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San Francisco, California
Actor/Actress, Other Crew, Producer
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Profile Bio Text
Isaac Liev Schreiber (born October 4, 1967) is a Tony Award-winning American actor. He became known during the late 1990s and early 2000s, having initially appeared in several independent films, and later mainstream Hollywood films, including the Scream trilogy of horror films.
Schreiber was born in San Francisco, California, the son of Heather (née Milgram) and Tell Schreiber, a stage actor and director. His father is of Austrian, Irish, Swiss, and Scottish descent while his mother is Jewish, the descendant of immigrants from Poland, Ukraine and Germany. His mother claims that she named him after her favorite author, Leo Tolstoy, while his father claims that Schreiber was named after the doctor who saved his mother`s life. His family nickname, adopted when Schreiber was a baby, is "Huggy." When Schreiber was one year old, his family moved to Canada, but at age four, due to his parents` divorce, he and his siblings moved to New York City with his mother, where he grew up.
His mother was "a highly cultured eccentric" who supported them by splitting her time between driving a cab and creating papier-mâché puppets." On Schreiber`s sixteenth birthday, his mother bought him a motorcycle, "to promote fearlessness, chea!" The critic John Lahr wrote in a 1999 New Yorker profile that, "To a large extent, Schreiber’s professional shape-shifting and his uncanny instinct for isolating the frightened, frail, goofy parts of his characters are a result of being forced to adapt to his mother’s eccentricities. It’s both his grief and his gift.” Schreiber`s mother also forbade Schreiber from seeing color movies. As a result, his favorite actor was Charlie Chaplin. In the late seventies and early eighties Schreiber, known then as Shiva Das, lived at the Satchidananda Ashram, Yogaville East, in Pomfret, CT. Subsequently, Schreiber attended Friends Seminary, the same school attended by actress Amanda Peet when he was a senior and she was in sixth grade. Though athletic, he was unpopular and isolated in school, partially due to his bizarre home life and admitted incidents of stealing.
Schreiber went on to Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts where he began his acting training there and, via the Five Colleges consortium, which includes the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He graduated from the Yale School of Drama in 1992, where he starred in Charles Evered`s The Size of the World, directed by Walton Jones. He also attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. He originally wanted to be a screenwriter, but was steered toward acting instead.
Schreiber had several supporting roles in various independent films until his big break, as the accused murderer Cotton Weary in the Scream trilogy of horror films. Though the success of the Scream trilogy would lead Schreiber to roles in several big-budget studio pictures, Entertainment Weekly wrote in 2007 that "Schreiber is [still] best known for such indie gems as Walking and Talking, The Daytrippers, and Big Night."
After Scream, Schreiber portrayed the young Orson Welles in the HBO original movie RKO 281, for which he was nominated for an Emmy Award. He then played supporting roles in several studio films, including the 2000 movie of Hamlet with Ethan Hawke, The Hurricane with Denzel Washington, and The Sum of All Fears with Ben Affleck. The 2004 remake of The Manchurian Candidate, with Washington and Meryl Streep, was another major film for the actor, stirring some controversy as it opened during a heated presidential election cycle.
Along with his screen work, Schreiber is a well-respected classical actor; in a 1998 review of the little-performed Shakespeare play Cymbeline, The New York Times called his performance "revelatory" and ended the article with the plea, "More Shakespeare, Mr. Schreiber.". A year later, Schreiber played the title role in Hamlet in a December 1999 revival at The Public Theater, to similar raves. In 2000, he played Laertes in Hamlet, a modern adaption of the play. His Henry V in a 2003 Central Park production of that play caused Lahr to expound upon his aptitude at playing Shakespeare. "He has a swiftness of mind," Lahr wrote, "which convinces the audience that language is being coined in the moment. His speech, unlike that of the merely adequate supporting cast, feels lived rather than learned."
In the spring of 2005, Schreiber essayed a non-Shakespearean stage role, that of Richard Roma in the Broadway revival of David Mamet`s Pulitzer Prize-winning play Glengarry Glen Ross. As Roma, Schreiber won a Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play. In June to July 2006, he played the title role in Macbeth opposite Jennifer Ehle at the Delacorte Theater.
Schreiber told The New Yorker in 1999 that "I don’t know that I want to be an actor for the rest of my life." For a time in the late nineties,
Brooklyn Technical High School, New York City, NY (transferred), Friends Seminary High School, New York City, NY (1985)
BA, Hampshire College, Amherst, MA (1988), MFA Drama, Yale University (1992), Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts
Full Name at Birth
Isaac Liev Schreiber
Claim to Fame
Victor Creed/Sabretooth in X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Zus Bielski in Defiance.
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Alexander Schreiber (son), Samuel Schreiber (son)
Isaac Liev Schreiber (; born October 4, 1967) is an American actor, producer, director, and screenwriter. He became known during the late 1990s and early 2000s, having appeared in several independent films, and later mainstream Hollywood films, including the Scream trilogy of horror films, Phantoms, The Sum of All Fears, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Salt, Taking Woodstock and Goon. Schreiber is also a respected stage actor, having performed in several Broadway productions. In 2005, Schreiber won a Tony Award as Best Featured Actor for his performance in the play Glengarry Glen Ross. That year, Schreiber also made his debut as a film director and writer with Everything Is Illuminated, based on the novel of the same name. He also plays the eponymous lead character on the Showtime series Ray Donovan.
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