Jack Black

Jack Black

With his larger-than-life personality and mischievous eye twinkle, Jack Black turned himself into one of Hollywood's go-to comedic actors. Born in Santa Monica, he spent his formative years in Southern California's Orange County. He began acting as a teenager, appearing in commercials and joining a UCLA based theater troupe that also included a young Tim Robbins. His friendship with Robbins led to his being cast in "Bob Roberts" (1992), which kicked off his screen career in earnest. A steady diet of small roles on television series like "The X-Files" (Fox, 1993-2002) and movies such as "The Cable Guy" (1996) soon followed. He was also featured a number of times on the acclaimed David Cross-Bob Odenkirk sketch comedy program "Mr. Show" (HBO, 1995-98). During the mid-1990s, he partnered with fellow comedian Kyle Gass to form the musical comedy duo Tenacious D, playing gigs around Los Angeles. The act led to a television deal, with Black playing an amped up version of himself in "Tenacious D" (HBO, 1997-2000). His musical ability helped make his turn opposite John Cusack in "High Fidelity" (2000), where his character sang Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On," instantly memorable. After starring in the comedies "Shallow Hal" (2001) and "Orange County" (2002), it was a return to music that provided the actor with one of his signature roles. Starring in Richard Linklater's "School of Rock" (2003), as would-be rocker turned teacher Dewey Finn, he was able to use his talents and manic energy to maximum effectiveness. Black soon began showing different sides of his personality, starring in Peter Jackson's remake of "King Kong" (2005) and opposite Kate Winslet in the romantic comedy "The Holiday" (2006). The actor didn't entirely forego his roots, though, also starring in the Mexican wrestling comedy "Nacho Libre" (2006) at the same time. Nor did his partnership with Gass end with the series, as Tenacious D released its first album in 2001 and later headlined the film "Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny" (2006). Black used only his voice for what would become another of his most recognizable roles, playing the lovable panda Po in the animated hit "Kung Fu Panda" (2008). The film would spawn multiple sequels and shorts. He kept up a breakneck pace of appearances in films and on television, including starring with Ben Stiller and Robert Downey Jr. in "Tropic Thunder" (20008). He teamed with Linklater once more for a role that garnered the best reviews of his career. The actor played real-life murder Bernie Tiede opposite Shirley MacLaine and Matthew McConaughey in the dark comedy "Bernie" (2011), earning a Golden Globe nomination. He continued working steadily, including starring with Robbins in the short-run TV comedy "The Brink" (HBO, 2015). Black eventually found a new niche in family friendly films such as "Goosebumps" (2015), playing a fictional version of prolific author R.L. Stine, and "The House with a Clock in Its Walls" (2018), with Cate Blanchett. In a similar vein, he teamed with Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart for an updating of the Robin Williams hit in the big-budget hits "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" (2017) and its sequel "Jumanji: The Next Level" (2019).