Canadian actor Seth Rogen shot to fame in television and film, collaborating several times with director Judd Apatow.
Actor Seth Rogen, born on April 15, 1982, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, rose to fame in his twenties as one of the comedy icons of his generation. His roles in television series and movies directed by Judd Apatow, including The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up, made him a household name and brought him nonstop work as an actor and producer for other comedies and animated films.
Seth Rogen was born on April 15, 1982, in the city of Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada. His parents, Sandy (Belogus) and Mark Rogen, worked for nonprofit organizations; he has one older sister, Dayna. Rogen began performing stand-up comedy as a teenager, crafting his routines at parties and clubs. He won the Vancouver Amateur Comedy Contest when he was 16 years old.
Seth Rogen left high school when a casting call landed him a part in director Judd Apatow’s new prime-time comedy-drama Freaks and Geeks (1999-2000). He played Ken, a burnout with a deadpan sense of humor, in an ensemble of young actors just beginning their careers. Freaks and Geeks soon became a cult classic, although it was canceled after just one season due to low ratings. Rogen joined Apatow’s next television venture, a comedy about college students called Undeclared (2001-02), as an actor and writer; again, the project was shut down after less than a year.
Although Rogen continued to write for television and film, and received small roles in 2001’s Donnie Darko and Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy in 2004, it was another Judd Apatow enterprise that gave him a career breakthrough. In 2005 he played one of Steve Carell’s co-workers in the raunchy-but-sweet comedy The 40-Year-Old Virgin, a hit with audiences and critics. His exposure increased greatly when he took the lead role in Apatow’s Knocked Up (2007), acting opposite Katherine Heigl in an unconventional romantic comedy about a one-night-stand that leads to an unexpected pregnancy. Two years later, he was featured in Apatow’s darker comedy-drama Funny People, which starred Adam Sandler as a comedian and cancer victim.
In addition to his acting ability, Rogen’s writing and producing skills were evident in Superbad, a 2007 film that he developed from a script he had co-written with his friend Evan Goldberg at the age of 13. He and Goldberg went on to co-write the action-comedy Pineapple Express, in which Rogen, playing a crime witness, teamed up with fellow Freaks and Geeks alumnus James Franco as his drug dealer (2008).
Rogen’s constant presence on movie screens continued with his work in Kevin Smith’s Zach and Miri Make a Porno in 2008, the crime spoof Observe and Report in 2009, and the romantic comedy Take This Waltz in 2011. He starred as the titular superhero of the comic-book-based movie The Green Hornet (2011) and was the sidekick to a young cancer patient played by Joseph Gordon Levitt in 2011’s 50/50.
Seth Rogen has also lent his deep, scratchy voice to several animated features, including Dr. Seuss’s Horton Hears a Who!, Kung Fu Panda (and its sequel), Paul and Shrek the Third.
For The Guilt Trip, Rogen teamed up with legendary singer-actress Barbra Streisand in a mother-and-son road-trip movie (2012). In 2013’s This is the End, Rogen reunites with fellow actors (and friends) Jonah Hill, James Franco, Paul Rudd, Jason Segel and others—all playing themselves—in an apocalyptic action-comedy film. In 2014, Rogen starred with Zac Efron in the comedy Neighbors.
Rogen found himself in the headlines in December 2014 for his film The Interview, co-starring with longtime friend James Franco. Rogen is a TV producer and Franco is a talk show host in this action comedy. Their two characters are recruited by the CIA after they land an interview with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. The CIA wants the pair to assassinate this communist dictator.
The film’s political plot is played for laughs, but not everyone found it funny. In July 2014, a North Korean official warned there would be retaliation against the United States if the film was released, according to the BBC News. Rogen responded the incident on Twitter, writing “People don’t usually wanna kill me for one of my movies until after they’ve paid 12 bucks for it.”
As The Interview‘s December release date neared, a group of hackers called the Guardians of the Peace launched a cyber attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment, the company behind the film. The group was able to obtain tons of the company’s materials, including unreleased films and internal emails, and soon made many of these items available to the public. Threats were also made against any movie theater that agreed to screen the film. The FBI later directly connected the hacking of Sony to the North Korean government.
In the wake of these devastating leaks and theater threats, Sony shelved The Interview. Days later, the company announced the film would be released to a number of indie theaters on Christmas day. In a statement, Sony’s Chairman Michael Lynton said, “We have never given up on releasing The Interview and we’re excited our movie will be in a number of theaters on Christmas Day. At the same time, we are continuing our efforts to secure more platforms and more theaters so that this movie reaches the largest possible audience.”
In 2015, Seth Rogen played Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak in the biopic Steve Jobs and later that year starred in the Christmas comedy The Night Before. In 2016 he continued doing voiceover work for animations like Kung Fu Panda 3 and Sausage Party.
Rogen married writer/actress Lauren Miller in 2011. He lives in Los Angeles.
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