Jeremy Samuel Piven (born July 26, 1965) is a two-time Emmy Award-winning and Golden Globe-nominated American actor. He is perhaps best known for his role as Ari Gold on the HBO series Entourage.
Jeremy Piven was born in New York, New York, and grew up in Evanston, Illinois, in north suburban Chicago. 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 (née Hiller), both of whom were actors and drama teachers. He has a sister, Shira, and attended Camp Chi, a Jewish Community Center camp in Lake Delton, Wisconsin, in the 1970s. He also attended Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. While at Drake he became a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity. He spent a semester at the National Theater Institute in Waterford, CT. 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 was as a regular castmember for several seasons on HBO's The Larry Sanders Show, where he played the head writer Jerry. Piven has appeared in several successful films, including The Family Man, Black Hawk Down, Heat, PCU, Old School and Runaway Jury. He also had a brief appearance as a gay salesman in Rush Hour 2.
Since 2004, Piven has played Hollywood agent Ari Gold in the HBO series Entourage. He received Emmy nominations for best supporting actor three straight years from 2005 to 2007, and won the award in 2006 and 2007. 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."
Piven performed "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" during the seventh-inning stretch at Wrigley Field on Father’s Day, 2006. Piven gave the cue to Chicago Cubs fans by saying, "Let's hug it out, you little bitches," a line he made famous as his character Ari Gold on the hit HBO show Entourage. The Chicago Tribune reported that he was to have said, "Hug it out, Cubs fans." He apologized on WGN-TV, and later claimed it was an accident during an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
Piven also appeared in local television advertisements for Cincinnati Bell Telephone, a subsidiary of Cincinnati Bell, Inc. He ended each commercial with the tagline, "Welcome to Cincinnati Bell." These advertisements ended on February 28, 2007, as the rights ended on that date. Piven's voice can be heard in national television advertisements for the restaurant Buffalo Wild Wings, in which he delivers the phrase, "Buffalo Wild Wings: You have to be here." He also appeared in Paul Westerberg's "Dyslexic Heart" video for the movie Singles, and played a balding Michael Barth playing George Costanza on the Seinfeld episode "The Pilot."
Piven was in a series of 1998 TV commercials for the Chicago Blackhawks and hosted Saturday Night Live on January 20, 2007 with musical guest AFI. More recently, Piven appeared as Deputy Chief of Mission Damon Schmidt in The Kingdom.