|August 20, 1983|
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Andrew Russell Garfield was born in Los Angeles on Aug. 20, 1983. At the age of four, his family moved to England, where the future star was brought up in the town of Epsom, Surrey. Garfield attended the City of London Freemen's School in Ashtead, and later trained at the city's Central School of Speech and Drama. Much like his contemporaries, he began his career on stage, performing at the Royal Exchange Theater in Manchester and garnering accolades such as a MEN Theater Award in 2004 for his role in "Kes," as well as being named outstanding newcomer at the 2006 Evening Standard Theater Awards. Garfield made his onscreen debut in the short film "Mumbo Jumbo" (2005), a comedy about a suburban kidnapping gone awry, before landing minor roles in various British programs such as "Sugar Rush" (Channel 4, 2005- ) and the sci-fi hit, "Doctor Who" (BBC, 2005- ). Garfield made a leap to a starring role in "Boy A," where he played a young ex-con who was released from prison after serving for a murder he committed as a child. The role earned him a best actor BAFTA in 2008.
Garfield quickly graduated to the big leagues when he was cast in the political drama "Lions for Lambs" (2007), as an American college student opposite Robert Redford, Meryl Streep and Tom Cruise. The film's heavyweight star power was not enough to carry it commercially and it received mixed reviews, yet it also launched relative newcomer Garfield's career to new heights. That same year, Variety named him one of Hollywood's "10 Actors to Watch." He briefly returned to British television, appearing in the acclaimed "Red Riding" miniseries (Channel 4, 2009), before co-starring in Gilliam's epic fantasy "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus" (2009). Garfield played a sleight-of-hand expert and the assistant to a sideshow ringleader (Christopher Plummer). Buzz for the film was punctuated by Heath Ledger's untimely death mid-way through production, and the very public casting of three actors - Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell and Jude Law - who were brought in to fill his role. The highly publicized film received lukewarm reception stateside, but Garfield's talent and screen presence thrust him closer and closer to the spotlight.
In 2010, Garfield co-starred opposite fellow British breakouts Knightley and Mulligan in director Mark Romanek's stylized thriller "Never Let Me Go." The film followed three boarding school friends who reunite years later, only to discover a grim truth: they are clones, born and raised for the sole purpose of providing organs for transplants. That same year, he portrayed Eduardo Saverin, one of the co-founders of Facebook, in "The Social Network," based on Ben Mezrich's book, The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook, a Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal. The film also starred a who's-who of young Hollywood talents, including Justin Timberlake, Jesse Eisenberg and Rashida Jones. Amidst widespread praise of both the film and its many well-acted performances, Garfield earned a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture.
Garfield hit the career jackpot in July 2010 after he was chosen to portray Peter Parker in a new "Spider-Man" film franchise. Several young actors were reportedly considered for the iconic role, including Zac Efron, Logan Lerman and Jamie Bell. An international press conference held in Cancun, Mexico revealed Garfield as the new Peter Parker, taking over the role from Tobey Maguire, who had starred in the first three films between 2002 and 2007. Clearing up any doubts as to whether the newcomer could take on the highly coveted role, the film's director Mark Webb said Garfield had "a rare combination of intelligence, wit and humanity," which he promised audiences would love. The fourth installment of the "Spider-Man" series, which focused on the character's origins, was scheduled for a July 2012 release.