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Joshua Daniel “Josh” Hartnett (born July 21, 1978) is an American actor and producer. He first came to attention in 1997 for his role as Michael Fitzgerald in the television series Cracker. He made his feature film debut in 1998 in Halloween H20: 20 Years Later, followed by teen roles in films such as The Faculty and The Virgin Suicides. Hartnett has since gone on to further fame for his roles in films such as Pearl HarborOBlack Hawk Down40 Days and 40 Nights, and 30 Days of Night.

Early life

Hartnett was born in Saint Paul, Minnesota, the son of Wendy Anne (née Kronstedt) and Daniel Thomas Hartnett. He was raised by his father, a building manager, and his stepmother, Molly, an artist. He has three younger half-siblings, through his father’s re-marriage: Jessica, Jake and Joe. His father is of half Irish and half German ancestry, and his mother is of Swedish and Norwegian descent. Hartnett was raised Roman Catholic, attending Nativity of Our Lord Catholic Grade School, where he played Adam Apple in an eighth grade production of “Krazy Kamp”. He later attended Cretin-Derham Hall High School before switching to South High School in Minneapolis, Minnesota, from which he graduated in June 1996.

Hartnett was active in sports as a child, especially football, and did not entertain the thought of becoming a performer until an injury left him unable to participate on the athletic playing field. A relative encouraged him to audition for a stage production of Tom Sawyer at Youth Performance Company, and to Hartnett’s surprise, he won the part of Huckleberry Finn. He fell in love with acting and went on to star in a slew of high school plays. He got his first job at a local video store. He became a vegetarian at the age of 12 but ate meat during the shooting of The Black Dahlia for his role as a boxer.

Career

After finishing high school, a move to New York to attend the Conservatory of Theatre Arts & Film at SUNY Purchase did not go as well as Hartnett had hoped for, and a year later at age 19, he found himself in California. Shortly after arriving in Los Angeles, he caught an improbable break, landing a part in the short-lived but acclaimed dramaCracker, on ABC. Although the series was cancelled after sixteen episodes, Hartnett had made a name for himself. He then began to focus on feature film work.

In April 1997, Hartnett made his screen debut playing the role of Michael Fitzgerald on the short-lived television series, Cracker. He performed in small plays and on national television commercials before being cast in his first feature film, playing the son of Jamie Lee Curtis’ character in Halloween H20: 20 Years Later. Released on August 5, 1998, it performed well at the box office.

Hartnett has since developed a successful film career, having appeared in many Hollywood films, including The FacultyBlack Hawk Down,Lucky Number Slevin and Pearl Harbor. He was originally scheduled to play the role of Tino in Deuces Wild, but dropped out to star in Pearl Harbor. In 2002, he starred in O, an adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Othello set in an American high school, as Hugo, the film’s version of Iago. In the early 2000s, Hartnett was approached several times to play the role of Clark Kent/Superman in the upcoming film (at the time helmed by Brett Ratner), but always turned it down, not wanting to commit to a predicted ten-year role.

Hartnett was chosen as one of Teen People magazine’s “21 Hottest Stars Under 21” in 1999,Teen People’s “25 Hottest Stars under 25”, and one of People magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful People”, both in 2002. He was also voted Bliss magazine’s “3rd Sexiest Male”, and in 2003 PETAnamed him the Sexiest Vegetarian Alive, as chosen by voters.

One of Hartnett’s next films was the 2006 drama-mystery The Black Dahlia, in which he played a detective investigating the notorious real-life murder of actress Elizabeth Short. Hartnett had been cast in the role five years before the film was produced, remaining committed to appearing in the movie because he liked the subject matter.

Among his 2007 roles were Resurrecting the Champ, a drama also starring Samuel L. Jackson, and the graphic novel-based 30 Days of Night, in which he played a small-town sheriff. Hartnett described the second film as “supernatural, but kind of a western”. He was going to play trumpet player, Chet Baker, in the film The Prince of Cool, but did not agree with the producer’s ideas and left the project.

In 2008, Hartnett played Charlie Babbit alongside Adam Godley in the theatre adaptation of Barry Morrow’s Academy Award-winningRain Man at the Apollo Theatre in London’s West End. He starred in the new campaign of the Emporio Armani fragrance, “Diamonds for Men”, being featured in both print and TV ads for the fragrance, thus becoming the first male celebrity to representGiorgio Armani Beauty.

He has been featured on many magazine covers, such as CosmogirlDetailsEntertainment WeeklyGirlfriendSeventeenVanity FairGQ and Vman, in addition to being in other magazines like VogueELLEPeopleGlamourIntouch and InStyle.

In 2009, Hartnett produced the video clip for the rapper Kid Cudi’s song Pursuit of Happiness.

In 2013, Harnett was a guest of honor on Off Plus Camera 2013

Hartnett turned down the role of Superman. “It just wasn’t the kind of movie I wanted to do. I turned down other superhero roles as well,” he stated. Regarding fame, the actor said, “I know what it’s like to be in that whole world. I was up there for a couple of years, and it was uncomfortable. I think trying to stay at the top is a shortcut to unhappiness.” Hartnett also took a break from acting; he noted, “I spent a bit of time really thinking about whether this was the right thing for me.”

Activism

Hartnett has been involved in various causes. In 2007, he took time out from filming to support the green lifestyle campaign of Global Cool.

In 2011, Hartnett became one of a handful of celebrities attached to USAID and Ad Council’s FWD campaign, an awareness initiative tied to that year’s East Africa drought. He joined Uma Thurman, Chanel Iman and Geena Davis in TV and internet ads to “forward the facts” about the crisis.

In 2012, Hartnett also joined Barack Obama in his campaign in Minnesota, appearing at such events as the Minnesota Greater Together Youth Summit before formally endorsing the President on the official campaign YouTube channel. He along with Minneapolis Mayor RT Rybak also appeared at the University of Minnesota’s McNamara Alumni Center for an Obama Q&A in April.