|Date of Birth||July 26th, 1965|
|Origin||Manhattan, New York City|
Life and careerEdit
Piven was born in Manhattan, New York City, and grew up in Evanston, Illinois, a suburb north of Chicago. He was raised in a Reconstructionist Jewish household. He graduated from Evanston Township High School, and attended Harand Theater Camp in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, as a teenager. He played the part of "Bernardo" in West Side Story there. In Illinois, he trained at Piven Theatre Workshop, founded by his parents, Byrne Piven and Joyce Hiller Piven, both of whom were actors and drama teachers. He also attended Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, and is a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity. He spent a semester at the National Theater Institute in Waterford, Connecticut. He has appeared in a number of films with John Cusack, who is also from Evanston and is a fellow alumnus of the Piven Theatre Workshop (as are Cusack's sisters Joan and Ann). Piven and Cusack once shared an apartment and have been friends since high school.
Piven's first significant role came in 1992 when he became a regular cast member on HBO's The Larry Sanders Show, where he played the head writer Jerry. In 1993, he portrayed George Costanza on the show-within-a-show scene in the Seinfeld episode, "The Pilot". Piven has appeared in several successful films, including Lucas, Grosse Pointe Blank, Singles, Very Bad Things, The Family Man, Black Hawk Down, The Kingdom, Heat, PCU, Old School, Rock N Rolla, Serendipity, Smokin' Aces, and Runaway Jury. He has also made cameo appearances in Rush Hour 2 and the US release of Cars and God Made Velcro's 1998 Music Video Shock the Mind". Since 2004, Piven has reinvigorated his career by playing a fast-talking, acerbic Hollywood agent Ari Gold in the HBO series Entourage. He received Emmy nominations for best supporting actor four straight years from 2005 to 2008, and won the award in 2006, 2007, and 2008. 2009 was the first year in which he did not receive an Emmy Award nomination for his work on Entourage. Piven was also the star and producer of the short-lived ABC dramedy series Cupid, and was a supporting cast member on the last three seasons of the sitcom Ellen. He played the part of Ellen's cousin, Spence. He also voiced Elongated Man in three episodes of Justice League Unlimited.
In August 2011, Piven stated he was interested in portraying the late drummer from The Who, Keith Moon. In 2013 he played the title role in the British television drama series Mr Selfridge, the story of the London department store Selfridges. The show airs on the ITV network in the United Kingdom and PBS in the United States.