James Edward Franco, born on April 19, 1978, is an award-winning actor who began his career by acting in advertisements and small roles in television shows. His first main T.V. role in 1999 was his big break. He went on to act in several films — most of which were huge hits — and was nominated for many awards. He also practices philanthropy. Let us celebrate his special day, right here!
James Edward Franco
April 19, 1978
James Edward Franco is one of the most celebrated faces of Hollywood. He has played a wide range of roles in all his films; from a man trapped in stone, to a supervillain — he has portrayed them all impeccably. Born on April 19, 1978, in Palo Alto, California, his zodiac sign is Aries and his ethnicity is half Portuguese-Swedish and half Jewish. Franco is the son of Betsy Lou, a children’s book author, and Douglas Franco, a Silicon Valley businessman. He has two brothers, actors Tom and Dave Franco. He was a student at the University of California in Los Angeles, and was an English major, but dropped out to pursue acting.
Franco took acting lessons for 15 months before appearing for auditions in Los Angeles. He got his first paid acting job in an advertisement for Pizza Hut. He played small roles in many T.V. shows. He finally got the main role in 1999 in “Freaks and Geeks.” Though the show was canceled after 18 episodes, it proved to be a major hit and was Franco’s big break. He made his film debut with “Never Been Kissed” (1999), a romantic comedy, and was later cast in the titular role in a biographical T.V. film — “James Dean” (2001). Franco gained a lot of fame and attention in 2002 after his role as Harry Osborn in Sam Raimi’s “Spiderman.” It was followed by “City by the Sea,” (2002) and “The Company” (2003) before Franco reprised the role of Harry Osborn in “Spiderman 2” (2004). The film’s immense success led to his role in the dark comedy “The Ape” (2005), and “The Great Raid” (2005).
In “Spiderman 3,” Franco reprised his role as Osborn for the final time (2007). In 2008, he had two hit films— the comedy “Pineapple Express” and the biographical film “Milk.” The actor got his first Golden Globe nomination for his performance in the former, while in the latter, he played a gay character for the first time. One of Franco’s most nuanced roles was as Aron Ralston in “127 Hours.” The role got him nominated for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award. He went on to star in the fantasy comedy “Your Highness” (2011) and in “Rise of the Planet of Apes” (2011). His last major movie role was “The Disaster Artist” (2016). In 2017, he revealed that he was going to slow down to focus on himself.
Franco is currently single. He dated actress Marla Sokoloff in 1999 for five years. He was later in a relationship with Ahna O’Reilly until 2011. His portrayal of gay characters in many of his films, as well his support for them raised many questions about his sexuality in the media. Later in an interview, the actor said, “I like to think I am gay in my art and straight in my life.” In 2006, Franco went back to U.C.L.A. to earn his English major degree. In 2009, he published the first of his many novels, titled “Palo Alto.”
The show, “Freaks and Geeks,” becomes a cult hit despite getting canceled after 18 episodes.
For his role in “James Dean,” Franco wins the Golden Globe for ‘Best Actor: Miniseries or Television Film.’
His role as Harry Osborn helps him gain worldwide fame and also leads to big roles in many other films.
He directs “The Fool’s Gold,” — a comedy that is well-received by the audience and critics alike.
“Palo Alto,” his debut novel, is a collection of stories about troubled teenagers from California.
Franco plays Aron Ralston and receives Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for the film.
Why We Love James Franco
He leaves no stone unturned
Franco has played a wide range of roles, some of which are very hardcore. In preparation for these roles, he did a lot of research; he spoke to the people the films were based on and understood their lives, so he could do his roles justice.
He is always eager to learn
After finishing his degree at U.C.L.A., Franco went on to get three more degrees in writing, filmmaking, and fiction writing, all from prominent colleges in New York. He also loves imparting knowledge; he was a guest lecturer at U.C.L.A. after getting his undergraduate degree there.
He is a philanthropist
Franco started doing charity work by volunteering at Art of Elysium, helping children with serious diseases. He has participated in events that have helped children reach their goals and finish school. He also donated to the Japanese Tsunami Relief Fund in 2011.
5 Suprising Facts
He auditioned to play Spiderman
He had initially auditioned to play Peter Parker, a.k.a. Spiderman, in the 2002 film but lost to Tobey Mcguire — he was later cast as Harry Osborn.
A Hollywood Walk of Fame star
In March 2013, Franco joined the elite club of celebrities with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in California — his star is numbered 2,492.
Franco once worked at McDonald's
The actor worked at the fast-food joint to support himself after dropping out of U.C.L.A.
He has a pilot's license
To make his role in the film “FlyBoys” (2006) look more realistic, Franco took classes and eventually earned a license to fly a plane.
Acting is only one of his talents
Franco may be a well-known actor, but he is also a director, author, painter, artist, teacher, and photographer.
James Franco FAQs
Did James Franco earn a Ph.D.?
Yes. Franco has completed a Ph.D. in English at Yale University.
How long have James Franco and Seth Rogen been friends?
Franco and Rogen have been friends since 1999 when they acted in “Freaks and Geeks” together. They have also acted in many films together.
Did Lana Del Rey and James Franco date?
While their relationship was speculated, Franco clarified that they were only friends.
James Franco’s birthday dates