On this day: Joseph Gordon Levitt is born

February 16 1985: From Third Rock to Inception

By Jennifer Lipman, February 17, 2011

After making his film debut in the dog comedy Beethoven, Joseph Leonard Gordon Levitt shot to television fame with a role in the alien comedy 3rd Rock from the Sun.

A graduate of Columbia University, he was born in Los Angeles to a radio presenter father and political activist mother. In 1999 he starred opposite Heath Ledger in the Shakespeare-inspired teen comedy Ten Things I Hate About You.

As an adult he has tended to choose quirkier independent films over mainstream big budget ones, from his turn as a student-turned detective in Brick to his role as a street hustler with a dark past in Mysterious Skin. In 2006 the JC tipped him as one of Hollywood's Jewish stars in waiting.

His turn as a broken hearted architect in the romantic comedy (500) Days of Summer earned him a Golden Globe nomination, while he was critically praised for his appearance in Christopher Nolan’s summer smash hit Inception.

As well as dabbling on the side with a music production company, he will soon be seen opposite Natalie Portman in the film Hesher.

What the JC said about (500) Days of Summer: This “author’s note” sets the sardonically charming tone of this wry riff on the perennial “boy-meets-girl” saga. Skittish Zooey Deschanel is Summer, Joseph Gordon-Levitt her suitor Tom. He believes in true love. She does not. Debut director Marc Webb does a fine job, eliciting charming performances.

See more from the JC archives here.

Last updated: 9:38am, February 17 2011