Personal detailsName: Jake Gyllenhaal
Born: 19 December 1980 (Age: 34)
Where: Los Angeles, USA
Awards: Won 1 BAFTA nominated for 1 Oscar,
All about this star
It's always intriguing when siblings find the Hollywood limelight simultaneously. Usually, it's groups of males attacking en masse, like the brothers Keach, Carradine, Baldwin, Fiennes and Penn. Sometimes, the assault is all female, as with the sisters Redgrave, Arquette and Tilly. Occasionally, though, it's a brother-sister double whammy, most famously and successfully delivered by Jane and Peter Fonda, John and Joan Cusack and, of course, Shirley Maclaine and Warren Beatty.
The new millennium's first addition to this crack cast came with the breakthroughs of Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal, the children of one of Hollywood's most openly politicized families. The elder by three years, Maggie would first seize the public's attention in 2003 with a psychologically deep and deliciously pervy turn in Secretary, and a stand-out performance amidst the stellar female ensemble cast of Mona Lisa Smile. However, she was beaten to the punch by her brother Jake who'd already delivered a series of eye-catching enactments as the teenage leads in October Sky and Donnie Darko and as Jennifer Aniston's obsessive toy-boy lover in The Good Girl. Though Maggie would be first to vie for the glittering prizes, being Golden Globe-nominated for Secretary, Jake would soon achieve a yet-higher profile, receiving an Oscar nomination for his work in Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain. Now firmly established as a leading man, Jake was already regarded as one of the most interesting actors of a new generation.
He was born Jacob Benjamin Gyllenhaal (pronounced Jill-en-hall) on the 19th of December, 1980, in Los Angeles. His geneology, at least on his father's side, is fascinating, his family hailing from Sodra Harene, a parish of Vastergotland, inbetween Skara and Gothenburg in south-west Sweden. It's possible that he's descended from King Gustav I, who reigned between 1523 and 1560 and, due to his enlightened rule, was labelled the founder of modern Sweden. What's certain is that Jake's surname can be traced back to December 20th, 1652, when Queen Christina Wasa (played onscreen by Greta Garbo) ennobled his ancestor, cavalry officer Nils Gunnesson Haal for his efforts in the Thirty Years War, a bloody Europe-wide feud between Catholics and Protestants that saw the Swedes battle against the Danes and the Holy Roman Empire - "Gyllen", meaning "golden", being the most common prefix attached to the names of ennobled soldiers in the 17th Century.
For the next couple of centuries, the Gyllenhaals would provide many of Sweden's finest soldiers, farmers and scientists. At their Holberg estate in the Norra Vanga parish of Vestergotland they'd experiment with crops such as American maize.