|August 11, 1983|
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Chris Hemsworth was born on Aug. 11, 1983 in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. He moved to Phillip Island with his family, which included older brother Luke and younger brother Liam, both of whom would become actors. Hemsworth attended Heathmont Secondary College in Melbourne and began his acting career on television, with minor roles in numerous shows, including the made-for-TV teen comedy "The Saddle Club" (TV2, 2001), and the drama series "Guinevere Jones" (Network Ten, 2002) as King Arthur. Hemsworth's first big break was getting cast on the long-running soap opera, "Home and Away," which followed the lives, trials and tribulations of residents in the fictional coastal town of Summer Bay. By the time Hemsworth joined, the series had helped launch the careers of Heath Ledger, Isla Fisher, Simon Baker and Naomi Watts, who were all series regulars before they made it big in Hollywood. Hemsworth was cast as Kim Hyde, an outspoken young man who is also the son of Summer Bay High School's principal. Hemsworth also competed in the fifth season of Australia's "Dancing with the Stars" (7 Network, 2004- ) with professional partner, Abbey Ross. They failed to take home the trophy and were the sixth couple to be eliminated.
After starring on the popular soap "Home and Away" for three years, Hemsworth set his sights stateside. It did not take too long for American moviegoers to acquaint themselves with the former heartthrob; he had a small but memorable role as George Kirk in the feature reboot of the classic sci-fi franchise, "Star Trek" (2009), which, in this interpretation, traveled back in time to explore its central characters in their younger years. Hemsworth was actually three years younger than Chris Pine, who played his son, Capt. James T. Kirk, in J.J. Abrams' action-packed fantasy saga. While Hemsworth did not have much screen time as the future captain's doomed father, he gained a whole slew of fans whom he captivated in the brief but powerful opening sequence. Landing a role in the highly successful franchise was a bold move for Hemsworth, who used it as a platform to boost his Hollywood profile.
The Aussie import's next major role was that of the hunky Norse deity in the film adaptation of Marvel's comic-book character "Thor" (2011). Helmed by respected thespian and director Kenneth Branagh, the live-action movie told the story of the Viking god of thunder who wields a mystical mallet and is forced to live among mortals. Starring opposite Natalie Portman, Hemsworth almost missed out on the role, which reportedly was originally offered to British actor Daniel Craig of the "James Bond" film series. Other actors also vied for the superhero role, including Hemsworth's younger brother, Liam. After an arduous negotiations process, in which Hemsworth's first reading was initially dismissed by a casting director, he was given another chance. His second reading so impressed the director of Marvel Studios and Branagh that Hemsworth was given the title role almost immediately. As the hammer-wielding god of thunder, Hemsworth registered onscreen with the heft and presence of a seasoned actor, which helped make "Thor" a box-office success.
Although filmed prior to his star-making turn in "Thor," the financial collapse of the once-mighty MGM studio kept "The Cabin in the Woods" (2012), an inventive deconstruction of the horror genre, on the shelf for nearly three years. At last distributed by Lionsgate, the twist-filled thriller, co-written by Emmy winner Joss Whedon, starred Hemsworth as one of five college friends whose vacation retreat delivers a series of terrifying surprises. Less than a month later, Hemsworth reprised his role as Thor for the ensemble superhero movie "The Avengers" (2012), one of the most highly anticipated film events of that summer. Directed by none other than "Cabin in the Woods" scribe Whedon, the blockbuster assembled a team of mighty heroes that, in addition to Thor, included Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner). Shortly thereafter, Hemsworth returned as another weapon-wielding warrior in "Snow White and the Huntsman," a fantasy film that became an unexpected hit. Later in 2012, the remake of "Red Dawn," another long-shelved Hemsworth project/MGM casualty, was released, but it suffered from a muted response.
In 2013, Hemsworth unveiled a more dramatic side in Ron Howard's well-received drama "Rush," where he portrayed real-life 1970s racing star James Hunt. Later that fall, the strapping actor reprised his signature Norse god role yet again in "Thor: The Dark World," which brought him back together with Portman and other cast members from the first movie, including Anthony Hopkins and Tom Hiddleston.