Paul Edward Valentine Giamatti
June 6, 1967
New Haven, Connecticut, U.S.
|Education||Yale University (BA, MFA)|
(m. 1997, divorced)
|Parent||A. Bartlett Giamatti (father)|
|Relatives||Marcus Giamatti (brother)|
Paul Edward Valentine Giamatti (// JEE-ə-MAH-tee; born June 6, 1967) is an American actor. Giamatti began his career as a character actor before establishing himself in leading roles in film and television. He has received numerous accolades including one Emmy Award, two Globe Awards, and four Screen Actor Guild Awards, along with a nomination for an Academy Award.
After studying acting at the Yale School of Drama he performed in numerous theatrical productions. Giamatti made his Broadway debut portraying Ezra Chater in the Tom Stoppard play Arcadia (1995). Later that year he played the Rev. Donald "Streaky" Bacon in the David Hare play Racing Demon (1995). He returned to theatre in the revivals of Anton Chekov's Three Sisters (1997) and Eugene O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh (1999).
Giamatti's breakout role in film was in Private Parts (1997) which led to supporting roles in My Best Friend's Wedding (1997), Saving Private Ryan (1998), and Man on the Moon (1999). He won acclaim for his leading roles in American Splendor (2003), Sideways (2004), Win Win (2011), Private Life (2018), and The Holdovers (2023). He earned a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Joe Gould in Cinderella Man (2005). During this time he also acted in The Illusionist (2006), Fred Claus (2007), The Ides of March (2011), 12 Years a Slave (2013), and Saving Mr. Banks (2013). He also portrayed Limbo in Planet of the Apes (2001), Eugene Landy in Love & Mercy (2014) and Jerry Heller in Straight Outta Compton (2015).
He played the titular character in the HBO miniseries John Adams (2008), which earned him acclaim and several awards including the Primetime Emmy Award, a Golden Globe Award, and the Screen Actors Guild Award. He starred as U.S. Attorney Chuck Rhoades Jr in the Showtime television series Billions (2016–2023) earning a Critics' Choice Television Award nomination. He earned Primetime Emmy Award nominations for his roles as Ben Bernanke in the HBO film Too Big to Fail (2011), and Harold Levinson in the PBS series Downton Abbey (2013).
Early life and education
Paul Edward Valentine Giamatti was born June 6, 1967, in New Haven, Connecticut, the youngest of three children. His father, Angelo Bartlett Giamatti, was a Yale University professor who later became president of the university and later commissioner of Major League Baseball. His mother, Toni Marilyn Giamatti (née Smith), was a homemaker and English teacher who taught at Hopkins School and had also previously acted.
His paternal grandfather's family were Italian emigrants from Telese Terme; the family surname was originally spelled "Giammattei" (Italian pronunciation: [dʒammatˈtɛi]) before immigrating to the United States. Giamatti's other ancestries are German, Dutch, English, French, Irish, and Scottish. His paternal grandmother had deep roots in New England, dating back to the colonial era. Giamatti's brother, Marcus, is also an actor, and his sister, Elena, is a jewelry designer.
Giamatti was first educated at The Foote School and later graduated from Choate Rosemary Hall in 1985. He attended Yale, where he was active in the undergraduate theater scene and worked with fellow actors and Yale students Ron Livingston and Edward Norton. He graduated in 1989 with a bachelor's degree in English and went on to earn a master of fine arts degree from the Yale School of Drama, where he studied with Earle R. Gister. He performed in numerous theatrical productions, including on Broadway and a stint from 1989 to 1992 with Seattle's Annex Theater, before appearing in some small television and film roles in the early 1990s. In 2023, Giamatti was awarded an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from Yale.
1989–2002: Early roles
Giamatti made his film debut in an uncredited role in the slasher film I, Madman (1989). He made his television debut in the ABC made for television film She'll Take Romance (1990). After minor roles in the neo-noir Past Midnight (1991) and the romantic comedy Singles (1992) he acted in Woody Allen's comedy film Mighty Aphrodite (1995) and Sydney Pollack's romantic comedy remake Sabrina (1995). That same year in March, he made his Broadway debut in Tom Stoppard's Arcadia portraying Ezra Chater. Vincent Canby describe the role as being "a helplessly funny subsidiary" one. In November he portrayed The Rev. Donald Bacon in David Hare's Racing Demon. Both of these productions took place at the Lincoln Center Theater.
In 1997, Giamatti landed his first high-profile role as Kenny "Pig Vomit" Rushton in the film adaptation of Howard Stern's Private Parts. Stern praised Giamatti's performance often on his radio program, calling for him to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times described Giamatti's performance as being "well played". That same year he reunited with Woody Allen, acting in the comedy Deconstructing Harry (1997). He also took a small but memorable role as Richard the Bellman in the Julia Roberts-led romantic comedy My Best Friend's Wedding (1997). That same year he returned to Broadway, playing Andrei Prozorov in the revival of Anton Chekov's Three Sisters. Greg Evans of Variety wrote, "[Giamatti,] as the sisters’ pensive, dispirited brother Andrei, plays urban neurosis like a Richard Lewis stand-up routine, then slides into shaky-voiced melodrama when the going gets tough".
In 1998, Giamatti appeared in a number of supporting roles in the big-budget films including Peter Weir's drama The Truman Show, Steven Spielberg's World War II drama Saving Private Ryan, and the action thriller The Negotiator. In 1999, he played Bob Zmuda and Tony Clifton in Miloš Forman's Andy Kaufman biopic, Man on the Moon. Giamatti continued working steadily during the early 2000s by appearing in major studio releases including Big Momma's House (2000), Planet of the Apes (2001) and Big Fat Liar (2002).
2003–2015: Established actor
In 2003, Giamatti began to earn critical acclaim after his lead role in the film American Splendor. In 2004, Giamatti gained mainstream recognition and fame with the independent romantic comedy Sideways. His portrayal of a depressed writer vacationing in the Santa Barbara wine country garnered him a Golden Globe nomination and an Independent Spirit Award and he was named Best Actor in a Leading Role by several significant film critics groups (New York, Chicago, Toronto, San Francisco, Online Film Critics).
Following the commercial success of Sideways, Giamatti appeared in Cinderella Man, for which he earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. He was nominated for a Golden Globe and won the Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture. In 2006, Giamatti was the lead in M. Night Shyamalan's Lady in the Water, a supernatural thriller, followed by the animated film The Ant Bully, and Neil Burger's drama The Illusionist co-starring Edward Norton.
Giamatti had his first major role in an action movie in the 2007 film Shoot 'Em Up, while starring in The Nanny Diaries and Fred Claus. In 2008, Giamatti received an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie for his title performance in the 2008 HBO miniseries John Adams, as well as his first Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Miniseries or Television Film, and also earned a Screen Actors Guild award. Barry Garron of The Hollywood Reporter praised his performance, writing "Giamatti is brilliant as Adams. He is fearless in his portrayal, confident that the character’s all-consuming sacrifices for his fledgling nation will more than compensate for his numerous character flaws". William Thomas of Empire agreed, adding "The acting, especially from Giamatti as the irascible Adams and Laura Linney as his wife Abigail, who steered him clear of vanity...has the tang of authenticity, even when burdened with great gulps of politicking". That same year, he starred in the independent film Pretty Bird, which is a fictionalized retelling about the drama behind the invention of a rocketbelt.
Giamatti received his second Golden Globe win for Best Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy for his role in the 2010 film, Barney's Version. The Associated Press praised Giamatti, describing it as "pitch perfect", adding, "the picture undoubtedly will draw kudos in its home and native land and likely beyond, buoyed by that virtuouso Giamatti performance". Giamatti starred as the lead in the comedy-drama film Win Win, which earned positive reviews from critics. Scott Tobias of NPR wrote of his performance, "By now, the Giamatti persona has been well-defined — exasperation and despair, tempered by mordant wit — but the actor's every performance is like a snowflake, and here McCarthy provides him a role that's subtly down-to-earth". The same year he had small roles in Ironclad, The Hangover Part II and The Ides of March.
In 2012, Giamatti became the voiceover actor for Liberty Mutual insurance commercials. He was the narrator for the PBS Nature episode An Original DUCKumentary. Giamatti produced and starred in John Dies at the End, which is based on the book of the same name. He also had roles in the films Rock of Ages and Cosmopolis.
In 2013, Giamatti returned to his alma mater, Yale University, to perform the title role in Shakespeare's Hamlet, for which he won rave reviews in a sold-out, modern dress stage production of the play at the Yale Repertory Theatre in New Haven. He also had supporting roles in several films, including the animated Turbo and The Congress, as well as Parkland, Saving Mr. Banks, and the critically acclaimed 12 Years a Slave. In addition, Giamatti played the role of New Yorker Harold Levinson, the brother of Cora, the Countess of Grantham (Elizabeth McGovern), in the 2013 Christmas special of the period drama, ITV Studios/Carnival Films television series, Downton Abbey. For his performance he received a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series nomination.
In 2014, Giamatti played villain The Rhino in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Also in 2014, Giamatti portrayed psychologist Eugene Landy in the Brian Wilson biopic Love & Mercy. In 2015, Giamatti portrayed N.W.A manager Jerry Heller in the biographical drama Straight Outta Compton. He also played a scientist in the disaster film San Andreas.
From 2016 to 2023, Giamatti played a lead role in the Showtime series Billions, portraying the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. The show, debuting in 2016, is loosely based on a real event. For the role he received a nomination for the Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Actor in a Drama Series. In 2016, Giamatti began appearing in commercials for Prism TV, the IPTV service owned by CenturyLink; the spots are the first-ever on-camera TV commercial appearances for Giamatti. In 2022, Giamatti appeared as Scrooge and Einstein in Verizon commercials. He served as an executive producer of the WGN America series Outsiders (2016-2017). He also lent his voice to BoJack Horseman, Rick and Morty and Big Mouth.
In 2018 he starred in the Tamara Jenkins-directed film Private Life, acting alongside Kathryn Hahn. The film, distributed by Netflix, received positive reviews. Alissa Wilkinson of Vox praised the performances of the two leads, writing "Hahn and Giamatti bring their characteristic warmth-with-an-edge to their characters, and as their relationship unpacks itself onscreen, it feels authentic and lived-in". That same year he acted in Reed Morano's post-apocalyptic romance drama I Think We're Alone Now and portrayed Samuel Goudsmit in the war film The Catcher Was a Spy. He returned to film in 2021, acting in the action thriller Gunpowder Milkshake and the family adventure film Jungle Cruise.
He reunited with Alexander Payne in the coming-of-age film The Holdovers (2023), which premiered at the Telluride Film Festival. The film, distributed by Focus Features, received positive reviews, with critics praising Giamatti's performance as a curmudgeonly teacher. Pete Hammond of Deadline Hollywood declared, "Giamatti, who so memorably starred in Payne’s 2004 Sideways, has never been better", adding "this is perfect casting for Giamatti."
Wax Paul Now campaign
Giamatti is the subject of the viral "Wax Paul Now" campaign, which pushes for the actor to get a Madame Tussauds wax statue in his likeness. The movement first achieved national prominence when Giamatti appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and discussed the campaign with host Stephen Colbert. After this and subsequent articles in BuzzFeed and The A.V. Club among others, Madame Tussauds New York announced that they would host a party in Giamatti's honor to coincide with the premiere of Billions Season 3 on March 25, 2018, at which the founders of the Wax Paul Now movement would speak.
Tussauds announced that if a Change.org petition garnered 500,000 signatures in the nine days leading up to the party, they would agree to create the wax statue of Giamatti. As the petition was unable to garner enough signatures in time, the Wax Paul Now campaign is still ongoing. A short film chronicling the campaign premiered at the Virginia Film Festival in October 2019.
Giamatti resides in the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York and was married to Elizabeth Cohen from 1997 to an undisclosed date in the 2000s. They have a son, Samuel. Though not religious, he stated: "My wife is Jewish. And I'm fine with my son being raised as a Jew".
|1990||She'll Take Romance||Heckler #2||Television film|
|1994||NYPD Blue||Man in Sleeping Bag||Episode: "You Bet Your Life"|
|1995||New York News||Dr. Wargner||Episode: "Past Imperfect"|
|1996||The Show||Jeffrey Roffman||Episode: "Pilot"|
|1998||Homicide: Life on the Street||Harry Tjarks||Episode: "Pit Bull Sessions"|
|1998||Tourist Trap||Jeremiah Piper||Television film|
|1998||Winchell||Herman Kurfeld||Television film|
|1999||American Experience||Narrator||Voice; episode: "New York: Part V - Cosmopolis"|
|2000||If These Walls Could Talk 2||Ted Hedley||Television film|
|2001||King of the Hill||Mr. McKay||Voice; episode: "It's Not Easy Being Green"|
|2003||The Pentagon Papers||Anthony Russo||Television film|
|2005||Saturday Night Live||Himself (host)||Episode: "Paul Giamatti/Ludacris featuring Sum-41"|
|2006||The Amazing Screw-On Head||Screw-On Head||Voice; pilot|
|2008||John Adams||John Adams||7 episodes|
|2010||30 Rock||Ritchie||Episode: "When It Rains, It Pours"|
|2011||Too Big to Fail||Ben Bernanke||Television film|
|2013||Downton Abbey||Harold Levinson||Episode: "The London Season"|
|2014||The Roosevelts: An Intimate History||Theodore Roosevelt||Voice; documentary|
|2014||Hoke||Hoke Mosely||Pilot; also executive producer|
|2015||Breakthrough||Himself||Documentary; also director; episode: "More Than Human"|
|2014–2015||Inside Amy Schumer||God / Juror #10||2 episodes|
|2016–2023||Billions||Chuck Rhoades||84 episodes|
|2017||BoJack Horseman||Himself as BoJack||Voice; episode: "The Old Sugarman Place"|
|2017||At Home with Amy Sedaris||Mr. Ogilvy||Episode: "TGIF"|
|2018||Nature||Narrator||Voice; episode: "Sex, Lies and Butterflies"|
|2018–2019||Lodge 49||L. Marvin Metz||4 episodes; also executive producer|
|2020–2022||Rick and Morty||Story Lord||Voice; 2 episodes|
|2020||Big Mouth||Andrew's Shit||Voice; episode: "Poop Madness"|
|2021||The Sons of Sam: A Descent Into Darkness||Maury Terry||Voice; 4 episodes|
|2022||Benjamin Franklin||John Adams||Voice; documentary|
|2023||Teenage Euthanasia||Vic||Voice; episode: "CARS 4"|
|2023||30 Coins||Christian Barbow|
|1995||Arcadia||Ezra Chater||Lincoln Center Theater|
|1995||Racing Demon||The Rev. Donald "Streaky" Bacon||Lincoln Center Theater|
|1996||The Blues are Running||Pyle/Boo/Johnny||Manhattan Theatre Club|
|1997||The Three Sisters||Andrei Prozorov||The Roundabout Theatre Company|
|1999||The Iceman Cometh||James Cameron||Brooks Atkinson Theatre|
|2002||The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui||Ted Ragg/Prosector/Ignatius Dullfeet||National Actors Theatre|
|2013||Hamlet||Prince Hamlet||Yale Repertory Theatre|
|1996||Ripper||Doctor Bud Cable|
|2016||Ratchet & Clank||Chairman Drek||Voice|
|2006||A Scanner Darkly|
|2008||The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs|
|2019||Stay Sexy and Don't Get Murdered|
Awards and nominations
- "Famous birthdays for June 6: Ashley Park, Sandra Bernhard". UPI. June 6, 2022. Retrieved January 27, 2023.
- Pringle, Gill (November 27, 2007). "Paul Giamatti: Mr Potato face". The Independent. UK. Archived from the original on November 28, 2007. Retrieved November 27, 2007.
- "–Ai. Bartlett Giamatti Marries Ton! Smith". The New York Times. June 19, 1960. Retrieved May 22, 2010.
- LaGumina, Salvatore J.; et al. (2000). The Italian American Experience: An Encyclopedia. New York: Garland. pp. 263–264. ISBN 9780815307136.
- "Paul Giamatti". IMDb. Retrieved July 31, 2017.
- Reston, James (1997). Collision at Home Plate: The Lives of Pete Rose and Bart Giamatti. Nebraska: U of Nebraska Press. pp. 15–16. ISBN 0-8032-8964-2.
- Wiecking, Steve. Seattle Met magazine. "Worried Man". July 2009 edition. Seattlemet.com Archived November 10, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
- "Honorary Degree Recipients | Yale 2023". yale2023.yale.edu. Retrieved May 22, 2023.
- "THEATER REVIEW: ARCADIA; Stoppard's Comedy Of 1809 And Now". The New York Times. Retrieved September 11, 2023.
- "Private Parts movie review". Rogerebert.com. Retrieved September 11, 2023.
- "Three Sisters". Variety. February 23, 1997. Retrieved September 11, 2023.
- "Paul Giamatti Emmy Award Winner". Emmys.com. Retrieved August 3, 2014.
- ""John Adams," "30 Rock" big winners at Golden Globes". Reuters. January 12, 2009. Retrieved July 23, 2017.
- "John Adams". The Hollywood Reporter. March 13, 2008. Retrieved September 11, 2023.
- "John Adams review". Empire. January 29, 2009. Retrieved September 11, 2023.
- craveonline (September 7, 2007). "Paul Giamatti's Good Times". Craveonline.com. Archived from the original on April 22, 2012. Retrieved August 3, 2014.
- BWW News Desk. "Paul Giamatti Wins Golden Globe for BARNEY'S VERSION". BroadwayWorld.com. Retrieved July 23, 2017.
- "Barney's Version movie review". The Hollywood Reporter. October 14, 2010. Retrieved September 11, 2023.
- "Win Win". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved March 12, 2011.
- "'Win Win': Sad Situations, With Comedy Attendant". NPR. Retrieved September 11, 2023.
- "Liberty Mutual Press Release". Libertymutualgroup.com. Retrieved January 25, 2014.
- "Watch An Original DUCKumentary Online | Full Episode | Nature". PBS. October 18, 2012. Retrieved January 25, 2014.
- "Marshall Fine: Onstage: Paul Giamatti in Hamlet". Huffingtonpost.com. April 10, 2013. Retrieved January 25, 2014.
- Kit, Borys (February 23, 2012). "Paul Giamatti, Samuel L. Jackson Join DreamWorks Animation's 'Turbo' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 24, 2012.
- "ScreenRant". screenrant.com. July 25, 2012. Retrieved July 26, 2012.
- ITV Archived January 4, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
- Kit, Borys (January 28, 2013). "Paul Giamatti in Talks to Play The Rhino in 'Spider-Man 2' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on January 30, 2013. Retrieved January 28, 2013.
- Rossetto, Tiziana (June 4, 2015). "How scientifically accurate is San Andreas? Rock solid or a bit faulty?". the Guardian. Retrieved January 13, 2022.
- Orden, Erica. "Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara's Office Gets Hollywood Treatment in Showtime Series". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved April 11, 2016.
- Gianatasio, David (March 1, 2016). "Ad of the Day: Paul Giamatti Battles a Family of Movie Buffs in His First Ads Ever". www.adweek.com. Adweek. Retrieved May 8, 2016.
- Kemp, Audrey (November 15, 2022). "US Ad of the Day: Paul Giamatti and Cecily Strong spread holiday cheer with Verizon". The Drum. Retrieved December 5, 2022.
- "Private Life is a terrific, heartbreaking look at a marriage through the lens of infertility". Vox. January 26, 2018. Retrieved September 11, 2023.
- "'The Holdovers' Review: Alexander Payne & Paul Giamatti Make Movie Magic Again In Wry And Funny Comedy About Finding Family – Telluride Film Festival". Deadline Hollywood. September 2023. Retrieved September 11, 2023.
- "Stephen Colbert and Paul Giamatti Bring the Saga". The A.V. Club. March 15, 2018.
- Wax For Paul (July 26, 2017). "People Are Demanding Paul Giamatti Get The Wax Figure He Deserves". BuzzFeed.com. Retrieved January 1, 2019.
- "Gallery of Giamatti and Billion Viewing Party". www.madametussaud's.com. Retrieved January 1, 2019.
- King, Darryn (March 26, 2018). "Night of a Thousand Paul Giamattis". Vulture.
- "It's time to 'Wax Paul Now'".
- Hale, Mike. "Film", The New York Times. July 29, 2007. Retrieved November 29, 2007.
- Lipworth, Elaine (May 20, 2011). "Paul Giamatti: My family values". The Guardian. Retrieved July 31, 2017.
- Lipworth, Elaine (May 20, 2011). "Paul Giamatti: My family values". The Guardian. Retrieved July 31, 2017. In this interview he declares that in due time he will tell his son about atheism, because "There is a great tradition of Jewish atheism, there are no better atheists in the world than Jews".
- Jon Weisman (October 20, 2015). "Paul Giamatti on Nat Geo's 'Breakthrough': Actor Embraces Inner Geek - Variety". Variety.