For years, actor Paul Giamatti has wowed audiences with his idiosyncratic portrayals of depressives, neurotics, curmudgeons, and even some bureaucrats. However, despite his undeniable talent for playing the "loser" on TV and film, in real life Giamatti is the exact opposite. The son of a Yale University president, Giamatti was born in New Haven, Connecticut into an intellectually active family. After college, Giamatti began appearing in roles on and off Broadway, made a small appearance in a Woody Allen comedy, and later garnered massive attention from Hollywood with his memorable appearance in the 1997 film "Private Parts." This Howard Stern movie turned out to be Giamatti's breakout role, and he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. During the next few years, Giamatti continued to appear in a number of supporting roles in big-budget films, including "The Truman Show," "Saving Private Ryan," and "The Negotiator." At the same time, the actor was managing to balance his career with smaller, independent films such as "American Splendor" (2003) and "Sideways" (2004), which led to Giamatti earning mainstream recognition and fame as one of Hollywood's top performers. To date, the actor has continued to work steadily and has racked up numerous industry honors, including four Screen Actors Guild Awards, two Golden Globe Awards, and a Primetime Emmy Award.
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Truly a local product of New Haven, Connecticut, in 1985 Giamatti enrolled in Yale, where his father would eventually become the university's youngest president. Early on, Giamatti didn't consider acting to be a feasible professional career, but he nonetheless was active in the undergraduate theater scene at Yale, even working with a couple of promising young students named Ron Livingston and Edward Norton. Signs of Giamatti's impending greatness must have been evident to others, as he was elected to the Skull and Bones secret society in his senior year. In 1989, he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English, and went on to earn a Master of Fine Arts from the Yale School of Drama, where he studied with Earle R. Gister, a pioneer in professional theatre training.
Few people can call Yale home more than Giamatti, so it's no surprise that the actor has regularly returned to his beloved campus over the years. In 2011, for example, the award-winning actor was back home to accept the first “Louis,” an award bestowed by Mory’s, the legendary club in the heart of Yale, to recognize an accomplished graduate of the university. During this visit, Giamatti also took time to tour the campus and speak at the University Theater. But a slightly bigger impression was made in 2013 when everyone's favorite "failure" put Hollywood on wait so that he could return to Yale's University Theatre as the pained Danish prince in Shakespeare's "Hamlet." Naturally, Giamatti drew rave reviews for his sold-out performances, which lasted nearly a month. Additionally, he also delivered the 2nd annual Maynard Mack Lecture at Yale.