Jon Bernthal

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Jon Bernthal
Crop of Jon Bernthal by Gage Skidmore 3.jpg
Born Jonathan Edward Bernthal
(1976-09-20) September 20, 1976 (age 41)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Education Skidmore College
Harvard University (GrDip)
Occupation Actor
Years active 2002–present
Erin Angle (m. 2010)
Children 3

Jonathan Edward Bernthal[1] (born September 20, 1976)[2] is an American actor.

Bernthal began his career in minor roles on broadway and theatre before guest starring on various television shows. In 2010, he gained critical acclaim and prominence for his portrayal of Shane Walsh on the AMC series The Walking Dead. He later transitioned to films and starred in supporting roles in various films such as The Wolf of Wall Street, Fury, Sicario, The Accountant, Baby Driver, and Wind River. In 2018, he is set to star in Steve McQueen's heist remake Widows.

In 2015, he was cast as Frank Castle/Punisher as part of the Netflix MCU web series. He debuted on the second season of Daredevil before starring in his own titular series The Punisher in 2017.

Early life[edit]

Bernthal was born in Washington, D.C. to Joan Lurie (née Marx) and Eric Lawrence "Rick" Bernthal, a former lawyer with Latham & Watkins LLP and currently Chair of the board of directors for the US Humane Society.[1][3] His paternal grandfather was musician and producer Murray Bernthal.[4] He has two brothers, Nicholas, an orthopedic surgeon and professor at UCLA, and Thomas, a former producer for NBC News.[5][6][7] Bernthal and his family are Jewish.[8]

Bernthal grew up in Cabin John, Maryland, a suburb of Washington D.C. He attended the Sidwell Friends School, graduating in 1995.[9] He has often described his younger self as a "troublemaker".[10] After high school, Bernthal studied at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York, but later dropped out. At the advice of Alma Becker, his acting teacher at Skidmore, Bernthal joined the Moscow Art Theatre in Russia.[11] During his time there, he played catcher on a Russian professional baseball team.[12][10]


2002–2009: Early career[edit]

Bernthal was discovered while at the Moscow Art Theatre by the executive director of Harvard University's Institute for Advanced Theater Training at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Massachusetts; he studied there as a graduate-level certificate student and completed his studies in 2002.[13] After graduating, he moved to New York City to pursue a career in theatre.[14] He is a method actor.[15]

Bernthal at the premiere of Fury on October 15, 2014

Since 2002, Bernthal has performed in over 30 plays regionally and Off-Broadway, including many with his own award-winning theatre company, the now defunct Fovea Floods.[16] He also had small guest roles in television series such as Boston Legal, CSI: Miami, and How I Met Your Mother.

Bernthal relocated to Los Angeles in 2006.[17] He booked his first regular role on a television series with the CBS sitcom The Class. The show was cancelled after one season.[18] After this, he had roles in films such as Oliver Stone's World Trade Center and Day Zero.

2009–present: Breakthrough[edit]

Television and The Walking Dead: 2009–2013[edit]

In 2009, Bernthal was a series regular on the ABC television series Eastwick. He starred alongside actress Jaime Ray Newman, his future co-star in The Punisher. Eastwick was canceled after one season. In 2010, Bernthal portrayed Sgt. Manuel Rodriguez on the HBO miniseries The Pacific.

Bernthal found critical success portraying Shane Walsh in Frank Darabont's The Walking Dead, based on the comic book series of the same name. He was a regular on the show until 2012 and was nominated for the Breakout Performance – Male Award at the 2011 Scream Awards for his performance.[19] Bernthal reunited with Darabont for the TNT series Mob City, in which he portrayed LAPD Detective Joe Teague, a police officer working in a corrupt 1940s Los Angeles, which was canceled after one season.[20]

During this period, Bernthal had supporting roles in the 2009 Ben Stiller comedy film Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian as mobster Al Capone, the 2010 Roman Polanski thriller The Ghost Writer, and the 2011 Woody Harrelson-feature Rampart, and also guest starred in episodes of TV shows such as Numbers and Harry's Law.[21] In 2011, Bernthal performed in the premiere of dark comedy play Small Engine Repair. The play was critically acclaimed; critics praised Bernthal's performance for his "energy and wit" and he was nominated for an Ovation Award.[22][23] After its world premiere run, Small Engine Repair was transferred to the Off-Broadway MCC Theater, with Bernthal signing on to reprise his role. However, filming commitments made Bernthal withdraw from the play and he was replaced by actor James Badge Dale.[24]

Film: 2013–2015[edit]

In 2013, Bernthal had supporting roles in the crime drama film Snitch, and the sports comedy film Grudge Match[25] Bernthal played Brad in the Martin Scorsese film The Wolf of Wall Street.[26] He played southerner Grady "Coon-Ass" Travis in the 2014 World War II film Fury, with critics praising the cast of the film.[27]

Bernthal next co-starred in Denis Villeneuve's 2015 action drama film Sicario, which won numerous awards and received positive reviews from critics.[28][29][30] 2015 also saw Bernthal in supporting roles in Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, winner of the US Grand Jury Prize for drama at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, and We Are Your Friends.

During this time, Bernthal portrayed NAACP attorney Michael H. Sussman in the HBO miniseries Show Me a Hero. He also, alongside actor Viggo Mortensen, executive produced the play The Time of Our Lies – The Life and Times of Howard Zinn, directed by frequent theater collaborator Josh Chambers. The Time of Our Lives was performed through the month of August 2014 at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.[31]

The Punisher: 2015–present[edit]

Bernthal with fans at the Emerald City Comicon in April 2016

In June 2015, Marvel announced that Bernthal would portray Frank Castle/The Punisher in the second season of Netflix's superhero series Daredevil, which was released on March 18, 2016.[32] He reprised the role in the 2017 Netflix series The Punisher. While initially hesitant in joining a superhero franchise, Bernthal decided to take the role after admiring the performances of actors Vincent D'Onofrio and Charlie Cox in the first season of Daredevil. Critics commended Bernthal's performance as The Punisher, with IGN calling it "an absolutely stellar, gutting performance".[33] Comic book writer and co-creator of the Punisher Gerry Conway called Bernthal's performance his favorite on-screen portrayal of the character and said, "Jon Bernthal gives The Punisher the kind of pathos that's underneath the tough guy and I really like that".[34]

In 2016, he co-starred in the Ben Affleck thriller The Accountant as Brax. He also was interviewed for the 2016 documentary Can't Be Stopped about the Los Angeles graffiti crew of the same name.[35] In 2017, he co-starred in Sicario writer Taylor Sheridan's directorial debut Wind River, which premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, Edgar Wright's Baby Driver, a crime comedy in which he played Griff, and prison drama Shot Caller. Additionally, Bernthal starred in Irish action thriller film Pilgrimage[36] Set in 13th century Ireland, Bernthal plays The Mute in the film which resulted in the actor, who prefers to stay in character on film sets, choosing not to speak to the cast or crew for the first few weeks of production.[37] Bernthal was praised for his acting, with The Hollywood Reporter remarking that Bernthal "steals the film with his intense, nearly wordless performance... with his buff physicality and commanding presence filling the screen".[38]

On November 17, 2017, The Punisher and the film Sweet Virginia were both released. In Sweet Virginia, Bernthal plays Sam, a gentle motel-owner with Parkinson's disease; critics praised his performance.[39][40][41] His portrayal of the title character in The Punisher was commended as a "truly remarkable and intense performance" for its emotional depth and "possibly the best grizzly antihero performance among all of Marvel's Netflix series to date".[42][43]

In November 2017, on Jim Norton and Sam Roberts, Bernthal's interview made news,[44] due to his description of Kevin Spacey, who had faced recent sexual assault charges, of making him uncomfortable on the set of Baby Driver.[45] Bernthal stated that he "lost all respect" for Spacey and that "he was a bit of a bully."[46]

Upcoming projects[edit]

Bernthal will star in the films The Peanut Butter Falcon, drama Viena and the Fantomes, and the crime thriller Widows, which are expected to be released in 2018. Cast in October 2016, Bernthal will also star in the film Stingray opposite Joel Edgerton which is expected to begin filming in 2018.[47]

On December 12, 2017, it was announced that The Punisher had been renewed for a second season by Netflix, with Bernthal set to return as Frank Castle. As of the time of the announcement, it is unclear when the new season will be released.[48]

On June 12, 2018, it was announced that Bernthal would be portraying business magnate Lee Iacocca in a supporting role for James Mangold's upcoming action biographical drama Ford V Ferrari.Production starts in summer of 2018.[49] It was announced that he will return to the season 9 of the TV series The Walking Dead as Shane Walsh.[50][51]

Personal life[edit]

Bernthal married Erin Angle, a trauma nurse, on September 25, 2010, in Potomac, Maryland.[17][18] She is the niece of professional wrestler Kurt Angle. Bernthal and Angle were married by his acting teacher, Alma Becker.[10] They have two sons, Henry and Billy (born August 2011 and January 2013), and a daughter, Adeline (born February 2015).[52] Bernthal is a cousin of Adam Schlesinger, songwriter and bassist of the band Fountains of Wayne. The Bernthal family lives in Ojai, California.[17]

Together with his brother Nicholas, an orthopedic surgeon at UCLA, Bernthal runs a nonprofit organization called Drops Fill Buckets, described as an "impact-driven, entrepreneurial approach to making a difference".[53][54] He is also an advocate of pit bull ownership and is a spokesperson for the Animal Farm Foundation, which rescues and promotes the equal treatment of pit bulls.[9][55] He has three pit bulls and they often accompany him to set; two of his dogs, Boss and Venice, made appearances in Bernthal's 2012 film Rampart.[56]



Year Title Role Notes
2002 Mary/Mary Manny
2004 Tony n' Tina's Wedding Dominic Fabrizzi
2004 Revenge of the Middle-Aged Woman Man in Office
2006 World Trade Center Christopher Amoroso
2007 The Air I Breathe Interviewer
2007 Day Zero James Dixon
2008 Bar Starz Donnie Pitron
2008 A Line in the Sand Banzai
2009 Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian Al Capone
2010 The Ghost Writer Rick Ricardelli
2010 Date Night Young Man
2012 Rampart Dan Morone
2013 Snitch Daniel James
2013 The Wolf of Wall Street Brad Bodnick Nominated – Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Ensemble Cast
Nominated – Central Ohio Film Critics Association Award for Best Ensemble
Nominated – Critics' Choice Movie Award for Best Acting Ensemble
Nominated – Detroit Film Critics Society Award for Best Ensemble
Nominated – Georgia Film Critics Association Award for Best Ensemble
Nominated – Gold Derby Award for Best Ensemble Cast
Nominated – Seattle Film Critics Award for Best Ensemble Cast
2013 Grudge Match B.J. Rose
2014 Fury Pfc. Grady "Coon-Ass" Travis National Board of Review Award for Best Cast
2015 Me and Earl and the Dying Girl Mr. McCarthy
2015 Sicario Ted
2015 We Are Your Friends Paige Morrell
2016 Justice League vs. Teen Titans Trigon (voice)
2016 The Accountant Brax
2016 The Escape Holt Short film
2017 Wind River Matt Rayburn
2017 Baby Driver Griff
2017 Sweet Virginia Sam
2017 Pilgrimage The Mute
2017 Shot Caller Frank "Shotgun"
2018 Viena and the Fantomes
2018 The Peanut Butter Falcon Mark Post-production
2018 Widows Post-production
2019 Ford v. Ferrari Lee Iacocca Filming


Year Title Role Notes
2002 Law & Order: Criminal Intent Lane Ruddock Episode: "Malignant"
2004 Without a Trace Alex Genya Episode: "Bait"
2004 Dr. Vegas Greg Episode: "Dead Man, Live Bet"
2004 Boston Legal Michael Shea Episode: "Questionable Characters"
2005 Jonny Zero Brett Parish Episode: "I Did It All for the Nooky"
2005 CSI: Miami Harry Klugman 2 episodes
2005 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Sherm Hempell Episode: "Goliath"
2005 How I Met Your Mother Carlos Episode: "Purple Giraffe"
2006–2007 The Class Duncan Carmello 19 episodes
2009–2010 Eastwick Raymond Gardener 12 episodes
2010 Numb3rs Mike Nash Episode: "Growin' Up"
2010 The Pacific Sgt. Manuel Rodriguez 2 episodes
The Walking Dead Shane Walsh 19 episodes
Nominated – Scream Award for Breakout Performance – Male (2011)
2012 Harry's Law Lucas Trassino Episode: "The Whole Truth"
2012–2017 Robot Chicken Shane Walsh (voice)
Various voices
2 episodes
2013 Mob City Detective Joe Teague 6 episodes
2015 Show Me a Hero Michael H. Sussman 4 episodes
2015 SuperMansion Rat-A-Pult (voice) 3 episodes
2016 Daredevil Frank Castle / Punisher 12 episodes
2017–present The Punisher 13 episodes
Nominated – Saturn Award for Best Actor on Television
2018 Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Mysterious Man Episode: "Kimmy Meets an Old Friend!"

Video games[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2003 Manhunt Cerebus Character mold
2014 Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Corporal Jim Decker Playable character in the downloadable game mode "Exo Zombies"


Selected theater credits

Year Title Role Venue Notes
1994 Scenes From The New World Boots/ Waiter Studio 1019 [57]
1999 Cher Molière Molière Institute for Advanced Theater Training International touring production[58]
2000 Man of La Mancha Sancho Panza Moscow Art Theatre [58]
2000 Spring Awakening Moritz Steifel Moscow Art Theatre Workshop production[58]
2001 Othello Lodovico American Repertory Theater u/s Iago[59][60]
2002 Marat/Sade Inmate American Repertory Theater [61]
2002 This Is Our Youth Dennis Studio Theatre [62][63]
2002 The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui Arturo Ui Ontological-Hysteric Theater [64]
2003 Fifth of July Understudy Signature Theatre [65]
2003 Proof Hal Portland Stage Company [66]
2007 Fat Pig Carter Geffen Playhouse Replacement[67]
2011 Small Engine Repair Terence Swaino Rogue Machine Theatre Ovation Award for Best Acting Ensemble in a Play
Nominated – Ovation Award for Best Lead Actor in a Play[23]


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External links[edit]