Born in 1983, Andrew Garfield grew up in England. The actor first found success on the London stage. Garfield then earned acclaim for 2007 film Boy A. In 2010, he appeared in the hit movie The Social Network, co-starring with Jesse Eisenberg. He went on to greater fame with the 2012 box office hit The Amazing Spider-Man, starring alongside Emma Stone. He received an Oscar nomination for Best Actor for his portrayal of a World War II Army medic in Hacksaw Ridge (2016), directed by Mel Gibson.
Childhood and Education
Born in Los Angeles, actor Andrew Russell Garfield grew up in England with his older brother, American father and English mother. For most of his life, Garfield has been a fan of his most famous character to date, Spider-Man, even dressing up as the legendary superhero for Halloween.
Andrew Garfield also identified with Spider-Man's alter ego, Peter Parker. Like Parker, he was a skinny kid who got picked on. In an interview in USA Today, Garfield he called the character "an underdog," and confessed that while playing the superhero's alter ego, he "felt like an underdog, too."
After discovering his passion for performing, Garfield enrolled at the Central School of Speech and Drama at the University of London.
Garfield first earned acclaim as a stage actor, winning the Evening Standard's Milton Shulman Award for Outstanding Newcomer in 2006. The following year, he tackled two major film projects: He gave a compelling performance in Boy A, playing a young man who tries to start a new life after being released from prison, and showed that he can hold his own among the likes of silver-screen heavyweights Meryl Streep and Robert Redford in the drama Lions for Lambs. While the film didn't fare well in theaters, Lions for Lambs gave Garfield the opportunity to work with one of his heroes, Robert Redford.
In 2009, Garfield starred in The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus with Christopher Plummer, Lily Cole and Heath Ledger. Ledger died while filming this fantasy tale, and director Terry Gilliam had to rework the project. Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell and Jude Law portrayed versions of Ledger's character in the final film, which proved to be a critical and commercial disappointment.
Garfield had better luck with 2010's The Social Network. In the film, he played Eduardo Saverin, a close friend of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg (played by Jesse Eisenberg) and one of the company's early backers. Garfield enjoyed working with director David Fincher on the film, which was written by Aaron Sorkin. That same year, Garfield won the coveted role of Spider-Man for the latest reboot of the popular film franchise. Director Marc Webb put the young actor through his paces during the audition process. "There was a part of the screen test where I literally had to jump through hoops," Garfield explained to Time Out London.
Before hitting the big screen as Spider-Man, Garfield earned raves for his Broadway debut in a 2012 revival of Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman. He played Biff, a struggling former high school star athlete—the character is the oldest child of salesman Willy Loman (Philip Seymour Thomas), and their relationship is one of drama's most famous dysfunctional father-son pairings. The play earned Garfield his first Tony Award nomination and allowed him to work with director Mike Nichols, whom he has long admired. The feeling seems to be mutual, as Nichols told USA Today that Garfield "has a very commanding presence, a lot of gravitas. He's a very good emotional actor ... and he's funny."
Released in July 2012, The Amazing Spider-Man quickly became one of the top movies that summer: In its first six days at the box office, it brought in $140 million. Garfield also won praise for his performance and for his chemistry with co-star Emma Stone. As Kevin Maher wrote for the British edition of GQ, the young actor "might have one of the most empathetic faces in the history of motion pictures." Garfield is already signed up for two more Spider-Man films.
In 2016 the actor starred in the Mel Gibson-directed war film Hacksaw Ridge, the true story of conscientious objector Desmond T. Doss who ended up saving 75 men in Okinawa during WWII without shooting a bullet. For his role Garfield was nominated for a Golden Globe and an Academy Award for Best Actor.
While he has been romantically linked to his Spider-Man co-star Emma Stone, Garfield has consistently refused to discuss his love life during interviews. He has, however, been willing to share other tidbits about himself: One of his favorite movies of all time is Teen Wolf, starring Michael J. Fox.
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