Culkin at the Berlin Festival in 2010
Macaulay Carson Culkin
August 26, 1980
(m. 1998; div. 2002)
Macaulay Carson Culkin (born August 26, 1980) is an American actor and musician. He is known for playing Kevin McCallister in the Christmas films Home Alone (1990), for which he was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy, and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992).
Along with the Home Alone series, Culkin also starred in the films My Girl (1991), The Good Son (1993), The Nutcracker (1993), Getting Even with Dad (1994), The Pagemaster (1994) and Richie Rich (1994). He has been nominated for Kids' Choice Awards, MTV Movie Awards and Young Artist Awards. At the height of his fame, he was regarded as the most successful child actor since Shirley Temple. Culkin ranked at number two on VH1's list of the "100 Greatest Kid-Stars" and E!'s list of the "50 Greatest Child Stars".
He took a break from acting in 1994, and made his return in 2003 with a guest appearance on the television show Will and Grace and a role in the film Party Monster (2003). He wrote an autobiographical book titled Junior, which was published in 2006. In 2013, Culkin co-founded the New York-based, pizza-themed comedy rock band The Pizza Underground, of which he was the vocalist. They toured in 2014, beginning in Brooklyn on January 24, 2014. On July 10, 2016, Culkin stated that The Pizza Underground was splitting up and their next album would be the last. Culkin is currently the publisher and CEO of a satirical pop culture website and podcast called Bunny Ears.
Macaulay Carson Culkin was born on August 26, 1980 in New York City. Culkin's father, Christopher Cornelius "Kit" Culkin, is a former actor known for his productions on Broadway and is the brother of actress Bonnie Bedelia. His mother is Patricia Brentrup, who never married Culkin. He was named Macaulay after Thomas Babington Macaulay and Carson after Kit Carson of the Old West. Culkin is the third of seven children, five boys and two girls: Shane (born 1976), Dakota (1979–2008), Kieran (born 1982), Quinn (born 1984), Christian (born 1987), and Rory (born 1989). During Culkin's early childhood, the family lived in a small apartment. His mother was a telephone operator and his father worked as a sacristan at a local Catholic church. He was raised Roman Catholic and attended a Catholic school called St. Joseph's School of Yorkville for five years before going to Professional Children's School.
1985–1989: Early work
Culkin began acting at age four. His early roles included a stage production of Bach Babies at the New York Philharmonic. He continued appearing in roles on stage, television and films throughout the 1980s. He made a small appearance in the TV movie The Midnight Hour (1985). In 1988 he appeared in an episode of the popular action television series The Equalizer, in which he played a kidnapping victim, Paul Gephardt. He made his big-screen debut portraying the character of Cy Blue Black in the drama film Rocket Gibraltar (1988). He played the role of Billy Livingstone in the romantic-comedy film See You in the Morning (1989), starring Jeff Bridges, Alice Krige, Farrah Fawcett and Drew Barrymore. He starred as Miles Russell alongside actor John Candy in the comedy film Uncle Buck (1989).
Culkin rose to fame with his lead role of Kevin McCallister in the blockbuster Christmas film Home Alone (1990), in which he was reunited with Uncle Buck writer and director John Hughes and Uncle Buck co-star John Candy, who played the role of Polka band member Gus Polinski. He was nominated for a Golden Globe Award, and won an American Comedy Award and a Young Artist Award for his role as Kevin McCallister. In 1991, Culkin starred in an animated Saturday morning cartoon television series titled Wish Kid, hosted Saturday Night Live and starred in Michael Jackson's "Black or White" music video. He starred as Thomas J. Sennett in the film My Girl (1991), for which he was nominated for Best On-Screen Duo and won Best Kiss at the MTV Movie Awards, with Anna Chlumsky.
He was paid $4.5 million (compared to $110,000 for the original) to reprise his role of Kevin McCallister in the sequel Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992), for which he won a Kids' Choice Award for Favorite Movie Actor. He played the role of Henry in the drama-thriller film The Good Son (1993), which only did reasonably well, although he was nominated for an MTV Movie Award in the category for Best Villain for his performance. He was also a student at the School of American Ballet, and appeared in a filmed version of The Nutcracker as the title role in 1993, which was staged by Peter Martins from the 1954 George Balanchine New York City Ballet version of the work. He was also in the films Getting Even with Dad (1994), The Pagemaster (1994) and Richie Rich (1994), which were all poor performers at the box office.
1994–1998: Career break
1998–2010: Return to acting and book debut
In 1998, he appeared in the music video for the song "Sunday" by the rock band Sonic Youth. In 2000, Culkin returned to acting with a role in the play Madame Melville, which was staged in London's West End. In the spring of 2003, he made a guest appearance on the NBC sitcom Will & Grace. His role as Karen Walker's deceptively immature divorce lawyer won him favorable reviews. Culkin headed back into motion pictures in 2003 with Party Monster, in which he played a role very different from those he was known for; that of party promoter Michael Alig, a drug user and murderer. He quickly followed that with a supporting part in Saved!, as a cynical wheelchair-using, non-Christian student in a conservative Christian high school. Though Saved! only had modest success at the box office, Culkin received positive reviews for his role in the film and its implications for a career as an adult actor. Culkin began doing voice-over work, with appearances in Seth Green's Robot Chicken. In 2006, he published an experimental, semi-autobiographical novel titled Junior, which talked about Culkin's stardom and his shaky relationship with his father.
Culkin starred in Sex and Breakfast, a dark comedy written and directed by Miles Brandman. Alexis Dziena, Kuno Becker and Eliza Dushku also star in this story of a couple whose therapist recommends they engage in group sex. Shooting for the film, Culkin's first since Saved!, took place in September 2006. The film opened in Los Angeles on November 30, 2007 and was released on DVD on January 22, 2008 by First Look Pictures. Culkin's next project was a role in the thirteen-episode NBC television series Kings as Andrew Cross.
In 2009, Culkin appeared in a UK-based commercial for Aviva Insurance (formerly Norwich Union) to help promote their company's rebranding. Culkin stared into the camera stating, "Remember me." On August 17, 2009, Culkin made a brief cameo appearance on WWE Raw at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Missouri, following a "falls count anywhere" match between Hornswoggle and Chavo Guerrero, in which Guerrero was defeated by the classic Home Alone gag of rigging a swinging paint can to hit him upon opening a door. Culkin appeared in the doorway and said, "That's not funny." In February 2010, Culkin appeared in an episode of Poppy de Villeneuve's online series for The New York Times, The Park. On March 7 of the same year, he appeared alongside actors Matthew Broderick, Molly Ringwald, Judd Nelson, Ally Sheedy, Anthony Michael Hall, and Jon Cryer in a tribute to the late John Hughes at the Oscars.
2010–2016: Musical and other artistic endeavors
In April 2011, Culkin was featured in musician Adam Green's experimental film The Wrong Ferarri, which was entirely shot on an iPhone. In the same month, he also appeared in the music video for "Stamp Your Name On It" performed by Green's former bandmate Jack Dishel/Only Son. In September 2012, he appeared in a video on YouTube explaining how he turned his apartment in New York into a painting workshop.
In December 2013, a viral video that Culkin co-produced and directed of himself eating a cheese pizza was uploaded to YouTube, co-starring Phoebe Kreutz. He was parodying Andy Warhol consuming a Burger King Whopper in Jørgen Leth's documentary 66 Scenes from America. Culkin was promoting the debut of his New York-based, pizza-themed comedy rock band The Pizza Underground. Their tour began in Brooklyn on January 24, 2014. In late May 2014, Culkin stormed off stage at Rock City during his kazoo solo after fans began booing and throwing pints of beer at the band. They subsequently cancelled the remaining U.K. shows, though they claimed the cancellation had nothing to do with the Rock City performance. On July 10, 2016, Culkin announced that The Pizza Underground was splitting up and their next album will be the last.
2016–present: Web content and continued acting career
In July 2016, Culkin had joined the meerkats Aleksandr and Sergei in Compare the Market's new ad. In January 2018, Culkin launched a comedy website and podcast called Bunny Ears, which parodied other celebrity-owned websites such as Gwyneth Paltrow's Goop. In 2018 and 2019, Culkin made guest appearances in episodes of Red Letter Media's Best of the Worst webseries as well as Angry Video Game Nerd, appearing as himself, as a character, or as a parody of himself. In an advertisement for Google Assistant published on December 19, 2018, Culkin reprised his Home Alone role as Kevin McCallister after 28 years. It recreated scenes from the movie where McCallister shaved his face, jumped on the bed, and decorated the Christmas tree all while asking Google Assistant to set reminders for him. The advertisement quickly went viral. In 2019, he had a role in Seth Green's movie Changeland with Brenda Song, which was released on June 7, 2019.
In December 2018, Culkin announced he would legally change his name to "Macaulay Macaulay Culkin Culkin" after holding a vote on Twitter to choose a new middle name, with "Macaulay Culkin" winning the vote over four other candidates.
On September 17, 2004, Culkin was arrested in Oklahoma City for the possession of 17.3 grams (0.61 oz) of marijuana and two controlled substances, 16.5 milligrams (0.25 grains) of Alprazolam and 32 milligrams (0.5 gr) of Clonazepam, for which he was briefly jailed, then released on a $4,000 bail. After being arraigned in court for misdemeanor drug offenses, he pleaded not guilty at the trial (October 15, 2004, to June 9, 2005), then later reversed the plea to guilty. He received three one-year suspended prison sentences and was ordered to pay $540 in fees.
Culkin stated in a May 27, 2004 interview on Larry King Live that he tends to refrain from disclosing aspects of his personal life, though he discussed his life as a child actor, the conflict in his family life, including his estrangement from his father, and how he retired from acting at age 14. Culkin married actress Rachel Miner in 1998 when they were both 18, but they separated in 2000 and divorced in 2002.
Culkin began dating actress Mila Kunis in May 2002. By 2006, he was living in New York, while Kunis was living in Los Angeles. On January 3, 2011, Kunis's publicist confirmed reports that Culkin and Kunis had ended their relationship several months previously, saying, "The split was amicable, and they remain close friends." Since 2013, Culkin has lived in Paris. As of October 2017, Culkin has been in a relationship with his Changeland co-star Brenda Song.
Friendship with Michael Jackson
Around the time of the first Home Alone movie, Culkin became friends with pop singer Michael Jackson, and appeared in Jackson's 1991 "Black or White" music video. In 2005, at Jackson's trial for sexual child abuse, Culkin testified that he had slept in bed with Jackson but that he was never molested. He dismissed the allegations as "absolutely ridiculous". Culkin attended Jackson's burial on September 3, 2009. Culkin is also the godfather of Jackson's children Paris Jackson, Prince and Michael Jr. In 2020 he told Esquire magazine: "I never saw anything; he never did anything".
Awards and nominations
|1990||Home Alone||Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy||Nominated|
|1991||Home Alone||American Comedy Award for Funniest Actor in a Motion Picture||Won|
|1991||Home Alone||Chicago Film Critics Association for Emerging Actor||Won|
|1991||Home Alone||Young Artist Award for Best Young Actor Starring in a Motion Picture||Won|
|1992||My Girl||Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Award for Favorite Movie Actor||Nominated|
|1992||My Girl||MTV Movie Award for Best Kiss (shared with Anna Chlumsky)||Won|
|1992||My Girl||MTV Movie Award for Best On-Screen Duo (shared with Anna Chlumsky)||Nominated|
|1994||The Good Son||MTV Movie Award for Best Villain||Nominated|
|1994||Getting Even with Dad / The Pagemaster / Richie Rich||Stinkers Bad Movie Award for Worst Actor||Nominated|||
|1995||Getting Even with Dad / The Pagemaster / Richie Rich||Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actor||Nominated|
|2003||Party Monster||Stinkers Bad Movie Award for Worst Actor||Nominated|
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