Ethan Green Hawke is a two-time Academy Award-nominated American actor, writer and film director.
Hawke was born in Austin, Texas, the son of Leslie Carole and James Steven Hawke. His maternal grandfather, Howard Lemuel Green, served five terms in the Texas Legislature and was a minor league baseball commissioner. Hawke's parents were students at the University of Texas at the time of his birth, and separated five years later. When he was ten, he moved with his mother from Atlanta to New York, where he attended the Packer Collegiate Institute in Brooklyn Heights and then moved to West Windsor, New Jersey, where he attended what is now West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South. He transferred to and graduated from the Hun School of Princeton in 1988. He took acting classes at the McCarter Theatre. His first paid role was at the age of twelve, in McCarter's production of George Bernard Shaw's Saint Joan.
At the age of fourteen, he made his feature film debut in Joe Dante's Explorers (1985). Hawke studied acting at the British Theatre Association in England and at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. He 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.
In 1988, 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 Disney's White Fang, 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 for his role in Training Day. 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). From October 2006 through May 2007, he was in The Coast of Utopia by Tom Stoppard at Lincoln Center in New York, playing Mikhail Bakunin. For this performance, he was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play.
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. In the summer of 2006, he appeared in the Sidney Lumet-directed film Before the Devil Knows You're Dead with Marisa Tomei, Albert Finney, and Philip Seymour Hoffman. He directed The New Group's world premiere of Jonathan Marc Sherman's play Things We Want which began previews October 22, 2007.
On May 1, 1998, Hawke married actress Uma Thurman. The couple had two children, daughter Maya Ray Thurman-Hawke (born July 8, 1998) and son Levon Roan Thurman-Hawke (born January 15, 2002). They separated and divorced in July 2004.
Hawke lives in Chelsea, a neighborhood in the borough of Manhattan in New York City, and owns a small flat in Tracadie, Nova Scotia. He has recently completed a screenplay with Tracadie neighbor, writer Charles Gaines, author of Pumping Iron and inventor of the game paintball.
On January 30, 2008, Hawke announced he is about to become a father again, this time with Ryan Shawhughes, described as the former nanny to his children with Uma Thurman.