Jason Lee

Skateboarder-turned-actor Jason Lee appeared in movies such as ‘Dogma’ and ‘Almost Famous’ before becoming a star with his role on the TV sitcom ‘My Name Is Earl.’


Jason Lee was born in California on April 25, 1970. He first burst onto the public stage as a professional skateboarder, then established a career as an actor. Lee appeared in movies made by Kevin Smith and Cameron Crowe before becoming a household name with his role on the TV show My Name Is Earl. Lee has also been featured in the Alvin and the Chipmunks film franchise.

Professional Skateboarder

Born on April 25, 1970, in Orange, California, Jason Michael Lee began skateboarding in his youth and ended up turning his passion for the sport into a career. A professional skateboarder by the time he was 18, Lee's travels on the pro circuit exposed him to global culture and creativity.

Switch to Acting

Jason Lee knew his skateboarding career had a limited shelf life, so he decided to pursue acting. In 1993, he appeared in the indie classic Mi Vida Loca, directed by Allison Anders. The film also featured director Spike Jonze and a then-unknown Salma Hayek in small roles.

Lee continued to build his indie cred by nabbing a starring role in the 1995 movie Mallrats, written and directed by Kevin Smith. Lee became friends with Smith and went on to appear in Smith's next flick, Chasing Amy (1997). Lee's portrayal of a cult comic book creator who suddenly finds himself at odds with his best friend earned the actor an Independent Spirit Award.

Smith used Lee in a number of other movies, including Dogma (1999), in which the actor appeared alongside Ben Affleck and Matt Damon. Having established himself as a performer, Lee further honed his skills under the direction of Cameron Crowe, who cast him in Almost Famous (2000) and Vanilla Sky (2001). Lee also voiced a villainous character in The Incredibles (2004), a role he landed because the film's creators had enjoyed his performance and line delivery in Dogma.

Sitcom Success

Lee found even greater success when he moved to the small screen in 2005. His portrayal of the title character in the NBC sitcom My Name Is Earl won him critical acclaim—including two Golden Globe Award nominations—over the course of the show's four-year run.

A successful television career did not keep Lee from acting in movies. He appeared in the hit Alvin and the Chipmunks (2007), playing the human guardian of the iconic singing critters, and has reprised his role in multiple sequels. Lee has said he welcomes the chance to work on children's films because he is a father himself.

In 2010, Lee returned to TV with Memphis Beat. He portrayed an eccentric detective in the TNT drama, which went off the air after two seasons.

Personal Life

Lee is a Scientologist. His first wife, Carmen Llywelyn, has spoken out about the dissolution of her marriage to Lee, attributing it in part to her reluctance to participate in the intimate audits required by the Church of Scientology.

In 2003, Lee had a son with then-partner Beth Riesgraf. The boy was called Pilot Inspektor, a name inspired by the song "He's Simple, He's Dumb, He's the Pilot" by the band Grandaddy.

Lee wed his second wife, Ceren Alkac, in 2008. The pair have two children, daughter Casper and son Sonny.

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