|Actor, Producer, Music|
|January 7, 1971|
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Renner was born on Jan. 7, 1971, in California's Central Valley town of Modesto. While the Beyer High School graduate was attending Modesto Junior College, he migrated between majors which included computer science and criminology before he discovered the drama department. Falling in love with this new vocation, Renner moved south to San Francisco where he built up his acting chops in local theater productions and landed his first acting job - working with police cadets by impersonating an outlaw for their training exercises. When he decided to get more serious about an acting career, Renner moved to Los Angeles where he worked as a makeup artist while going to countless auditions and performing in small theaters. Among his most memorable theatrical performances was the drama "Search and Destroy," which he also co-directed, and which notoriously charmed film producer Barry Levinson enough that he financed its extended run. In 1995, Renner scored the lead in the mainstream comedy "National Lampoon's Senior Trip" (1995) and began to book movies-of-the-week, commercials and TV guest spots, including a role on "Angel" (The WB, 1999-2004) as Penn, a 17th century vampire/serial killer.
The unknown actor got a huge break when he was cast in the biopic "Dahmer" (2002), earning an Independent Spirit Award nomination for his chilling portrayal of cannibalistic serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. His critically acclaimed performance paved the way for his first major mainstream outing, starring opposite Colin Farrell and Samuel L. Jackson in the big budget film adaptation of the 1970s crime drama, "S.W.A.T." (2003), playing an ousted member of the Los Angeles Police Department's S.W.A.T team who is at odds with his ex-partner (Farrell). In the critically acclaimed labor drama "North Country" (2005), Renner played an iron mine supervisor who conspires against a female mine worker's (Charlize Theron) attempts to stop sexual harassment at work. While "North Country" appeared in mainstream theaters and earned a great deal of awards season buzz, Renner had several little-seen indies that same year, including starring roles as a man suspected of fraud and murder by an insurance adjuster (Forest Whitaker) in "A Little Trip to Heaven" (2005) and a neo-Nazi committed to a psychiatric hospital in "Neo Ned" (2005), which was a hit on the festival circuit.
Renner took a brief respite from darker roles to co-star alongside Amy Stewart and Seamus Dever in the college-set screwball comedy "Monkey Love" (2005). After co-starring as a death row inmate in the darkly funny "Love Comes to the Executioner" (2006), Renner returned to heavy drama to play a gambling addict whose life intersects with a single mom (Minnie Driver) in a life-altering way in "Take" (2007). A pair of mainstream films helped boost Renner's profile, beginning with the post-apocalyptic horror sequel "28 Weeks Later" (2007). After running for his life in futuristic London, Renner traveled to the Old West for the Brad Pitt vehicle "The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford" (2007), appearing in a supporting role as a cousin of James and one of the more moral-minded members of the notorious James Gang. Following the critically praised film, Renner had a guest appearance on the offbeat medical drama "House" (Fox, 2004- ) and landed a starring role in the film that would make him a household name.
Cast alongside relative unknowns Anthony Mackie and Brian Geraghty in the war drama "The Hurt Locker" (2008), Renner portrayed a U.S. Army Sergeant tasked with disposing of unexploded bombs uncovered in Iraq. His first heroic role was yet another career spike for the actor, who earned another Independent Spirit nomination for his work, as well as both a SAG nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role and an Oscar nomination for Best Actor. The film, itself, went on to win its director Kathryn Bigelow a Best Director Oscar and the film took home the Best Picture trophy. The following year, he was cast in a regular role on the police drama "The Unusuals" (ABC, 2009- ). He next co-starred in "The Town" (2010), director and star Ben Affleck's widely hailed crime thriller based on the Chuck Hogan novel, Prince of Thieves. With a spot-on Boston accent, Renner played a dangerous, but almost brother-like hood who is part of a crew headed by a career criminal (Affleck) conflicted by his love for a bank teller (Rebecca Hall) the crew once held hostage. Film critics loved "The Town" - particularly its performances, with Renner being singled out with Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild and Academy Award nods for Best Supporting Actor. Following an uncredited cameo as Hawkeye in "Thor" (2011) - a role he reprised in more significant fashion for "The Avengers" (2012) - Renner was an IMF agent-turned-analyst opposite Tom Cruise's Ethan Hunt in the highly-touted fourth installment to the series, "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol" (2011). Moving to the front of the class, Renner took over for Matt Damon and starred as a black ops agent targeted for termination in the sequel action thriller, "The Bourne Legacy" (2012).