Jacob "Jake" Gyllenhaal (last name pronounced jill-en-hall) was born in Los Angeles, California, on December 19, 1980 to director Stephen Gyllenhaal and producer/screenwriter Naomi Foner and is the brother of actress Maggie Gyllenhaal, who played his sister in Donnie Darko (2001). His father is of partial Swedish heritage and his mother is of Ashkenazi Jewish heritage.
Jake made his film debut at age eleven in City Slickers (1991) playing Billy Crystal's son and began to establish himself as an up-and-coming actor in films like as October Sky (1999) before being cast in the title role in Donnie Darko (2001), for which he was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for best actor. Gyllenhaal's performance as a troubled psychotic won him excellent reviews, and the film quickly received cult status. He played opposite Jennifer Aniston in another Sundance favorite in The Good Girl (2002) and once again earned good reviews. Gyllenhaal also starred in the Walt Disney romantic comedy, Bubble Boy (2001) and in the science fiction blockbuster The Day After Tomorrow (2004) which also starred Dennis Quaid.
Making his theater debut, Gyllenhaal appeared on the London stage with a starring role in Kenneth Lonergan's revival of "This Is Our Youth". The play, which had been a critical sensation on Broadway, ran for eight weeks in London's West End. Gyllenhaal's performance in Jarhead (2005) with Jamie Foxx came as a surprise to critics and fans, alike. Gyllenhaal played a markedly hostile, masculinely violent Marine during Gulf War I, while balancing this with the sensitive, vulnerable qualities of the lead character. Brokeback Mountain (2005), in which he co-starred with Australian actor Heath Ledger as sheep herders who fall in love in the 1960s and depicts their relationship over the 1960s, 1970s and early 1980s. The film went on to win four Golden Globes, four BAFTA Awards and was nominated for a leading eight Academy Award nominations including Best Picture and Best Supporting Actor for Gyllenhaal was nominated for an Academy Award in the category of Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Brokeback Mountain (2005). Jake is also the godfather of Matilda Rose Ledger, daughter of actor Heath Ledger and Michelle Williams.
Gyllenhaal's most notable relationship has been with actress Kirsten Dunst. He is friends with Maroon 5 front-man Adam Levine, having known him since kindergarten. He is close with his sister's boyfriend and Jarhead (2005) co-star, actor Peter Sarsgaard. Jake has two dogs: a German Shepherd named "Atticus" and a Puggle named "Boo Radley" after the characters of his favorite book, "To Kill A Mockingbird".
Gyllenhaal's career is booming and he is considered one of the most promising actors of his generation.
Greenish blue eyes
Graduated Harvard-Westlake (private) high school. 
Is of Swedish (noble) and Russian-Jewish descent.
His fans refer to themselves as "Gyllenhaalics".
He was awarded the 2002 London Evening Standard Theate Award for Outstanding Newcomer for his performance in This is Our Youth at the Garrick Theatre in London, England.
Was named one of People Magazine's 50 Hottest Bachelors .
Went to elementary school with band members of Maroon 5.
His favorite book is To Kill a Mockingbird, and he has two dogs, Atticus and Boo named after the novel's main characters.
Auditioned for and was one of the top contenders for the role of Batman/Bruce Wayne in Batman Begins (2005).
Before success as an actor, he worked as a lifeguard. He never had any life-saving incidents, but did perform one lesser rescue. A swimmer had been stung on the leg by a jellyfish, and Gyllenhaal helped relieve the pain of the stings by urinating on the swimmer's leg.
Although they broke up in July 2004, he and Kirsten Dunst had an on and off relationship up until 2006.
Gained five pounds of muscle for his role in Jarhead (2005).
Was among the guests at Jessica Simpson's 25th birthday party.
He gave Kirsten Dunst a gray and white kitten for her birthday. She named the cat Sophie.
Ranked #48 on Premiere's 2006 "Power 50" list. It is his first appearance on the list.
Invited to join AMPAS in 2006.
Studied acting with Ivana Chubbuck.
Along with sister, Maggie Gyllenhaal, he attended Camp Walt Whitman, an outdoors summer camp in Western New Hampshire.
His uncle, Anders Gyllenhaal, is senior vice president and executive editor of The Miami Herald in Miami, Florida.
Like all Gyllenhaals on the male line, he is a Swedish nobleman by birth right and is listed in the Swedish Almanac of Nobility ("Sveriges Ridderskaps och Adels Kalender" in Swedish).
Campaigned for the Democrats in the 2004 US election.
As of 2007, has starred in three movies where he played not only a real person, but the person who wrote the book upon which the film was based: Homer H. Hickam Jr. (October Sky (1999)), Anthony Swofford (Jarhead (2005)) and Robert Graysmith (Zodiac (2007)).
Voted #10 in Elle (France) Magazine's "15 Sexiest Men" poll (June 2007).
Had his Bar Mitzvah party at a homeless shelter, something his parents encouraged to help him recognize how privileged his own childhood had been (a Bar Mitzvah is the coming-of-age service that Jewish boys celebrate at age 13).
Was personally approved by Joe Namath to play the football legend in an upcoming biopic about the latter's life.
Was ranked #8 on Entertainment Weekly's '30 Under 30' the actors list. (2008).
Very good friends with actress Jennifer Aniston.
Brother-in-law of Peter Sarsgaard.
He and sister Maggie Gyllenhaal are the first siblings to be Oscar-nominated for acting in the 21st century.
Appeared on the cover of GQ magazine three times: June '04, February '07 and May '10.
Was, along with Matt Damon, the studio's first choice for the role of Jake Sully in Avatar (2009), but director James Cameron chose to cast the (back then) more unknown Sam Worthington in the lead role instead.
Received his first driving lesson from his godfather, Paul Newman.
Childhood friend of Austin Nichols.
"Being a star doesn't last. That's not what life should be about. It's a complete illusion that really has nothing to do with you. For me, finding out about life is the most important thing." (1999, Raygun)
On the one role that got away: "I'd have to say Ewan McGregor's part in Moulin Rouge! (2001). It was soooo close. I sang and everything. I went through months of auditions. It was between me, Heath Ledger and Ewan. I think it came down to age and where people were in their careers. I was the youngest and the least known. I would hope it didn't have anything to do with talent. Maybe it did".
I admire actors and artists who devote just as much time to their life as they do to their work.
In a perfect world, I would love to do one play for every three movies.
The truth is most of the films that make a lot of money no one remembers, and I'm not interested in making films that no one remembers.
Coming from a family where my mom is a writer, I just respond to how people speak.
First, it's "Who is Jake Gyllenhaal?," then it's "Get me Jake Gyllenhaal," then "Get me someone who looks like Jake Gyllenhaal," and then "Who is Jake Gyllenhaal?"...Right now, I'm between "Who is Jake Gyllenhaal? and "Get me Jake Gyllenhaal."" [Gyllenhaal on the stages of fame in Hollywood]
Some movies you fall a step behind and some you stay in the same place, make the same choices. And then sometimes there are people who know more than you but show you, and that's the maximum you can hope for - doing that with someone who says, "I like you for what you are, and I want you to be in my picture." I didn't have to fake it or put on a mask - all the resources I had inside me were more than adequate. I don't want to pretend to be something ... I'm not pretending any more to fit somebody's mold. That's a long-winded statement but - why not do what you really think, even if it's a mistake?
"You know, it's flattering when there's a rumor that says I'm bisexual. It means I can play more kinds of roles. I'm open to whatever people want to call me. I've never really been attracted to men sexually, but I don't think I would be afraid of it if it happened." (Details, December 2005)
We live in a sad time where actors are politicians & politicians are actors.
[on why he dislikes films with obvious political messages]: It's very important for me to be in movies that don't have a message. Messages tend to be a little preachy, and I don't think that's what movies are about. It's important for me to be in movies that have a human level, have a heart in them. That's the reason why I did this (Rendition (2007)) and it just so happens to be really topical. This political issue is a very important one right now which, as Americans, we need to look at. So it seems like it's (the film) is very political, it seems like there's a message in it, but ultimately there's a real story about human beings dealing with actual human things.
I think my strength is to do a take all the way through. I am definitely not someone who can do a sprint. Maybe I am not that smart, but it takes me a while to find the moment, and I like to be pushed toward it.
When you grow up there is some compromising to do. But compromising creative instinct is never good.
Annie (Anne Hathaway) and I already had sex on film in Brokeback Mountain (2005), so I wasn't too nervous. There's something about the way Annie and I both work which is inherently very musical. It's all about rhythm. There's a rhythm to writing, there's a rhythm to sports and there's a rhythm to sex. (On Love & Other Drugs (2010))
[on training for the police movie 'End of Watch'] We were all Tased. The whole cast. We decided that we thought it would be a sort of semi-bonding experience. When we had a choice between between pepper spray and being Tased, we were told by the professionals that Tasing was probably the preference because pepper spray lasts for a long time after. And a Tase is done in moments. Se we decided to go for quick and painful.
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