Aron Eckhart was born in Cupertino, California. Eckhart's family relocated to England in 1981. While living in England, Eckhart attended American Community School, now known as ACS International Schools, where he was first introduced to acting, starring in a school production as Charlie Brown. In 1985 he moved to Sydney, Australia, where he attended American International School of Sydney for his high school senior year; he further developed his acting skills in productions like "Waiting for Godot."
In 1988, Eckhart returned to the United States and enrolled as a film major at Brigham Young University–Hawaii, but later transferred to BYU in Provo, Utah. He graduated in 1994 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.
While at Brigham Young, Eckhart appeared in the Mormon-themed film, "Godly Sorrow," and the role marked Eckhart's professional debut. At this time he met director/writer Neil LaBute, who cast him in several of his own original plays. After graduating from BYU, Eckhart moved to New York City, acquired an agent, and took various occasional jobs, including bartending, bus driving, and construction work. His first television roles were in commercials. In 1994 he appeared as an extra on the television drama series, "Beverly Hills, 90210." Eckhart followed this small part with roles in documentary re-enactments ("Ancient Secrets of the Bible: Samson"), made-for-television movies, and programs like "Aliens in the Family."
In 1997 Eckhart was approached by Neil LaBute to star in a film adaptation of LaBute's stage play, "In the Company of Men." He played a frustrated white-collar worker who planned to woo a deaf office worker, gain her affections, then suddenly dump her. The film was a critical success, winning Best First Film at the 63rd annual New York Film Critics Circle Award. His performance won him the Independent Spirit Award in the category of Best Debut Performance.
The following year Eckhart starred in another LaBute feature, "Your Friends & Neighbors," as Barry, a sexually frustrated husband in a dysfunctional marriage. In 1999 he starred opposite Elisabeth Shue in "Molly," a romantic comedy-drama in which he played the self-absorbed brother of an autistic woman who was cured by surgery. Eckhart also starred that year as an offensive coordinator in Oliver Stone's "Any Given Sunday."
Eckhart first gained wide exposure in 2000 as George, a pony-tailed, goateed biker, in Steven Soderbergh's drama, "Erin Brockovich." Following its release, Eckhart co-starred with Renée Zellweger in LaBute's "Nurse Betty"and then appeared in Sean Penn's mystery feature "The Pledge." The following year, he collaborated with LaBute in a film adaptation of the Man Booker Prize-winning novel "Possession."
He starred in E. Elias Merhige's thriller "Suspect Zero," a movie about an FBI agent who tracks down a killer who murders serial killers. Also in 2004, Eckhart starred on the London stage, opposite Julia Stiles, in David Mamet's "Oleanna" at the Garrick Theatre.
In 2005, returning to film, Eckhart appeared in "Neverwas" as a therapist who takes a job at a rundown mental hospital that once treated his father.
Eckhart's next project was "Thank You for Smoking," in which he played Nick Naylor, a tobacco lobbyist who researched the link between smoking cigarettes and lung cancer. For his performance, Eckhart received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy. In this same year, he starred with Helena Bonham Carter in "Conversations with Other Women." He appeared in the 2006 film noir "The Black Dahlia," based on a real 1947 crime, as Sergeant Leland "Lee" Blanchard, a detective investigating the murder of Elizabeth Short, later dubbed the "Black Dahlia."
Internationally viewed as a sex symbol, he was named one of People magazine's 100 Most Beautiful People in 2006. In 2007, he starred in "No Reservations," a remake of the 2001 German romantic comedy, "Mostly Martha." He starred opposite Catherine Zeta-Jones as an up-and-coming hotshot chef. Eckhart starred in the 2008 comedy "Meet Bill," in which he played the eponymous character, a sad executive working at his father-in-law's bank.
Also in 2008, Eckhart portrayed the comic book character, Harvey Dent/Two-Face, in Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight," the sequel to the 2005 film "Batman Begins." Following the success of "The Dark Knight," Eckhart next appeared in Alan Ball's "Towelhead."
He next co-starred with Jennifer Aniston in the romantic drama, "Love Happens," released in September 2009, as a motivational speaker coming to terms with his own grief. The following year he starred alongside Nicole Kidman in "Rabbit Hole." In 2011, Eckhart starred in Jonathan Liebesman's science fiction film "Battle: Los Angeles," in which he portrayed a combat veteran Marine platoon sergeant.
He appeared alongside Johnny Depp, Richard Jenkins, and Amber Heard in Hunter S. Thompson's novel adaptation "The Rum Diary." He recently appeared as the U.S. President who has taken hostage in the 2013 action thriller "Olympus Has Fallen."
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