PH [insert hilarious Kaufman quote here]
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John Cusack
Cusack in 2012.
Born John Paul Cusack
June 28, 1966 (age 46)
Evanston, Illinois
Occupation Actor, producer, writer
Years active 1983–present
Worked in Being John Malkovich
Adaptation. (as himself)
Characters portrayed Craig Schwartz
Other works 2012
High Fidelity
Grosse Pointe Blank

John Paul Cusack (born June 28, 1966) is an American actor, producer and screenwriter. He has appeared in more than 50 films, including Say Anything..., Grosse Pointe Blank, High Fidelity, Con Air, Being John Malkovich, and 2012.


John Cusack is, like most of his characters, an unconventional hero. Wary of fame and repelled by formulaic Hollywood fare, the Chicago-born actor has built a successful career playing underdogs and odd men out--all the while avoiding the media spotlight. With the exception of mom Nancy (a former math teacher), the Cusack clan is all show business: father Dick Cusack is an actor and filmmaker, and John's siblings Joan Cusack, Ann Cusack,Bill Cusack and Susie Cusack are all thespians by trade. Like his brother and sisters, John became a member of Chicago's Piven Theatre Workshop while he was still in elementary school. By age 12, he already had several stage productions, commercial voice overs and industrial films under his belt. He made his feature film debut at 17, acting alongside Rob Lowe and Andrew McCarthy in the romantic comedy Class. His next role, as a member of Anthony Michael Hall's geek brigade in Sixteen Candles, put him on track to becoming a teen-flick fixture. Cusack remained on the periphery of the Brat Pack, sidestepping the meteoric rise and fall of most of his contemporaries, but he stayed busy with leads in films like The Sure Thing and Better Off Dead.... Young Cusack is probably best remembered for what could be considered his last adolescent role: the stereo-blaring romantic Lloyd Dobler in Say Anything.... A year later, he hit theaters as a grown-up, playing a bush-league con man caught between his manipulative mother and headstrong girlfriend in The Grifters.

The next few years were relatively quiet for the actor, but he filled in the gaps with off-screen projects. He directed and produced several shows for the Chicago-based theater group The New Criminals, which he founded in 1988 (modeling it after Tim Robbins's Actors' Gang in Los Angeles) to promote political and avant-garde stage work. Four years later, Cusack's high school friends? Steve Pink and D.V. DeVincentis joined him in starting a sister company for film, New Crime Productions. New Crime's first feature was the sharply written comedy Grosse Pointe Blank, which touched off a career renaissance for Cusack. In addition to co-scripting, he starred as a world-weary hit man who goes home for his ten-year high school reunion and tries to rekindle a romance with the girl he stood up on prom night (Minnie Driver). In an instance of life imitating art, Cusack actually did go home for his ten-year reunion (to honor a bet about the film's financing) and ended up in a real-life romance with Driver. Cusack's next appearance was as a federal agent (or, as he described it, "the first post-Heston, non-biblical action star in sandals") in Con Air, a movie he chose because he felt it was time to make smart business decisions. He followed that with Clint Eastwood's Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, in which he played a Yankee reporter entangled in a Savannah murder case.

Cusack has always favored offbeat material, so it was no surprise when he turned up in the fiercely original Being John Malkovich. Long-haired, bearded and bespectacled, he was almost unrecognizable in the role of a frustrated puppeteer who stumbles across a portal into the brain of actor John Malkovich. The convincing performance won him a Best Actor nomination at the Independent Spirit Awards. In 2000, Cusack was back to his clean-shaven self in High Fidelity, another New Crime production. He worked with Steve Pink and D.V. DeVincentis to adapt Nick Hornby's popular novel (relocating the story to their native Chicago), then starred as the sarcastic record store owner who revisits his "Top 5" breakups to find out why he's so unlucky in love. The real Cusack has been romantically linked with several celebs, including Driver, Alison Eastwood, Claire Forlani and Neve Campbell. He's also something of a family man, acting frequently opposite sister Joan Cusack and pulling other Cusacks into his films on a regular basis. He seems pleased with the spate of projects on his horizon, but admits that he still hasn't reached his ultimate goal: to be involved in a "great piece of art".[1]

Personal lifeEdit

Cusack has an allegiance to both the Chicago Cubs and the Chicago White Sox, for which, he says, he is "in trouble there for that." He has led the crowd in a performance of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" at Wrigley Field.[2] He has also been spotted at multiple Chicago Bears games and attended many of the Stanley Cup Finals games in support of the Chicago Blackhawks.[3]

Cusack has trained in kickboxing for over 20 years under former world kickboxing champion Benny “The Jet" Urquidez. He began training under Urquidez in preparation for his role in Say Anything and currently holds the rank of Level 6 black belt in Urquidez’ Ukidokan Kickboxing system.[4]

Political viewsEdit

Between 2005 and 2009, John Cusack blogged at The Huffington Post, including an interview with Naomi Klein. He has blogged on his opposition to the war in Iraq and his disdain for the Bush administration, calling its worldview "depressing, corrupt, unlawful, and tragically absurd".[5] He also appeared in a June 2008 advertisement, where he made the claim that George W. Bush and John McCain have the same governing priorities.[6]

Stalking incidentEdit

In March 2008, police arrested Emily Leatherman outside Cusack's Malibu home for stalking the actor. On October 10, 2008, Leatherman pleaded no contest and received five years probation and mandatory psychiatric counseling, and was ordered to stay away from Cusack, his home and business for the next 10 years.[7]


Year Film Role Notes
1983 Class Roscoe Maibaum
1984 Sixteen Candles Bryce
Grandview, U.S.A. Johnny Maine
1985 The Sure Thing Walter (Gib) Gibson
The Journey of Natty Gann Harry
Better Off Dead Lane Meyer
1986 Stand by Me Denny Lachance
One Crazy Summer Hoops McCann
1987 Hot Pursuit Dan Bartlett
Broadcast News Angry Messenger
1988 Eight Men Out Buck Weaver
Tapeheads Ivan Alexeev
1989 Elvis Stories Corky Short subject
Say Anything... Lloyd Dobler Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Emerging Actor
Fat Man and Little Boy Michael Merriman
1990 The Grifters Roy Dillon
1991 True Colors Peter Burton
1992 Shadows and Fog Student Jack
The Player Self Cameo
Bob Roberts Cutting Edge Host
Roadside Prophets Caspar
1993 Map of the Human Heart The Mapmaker
Money for Nothing Joey Coyle
1994 Floundering JC
Bullets Over Broadway David Shayne
The Road to Wellville Charles Ossining
1996 City Hall Deputy Mayor Kevin Calhoun
1997 Grosse Pointe Blank Martin Q. Blank Screenplay and co-producer
Nominated — Chlotrudis Award for Best Adapted Screenplay
Con Air U.S. Marshal Vince Larkin Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Supporting Actor — Action/Adventure
Anastasia Dimitri Voice
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil John Kelso
1998 Chicago Cab Scary man Executive producer
This Is My Father Eddie Sharp, the Pilot
The Thin Red Line Capt. Gaff Satellite Special Achievement Award for Outstanding Motion Picture Ensemble
1999 Pushing Tin Nick Falzone
Cradle Will Rock Nelson Rockefeller Nominated — Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Cast
Being John Malkovich Craig Schwartz Nominated — Independent Spirit Award for Best Actor
Nominated — London Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor
Nominated — Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Cast
Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
The Jack Bull Myrl Redding TV film, executive producer
2000 High Fidelity Rob Gordon<tdScreenplay and co-producer
Nominated — American Comedy Award
Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Adapted Screenplay
Nominated — Empire Awards>Empire Award for Best Actor
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Nominated — Teen Choice Award for Choice Hissy Fit
Nominated — USC Scripter Award 2000
Nominated — Writers Guild of America Award for Best Adapted Screenplay</td>
2001 America's Sweethearts Eddie Thomas
Serendipity Jonathan Trager
2002 Max Max Rothman Associate producer
Adaptation. Himself Uncredited
2003 Identity Ed Dakota
Breakfast With Hunter Himself Documentary
Runaway Jury Nicholas Easter
2005 Must Love Dogs Jake Anderson
The Ice Harvest Charlie Arglist
2006 Buy the Ticket, Take the Ride: Hunter S. Thompson on Film Himself Documentary
The Contract Ray Keene
2007 Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten Himself Documentary
Martian Child David Gordon
1408 Mike Enslin Nominated — Saturn Award for Best Actor
Grace Is Gone Stanley Philipps Producer
2008 Igor Igor Voice
War, Inc. Brand Hauser Also writer, producer
2009 2012 Jackson Curtis Teen Choice Award for Best Sci-Fi Actor
2010 Hot Tub Time Machine Adam Also producer
Shanghai Paul Soames
2011 The Factory Mike Fletcher
2012 The Raven Edgar Allan Poe
The Paperboy Hillary Van Wetter
The Frozen Ground Robert Hansen post-production
Adult World Rat Billings post-production


  1. Biography for John Cusack at IMDb.
  2. Inside the Actors Studio, December 2, 2007
  3. Chicago’s Own John Cusack
  4. Ukidokan Black Belts and Levels. URL accessed on March 19, 2010.
  5. John Cusack - Politics on The Huffington Post.
  6. "John Cusack Stars In MoveOn's New McCain Ad." Associated Press. June 11, 2008.
  7. Accused John Cusack stalker, Emily Leatherman, accepts plea deal. New York Daily News. October 10, 2008.
  8. John Cusack at IMDb.