Actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt was born on February 17, 1981 in Los Angeles, California. Already active since the age of 6, he began acting for television movies and shows such as Family Ties and Dark Shadows. In 1992, he made his film debut, appearing in the family flick Beethoven, and went on to appear in serious fare such as Switching Parents and lighter fare such as Angels in the Outfield.
Gordon-Levitt was broke out in 1996, when he joined the comedy 3rd Rock from the Sun. The role—the oldest of the Solomon siblings, Tommy—earned him attention from the press, although it was something he wasn’t fond of. He also appeared in several films, including a major role in the original 10 Things I Hate About You, but quit acting in 2000, when he studied at Columbia University. He dropped out in 2004, to return to acting.
His return to acting was focused on independent films, a conscious decision on his part. He was acclaimed for his roles in Manic, Mysterious Skin, Brick and The Lookout. His 2009 independent release, 500 Days of Summer, earned many rave reviews because of his performance opposite Zooey Deschanel. The same year, he’s made a return of sorts to mainstream movies, with a role in GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra.