|January 13, 1990|
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Born Jan. 13, 1990 in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, Liam Hemsworth was the younger brother of fellow actors Chris and Luke. As a teenager, he decided to follow in their footsteps and kicked off his career with guest spots on the Aussie soaps "McLeod's Daughters" (Nine Network, 2001-09) and "Home and Away" (Seven Network, 1988- ). He reached a new plateau of fame, however, when he joined the cast of the Australian soap institution, "Neighbours" (Seven Network, 1985; Network Ten, 1986-2010; Eleven, 2011- ) as Josh Taylor, a young athlete who became paraplegic in a surfing accident and, during physical therapy sessions, falls in love with fellow recovering patient Bridge Parker (Eloise Mignon). Proving himself a screen natural, Hemsworth skillfully imbued his character with immense charm and charisma, as well as an understandable undercurrent of rage and frustration at living life in a wheelchair.
His star very much on the rise, Hemsworth showed his range, notching a pair of guest spots in the acclaimed brothel-set drama "Satisfaction" (Showcase, 2007-2010) as well as a series regular role on the Bollywood-inspired musical fantasy for teens, "The Elephant Princess" (Network Ten, 2008-2011). After a season atop the "Elephant," Hemsworth left to pursue a screen career, notching a minor role as an MIT student in the Nicolas Cage thriller "Knowing" (2009) and a supporting role as a victim of a bizarre time loop in the cerebral British horror flick "Triangle" (2009). His transition to international movie star seemed complete when he was cast in Sylvester Stallone's action movie-to-end-all-action-movies "The Expendables" (2010), but Hemsworth suffered a professional setback when he learned his character had been written out of the script.
Hemsworth rebounded almost immediately when good news came that director Kenneth Branagh wanted him to screen test for the title role of "Thor" (2011). Moving to the United States to begin the arduous process of auditioning, Hemsworth lost the role to his strapping older brother Chris, but landed another high-profile gig: the love interest of Miley Cyrus in the family drama "The Last Song" (2010). Based on the tear-jerking novel by Nicholas Sparks, "Song" told the tale of a rebellious teenager (Cyrus) who, during the course of a summer at the beach with her estranged father (Greg Kinnear), learns a great deal about life, love and herself. Hemsworth played a seemingly perfect jock whose hidden depth - including a passion for marine biology and volunteerism - sparks a love between the couple that transforms them both.
For many viewers of the film, Hemsworth embodied the perfect boyfriend, and his chemistry with Cyrus soon translated into real-life romance. After appearing in her music video for "When I Look at You," Hemsworth and Cyrus soon became an influential power couple for the tween set. Not only did Hemsworth host the Australian Kids' Choice Awards, but for "The Last Song," he and Cyrus earned two nominations (Cutest Couple and Favorite Kiss) and three American Teen Choice Award nominations (Choice Movie: Chemistry, Choice Movie: Dance, and Choice Movie: Liplock). On his own, Hemsworth won Choice Movie: Breakout Male, cementing his swoon-worthy place in the hearts of millions of young fans. Adding to his cute factor, Hemsworth also spoke frequently about his role as the ambassador of the Australian Childhood Foundation.
Named one of the "Next Generation of Hollywood's Leading Men" in 2010 by Details magazine and tapped to star in the Zac Brown Band's "Colder Weather" music video, Hemsworth skyrocketed to a new level when he was cast as Gale Hawthorne, one of the two young men vying for the heart of Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) in the dystopian thriller "The Hunger Games" (2012). A lifelong friend of Katniss as well as a fellow hunter, Hemsworth's Gale must watch as she is forced to compete in the televised titular competition, a fight-to-the-death among 24 randomly selected young women and men. Based on the immensely popular book trilogy by Suzanne Collins, the film broke all records for advance screening sales and seemed poised to join the pantheon of global blockbuster film franchises.
By Jonathan Riggs