Paul Rudd

Paul Rudd Biography

(1969–)
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Paul Rudd is an actor who became a minor teen idol with his breakout performance in the 1995 film 'Clueless.' He went on to star in comedies like 'Anchorman,' 'This Is 40' and the superhero franchise 'Ant-Man.'

Who Is Paul Rudd?

Actor and film producer Paul Rudd rose to stardom with his breakout performance in the 1995 film Clueless. Other early films include Wet Hot American Summer, Cider House Rules and William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet, while his TV work led to a recurring role on Friends as Phoebe's husband. Rudd has since become a full-fledged comedy film icon with roles in Anchorman, The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Admission. He went on to enter the world of Marvel superhero stardom with 2015's Ant-Man and the 2018 sequel.

Early Life and Career

Paul Rudd was born on April 6, 1969, in Passaic, New Jersey, to British parents. Rudd traveled frequently with his family but grew up primarily in Overland Park, Kansas. Harboring a keen interest in theatre, he enrolled at the University of Kansas to study drama and, after two years of honors work, earned the Spencer Tracy Scholarship to study at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Los Angeles.

Upon entering Oxford University's British Drama Academy for a three-month workshop, Rudd helped produce the Globe Theater's production of Howard Brenton's Bloody Poetry under the guidance of Michael Kahn, then portrayed the title role in Hamlet, directed by celebrated actor Ben Kingsley.

Movies, TV Shows and Theatre Work

Returning to the United States in the early 1990s from studying drama abroad, Rudd moved straight into a recurring TV role as aspiring filmmaker Kirby Philby on NBC's weekly drama Sisters, opposite Ashley Judd. After appearing in several TV miniseries, he co-starred in the short-lived sitcom Wild Oats (1994), then made his feature film debut as protagonist Tommy Doyle in the latest Halloween series installment, Halloween: The Curse of Michael Meyers. He told the New York Post about his first film role, "Even when I was doing it, I knew this was something I'd always be teased about."

'Clueless,' 'Romeo + Juliet'

Despite Rudd's television exposure, most people first remember seeing the actor as the college-aged stepbrother of Cher, played by Alicia Silverstone, who eventually becomes the object of her picky affection, in the 1995 hit comedy Clueless. After appearing in the independent film The Size of Watermelons and opposite Reese Witherspoon in the straight-to-video Overnight Delivery, Rudd landed the role of Dave Paris, Juliet's pompous suitor, in Baz Luhrmann's stylish rendition of Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet (1996), starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes.

'The Object of My Affection'

In 1997, Rudd made his Broadway debut as Joe Farkas in the acclaimed play, The Last Night Of Ballyhoo, written by Alfred Uhry. He took a break from Broadway to make the light-hearted comedy The Object Of My Affection, playing a gay man opposite Jennifer Aniston, but resumed the Farkas role after the film's completion. In October 1997, Rudd was nominated for a FANY Award (the acronym FANY originally came from Fans of NY Theatre) for his performance.

Rudd continued his theater work as Duke Orsino, opposite Helen Hunt's Viola in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, which was broadcast on PBS's Live from Lincoln Center series. Later that year, he appeared opposite Ben Affleck, Courtney Love and Janeane Garofalo as the latter's jilted, chain-smoking lover in the romantic indie comedy 200 Cigarettes.

'The Cider House Rules'

After returning to the stage as a gay-bashing Mormon college student in Bash, opposite Calista Flockhart, Rudd took on his next high-profile feature, playing a WWII pilot in Lasse Hallestrom's The Cider House Rules (1999), co-starring Tobey Maguire, Michael Caine and Charlize Theron. He then appeared alongside Andie MacDowell in the short film Reaching Normal (written and directed by Anne Heche), which was screened at the Sundance Festival before airing on Showtime.

In early 2001, Rudd starred as Nick Carraway, the keen and aloof narrator in A&E's adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's elegant Jazz Age classic, The Great Gatsby, also starring Mira Sorvino.

'Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy'

After his recurring role on the hit TV show Friends, Rudd landed a leading role as reporter Brian Fantana in the news comedy Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004), starring Will Ferrell, Christina Applegate and Steve Carell. Rudd also worked with Carell again on 2005's The 40-Year-Old Virgin. This Judd Apatow-directed comedy proved to be a box office smash. 

In 2009, Rudd starred with Jason Segel in the buddy comedy I Love You, Man. He and Carell reteamed for 2010's Dinner for Schmucks, which proved to be a commercial and critical disappointment. That same year, Rudd showed his softer side as one of Witherspoon's suitors in the romantic comedy How Do You Know.

'This Is 40'

Rudd returned to the small screen in 2012 with a recurring role on Parks and Recreation. That same year, he starred in another Apatow comedy, This Is 40, opposite the director's real-life wife, Leslie Mann. Rudd and Mann play a married couple whose relationship is on the rocks. The following year, Rudd played the lead in another romantic comedy, Admission, with Tina Fey. The actor also reprised his role as Brian Fantana in 2013's Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues.

'Ant-Man'

After he co-starred in the romantic comedy They Came Together (2014) with Amy Poehler, 2015 saw Rudd entering the world of superhero fandom, with the actor taking on the lead role in the Marvel Comics flick Ant-Man. Alongside co-stars Michael Douglas and Bobby Cannavale, Rudd plays a one-time thief who adopts a suit that allows him to greatly shrink in size while growing stronger. He reprised his superhero role for the sequel Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018), as well as for the related Marvel films Captain America: Civil War (2016) and Avengers: Endgame (2019).

'Living With Yourself'

Between shoots for his big-budget Marvel movies, Rudd also starred in features like The Fundamentals of Caring (2016), as an aide to a boy with muscular dystrophy, and Ideal Home (2018), as one half of a gay couple adapting to the surprise introduction of a child into their lives. The following year he took on his first small-screen starring gig in Netflix's Living With Yourself, playing both a depressed man and his new-and-improved clone who emerges following an experimental therapy treatment.

Wife and Kids

Rudd and wife Julie Yaeger have been married since 2003. They have a son, Jack, and a daughter, Darby.

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