of the roles that followed echoed former projects in complexity: Gyllenhaal played Jennifer Aniston's troubled love interest in The Good Girl (2002), while in Moonlight Mile (2002), the actor portrayed a young man grieving over the death of his fiancee along with her family. 

In spring 2002, Gyllenhaal also starred on the London stage in Kenneth Lonergan's revival of This Is Our Youth. The actor received an Evening Standard Theater Award for his portrayal.  

Gyllenhaal was part of the ensemble cast of the 2004 worldwide blockbuster The Day After Tomorrow before starring in Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain (2005), a love story of two cowboys who fall in love with each other. Co-starring Heath Ledger, Michelle Williams and Anne Hathaway, the film earned Gyllenhaal a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award nomination in addition to winning him the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival.

'Jarhead,' 'Zodiac,' 'Source Code,' 'Prisoners'

Gyllenhaal starred in film dramas like Jarhead (2005), Zodiac (2007) and Brothers (2009) — all with military or government/espionage themes — before taking on an action/fantasy hero lead role in 2010's hugely budgeted Prince of Persia. The romantic comedy Love & Other Drugs was released later that year, re-teaming Gyllenhaal with Brokeback co-star Hathaway and also earning the actor his first Golden Globe nomination. The thriller Source Code followed in 2011. Gyllenhaal then starred as a police officer in End of Watch (2012), shot in gonzo-camera style, and a detective in the shadowy drama Prisoners (2013), co-starring Hugh Jackman, Maria Bello, Viola Davis and Terrence Howard.

'Nightcrawler,' 'Nocturnal Animals'

In fall 2014, Gyllenhaal once again earned buzz for his role in Nightcrawler, a stark drama in which he plays an on-the-precipice cameraman looking to become successful via harrowing crime footage. Gyllenhaal earned his second Golden Globe acting nod for the part along with BAFTA and SAG Awards nominations. 

Film projects for 2015 included the romantic comedy Accidental Love, the boxing drama Southpaw, the biopic adventure Everest, based on the 1996 disaster on Mount Everest and the drama Demolition. In 2016 he starred in Tom Ford's psychological thriller Nocturnal Animals, opposite Amy Adams.

In January 2015, Gyllenhaal made his Broadway debut in Constellations opposite actress Ruth Wilson, a play which fused ideas around cosmology and relationships. In 2017 he returned to Broadway playing French artist Georges Seurat in a revival of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's musical Sunday in the Park with George.

Gyllenhaal is set to star in the comedy western The Sisters Brothers and the Marvel superhero film Spider-Man: Far From Home.

Personal Life

Gyllenhaal dated actress Kirsten Dunst from 2002 to 2004. He was linked to actress Reese Witherspoon in 2007 and later dated singer Taylor Swift in 2010 and model Alyssa Miller in 2013.

Fact Check

We strive for accuracy and fairness. If you see something that doesn't look right, contact us!