Born: June 17, 1963
Date of Birth: June 17, 1963
You see, Greg Kinnear was supposed to be a big movie star by now. Everyone said so. After all, he was picked from the relative anonymity of a cable TV show called Talk Soup to play opposite Harrison Ford in the Sabrina role that Tom Cruise turned down. That should have told Kinnear something right there. Tom Cruise takes a pass and you gotta ask yourself if a guy whose last five films each made over $100 million doesn't want to get involved, do you?
But Kinnear was hungry for success. Has been all his life. The acting bug hit him shortly after he was dodging bullets in Beirut. It's a long story. Here's the short version:
When Kinnear was nine, his father took a job with the State Department. Three years later he accepted a posting to Beirut, Lebanon, a few months before a civil war tore the city apart.
"At first," Kinnear says, "you'd hear occasional gunfire. Then it escalated every night and, along with the machine-gun fire, we started hearing explosions. Then we had a couple of hits very close to where we lived. All sorts of frightening things started to happen, and it got worse and worse. The last few weeks we stayed inside our house sitting on the floor listening to the BBC by candlelight. That's how we got the signal that we were being evacuated."
For the next six years, Kinnear lived in Greece where, at an American school in Athens, he met a teacher who changed his life. You guessed it—Mrs. Pinopoulos. "She was the first one to get me interested in performance," he says. "She went out of her way to be encouraging. Because of her, I quickly got involved in anything that was performance oriented."
In 1981, Kinnear returned to the U.S. and entered the University of Arizona where he narrowed his options to acting or broadcast journalism. "All I could realistically see myself doing was either acting or television and radio journalism," he says. After graduation, Kinnear headed to L.A. where he landed not-for-him jobs before getting a gig as a video jockey for the new Movietime channel. "I was bad!" He says. "But I had the sense that maybe I'd arrived where I was meant to be."
Although his star turns in Sabrina, A Smile Like Yours and Dear God didn't quite bring Kinnear the major stardom that was predicted to come his way, he became a working actor who was getting some pretty good gigs. That includes As Good As It Gets with Jack Nicholson, Helen Hunt and Cuba Gooding, Jr., joining together behind the direction of three-time Academy-award winner James L. Brooks (Terms of Endearment, Broadcast News).
As Good As It Gets is about a dysfunctional and bitter romance novelist (Nicholson) who takes a road trip with a disheveled waitress (Hunt) and a gay painter (Kinnear) after the painter is savagely beaten by thugs. Call it City Slickers meets The Odd Couple as the trio form a bond around a fourth character -- an little ugly dog named Verdell (a Brussels Griffon whose real name is Jill). "None of us," said Kinnear at the time, "is going to survive this film without having been horribly upstaged by Jill."
Oh well, if Greg Kinnear's career goes to the dogs, he can still console himself with having worked with three Oscar winners (Brooks, Nicholson and Gooding Jr.) on a film for which Nicholson won yet another Oscar which is pretty good, even if it's only As Good As It Gets. More recently, he starred in Heaven is for Real (2014), Little Men (2016), Same Kind of Different as Me (2017) and Brigsby Bear (2017).
Married to Helen Labdon since May 1, 1999, the two welcomed a newborn daughter, Lily, into their lives in 2003.
Filmography:Brigsby Bear (2017)