Born: July 26, 1965
Date of Birth: July 26, 1965
Born in New York City and raised in Evanston, Illinois, Jermy Piven's interest in acting was handed down by his parents who founded the Chicago-based Piven Theatre Workshop (which counts among its former students John and Joan Cusack, Rosanna Arquette and Aidan Quinn). Piven earned his degree from New York University and also studied at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center and the National Theatre of Great Britain.
After a stint with the Second City National Touring Company, Piven was a regular on Carol Burnett's comedy series Carol & Co. He later appeared for two seasons on The Larry Sanders Show, playing Larry's beleaguered head writer Jerry.
Piven entered films playing a mean-spirited football player in Lucas (1986), and had his first major co-starring role in Judgment Night (1993). Piven landed his first lead in the campus comedy PCU (1994).
He continued to devote himself to the theater, and, in 1990, was nominated for a Joseph Jefferson Award for Best Actor for his work in Methusalem, directed by fellow actor John Cusack. He and Cusack also co-founded Chicago's experimental New Criminals Theatre Company.
Television fans will know him best for portraying Ellen DeGeneres's neurotic, med-student cousin Spence on her sitcom Ellen from 1995-98.
While focusing heavily on television and filmwork, Piven has not altogether forsaken his theatrical roots and occasionally performs with the New Criminals. In the Fall of 1998, Piven returned to series television to play the quirky god of romance in ABC's comedy/drama short-lived Cupid. Since then, he has appeared in big budget movies such as Black Hawk Down (2001), Runaway Jury (2003), Chasing Liberty (2004) and Two for the Money (2005), but it was for his regular role in the long-running HBO series Entourage that he's received six Golden Globe awards, winning in 2008.
Returning to the Broadway stage in Speed the Plow in November 2008, Piven had to withdraw from the role a month later, due to mercury poisoning. In 2012, he voiced the character of Black Bellamy in the animated feature film The Pirates! Band of Misfits. More recently, he reprised his role in Entourage (2015).