In the vein of musicians-turned-actors, Jared Leto is a very familiar face in recent film history. Although he has always been the lead vocals, rhythm guitar, and songwriter for American band 30 Seconds to Mars, Leto will always be remembered as an accomplished actor for the numerous, challenging projects he has taken in his life.
Born in Bossier City, Louisiana, Leto and his family travelled across the United States throughout Leto's childhood, living in such states as Wyoming, Virginia and Colorado. Leto would continue this trend when he initially dropped a study of painting at Philadelphia's University of the Arts in favour of a focus on acting at the School of Visual Arts in New York City.
In 1992, Leto moved to Los Angeles to pursue a musical career, intending to take acting roles on the side. Leto's first appearances on screen were guest appearances on the short-lived television shows "Camp Wilder" (1992), "Almost Home" (1993) and "Rebel Highway" (1994). However, his next role would change everything for Leto. While searching for film roles, he was cast in the show, "My So-Called Life" (1994) (TV Series 1994-1995). Leto's character was "Jordan Catalano", the handsome, dyslexic slacker, but also the main love interest of "Angela" (played by Claire Danes). Leto contributed to the soundtrack of the film, and so impressed the producers initially that he was soon a regular on the show until it's end.
Elsewhere, Leto began taking film roles. His first theatrically released film was the ensemble piece, How to Make an American Quilt (1995), based on a novel of the same name and starring renowned actresses Winona Ryder, Anne Bancroft, Ellen Burstyn, Jean Simmons and Alfre Woodard. The film was a modest success and, while Leto's next film, The Last of the High Kings (1996), was a failure, Leto secured his first leading role in Prefontaine (1997), based on long-distance runner Steven Prefontaine. The film was a financial flop, but was praised by critics, notably Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert. He also took a supporting role in the action thriller, Switchback (1997), which starred Dennis Quaid, but the film was another failure.
Leto's work was slowly becoming recognized in Hollywood, and he continued to find work in film. In 1998, everything turned for the better on all fronts. This was the year that Leto founded the band, 30 Seconds to Mars, with his brother, Shannon Leto, as well as Matt Wachter (who later left the group), and after two guitarists joined and quit, Tomo Milicevic was brought in as lead guitarist and keyboardist. As well as the formation of his now-famous band, Leto's luck in film was suddenly shooting for the better. He was cast as the lead in the horror film, Urban Legend (1998), which told a grisly tale of a murderer who kills his victims in the style of urban legends. The film was a massive success commercially, though critics mostly disliked the film. That same year, Leto also landed a supporting role in the film, The Thin Red Line (1998). Renowned director Terrence Malick's first film in nearly twenty years, the film had dozens of famous actors in the cast, including Sean Penn, Woody Harrelson, John Travolta, Nick Nolte and Elias Koteas, to name a few. The film went through much editing, leaving several actors out of the final version, but Leto luckily remained in the film. The Thin Red Line (1998) was nominated for seven Oscars and was a moderate success at the box office. Leto's fame had just begun. He had supporting roles in both James Mangold's Girl, Interrupted (1999), and in David Fincher's cult classic, Fight Club (1999), dealing with masculinity, commercialism, fascism and insomnia. While Edward Norton and Brad Pitt were the lead roles, Leto took a supporting role and dyed his hair blond. The film remains hailed by many, but at the time, Leto was already pushing himself further into controversial films. He played a supporting role of "Paul Allen" in the infamous American Psycho (2000), starring Christian Bale, and he played the lead role in Darren Aronofsky's Requiem for a Dream (2000), which had Leto take gruelling measures to prepare for his role as a heroin addict trying to put his plans to reality and escape the hell he is in. Both films were massive successes, if controversially received. The 2000s brought up new film opportunities for Leto. He reunited with David Fincher in Panic Room (2002), which was another success for Leto, as well as Oliver Stone's epic passion project, Alexander (2004). The theatrical cut was poorly received domestically (although it recouped its budget through DVD sales and international profit), and though a Final Cut was released that much improved the film in all aspects, it continues to be frowned upon by the majority of film goers. Leto rebounded with Lord of War (2005), which starred Nicolas Cage as an arms dealer who ships weapons to war zones, with Leto playing his hapless but more moral-minded brother. The film was an astounding look at the arms industry, but was not a big financial success. Leto's flush of successes suddenly ran dry when he acted in the period piece, Lonely Hearts (2006), which had Leto playing "Ray Fernandez", one of the two infamous "Lonely Hearts Killers" in the 1940s. The film was a financial failure and only received mixed responses. Leto then underwent a massive weight gain to play "Mark David Chapman", infamous murderer of John Lennon, in the movie, Chapter 27 (2007). While Leto did a fantastic job embodying the behaviour and speech patterns of Chapman, the film was a complete flop, and was a critical bomb to boot. It was during this period that Leto focused increasingly on his band, turning down such films as Clint Eastwood's World War 2 film, Flags of Our Fathers (2006).
In 2009, however, Leto returned to acting with his most ambitious film yet; Mr. Nobody (2009). Leto's role as "Nemo Nobody" required him to play the character as far aged as 118, even as he undergoes a soul-searching as to whether his life turned out the way he wanted it to. The film was mostly funded through Belgian and French financiers, and was given limited release in only certain countries. Critical response, however, has praised the film's artistry and Leto's acting.
Jared Leto's story is a very charmed one, as he rose from television roles to film roles, to giving head-turning performances in famous projects alongside A-list casts. And all this on the side of his band, 30 Seconds to Mars. Certainly, it has not been easy for Leto, but he has earned his success and it will only fascinate to see what he does next.
Often plays unsympathetic characters
Bright blue eyes
Chosen by "People" magazine as one of the 50 Most Beautiful People in the World. 
Chosen as one of People Magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People. 
Brother of Shannon Leto.
His hobbies include snowboarding, skateboarding, hiking, writing songs, reading, and painting.
Had a dog named Judas who died in May 2007.
Is in a band called 30 Seconds to Mars with his brother Shannon Leto and Tomo Milicevic. The band has three albums out; their self-titled debut album, their second album is entitled "A Beautiful Lie" and their third album is entitled "This is War.".
While preparing for his role as a heroin addict in the movie Requiem for a Dream (2000), Jared lost 28 pounds, starved himself and denied himself the pleasure of then-fiancée Cameron Diaz's bed for two months. Leto admits that playing the part of Harry Goldfarb was "sadomasochistic... the hardest thing I've done".
Attended the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.
In many of his movies, he is disfigured in some way. In Requiem for a Dream (2000), his arm becomes infected and is amputated. In Fight Club (1999), his face is beaten beyond recognition. In Panic Room (2002), he is badly burned. In American Psycho (2000), he is brutally murdered with an ax and, in Lord of War (2005), he is shot several times in the chest.
Transfered from UARTS in Philly to School of Visual Arts in Manhattan to study Film and Video.
Was engaged to Cameron Diaz. [2000-2002]
Jared is a vegan.
He gained 62 lb for his latest role, playing Mark David Chapman, in Chapter 27 (2007). Then lost the weight by going on an all-liquid diet consisting of lemon juice, maple syrup, cayenne pepper, and water. He lost 20 lb in 10 days.
Has been diagnosed with gout after undergoing dramatic weight loss. He packed on 62 pounds for his role in Chapter 27 (2007) [August 2006]
Had a part in Phone Booth (2002) which was deleted from the final cut.
He has two younger half-brothers from his father's second marriage.
Was writer/director Joby Harold's first choice to play "Clayton Beresford", the male lead in 2007's Awake (2007). He later backed out due to scheduling conflicts with his band, 30 Seconds to Mars, and was replaced by Hayden Christensen.
One of his favorite cities is Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Grew up in a hippie community with his mother, step-father and brother Shannon Leto.
"I don't think Requiem for a Dream (2000) is for children, but I think if you went home and looked at the video games that your kids are playing, you'd be much more shocked." - Mr. Showbiz, November 2000.
I used to like to break into other people's houses and sit in their rooms. I found it very comforting to be in someone's empty house.
I take computers practically apart and put them back together. I have a supercomputer I built over the years out of different computers.
All those reports that I sleep in my closet. I don't know how people get that. People are so obsessed with what you do at home.
I could care less about anybody knowing who I am, but I realize this is part of the game. Maybe if I really hated this whole public thing, I would go do plays in Hoboken.
I was never interested in 'Teen Beat' like roles. I just wanted to work.
I was raised around a lot of artists, musicians, photographers, painters and people that were in theater. Just having the art-communal hippie experience as a child, there wasn't a clear line that was drawn. We celebrated creative experience and creative expression. We didn't try and curtail it and stunt any of that kind of growth.
Teens are always shown as one dimensional. They're stereotyped. When I was in high school, I cared about more than getting a date or making the team.
I never look at myself as a closet actor wanting to make music or a closet musician wanting to act -- I'm very proud to do both and I don't put one above the other, I'm very grateful and excited by both opportunities -- it's really a unique opportunity to do both.
(On living in Haiti) I was 12. It's the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. It was horrible to see people living in the street, in shacks, and bathing in sewer water and drinking bad water and begging and starving. It was unforgettable.
(2002, on his wild youth) I stole a lot when I was a kid, but I wouldn't steal one candy; I'd take the whole carton. I also used to like to break into other people's houses and sit in their rooms. I found it very comforting to be in someone's empty house.
(2002, on making Prefontaine (1997)) "Pre" was my first major part and I was pretty much operating under the assumption that I was going after the Olympics. [Laughs] I was so gung-ho and trying to do everything I could to be this guy. Plus, Prefontaine's family was around often, so it was a moving experience.
(2002, on what would surprise people the most about himself) Messing with computer hardware. I take computers practically apart and put them back together. I have a supercomputer I built over the years out of different computers.
(2002, on auditioning as a newbie actor in Hollywood) It was challenging and nerve-racking. I remember hiding behind an overturned desk, shooting imaginary guns at people. One time, I stopped and said, "I can't do this. I feel like I'm in a bad high school play. I'm sorry I'm wasting your time, but I've got to go."
(On getting back to normal after the weight loss needed for Requiem for a Dream) It was difficult. I walked around New York City for a while. Ultimately, I went to Portugal and stayed in this old monastery for weeks and ate fish and potatoes.
(On losing the weight for Requiem for a Dream (2000)) I didn't eat. I'd have broccoli, cucumber, but just a few bites of little things, never more. It was the hardest thing I've ever done to myself, willingly. It was really painful starting to eat again after that. I was filled with a lot of guilt. It can be an addiction to not eat when you make such a strong commitment to that. I heard this story about an English woman who was in a sailboat race for months around the world. At the end of the trip, she said it was so hard to step off the boat. She wanted to go back and do it again, and that's how I felt with "Requiem". I was just bawling uncontrollably the last few days of shooting. I'd look at Darren Aronofsky and start crying. But there were moments of such reward.
This band and its fans have always been the odd ones out. A lot of people in this family... have always felt that way. In my life I was never the popular kid or in the in crowd. [Interview, August 2011]
(2013, on looking 31 at 41) I still have plenty of vices, but alcohol isn't one of them. It's probably just down to sleep and diet. If you travel long haul a lot or don't sleep much, it's not going to last very long, that's for sure. I'm pretty healthy so I think that helps a lot. I've been that way for a long time - 20 solid years of eating vegetarian/vegan and taking care of myself. That probably helps the preservation process.
(September 2004) Is in an "undisclosed location" overseas. [Said to been have seen in South Africa.]
(August 2005) August 30th release of his band's second album, A Beautiful Lie.
(October 2005) His band is on tour with Audioslave.
(March 2006) His band 30 Seconds to Mars will start their first headlining tour, Forever Night Never Day, on March 4, 2006 in Salt Lake City. The tour will be running through April 30th ending in San Francisco.
(September 2006) "A Beautiful Lie" has been certified gold by the RIAA for sales of over 500,000.
(January 2007) "A Beautiful Lie" has been certified platinum by the RIAA for sales over 1 million
(February 2007) On the RockStar Taste of Chaos tour with The Used, Senses Fail, Saosin, Aiden, Evaline,and Chidos
(May 2007) He and his band 30 Seconds to Mars is touring Europe together with Linkin Park.
(June 2007) Touring Italy with 30 Seconds to Mars, performing in Milan and Pisa.
(August 2007) Shooting the video for "A Beautiful Lie" in Greenland.
(December 2007) In Florianópolis, Brazil. To pass the new year with his friend from Incubus, Brandon Boyd.
(January 2010) Preparing for the Into The Wild world tour
(April 2010) In NYC with his band 30 Seconds To Mars for their Into The Wild tour.
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