Born and raised in Southern California, Jason Lee took up skateboarding at age 13. By 18, he was on the professional skateboarding circuit, where he wowed legions of young fans and popularized a move called the "360 flip". Inspired to tap into the commercial aspect of the sport, Lee and a friend started the twin companies "Stereo Skateboards" and "Stereo Sounds Clothing". In the early 1990s, Lee took his tricks in front of the camera, appearing in several music videos - including one for the Sonic Youth song "100%", directed by Spike Jonze. Lee got his first taste of straight acting the next year, when he turned up alongside Jonze as a teenage drug customer in Allison Anders's Mi vida loca (1993).
Lee's movie career began in earnest when he landed a lead role in Kevin Smith's Mallrats (1995) (at his very first audition, according to Smith). While the film was almost universally panned, Lee received high marks from critics and audiences for his turn as "cynical sidekick" Brodie Bruce. Smith was so pleased with Brodie that he wrote a part for Lee in his next film, Chasing Amy (1997): Ben Affleck's cranky roommate and comic book partner, "Banky". Lee won an Independent Spirit Award for his performance.
After appearing in several indies and a made-for-TV movie, Lee crossed over into mainstream circles with Kissing a Fool (1998). Starring opposite David Schwimmer and Mili Avital, he played a writer who works through his last breakup by writing a book. In 1999, Lee landed two significant acting gigs: one as the demon "Azrael" in Kevin Smith's Dogma (1999), and another as the eccentric young billionaire "Skip Skipperton" in Mumford (1999). He then went to work on Cameron Crowe's Almost Famous (2000), in which he plays a member of the fictional '70s band "Stillwater." Crowe hired Lee again to play the main supporting role opposite Tom Cruise in Vanilla Sky (2001). In 2001 he also worked again with Smith in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001).
In 2003 he got the lead role in the studio comedy A Guy Thing (2003), although the film did not end up faring well with critics and was a disappointment at the box office. Lee bounced back by voicing the villain Syndrome in the hit animated comedy The Incredibles (2004).
In 2005 creator Gregory Thomas Garcia offered Lee the lead role in the comedy series "My Name Is Earl" (2005), although Lee originally turned it down Garcia convinced him to take the role. Once the show got picked up it was an instant hit with critics and fared well in the ratings. During "Earl's" tenure on the air Lee received two Golden Globe nominations for Best Actor in a TV Series Musical or Comedy, and three SAG nominations for Outstanding Actor in a TV Series Musical or Comedy. In May 2009 My Name is Earl was canceled due to ratings that wound down. During the four years on "Earl" Lee appeared in only a few films such as, Clerks II (2006), a voice in Monster House (2006), the voice of Underdog in Underdog (2007), and playing Dave in Alvin and the Chipmunks (2007) live action/CG film.
With a flourishing career that includes an Independent Spirit Award for his performance in writer-director Kevin Smith's Chasing Amy (1997) and memorable roles in multiple features for such directors as Smith, Cameron Crowe and Lawrence Kasdan, Jason Lee has solidly established himself among critics, directors and peers.
Lee currently stars in and is a producer of the half-hour NBC comedy series, "My Name Is Earl" (2005), about a hapless crook who has an epiphany after winning a small fortune in the lottery. Determined to change his karma, "Earl" sets out to right all the wrongs he's inflicted on people. Lee received Golden Globe and SAG Award nominations the past two seasons for his role of "Earl Hickey". The show is now in its third season.
Over his recent summer hiatus, Lee starred in the CG/live-action hybrid feature film Alvin and the Chipmunks (2007), for Fox 2000 and 20th Century Fox Animation. He plays "Dave Seville", the songwriter/father-figure to singing chipmunks "Alvin", "Simon" and "Theodore". The highly anticipated film is scheduled for release on December 14, 2007.
In addition, Lee has landed a deal to star and co-produce the feature film, Krater (2010). Warner Bros. has made a preemptive bid for the project, which is currently being written by J.D. Ryznar from a story by Scott M. Martin (Almost Famous (2000)). Lee will play singer/songwriter/guitarist "Martin 'Mutty' Stevens", front man of a four-piece rock band called "Krater" who has been struggling for years to achieve national notoriety. When a beautiful A&R woman from a major label offers to sign the band, provided they hire a real lead singer, "Mutty" and the band reluctantly accepts, to disastrous results.
Lee previously co-starred as the voice of "Syndrome" in Walt Disney Pictures and Pixar's Award-winning animated feature The Incredibles (2004). He also voiced a character in Sony's motion-capture feature Monster House (2006) about three teenagers who discover their neighbor's house is a monster. He also voiced the title character in Underdog (2007), Spyglass Entertainment and Walt Disney Pictures' live-action adaptation of the classic 1960s cartoon.
Born and raised in Huntington Beach, CA, Lee turned a childhood pastime of skateboarding into a professional career. After moving to Los Angeles during his early twenties, however, he began developing an interest in acting. "I met friends that were actors and thought maybe I should try it out", says Lee, who appeared in commercials and music videos. "After watching Steve Buscemi as the bellboy in Barton Fink (1991), I knew I wanted to be in movies", he says.
Lee's big break came in 1995 with the lead role in writer-director Kevin Smith's comedy, Mallrats (1995), in which he deftly portrayed the inconsiderate slacker, "Brodie". Lee went on to star in Smith's Chasing Amy (1997), for which he won an Independent Spirit Award for best supporting male for his role as Ben Affleck's insecure, outspoken roommate "Banky". Lee went on to showcase his intuitive timing as the demonic "Azrael" in Smith's supernatural comedy, Dogma (1999). He reunited with Smith in the Dimension Films comedy, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001) and Clerks II (2006).
Lee also starred in writer-director Cameron Crowe's ensemble feature, Almost Famous (2000), in the role of "Jeff Bebe", the lead singer of a 1970's rock band called "Stillwater". The film won the Golden Globe award for Best Film. He then re-teamed with Crowe on the writer-director's Vanilla Sky (2001), for Paramount Pictures. Lee played the best friend to Tom Cruise's character.
After working with director Lawrence Kasdan in the ensemble comedy, Mumford (1999), Lee reunited for the director's suspense thriller, Dreamcatcher (2003).
Other film credits include writer-director Rebecca Miller's The Ballad of Jack and Rose (2005) with Daniel Day-Lewis and Catherine Keener; director Barry Sonnenfeld's ensemble comedy, Big Trouble (2002); Enemy of the State (1998) and Kissing a Fool (1998).
In Summer 2006, Lee wrote and directed the short film, "The White Door" starring Giovanni Ribisi and Beth Riesgraf. The film will have a future DVD release.
Lee is also a professional photographer, as well as an avid supporter and collector of the arts. He is currently shooting 20"x24" Polaroid portraits for an upcoming gallery and book series. When not working on personal projects, Lee photographs for Los Angeles-based Anthem magazine. He is also actively involved with his skateboard company, "Stereo Skateboards", which recently celebrated its 15-year anniversary.
|Ceren Alkac||(1 July 2008 - present) 1 child|
|Carmen Llywelyn||(1995 - 2001) (divorced)|
Distinctive Raspy Voice
Dropped out of high school to be a pro skate boarder.
Professional skateboarder. Retired from skateboarding in 1996 after being pro for 7 years.
Owner of Stereo manufacturing Corp. (Skateboard company)
Was cast as Loki in Dogma (1999), but had to take a smaller part (Azrael) because of scheduling conflicts, so the role went to Matt Damon. His performance as Azrael would lead to him being cast in The Incredibles (2004)
Mentioned a number of occasions in the autobiography of skating legend Tony Hawk, "Hawk: Occupation Skateboarder".
Given a shoe deal from Airwalk during his skateboarding days.
Attended Ocean View High School, (Huntington Beach, CA).
Son, Pilot Inspektor Riesgraf-Lee, born to Jason and ex-fiancée Beth Riesgraf. He and Beth were in a relationship from 2001-2007. [September 28 2003]
Became infamous for naming his son 'Pilot Inspektor'.
He has the ability to cross and un-cross his right eye. He does this frequently in "My Name Is Earl" (2005), usually while Earl is angry or intoxicated.
Wrote and produced a sitcom pilot in 1996 with Kevin Smith called "Hiatus" which had Lee in the starring role.
Was listed as a potential nominee on the 2008 Razzie Award nominating ballot. He was suggested in the Worst Actor category for his performances in the films Alvin and the Chipmunks (2007) and Underdog (2007). He failed to receive a nomination however.
Jason and his girlfriend, Ceren Alkac, are expecting their first child together, due in Fall, 2008 [April 29, 2008].
Has voiced both a hero and a villain in Disney films - he played the voice of the title character in Underdog (2007) and was the voice of maniacal madman "Syndrome" in Disney/Pixar's The Incredibles (2004).
His Turkish/Australian model wife, Ceren Alkac, gave birth to their first child, a daughter named Casper, on August 10, 2008.
Was once on the same flight from LAX to Montreal with Jason Lee. They were both called to the front desk due to a seating mix-up during check-in.
His daughter, born in 2008, is named Casper.
On working with Lawrence Kasdan and Cameron Crowe, and Writer-Directors in general: I'd love to establish relationships with other writer-directors, too, but Chasing Amy (1997) is what got things going for me, and I'll always stick by Kevin.
On his performance as a rock star in Almost Famous (2000): "I wanted to be very serious about being a musician -- a guy who cares a lot about the music and the band and why we did it in the first place. We wanted to show an actual passion on stage with the intent of turning on the audience."
(On skateboarding injuries) I have scars on my knees from smashing into the corner of cement benches. I have scars on my pelvis from jumping off my board and sliding like Superman down a hill. One time I snapped my wrist in half and had to get a cast on my arm. Like an idiot, I skated before the cast was taken off, and I fell again and broke my other arm. For the next three months I had to brush my teeth using only my thumb and pinkie.
(2006 quote on fame) When you reach a certain status in Hollywood, you have to play a lot of games to stay in the limelight. It becomes more about being famous than being an actor. It's a cult of personality. Who's the It person this week? Who has the hottest girlfriend and the most bling-bling? Who showed up at the MTV Video Music Awards in a Hummer limousine? For me it's always more rewarding when people come up to me and say, "I loved you in Mumford. What's your name again?" That's how I've always wanted it to be.
(On "My Name Is Earl" (2005) and the perks of doing TV) The best thing about Earl is the steady income. I can do films if and when I want, as opposed to doing a film I don't really believe in because I have to pay the bills. I've never been at a Vince Vaughn or Ben Stiller level, so I don't get offered a lot of starring roles in comedy blockbusters. I've done some independent films that I'm proud of, but it's seven weeks of work for not much money. So then you have to find as many acting jobs as you can, just to keep up financially. "Earl" came along at the right time for me.
(On getting into acting) I was just curious about it, in much the same way you might be curious about how cars are made or how to get to the moon. It was naiveté. My girlfriend's mother was a talent manager, and when I told her I wanted to do movies, she said, "Okay, let's give it a shot." So many people would have said, "Oh, I don't know. Let's get you into some acting classes first and see how it goes." That would have been a bit deflating, and I think I would've lost interest.
(On retiring from skateboarding) When I decided to retire, I thought I was getting a little too old to be skating for a living. There was a lot of pressure to be at the top of my game all the time, and my heart just wasn't in it anymore. But I haven't given up skating completely. I still cruise around now and then just for fun. I'm way past my prime, so nobody expects much from me anymore.
(On "My Name Is Earl" (2005)) I was apprehensive about doing TV, because I didn't want to be known for a certain character. When I did Kissing a Fool (1998) with David Schwimmer, I realized how trapped he was by his role on "Friends" (1994). Everywhere we'd go, people would shout out to him, "Ross! Hey, Ross!" It's difficult to get away from the shadow of a TV character. I hope I've done enough movies that I won't be pigeonholed as "Earl" for the rest of my life.
[2010, on "My Name Is Earl" (2005) being canceled and landing "Memphis Beat" (2010)] I definitely miss "Earl" and working on the show. It was a shame the way they canceled it. We didn't get to finish the series. I was devastated; we were all confused. But I guess life goes on and now here I am working on something entirely different.
[on acting work before landing Mallrats (1995)] The most I ever did, really, was a small walk-on part in Mi vida loca (1993). I had done a Sonic Youth video that Spike Jonze shot where I was skateboarding. I flew to Malaysia to do skateboarding double work for a British Petroleum commercial. Other than that, I had headshots over the years here and there, and nothing ever came of it.
(2000 quote on his acting success) The day I become the jaded, cynical, asshole actor that takes it all for granted, doing parts just for money, is the day I get the fuck out of acting for good. I'll never let that happen.
|A Guy Thing (2003)||$3,000,000|
(July 2003) Starting up "Stereo Skateboarding Company" again with partner Chris Pastras.
|You may report errors and omissions on this page to the IMDb database managers. They will be examined and if approved will be included in a future update. Clicking the 'Edit page' button will take you through a step-by-step process.|
|With our Resume service you can add photos and build a complete resume to help you achieve the best possible presentation on the IMDb.|
Click here to add your resume and/or your photos to IMDb.