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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 (/ˈɒːstɪn/ OST-in or AWST-in; 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 co-starred in the series The Fosters as Jesus Foster before being replaced with Noah Centineo. 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’s career began in 2002 when he appeared in commercials. A year later, he appeared in his first credited acting role as ‘’Kid 1698’’ in a comedy sketch on the Late Show With David Letterman.[3] In 2004, he landed his first major role – he would become the voice of Diego, the cousin of Dora the Explorer, on the hit Nickelodeon series Dora the Explorer.[7][8] He would continue to voice Diego on the spin-off show Go, Diego, Go! for the next three seasons of the show.[4][7][8] Along with voicing Diego, Austin was cast for multiple voice roles in the feature films The Ant Bully and Everyone's Hero – he would also be cast in the Comedy Central special Merry F#%$in’s Christmas.[9] In 2006, Austin landed the lead role of Angel Macias in his first live-action feature film, The Perfect Game, which was based on a true story about the first non-U.S. team to win the 1957 Little League World Series. The film wouldn't be released in the United States until more than three years later due to post-production financing difficulties.[10][11]

2007-11: Wizards of Waverly Place

Austin appeared in his first Walt Disney Company production in 2007 where he played Chris in the Disney Channel original movie Johnny Kapahala: Back on Board.[4] Later that same year, Austin was casted as Max Russo in the Disney Channel show Wizards of Waverly Place. He would play the youngest sibling of a wizarding family – his costars would be Selena Gomez and David Henrie.[4][12][13] The show would become a huge ratings hit for Disney along with receiving critical acclaim for the portrayal of Latinos, the show won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Children’s Program in 2009 along with receiving nominations for the ALMA and the NAACP Image Award.[14][15][16]

Until the end of the Wizards of Waverly Place in 2011, Austin would appear in multiple Disney productions. In the summer of 2009, he would play the role of Max Russo in Wizards on Deck crossover episode which included two other popular Disney shows, The Suite Life on Deck and Hannah Montana. During the same summer, he would star in the made-for-television film Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie.[17][18] The movie would be a ratings hit- becoming the second-most-viewed Disney channel movie at that time behind High School Musical 2 along with becoming the No. 1 scripted telecast of 2009[19]– but it would also meet critical acclaim with the movie winning the Primetime Emmy award for Best Children Program in 2010.[20]

While starring in Wizards of Waverly Place, Austin appeared in other non-Disney productions. He made his live action feature film debut in 2009 with the role of Bruce, an orphan who hides numerous dogs in an abandoned hotel, in the DreamWorks film Hotel for Dogs.[21] In 2010, the Perfect Game debuted at the 2009 Guadalajara International Film Festival and the film would be released everywhere the following spring after multiple delays.[10][11] In the fall of 2010, Austin was named as one of the ‘’The 25 Brightest Latino Stars Under 25’’ by the Latina Magazine; Selena Gomez, his co-star in Wizards, was one of the other stars named.[22]

2011-present: Post-Wizards

In 2011, the last season of Wizards of Waverly Place aired on the Disney Channel.[23][24][25] After the ending of the show, Austin started appearing in more non-Disney productions. He voiced the role of Fernando, an orphaned Brazillian boy who is forced to capture exotic birds, in the 20th Century Fox animated musical film, Rio. He would reprise the role in the sequel, Rio 2.[10][26][27] He also starred in the romantic-comedy film, New Years Eve that was released in December of 2011.[28] He has a guest role in the NBC legal drama, Law & Order: SVU, in the episode ‘’Home Invasions’’ where he played Rob Fisher, the boyfriend of a girl whose family is massacred. He later told Huffington Post that ‘’It’s an honor to be a part of such a respected series. Being a New Yorker myself, I’m a huge fan of the show and can’t wait to start filming.’’[29]

Austin would land his next major role in 2013 when he was chosen to play Jesus Foster in the ABC Family comedy-drama series The Fosters.[30] The show tells the story of two moms raising both biological and foster children in a "multi-ethnic" household in San Diego, California. He would play in the show for two seasons until he left the show in the season finale of the second season in 2015. He later said ‘’I’m honored to have been a part of such a groundbreaking series, but I personally want to let you know that my time on the show has come to an end. Thank you for letting me be a part of your family, it’s been a pleasure.’’[31] His character will still be part of the series and will be recast for the third season.[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[29] 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 Awards Summer TV Star: Male Jesus Foster The Fosters Nominated [49]
2014 Choice TV Actor: Drama Nominated
2015 Pending [50]


  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. ^ "40th NAACP Image Awards". NAACP Image Awards. Retrieved 2011-01-12. 
  17. ^ "'Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie: Jake T. Austin Interview". Retrieved 2011-01-09. 
  18. ^ "'Wizards of Waverly Place' Movie Casts Spell". 09/08/27. Retrieved 2011-01-09. 
  19. ^ Top 100 Most-Watched Telecasts On Basic Cable For 2009 - Ratings | TVbytheNumbers
  20. ^ "2010 Emmy Nominations". Primetime Emmy Awards. Retrieved 2011-01-12. 
  21. ^ "Jake T. Austin Interview 'Hotel For Dogs'". Chuck The Movieguy. Retrieved 2011-01-09. 
  22. ^ "The 25 Brightest Latino Stars Under 25: Jake T. Austin". Latina Magazine. Retrieved 2011-01-12. 
  23. ^ "'Wizards of Waverly Place's Jake T. Austin Interview". TV Guide 2010-12-16. Retrieved 2011-01-09. 
  24. ^ "Disney Channel Renews "Wizards of Waverly Place"; Plans Second Movie". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved 2011-01-12. 
  25. ^ "Disney Orders 4th Season of "Wizards of Waverly Place" and Film Sequel". All Headline News. Retrieved 2011-01-12. 
  26. ^ "Jake T. Austin: Hollywood Christmas Parade Interview". 2010-12-04. Retrieved 2011-01-09. 
  27. ^ "Twentieth Century Fox Animation Announces RIO 2 Casting" (Press release). 2013-02-22. Archived from the original on 2013-08-16. Retrieved 2015-05-31. 
  28. ^ "Who's the Married Actor Kissing...". MSNBC. March 18, 2011. Retrieved 2011-05-11. 
  29. ^ a b "'Law & Order: SVU': Jake T. Austin Books Guest Role". The Huffington Post. January 13, 2012. Retrieved January 13, 2012. 
  30. ^ "'The Fosters': ABC Family Releases Sneak Peek Of First Episode (VIDEO)". Huffington Post (Huffington Post). 2013-05-13. Retrieved 2015-05-31. 
  31. ^ Mink, Casey (2015-04-24). "‘The Fosters’ Finale: Jake T. Austin Confirms Series Exit — Is Jesus Dead?". Hollywood Life (Hollywood Wife). Retrieved 2015-05-31. 
  32. ^ ‘The Fosters’ Recasting Jesus After Jake T. Austin’s Departure
  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". 
  50. ^ Coggan, Devan (June 9, 2015). "Teen Choice Award nominations pit Zayn Malik against One Direction". Entertainment Weekly. Time Inc. Retrieved June 11, 2015. 

External links