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John Paul Cusack (/ˈkjuːsæk/; born June 28, 1966) is an American actor, producer and screenwriter. He began acting in films during the 1980s and has since starred in a number of movies, including Better Off Dead (1985), Say Anything... (1989), Grosse Pointe Blank (1997), Being John Malkovich (1999), High Fidelity (2000), 1408 (2007), Igor (2008), 2012 (2009) and The Raven (2012).

John Cusack
John Cusack Cannes 2014.jpg
John Paul Cusack

(1966-06-28) June 28, 1966 (age 52)
ResidenceChicago, Illinois, U.S.
OccupationActor, producer, screenwriter
Years active1983–present
Parent(s)Dick Cusack
Nancy Cusack
FamilyAnn Cusack (sister)
Joan Cusack (sister)
Bill Cusack (brother)


Early lifeEdit

Cusack was born on June 28, 1966, at St. Joseph Hospital in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood and grew up in Evanston, Illinois. He was born into an Irish Catholic family and fourth of five children.[1][2][3] His mother, Ann Paula "Nancy" (née Carolan), is a former mathematics teacher and political activist.[4][5] His father, Richard Cusack (1925–2003), was an actor, along with John's siblings Ann, Joan, Bill, and Susie. They moved from Manhattan, New York, to Illinois.[6] Richard was also a documentary filmmaker[7] who owned a film production company[8] and was a friend of activist Philip Berrigan.[9] Cusack graduated from Evanston Township High School in 1984, where he met Jeremy Piven,[10] and spent a year at New York University before dropping out, saying that he had "too much fire in his belly".[11]


Cusack in Grosse Pointe Blank (1997)

Cusack began acting in films in the early 1980s. He made his breakout role in Rob Reiner's The Sure Thing (1985). He also starred in Cameron Crowe's directorial debut film, Say Anything... (1989). Cusack played a con artist in Stephen Frears' 1990 neo-noir film The Grifters. After establishing New Crime Productions, Cusack co-wrote the screenplay for and starred in George Armitage's crime film Grosse Pointe Blank (1997), in which he played an assassin who goes to his 10-year high school reunion to win back his high school sweetheart.[12]

In Spike Jonze's fantasy film Being John Malkovich (1999), Cusack played a puppeteer who finds a portal leading into the mind of the eponymous actor, John Malkovich. The film was nominated for three Academy Awards, including Best Director (Jonze), Best Original Screenplay (Charlie Kaufman) and Best Supporting Actress (Catherine Keener). Cusack was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for his performance in High Fidelity (2000), based on Nick Hornby's novel. In Roland Emmerich's disaster film 2012 (2009), he played a struggling novelist who attempts to survive the apocalypse and save mankind. Cusack played Edgar Allan Poe in James McTeigue's biopic film The Raven (2012) and starred in David Cronenberg's Maps to the Stars (2014).[13]

Later, he starred in video on demand films, including The Factory, The Numbers Station, The Frozen Ground, Drive Hard (2014), The Prince (2014), Reclaim (2014), Cell (2016), Arsenal (2017), Blood Money (2017) and Singularity (2017).


Between 2005 and 2009, Cusack wrote blogs for The Huffington Post, which included an interview with Naomi Klein. He blogged on his opposition to the war in Iraq and his hatred for the Bush administration, calling its worldview "depressing, corrupt, unlawful, and tragically absurd".[14] 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.[15]

Cusack criticized the Obama administration for its drone policy in the Middle East and its support of the National Defense Authorization Act, and became one of the initial supporters of the Freedom of the Press Foundation in 2012. In June 2015, he stated in an interview with The Daily Beast that "when you talk about drones, the American Empire, the NSA, civil liberties, attacks on journalism and whistleblowers, (Obama) is as bad or worse than Bush".[16] However, he later scolded the publication for misquoting him in order to make an interesting headline.[17][18]

In 2015, Cusack, Daniel Ellsberg and Arundhati Roy met Edward Snowden, a fugitive from the US because of his leaks of classified information, at a Moscow hotel room.[19] This meeting was converted into a book co-authored with Roy titled Things That Can and Cannot Be Said.[20] The book is mainly a transcript of the conversation between Snowden, Roy, and Cusack, with a selection of relevant photos and illustrations as well as a detailed list of references.

Cusack endorsed Senator Bernie Sanders in his 2016 and 2020 presidential bids.[21][22] In November 2017, Cusack became a member of the Democratic Socialists of America.[23]

Personal lifeEdit

Cusack as Edgar Allan Poe in The Raven

Cusack is a fan of both the Chicago Cubs and the Chicago White Sox, for which he says he is "in trouble" in Chicago due to the longstanding rivalry between the teams. He led the crowd in a performance of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" at Wrigley Field. He was in attendance—along with fellow Cubs fans Bill Murray, Eddie Vedder and Bonnie Hunt—during the Cubs' historic Game Seven victory during the 2016 World Series. Cusack appeared at multiple Chicago Bears games and attended many Stanley Cup Finals games in support of the Chicago Blackhawks.

Cusack once told NBC Nightly News, "I'm not lazy. I just enjoy gradually waking up in the morning. If that means sleeping in and walking around the house in my crocs and a bathrobe 'til three in the afternoon, I welcome that appealing lifestyle—all day."

He trained in kickboxing under former world kickboxing champion Benny Urquidez for over two decades. He began training under Urquidez in preparation for his role in Say Anything... and holds the rank of a level six black belt in Urquidez's Ukidokan Kickboxing system.[24]

In March 2008, police arrested Emily Leatherman outside Cusack's Malibu, California, home for stalking him. 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 ten years.[25]

He is well known for being a bachelor. When asked in 2009 why he had never married he answered, "society doesn't tell me what to do."[26]



Year Title Role Notes
1983 Class Roscoe Maibaum
1984 Sixteen Candles Bryce
1984 Grandview, U.S.A. Johnny Maine
1985 The Sure Thing Walter Gibson
1985 Better Off Dead Lane Meyer
1985 The Journey of Natty Gann Harry
1986 Stand by Me Denny Lachance
1986 One Crazy Summer Hoops McCann
1987 Hot Pursuit Dan Bartlett
1987 Broadcast News Angry Messenger
1988 Tapeheads Ivan Alexeev
1988 Eight Men Out Buck Weaver
1989 Say Anything... Lloyd Dobler
1989 Fat Man and Little Boy Michael Merriman
1990 The Grifters Roy Dillon
1991 True Colors Peter Burton
1991 Shadows and Fog Student Jack
1992 Roadside Prophets Caspar
1992 The Player Himself Cameo
1992 Map of the Human Heart The Mapmaker
1992 Bob Roberts Cutting Edge Host
1993 Money for Nothing Joey Coyle
1994 Floundering JC
1994 Bullets over Broadway David Shayne
1994 The Road to Wellville Charles Ossining
1996 City Hall Deputy Mayor Kevin Calhoun
1997 Grosse Pointe Blank Martin Q. Blank Also co-writer and producer
1997 Con Air U.S. Marshal Vince Larkin
1997 Chicago Cab Scary Man
1997 Anastasia Dimitri Voice
1997 Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil John Kelso
1998 This Is My Father Eddie Sharp
1998 The Thin Red Line Captain Gaff
1999 Pushing Tin Nick Falzone
1999 Cradle Will Rock Nelson Rockefeller
1999 Being John Malkovich Craig Schwartz
2000 High Fidelity Rob Gordon Also co-writer and producer
2001 America's Sweethearts Eddie Thomas
2001 Serendipity Jonathan Trager
2002 Max Max Rothman Also associate producer
2002 Adaptation Himself Uncredited cameo
2003 Identity Ed Dakota
2003 Runaway Jury Nicholas Easter
2005 Must Love Dogs Jake Anderson
2005 The Ice Harvest Charlie Arglist
2006 The Contract Ray Keene
2007 Grace Is Gone Stanley Philipps Also producer
2007 1408 Mike Enslin
2007 Martian Child David Gordon
2008 War, Inc. Brand Hauser Also co-writer and producer
2008 Igor Igor Voice
2009 2012 Jackson Curtis
2010 Hot Tub Time Machine Adam Yates Also producer
2010 Shanghai Paul Soames
2012 The Raven Edgar Allan Poe
2012 The Paperboy Hillary Van Wetter
2012 The Factory Mike Fletcher Direct-to-VOD
2013 The Numbers Station Emerson Kent Direct-to-VOD
2013 The Frozen Ground Robert Hansen Direct-to-VOD
2013 The Butler Richard Nixon
2013 Grand Piano Clem
2013 Adult World Rat Billings
2014 The Bag Man Jack
2014 Maps to the Stars Stafford Weiss
2014 Drive Hard Simon Keller Direct-to-VOD
2014 The Prince Sam Direct-to-VOD
2014 Love & Mercy Brian Wilson
2014 Reclaim Benjamin Direct-to-VOD
2015 Dragon Blade Lucius Released in China
2015 Hot Tub Time Machine 2 Adam Yates Deleted cameo
2015 Chi-Raq Fr. Mike Corridan
2016 Cell Clayton Riddell Also executive producer, direct-to-VOD
2017 Arsenal Sal Direct-to-VOD
2017 Blood Money Miller Direct-to-VOD
2017 Singularity Elias van Dorne Direct-to-VOD
2018 River Runs Red Horace
2019 Never Grow Old Dutch Albert
2019 Distorted Vernon Sarsfield Post-production


Year Title Role Notes
1996 Frasier Greg Voice; Episode: "Our Father Whose Art Ain't Heaven"
1999 The Jack Bull Myrl Redding Television film; also executive producer
2014 Wall Street Ted Pilot; also executive producer
2014 Doll & Em John Episode: "Three"
2019 Utopia Dr. Kevin Christie Upcoming; series regular

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Association Category Nominated work Result
1989 Chicago Film Critics Association Most Promising Actor Say Anything... Won
1999 Independent Spirit Awards Best Male Lead Being John Malkovich Nominated
1999 Online Film Critics Society Best Ensemble Being John Malkovich Nominated
1999 Screen Actors Guild Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture Being John Malkovich Nominated
2000 American Comedy Awards Funniest Actor in a Motion Picture (Leading Role) Being John Malkovich Nominated
2000 BAFTA Best Adapted Screenplay High Fidelity Nominated
2000 Empire Awards Best Actor High Fidelity Nominated
2000 Golden Globe Awards Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy High Fidelity Nominated
2000 Teen Choice Awards Choice Hissy Fit High Fidelity Nominated
2000 University of Southern California Scripter Award High Fidelity Nominated
2000 Writers Guild of America Best Adapted Screenplay High Fidelity Nominated
2001 American Comedy Awards Funniest Actor in a Motion Picture (Leading Role) High Fidelity Nominated
2007 Saturn Awards Best Actor 1408 Nominated
2009 Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie Actor – Sci-Fi 2012 Nominated
2013 Screen Actors Guild Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture The Butler Nominated
2014 Canadian Screen Awards Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role Maps to the Stars Won


  1. ^ "John Cusack interview". Retrieved 27 November 2017.
  2. ^ "John Cusack Interview-Max Movie". Hollywood Movies. Retrieved 7 June 2015.
  3. ^ Biography. "John Cusack Biography". Raid Master Live Entertainment. Retrieved April 18, 2019.
  4. ^ "Cusack, Richard J." Chicago Tribune. 2003-06-03. Retrieved 2010-08-27.
  5. ^ "Miss Carolan, Newton Centre, Is Bride of Richard Cusack". Daily Boston Globe. February 14, 1960.
  6. ^ "Newton Girl Plans February Wedding". Daily Boston Globe. December 6, 1959.
  7. ^ "Being John Cusack." July 1, 2000.
  8. ^ John Cusack Biography (1966-).
  9. ^ "Actor John johan on Hitler, politics and his movie 'Max'."
  10. ^ Johnson, Grace (May 12, 2009). "ETHS boasts celebrity graduates". The Daily Northwestern. Retrieved November 7, 2014.
  11. ^ Duthel, C. (2012). Angelina Jolie - The Lightning Star. p. 323. ISBN 978-1-4710-8935-0.
  12. ^ "Actor John Cusack."
  13. ^ "Julianne Moore, John Cusack, Sarah Gadon Join Robert Pattinson and in Maps to the Stars". Retrieved 20 July 2013.
  14. ^ John Cusack - Politics on The Huffington Post.
  15. ^ "John Cusack Stars In MoveOn's New McCain Ad". Huffington Post. Associated Press. June 11, 2008.
  16. ^ "John Cusack Talks 'Love & Mercy,' Drug Trips, and the Ways Obama Is 'Worse Than Bush'". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 7 June 2015.
  17. ^ "John Cusack on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 7 June 2015.
  18. ^ "John Cusack on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 7 June 2015.
  19. ^ Roy, Arundhati (28 November 2015). "Edward Snowden meets Arundhati Roy and John Cusack: 'He was small and lithe, like a house cat'". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 November 2015.
  20. ^ "Things That Can and Cannot Be Said". Penguin Books. 5 October 2016.
  21. ^ John Cusack [@johncusack] (25 Aug 2015). "Why I Endorse Bernie Sanders" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  22. ^ Cusack, John [@johncusack] (February 19, 2019). "Join @OurRevolution Bernie wants 1 mill people in every state committed to changing America" (Tweet). Retrieved February 20, 2019 – via Twitter.
  23. ^ @johncusack (7 November 2017). "What you mean join ;)" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  24. ^ Ukidokan Black Belts and Levels Archived 2010-03-12 at the Wayback Machine. URL accessed on March 19, 2010.
  25. ^ Accused John Cusack stalker, Emily Leatherman, accepts plea deal. New York Daily News. October 10, 2008.
  26. ^ Andrew Goldman, "Being John Cusack", Elle magazine, November 23, 2009. URL accessed on January 20, 2018.

Further readingEdit

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