Paul Edward Valentine Giamatti (born June 6, 1967) is an Academy Award-nominated and Emmy Award-winning American actor. He began acting in films during the 1990s, appearing in several supporting performances, and came to fame in the early 2000s after his roles in the well-received films American Splendor, Sideways, Cinderella Man, and John Adams.
He attended The Foote School, then the elite boarding school Choate Rosemary Hall. He attended Yale University, where he was active in the undergraduate theater scene and worked alongside actors Ron Livingston and Edward Norton, who were also Yale students. He graduated from Yale in 1989 with a bachelor's degree in English. He went on to earn a Master's degree in Fine Arts from the Yale School of Drama. He performed in numerous theatrical productions (including Broadway) before appearing in some small television and film roles in the early 1990s. In Giamatti's junior year at Yale he was "tapped" to enter Yale's elite and clandestine Skull and Bones secret society.
In 2006, he was the lead in M. Night Shyamalan's supernatural thriller Lady in the Water, followed by the animated film The Ant Bully, and Neil Burger's drama The Illusionist co-starring Edward Norton. He is the voice behind the audiobook of the novel A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. Dick, released in the summer of 2006.
Most recently, he played Mr. Hertz in the action movie Shoot 'Em Up and Santa Claus in the comedy Fred Claus (which also stars Kevin Spacey and Vince Vaughn). Giamatti will also play noted science fiction author Philip K. Dick in the semi-biopic The Owl in Daylight, which he is producing through his production company, Touchy Feely Productions.
He also played a role in the 1996 video game Ripper, where he portrayed the character of Dr. Bud Cable. He is working on Pretty Birds which is a fictionalized retelling about the drama behind the invention of a rocketbelt. He was allegedly going to play Elvis Presley's manager, Colonel Parker, in the now-defunct film Bubba Nosferatu.
Giamatti has starred in three films (Private Parts, American Splendor and Man on the Moon) that feature real-life figures who actually appeared on Late Night with David Letterman during the film and a fourth, StoryTelling, which starred Conan O'Brien, who hosted "Late Night" after Letterman moved to his own show on CBS.
The Brooklyn Academy of Music asked Giamatti, its "2007 BAM Cinema Club Chair", to pick films for an eight-movie series called "Paul Giamatti Selects" and shown at the Academy in August and September 2007. His selections indicated a taste for paranoia and "the darkest of dark comedy", according to a writer for The New York Times. Giamatti chose: Frenzy, Dr. Strangelove, Brewster McCloud, The Big Clock, The Seventh Victim, Dawn of the Dead (1978 version), Seconds, and Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978 version).
He has been nominated for 38 separate awards between 2001 and 2008, and has won 25 of them. All of his nominations except one were for American Splendor, Sideways, Cinderella Man, or John Adams; the exception was a Blockbuster Entertainment Award nomination for Big Momma's House.
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