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Paul Edward Valentine Giamatti (born June 6, 1967) is an Americanmarker actor and comedian. Giamatti began his career as a supporting actor in several films produced during the 1990s including Private Parts, The Truman Show, Saving Private Ryan, The Negotiator, and Man on the Moon, before earning lead roles in several critically acclaimed projects in the 2000s including American Splendor, Sideways, Cinderella Man, John Adams, and Cold Souls.

Early life

Giamatti was born and raised in New Haven, Connecticutmarker. His father, A. Bartlett Giamatti, was a Yale Universitymarker professor who later became president of the university and commissioner of Major League Baseball. His mother, Toni Smith, was a homemaker and English teacher who taught at Hopkins Schoolmarker and had also previously acted. Giamatti's mother was Irish American; his paternal grandfather, Valentine Giamatti, was an Italian American, of parentage from Telesemarker, and his paternal grandmother, Mary Claybaugh Walton, was from a New Englandmarker family.

Giamatti has a brother, Marcus, who is also an actor. Giamatti attended The Foote School, then the elite boarding school Choate Rosemary Hall. He attended Yale Universitymarker, where he was active in the undergraduate theater scene and worked alongside actors Ron Livingston and Edward Norton, who were also Yale students. He graduated from Yale in 1989 with a bachelor's degree in English. He went on to earn a Master's degree in Fine Arts from the Yale School of Drama where he studied with Earle R. Gister. He performed in numerous theatrical productions (including Broadwaymarker) before appearing in some small television and film roles in the early 1990s. In Giamatti's junior year at Yale he was "tapped" to enter Yale's Skull and Bonesmarker secret society.


Giamatti's first high profile role was in the film adaptation of Howard Stern's Private Parts as Kenny "Pig Vomit" Rushton, Stern's antagonistic program director at WNBC. Stern praised Giamatti's performance often on his radio program, calling for him to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. He appeared in a number of supporting roles in big-budget movies such as The Truman Show, Saving Private Ryan, and The Negotiator (all 1998). In 1999, he played Bob Zmuda (and Tony Clifton) in the Andy Kaufman biopic, Man on the Moon. Giamatti continued to be featured in major studio releases such as Big Momma's House (2000) with Martin Lawrence, the Planet of the Apes remake (2001), and in Big Fat Liar (2002) opposite Frankie Muniz and Amanda Bynes.

Giamatti began to earn critical acclaim after his lead role in the 2003 film American Splendor. He gained mainstream notoriety with the 2004 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. 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 also nominated for a Golden Globe and won the Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture.

In 2006, he 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. He also played Mr. Hertz in the action movie Shoot 'Em Up and Santa Claus in the comedy Fred Claus.

In 2008 he received his first Emmy Award for "Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie" for his title performance in the HBO miniseries John Adams, a role that also led to a Screen Actors Guild award. 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 will play noted science fiction author Philip K. Dick in the semi-biopic The Owl in Daylight, which he is producing through his production company, Touchy Feely Productions.

Giamatti has commented on the fact that he often plays Jewish characters, but is almost never cast in Italian roles.

He was nominated for 45 separate awards between 2001 and 2008, and won 26 of them, including both an Emmy and a Golden Globe for John Adams. All of his nominations except one were for American Splendor, Sideways, Cinderella Man, or John Adams; the exception was a Blockbuster Entertainment Award nomination for Big Momma's House.

The Brooklyn Academy of Musicmarker asked Giamatti, its "2007 BAM Cinema Club Chair", to pick films for an eight-movie series called "Paul Giamatti Selects" and shown at the Academy in August and September 2007. His selections indicated a taste for paranoia and "the darkest of dark comedy," according to a writer for The New York Times, and included Frenzy, Dr. Strangelove, Brewster McCloud, The Big Clock, The Seventh Victim, Dawn of the Dead (1978 version), Seconds, and Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978 version).

Personal life

Formally a resident of the Brooklyn Heightsmarker neighborhood of Brooklynmarker, New Yorkmarker, Giamatti has been married to Elizabeth Giamatti (nee Cohen) since 1997. They have a son, Samuel (born 2001).


Year Film Role Notes
1992 Past Midnight Larry Canipe
Singles Kissing Man
1994 NYPD Blue Man In Sleeping Bag (Episode "You Bet Your Life")
1995 Mighty Aphrodite Extras Guild Researcher
New York News Dr. Wargner (TV series) (Episode "Past Imperfect")
Sabrina Scott
1996 The Show Jeffrey Roffman (TV series) (Pilot Episode)
Breathing Room George
1997 Arresting Gena Detective Wilson
Donnie Brasco FBI Technician
Private Parts Kenny "Pig Vomit" Rushton
My Best Friend's Wedding Richard the Bellman
Deconstructing Harry Professor Abbot
A Further Gesture Hotel Clerk
1998 Homicide: Life on the Street Harry Tjarks (TV series) (Episode "Pit Bull Sessions")
The Truman Show Control Room Director
Dr. Dolittle Blaine
Saving Private Ryan Sergeant Hill
The Negotiator Rudy Timmons
Safe Men Veal Chop
1999 Cradle Will Rock Carlo
Man on the Moon Bob Zmuda/Tony Clifton
2000 If These Walls Could Talk 2 Ted Hedley (TV series) (Segment "1961")
Big Momma's House John Maxwell
Duets Tood Woods
2001 King of the Hill Mr. McKay (TV series) (Episode "It's Not Easy Being Green")
Storytelling Toby Oxman
Planet of the Apes Limbo
2002 Big Fat Liar Marty Wolf
Thunderpants Johnson J. Johnson
2003 American Splendor Harvey Pekar Nominated - Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
Nominated - Satellite Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Paycheck Shorty
Confidence Gordo
The Pentagon Papers Anthony Russo (TV series)
2004 Sideways Miles Raymond Independent Spirit Award for Best Lead Male
New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Nominated - Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
Nominated - Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Nominated - Satellite Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy

2005 Saturday Night Live Host (TV series) (Episode 30.10)
Robots Tim the Gate Guard (Voice)
The Fan and the Flower Narrator
Cinderella Man Joe Gould Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Nominated - Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated - BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Nominated - Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture

2006 The Hawk Is Dying George Gattling
The Illusionist Chief Inspector Uhl
Lady in the Water Cleveland Heep
The Ant Bully Stan Beals (Voice)
Screw-On Head Screw-On Head (voice) (TV series)
2007 The Nanny Diaries Mr. X
Shoot 'Em Up Karl Hertz
Fred Claus Nicholas "Nick" Claus
2008 John Adams John Adams Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor – Miniseries or a Movie
Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie
Satellite Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film

Pretty Bird Rick
2009 Duplicity Richard "Dick" Garsik
Cold Souls Paul
The Haunted World of El Superbeasto Dr. Satan
The Last Station Vladimir Chertkov
Ironclad King John
2010 Barney's Version Barney Panofsky
The Three Stooges Larry Fine
The Goon Franky (voice)


  1. Interview previously available at
  2. Paul Giamatti - Biography
  3. Paul Giamatti's Good Times
  4. According to the Internet Movie Database
  5. Hale, Mike. "Film", The New York Times. July 29, 2007. Accessed November 29, 2007.
  6. [1]Web page titled "Paul Giamatti Selects" at the Brooklyn Academy of Music Web site, accessed July 28, 2007

External links

Paul Giamatti's first known film work. "Flared Pants" Seattle, 1991.

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