Giovanni Ribisi

Giovanni Ribisi Biography

Television Actor, Film Actor, Actor (1974–)
American actor Giovanni Ribisi has been known for playing a range of quirky characters on television and in movies of various genres since the 1990s.


American actor Giovanni Ribisi, born in Los Angeles, California, on December 17, 1974, began acting as a child and made a transition from television to film in his 20s. He has performed a range of character roles in movies ranging from period dramas like Saving Private Ryan and Public Enemies to the action thriller Contraband, the comedy Ted and the sci-fi fantasy hit Avatar.

Early Life

Antonino Giovanni Ribisi, better known as Giovanni Ribisi, was born on December 17, 1974, in Los Angeles, California. His father, Albert Anthony Ribisi, is a musician. His mother, Gay (Landrum) Ribisi, is a photographer and a film producer as well as a talent manager for actors and writers. Ribisi has a twin sister named Marissa and a younger sister named Gina.

Television Career

Ribisi had an early interest in acting and began to attend auditions when he was about 9 years old. He landed a string of roles on network television series in the 1980s, beginning with Highway to Heaven in 1985 and moving on to recurring parts in The New Leave It to Beaver, Married with Children and My Two Dads. He continued to act on television in the 1990s, playing Fred Savage's friend Jeff on The Wonder Years and Lisa Kudrow's slightly dim-witted brother, Frank Jr., on Friends.

Film Career

By the 1990s, however, Ribisi had already set his sights on a film career. He made a quick transition from bit parts in lightweight movies like The Outpost and The Grave to small but memorable roles in higher-profile films with prominent directors. He appeared in Tom Hanks's That Thing You Do! and Richard Linklater's SubUrbia, both released in 1996, as well as David Lynch's noir thriller Lost Highway in 1997.

Ribisi's performance as a doomed young medic in Steven Spielberg's World War II epic Saving Private Ryan (1998) was a breakthrough that gave him a reputation as one of Hollywood's most promising new character actors. Over the next few years, Ribisi transformed himself to play roles as varied as a stockbroker in Boiler Room, a professional car thief in Gone in 60 Seconds, a world-traveling celebrity photographer in Sofia Coppola's Lost in Translation (2003), a Civil War–era backwoods dweller in Cold Mountain and an ace airplane mechanic in the 2004 sci-fi adventure film Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow.

After a slight lull in his career in the early 2000s, Ribisi has continued to prove his versatility with another diverse run of uniquely defined character roles. He was an Internet-porn entrepreneur in Middle Men, a 1930s gangster in Public Enemies and corporate administrator Parker Selfridge in the mega-hit Avatar, all in 2009; he was a sleazy drug-and-alcohol addict in 2011's The Rum Diary and in 2012 he appeared in Seth MacFarlane's comedy Ted and its sequel Ted 2 (2015), the action thriller Contraband, the period crime drama Gangster Squad (2013) and the Oscar-nominated civil rights drama Selma (2015). In Papa Hemingway in Cuba (2015), Ribisi played Ed Myers, a character based on Denne Bart Petitclerc, a Miami newspaper reporter who befriended Ernest Hemingway in 1959. 

Off screen, Ribisi started a company in 2009 called Stereo D that specializes in converting films from 2-D to 3-D.

Personal Life

Ribisi has been married twice. His marriage to actress Mariah O'Brien, from 1997 to 2001, ended in divorce. The couple had one child, daughter Lucia (born 1997). In 2012, Ribisi wed the British-born model Agyness Deyn. Ribisi's twin sister, Marissa, is married to the musician Beck.

Ribisi and his sister were brought up in the Church of Scientology and continue to be active members of the religion.

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