Ethan Hawke was born in Austin, Texas to James Steven Hawke
and Leslie Carole Green, who were students at the University of
Texas at the time of his birth, and separated three years later;
Hawke's great-grandfather was the brother of Cornelius Williams,
who was the father of well-known playwright Tennessee Williams.
At an early age, Hawke moved to Princeton, New Jersey with his
single mother, where he took acting classes at the McCarter
Theatre and attended the West Windsor-Plainsboro High School
(now West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South) and the Hun
School of Princeton. He first appeared in various high school
performances, including George Bernard Shaw's Saint Joan.
At the age of fourteen Ethan Hawke made his feature film debut in Explorers (1985). Hawke studied acting at the British Theatre Association in England and at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. He has twice enrolled in New York University's English program and is one of the founding fathers and artistic director of Malaparte, a former New York City theatre company. Malaparte productions included A Joke!; Wild Dogs; Good Evening; Sons and Fathers; It Changes Every Year; Veins and Thumbtacks; Hesh; and The Great Unwashed. He also attended the Packer Collegiate Institute in Brooklyn.
In 1988, Ethan Hawke was cast in a role in director Peter Weir's Dead Poets Society; the film's success was considered Hawke's breakthrough. He left school and appeared in A Midnight Clear, Alive, Reality Bites, Before Sunrise, Gattaca, The Newton Boys, Great Expectations and many other movies. In 2001, he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in Training Day.
During his career, Ethan was mentioned frequently in an episode of the sitcom, Sabrina, The Teenage Witch.
Ethan Hawke directed Chelsea Walls and has written two novels, The Hottest State (in 1996) and Ash Wednesday (in 2002). In 2005, he received his first screenwriting Oscar nomination for co-writing the 2004 film, Before Sunset (a sequel to Before Sunrise).
On March 26, 2006 Hawke's personal business office in New York City was destroyed by a fast-moving fire. He was in the middle of directing and starring in a movie version of his first novel, The Hottest State. The fire broke out in a newly renovated office on the second floor of the office building and the blaze quickly spread to the fifth floor. It destroyed Hawke's fourth-floor office and his post-production studio. Master tapes and negatives from Hawke's film, were being stored off-site and were reportedly not destroyed by the fire.
On May 1, 1998, Ethan Hawke married actress Uma Thurman. The couple had two children, daughter Maya Ray (born July 8, 1998) and son Levon Roan (born January 15, 2002). They separated in July 2004 and divorced in 2005. Hawke began dating Canadian model Jen Perzow before separation, but said the affair wasn't the cause of the split.
Hawke owns a small island off the coast of Nova Scotia. This land was purchased before his divorce from Thurman as a family retreat.
Ethan Hawke is a Democrat.
Hawke's family includes father James Hawke, half-brothers Matt and Sam, and stepmother Gay. James is a high ranking official at Conseco. Matt recently graduated from Indiana Weslyan University. Sam is currently attending a private school in Indiana.
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