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Actor and director Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who is scheduled to play Edward Snowden in a forthcoming Oliver Stone film, and starred as aerial tightrope walker Philippe Petit in Robert Zemeckis’ film The Walk, was born in Los Angeles on this date in 1981. His parents were among the founders of the Progressive Jewish Alliance; his father was news director for the Pacifica radio station KPFK-FM, and his mother, says Gordon-Levitt, “brought me up to be a feminist. She was active in the movement in the ’60s and ’70s. The Hollywood movie industry has come a long way... but it ain’t all the way yet.” His grandfather, Michael Gordon, was a Hollywood director who was blacklisted during the McCarthy era. Gordon-Levitt was a successful child actor by the age of 6. He has blended high-brow films with commercial hits to achieve a reputation as a very solid and sympathetic actor with a broad range. In 2013 he wrote, directed, and starred with Scarlett Johansson in Don Jon, a film about the impact of pornography on a man’s capacity for romance and a real relationship. Gordon-Levitt is also the founder of a media production company hitRECord, which collaboratively produces short films, DVDs, books, and other media (Gordon-Levitt did a short film on the Occupy Wall Street movement), and he has hosted HitRecord on TV since early 2014.
“I was never pressured into acting. I just genuinely liked it, like I liked gymnastics and football and Little League.” —Joseph Gordon-Levitt