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Jake T. Austin

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Jake T. Austin
Jake T. Austin 2011 (Straighten Crop).jpg
Austin at the Tony Bennet Birthday Gala, September 17, 2011
Born Jake Austin Szymanski
(1994-12-03) December 3, 1994 (age 20)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Occupation Actor
Years active 2003–present

Jake T. Austin (born December 3, 1994) is an American actor. Beginning a career as a child actor at the age of seven, Austin is a five-time Young Artist Award nominee, best known for his role as Max Russo, the youngest of three wizards on the Disney Channel original series Wizards of Waverly Place, and as the voice of Diego, the 8-year-old animal rescuer on the Nickelodeon animated series Go, Diego, Go!. Jake currently co-stars in the series The Fosters as Jesus Foster. Jake attends the Professional Children's School in Manhattan, New York City.

Early life

Austin was born Jake Austin Szymanski on December 3, 1994, in New York City, the son of Giny Rodriquez Toranzo and Joe Szymanski.[1][2][3] His middle initial, "T" is taken from his mother's maiden name, "Toranzo".[1] His mother is of Puerto Rican, Argentine and Spanish, descent, and his father is of Polish, Irish, and English descent.[4][5] He has one younger sister named Ava.[3][4][6]


Austin began his career in 2002 at the age of 7, with roles in commercials, and in 2003 he appeared in his first credited acting role as "Kid 1698" in a comedy sketch on the Late Show with David Letterman.[3] He first gained notoriety in 2004, when he landed the role as the voice of Dora's adventurous 8 year-old cousin, Diego on the Nickelodeon animated series Dora The Explorer (credited as "Jake Toranzo Szymanski").[7][8] Austin continued to voice the role of Diego for three seasons as the title character on the 2005 animated spin-off series Go, Diego, Go!, as well as on the musical CDs Diego, Dora & Friends Animal Jamboree Album and Dora's Fiesta Album.[4][7][8] During his time as the voice of Diego, Austin went on to lend his voice to several other animated projects including the popular feature films The Ant Bully, and Everyone's Hero, as well as Comedy Central's Christmas special, Merry F#%$in' Christmas and Playhouse Disney's musical Happy Monster Band segments.[9]

In 2006, Austin landed the lead role of Angel Macias in his first live-action feature film, The Perfect Game based on a true story about the first non-U.S. team to win the 1957 Little League World Series, although the film wouldn't be released in the United States until more than three years after filming was completed, due to post-production financing difficulties.[10][11] In 2007, Austin began what would become a prolific career with Disney when he was cast as Chris in the Disney Channel original movie Johnny Kapahala: Back on Board.[4] Later that same year, he was cast as the youngest sibling, Max Russo on the Disney Channel original series Wizards of Waverly Place alongside Selena Gomez and David Henrie.[4][12][13] Wizards debuted in October 2007 and quickly became a fan favorite, lauded for its portrayal of Latinos and winning the Emmy Award for Outstanding Children’s Program in 2009, as well as ALMA, Imagen and NAACP Image Award nominations.[14][15][16][17][18]

Austin at The Perfect Game premiere in April 2010

In 2009, Austin made his live-action feature film debut with a starring role as Bruce, an orphan who hides numerous dogs in an abandoned hotel, in the DreamWorks family film Hotel for Dogs, while later that year, The Perfect Game debuted at the 2009 Guadalajara International Film Festival.[19][20] In the summer of that same year, Austin appeared as Max Russo in a crossover episode of the Disney Channel series, The Suite Life on Deck and in the Emmy Award winning Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie, Disney Channel's television film adaptation of the series.[21][22][23] In the spring of 2010, after almost four years, and several postponed release dates, The Perfect Game was released in U.S. theaters by Lionsgate.[10][11] In the fall of that year, Austin was named as one of "The 25 Brightest Latino Stars Under 25" in the October 2010 issue of Latina Magazine, along with his Wizards co-star Selena Gomez.[24]

As of 2011, Austin currently stars as Max Russo on the fourth and final season of the Emmy Award winning series Wizards of Waverly Place.[25][26][27] The final episode of the series wrapped production in May 2011, and is scheduled to air in early 2012.[28] In April 2011, Austin voiced the role of Fernando, an orphaned Brazilian boy who is forced to capture exotic birds, in the 20th Century Fox 3-D animated musical feature film, Rio.[10][29] In December 2010, it was announced that Austin would be teaming up with Pilgrim Films & Television productions as co-executive producer of a new reality series that will focus on a group of families in the Los Angeles area as they put their lives on hold to pursue their children’s dreams of acting, singing and/or modeling, with the pilot episode scheduled to begin filming in mid-2011.[30] In March 2011, it was announced that Austin would have a role in Gary Marshall's romantic-comedy, New Year's Eve, released in December 2011.[31]

Austin guest starred in the long-running NBC legal drama, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit in the episode "Home Invasions" as Rob Fisher, the boyfriend of a girl whose family is massacred. "It's an honor to be a part of such a respected series," Austin said in a statement to The Huffington Post. "Being a New Yorker myself, I'm a huge fan of the show and can't wait to start filming."[32]

Personal life

Austin embraces his Puerto Rican heritage despite not being fluent in Spanish,[33] and currently divides his time living in Los Angeles and New York with his parents, his younger sister Ava, and the family's two dogs, Bogey and Beju.[4][8][34] His family owns a historic restaurant called ‘The Clarksville Inn’.[3][34][35] The restaurant, located in West Nyack, New York, originally opened in 1840 as a hotel.[3][3][35] Along with writing, directing and acting in shorts for his YouTube channel "Jakeethekid", he has also written, and sold his first screenplay titled "Kings of Suburbia" which he has said is written in the same vein as his favorite film Stand By Me.[7][36][37]

Austin devotes time to various charitable causes including the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which grants wishes to children who have life-threatening medical conditions, the Starlight Children's Foundation, which is dedicated to improving the quality of life for children with chronic and life-threatening medical conditions, and Variety's Power of Youth initiative, which partners with young stars to help raise money for their chosen causes.[2][38][39]



Year Film Role Notes
2006 The Ant Bully Nicky (voice)
2006 Everyone's Hero Yankee Irving (voice)
2007 Johnny Kapahala: Back on Board Chris TV movie
2009 Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie Max Russo TV movie
2009 Hotel for Dogs Bruce
2010 The Perfect Game Angel Macias
2011 Rio Fernando (voice)
2011 New Year's Eve Seth
2013 Khumba Khumba (voice)
2013 Tom Sawyer & Huckleberry Finn Huckleberry Finn
2014 Rio 2 Fernando (voice)


Year Show Role Notes
2003 Late Show with David Letterman Kid 1698 Episode: "December 23, 2003"
2004 Dora the Explorer Diego (voice) Credited as Jake Toranzo-Szymanski
2005–08 Go, Diego, Go! Diego (voice) 56 episodes
2005 Merry F#%$in' Christmas Various Voices TV special
2007–12 Wizards of Waverly Place Max Russo 106 episodes
2008 Happy Monster Band Bluz (voice) 20 episodes
2009 The Suite Life on Deck Max Russo Episode: "Double-Crossed"
2012 Drop Dead Diva Sam Episode: "Home"
2012 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit[32] Rob Fisher Episode: "Home Invasions"
2013 The Wizards Return: Alex vs. Alex Max Russo TV special
2013–2015 The Fosters Jesus Foster Main cast (seasons 1-2)

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Role Film / Show Result Ref.
2006 Young Artist Award Best Performance in a Voice-Over Role - Young Actor Diego Go, Diego, Go! Nominated [40]
2007 Imagen Award Best Actor - Television Diego Go, Diego, Go! Nominated [41]
Young Artist Award Best Performance in a Voice-Over Role - Young Actor Yankee Irving Everyone's Hero Nominated [42]
2008 ALMA Award Outstanding Male Performance in a Comedy TV Series Max Russo Wizards of Waverly Place Nominated [43]
Young Artist Award Best Young Ensemble Performance in a TV Series Max Russo (Shared with: Selena Gomez, David Henrie, Jennifer Stone) Wizards of Waverly Place Nominated [44]
2009 ALMA Award Year in TV Comedy – Actor Max Russo Wizards of Waverly Place Nominated [43]
Imagen Award Best Actor - Television Max Russo Wizards of Waverly Place Nominated [41]
Teen Choice Award Choice TV: Sidekick Max Russo Wizards of Waverly Place Nominated [45]
Young Artist Award Best Performance in a TV Series - Leading Young Actor Max Russo Wizards of Waverly Place Nominated [46]
2010 Young Artist Award Best Performance in a Feature Film - Leading Young Actor Bruce Hotel for Dogs Nominated [47]
Best Performance in a TV Series - Leading Young Actor Max Russo Wizards of Waverly Place Nominated [47]
2012 Hollywood Teen TV Awards Favorite Television Actor Max Russo Wizards of Waverly Place Won
2013 Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards Favorite TV Actor Max Russo Wizards of Waverly Place Nominated [48]
Teen Choice Award Summer TV Star: Male Jesus Foster The Fosters Nominated [49]
2014 Choice TV Actor: Drama Jesus Foster The Fosters Nominated


  1. ^ a b "Jake T. Austin facts". Jake T. Retrieved 2010-10-15. 
  2. ^ a b "Selena Gomez on being Latin". Retrieved 2011-01-09. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Interview: Jake T. Austin". Miss O & Friends - pt 1. Retrieved 2011-01-09. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Jake T. Austin "Max Russo"". Disney Channel Medianet. Retrieved 2011-01-09. 
  5. ^ Hernández, Lee (2009-01-07). "Jake T. Austin's 'powers' beyond TV". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2009-01-10. 
  6. ^ "Jake T. Austin & Ava Photos". Retrieved 2011-01-16. 
  7. ^ a b c "Interview: Jake T. Austin 'Go, Diego, Go!'". Miss O & Friends - 2. Retrieved 2011-01-09. 
  8. ^ a b c "Meet The Voice of Diego: Jake Toranzo Szymanski". Nick Jr. Retrieved 2011-01-13. 
  9. ^ "'Everyone's Hero': An Interview with Jake T. Austin". Retrieved 2011-01-09. 
  10. ^ a b c "Interview: 'The Perfect Game's' Jake T. Austin". Cinema Blend. Retrieved 2011-01-09. 
  11. ^ a b "'The Perfect Game' stages ninth-inning comeback". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-01-12. 
  12. ^ Levin, Gary (2007-10-18). "Nielsens: Friday night was 'Murder' on ABC". USA Today 2007-10-18. Retrieved 2011-01-12. 
  13. ^ "Cable's most-watched shows, Oct. 15-21". USA Today. 2007-10-23. Retrieved 2011-01-12. 
  14. ^ "2009 Emmy Nominations". 2009 Primetime Emmy Awards. Retrieved 2011-01-12. 
  15. ^ "2008 ALMA Awards". Web Archive. Archived from the original on 2008-07-30. Retrieved 2011-01-12. 
  16. ^ "23rd Annual Imagen Awards". The Imagen Foundation. Retrieved 2011-01-12. 
  17. ^ "24th Annual Imagen Awards". The Imagen Foundation. Retrieved 2011-01-12. 
  18. ^ "40th NAACP Image Awards". NAACP Image Awards. Retrieved 2011-01-12. 
  19. ^ "Jake T. Austin Interview 'Hotel For Dogs'". Chuck The Movieguy. Retrieved 2011-01-09. 
  20. ^ "A Conversation with Jake T. Austin". Box Office Magazine. Retrieved 2011-01-09. 
  21. ^ "'Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie: Jake T. Austin Interview". Retrieved 2011-01-09. 
  22. ^ "'Wizards of Waverly Place' Movie Casts Spell". 09/08/27. Retrieved 2011-01-09. 
  23. ^ "2010 Emmy Nominations". Primetime Emmy Awards. Retrieved 2011-01-12. 
  24. ^ "The 25 Brightest Latino Stars Under 25: Jake T. Austin". Latina Magazine. Retrieved 2011-01-12. 
  25. ^ "'Wizards of Waverly Place's Jake T. Austin Interview". TV Guide 2010-12-16. Retrieved 2011-01-09. 
  26. ^ "Disney Channel Renews "Wizards of Waverly Place"; Plans Second Movie". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved 2011-01-12. 
  27. ^ "Disney Orders 4th Season of "Wizards of Waverly Place" and Film Sequel". All Headline News. Retrieved 2011-01-12. 
  28. ^ "Wizards Cast Gets Emotional at Final Live Taping". 2011-05-06. 
  29. ^ "Jake T. Austin: Hollywood Christmas Parade Interview". 2010-12-04. Retrieved 2011-01-09. 
  30. ^ "Pilgrim Films & Television and Jake T. Austin will co-Executive Produce". Television Show Auditions. Retrieved 2011-01-12. 
  31. ^ "Who's the Married Actor Kissing...". MSNBC. March 18, 2011. Retrieved 2011-05-11. 
  32. ^ a b "'Law & Order: SVU': Jake T. Austin Books Guest Role". The Huffington Post. January 13, 2012. Retrieved January 13, 2012. 
  33. ^ Arreola, Cristina (3 December 2014). "20 THINGS YOU NEVER KNEW ABOUT JAKE T. AUSTIN". Latina (magazine). Retrieved January 2015. 
  34. ^ a b "Jake T. Austin Goes To "The Dogs"". OK! Magazine. Retrieved 2011-01-12. 
  35. ^ a b "Saving An Historic Building". Nyack-Piermont NY Patch. Retrieved 2011-01-12. 
  36. ^ "Jake T. Austin Writing A Script - 'Kings Of Suburbia'". MTV Movies Blog. Retrieved 2011-01-09. 
  37. ^ "Jake T. Austin's "jakeethekid" Youtube Channel". YouTube - jakeethekid's Channel. Retrieved 2011-01-09. 
  38. ^ "Jake T. Austin Interview: A Stellar Night 2010". ClevverTV 2010-03-24. Retrieved 2011-01-09. 
  39. ^ "Jake T. Austin - Variety's Power of Youth". Retrieved 2011-01-09. 
  40. ^ "27th Annual Young Artist Awards". 26th Young Artist Awards. Retrieved 2011-01-09. 
  41. ^ a b "2007 Imagen Foundation Awards". Imagen 2007 Awards. Retrieved 2011-01-09. 
  42. ^ "28th Annual Young Artist Awards". 27th Young Artist Awards. Retrieved 2011-01-09. 
  43. ^ a b "2008 Alma Awards". TV Squad. Retrieved 2011-01-09. 
  44. ^ "29th Annual Young Artist Awards". 29th Young Artist Awards. Retrieved 2011-01-09. 
  45. ^ "2009 Teen Choice Awards". CinemaBlend. Retrieved 2011-01-09. 
  46. ^ "30th Annual Young Artist Awards". 30th Young Artist Awards. Retrieved 2011-01-09. 
  47. ^ a b "31st Annual Young Artist Awards". 31st Young Artist Awards. Retrieved 2011-01-09. 
  48. ^ "Kids' Choice Awards 2013 TV nominees- EXCLUSIVE". 

External links