John Cusack
Birth Date:
June 28, 1966
Birth Place:
Evanston, Illinois, USA
Famous for:
His role as Lloyd Dahbler in 'Say Anything' (1989)
actor, director, writer
Evanston Township High School, Evanston, Illinois
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High Fidelity


"I was a teen star. That's disgusting enough." John Cusack

The most famous member of the Cusack family, John Cusack first gained attention while playing romantic sweetie Lloyd Dahbler in Say Anything (1989) and portraying semi-failing record storeowner Rob Gordon in High Fidelity (2000). A member of the "brat pack,” Cusack could be seen starring in such films as The Grifters (1990), Grosse Pointe Blank (1997), Con Air (1997), Being John Malkovich (1999), Max (2002), Identity (2003) and Runaway Jury (2003). He recently starred in the 2005 films Must Love Dogs and The Ice Harvest, and will be seen in the upcoming films The Martian Child and The Contract.

The 6'3", Irish-American actor was listed on Tropopkin's “Top 25 Most Intriguing People” (Issue #100). On a more personal note, Cusack was linked to several actresses, including Neve Campbell (reportedly dated 1998-2003), Claire Forlani (dated from 1997 to 1998), Alison Eastwood (dated in 1997) and Minnie Driver (met during filming of Grosse Pointe Blank, no longer dating).

Chicago Cubs Fan

Childhood and Family:

In Evanston, Illinois, John Paul Cusack was born on June 28, 1966, to liberal Irish-Catholic parents Richard Cusack (an advertising executive-turned-actor and screenwriter; died of pancreatic cancer in June 2003) and Nancy Cusack (former math teacher). The fourth of five children, John has three sisters, Susie (born in 1971), Joan (born on October 11, 1962), and Ann (born on May 22, 1961), and one brother, Bill Cusack (born in 1964), all of whom have also been actors.

Since age 7, John had been a member of the Piven Theater Workshop, in Evanston, Illinois (he stayed for 10 years). He graduated from Evanston Township High School and attended New York University for less than one year.

A fan of the punk rock band The Clash, John Cusack is also a big fan of The Specials and Elvis Costello. Additionally, he is a die-hard Chicago Cubs fan.

Say Anything…


"I have a healthy fear of it. I'm not into the celebrity culture aspect of being an artist. To me it represents extinction. The more people know about you, the less they want to try to figure out what you have to say in your movies, and the less credibility you have. To me it seems, ‘Go do your thing, then get out.’ That's the best way to do it." John Cusack (on being a celebrity)

By the age of 7, John Cusack had joined the Piven Theatre Workshop and did commercial voiceovers, as well as appeared in some stage productions by the age of 12. The son of actor and screenwriter Richard Cusack, John Cusack added to his earlier resume a number of teen movies. At age 16, he made his first feature film appearance with a role as a prep school student in Lewis John Carlino's coming-of-age comedy Class (1983, with Jacqueline Bisset, Rob Lowe and Andrew McCarthy). He followed it up with the next year’s appearance as one of the main nerds featured in writer-director John Hughes' Sixteen Candles (starring Molly Ringwald), his first work with his sister Joan Cusack.

After appearing in Grandview, U.S.A. (1984), Cusack won his first lead role as free-spirited Walter "Gib" Gibson in Rob Reiner's romantic comedy The Sure Thing (1985, alongside Daphne Zuniga), which also marked Cusack’s first screen teaming with Tim Robbins. That same year, director Jeremy Kagan cast him to costar as a young drifter, with Meredith Salenger, in the 1930s family adventure The Journey of Natty Gann and writer-director Savage Steve Holland handed him the starring role of heartbroken high-school boy Lane Meyer in Better Off Dead. He reunited with Rob Reiner, playing a memorable cameo role as Denny Lachance, in the adaptation of Stephen King’s novella “The Body,” Stand by Me (1986, with Wil Wheaton and River Phoenix). Off screen, Cusack founded New Crime Productions, a Chicago-based theater company.

In 1987, Cusack starred as prep-school student Dan Bartlett in writer-director Steven Lisberger's Hot Pursuit, alongside Ben Stiller. He was then featured in the ensemble of Eight Men Out, John Sayles’ 1988 dramatization of the 1919 Black Sox scandal, based on Eliot Asinof's book. He subsequently received his first adult role opposite Tim Robbins, as a pair of dimwitted security guards, in Bill Fishman's zany comedy Tapeheads (1988) and his last teen role as a less-than-average student, who falls in love with Ione Skye's character, in writer-director Cameron Crowe's Say Anything (1989, won a Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Most Promising Actor). Roland Joffé then gave him the role of a nuclear physicist working on the atomic bomb in the World War II drama Fat Man and Little Boy (starring Paul Newman).

Entering the 1990s, Cusack portrayed Anjelica Huston's con artist son in Stephen Frears' film version of Jim Thompson's novel, The Grifters (also starring Steve Buscemi and Annette Bening). He also sat in the director’s chair, helming a stage production of Hunter S Thompson's "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas." Back on the wide screen, Cusack starred as a political power broker, opposite James Spader, in Herbert Ross' drama True Colors (1991) and had a small part in actor-writer-director Woody Allen's comedy Shadows and Fog (1992, also with Mia Farrow and Jodie Foster).

Cusack was featured with a cameo role in writer-director Abbe Wool's offbeat comedy Roadside Prophets (1992, starring John Doe and Adam Horovitz), a bit part in Tim Robbins' directorial debut Bob Roberts, and appeared as himself in Robert Altman's adaptation of Michael Tolkin's novel, The Player (also with Tim Robbins). He formed the film production arm of “New Crime Productions” with Paramount Pictures and returned to the big screen with a supporting role as a mapmaker in Vincent Ward's period drama Map of the Human Heart (1993, with Jason Scott Lee). Cusack then became an unemployed longshoreman, who stumbles upon $1.2 million, in Ramón Menéndez's true-story based Money for Nothing (1993) and rejoined Woody Allen as idealistic young playwright David Shayne in the comedy Bullets Over Broadway (1994, with Dianne Wiest and Jennifer Tilly.

In Alan Parker's satire adaptation of the best-selling novel by T. Coraghessan Boyle, The Road to Wellville (1994), Cusack costarred as con artist Charles Ossining, alongside Matthew Broderick, Bridget Fonda, Anthony Hopkins and Dana Carvey. He then starred in writer-director Peter McCarthy's independent feature Floundering (1994, with James LeGros) and portrayed a young, idealistic deputy mayor of New York in Harold Becker's political drama City Hall (1996, opposite Al Pacino). In the next year, Cusack co-produced, scripted and starred in George Armitage's sharp, high school reunion set action-comedy Grosse Point Blank (1997). In the film, Cusack played professional assassin Martin Blank, along with Minnie Driver, Dan Aykroyd and sister Joan Cusack.

1997 also saw Cusack playing a US Marshal in the summer action blockbuster, Simon West's Academy Award-nominated Con Air (with Nicolas Cage and John Malkovich), which earned him a Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Supporting Actor. He then provided his voice for the male lead Dimitri in the animated feature Anastasia and starred as New York writer John Kelso in Clint Eastwood's screen adaptation of John Berendt’s international best-selling novel, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Afterward, Cusack was featured in the ensemble cast of Terrence Malick's sweeping war drama The Thin Red Line (inspired by James Jones' autobiographical 1962 novel) and played a puppeteer in Spike Jonze's Being John Malkovich (also with Cameron Diaz).

The rest of the 1990s saw Cusack portraying a just and forthright horse trader, opposite L.Q. Jones, in John Badham’s-directed TV movie, The Jack Bull (penned by father Dick Cusack and produced by New Crime Productions), and play a high-strung air traffic controller, who becomes a rival of Billy Bob Thornton’s character, in Mike Newell's Pushing Tin. Cusack also appeared as a cameo in writer-director Paul Quinn's This Is My Father (starring James Caan) and portrayed New York mayor Nelson Rockefeller in writer-director Tim Robbins' true story of politics and art in the Cradle Will Rock (with Hank Azaria, Ruben Blades and Susan Sarandon).

The new millennium welcomed Cusack with a Golden Globe-nominated role in Stephen Frears' biting romantic comedy, adapted from Nick Hornby's acclaimed book, High Fidelity. He then teamed with Kate Beckinsale in Peter Chelsom's romantic comedy Serendipity and headlined the title role of a returning soldier and art dealer in writer-director Menno Meyjes' Nazi drama feature Max (2002). James Mangold later gave him a costarring role in the thriller Identity (alongside Ray Liotta, Amanda Peet and John Hawkes) and Gary Fleder cast him to play a mysterious man, who gets placed on a jury to influence the other members, in the thriller drama adopted from John Grisham's novel, Runaway Jury (with Gene Hackman and Dustin Hoffman, both in 2003).

Recently, in 2005, Cusack was seen dating Diane Lane in Gary David Goldberg's adaptation of Claire Cook's novel, Must Love Dogs, and starring as dim-witted lawyer Charlie Arglist in Harold Ramis' action comedy The Ice Harvest (alongside Billy Bob Thornton). He is currently on set completing his upcoming films: Menno Meyjes' drama comedy film inspired by David Gerrold's novel, The Martian Child, and Bruce Beresford's thriller drama The Contract, opposite Morgan Freeman.

"I don't want to be involved in anything that's jingoistic or sensationalistic. People in Hollywood don't think about the moral ramifications of what they do. They're trying to make a buck and they continually whitewash history. A movie like Top Gun drives up army enlistments because people think they're going to get to fly jets and meet Kelly McGillis, when in reality, they're going to be chipping paint off an aircraft carrier." John Cusack


  • Chicago Film Critics Association: Commitment to Chicago Award, 2000, shared with Dick Cusack, Nancy Cusack, Ann Cusack, Bill Cusack, Joan Cusack and Susie Cusack

  • Blockbuster Entertainment: Favorite Supporting Actor - Action/Adventure, Con Air, 1998

  • Chicago Film Critics Association: Most Promising Actor, Say Anything..., 1990

  • Joseph Jefferson Award: Best Director, Methusalem, 1990

  • The Jefferson Citation (local Chicago theater award), 1990

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