Spotlight on Tobey Maguire

Born on June 27, 1975, in sunny Santa Monica, California, Tobias Vincent Maguire was always the quiet, introspective type. Throughout his childhood, constant moving around always exposed him to new people and new situations. A studious actor from birth, Maguire knew it was better to stand back and be an observer. His mother Wendy was an 18-year-old secretary, unwed to his father Vincent, 20, a cook. Within two years of his birth they split, and Tobey was ping-ponged between them, moving around California, Washington and Oregon nonstop.

tobey maguire quits school

The pressures of teenagehood were so great for Tobey that he had to muster up courage just to go out into the world each day. In interviews he has recalled throwing up every morning from overwrought nerves. He couldn’t take it anymore, and in ninth grade he dropped out of school.

He completed his GED, and then a small bribe from his mother put him on the path to acting. Tobey wanted to be a chef, but Wendy, who had once harbored dreams of stardom herself, gave her son $100 to take drama classes instead.

tobey appears in this boy’s life

There was no turning back. Maguire soon began an aggressive auditioning campaign, which landed him the commercial and television bit parts typical of starting actors. He got a major role in the 1992 FOX sitcom Great Scott, but the series lasted no more than five weeks.

After appearances in several forgetful movies (the only noteworthy one was 1993’s This Boy’s Life, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro), Tobey finally got a promising role in 1995’s Empire Records, alongside Liv Tyler. But during production, Tobey encountered some emotional difficulties. Apparently, he developed a self-destructive attitude that hindered his communication with others. He asked director Allan Moyle to excuse him from the movie, and stopped auditioning for months. His scenes were deleted from Empire Records as a result.

tobey maguire in the ice storm

There are precious few who can leave Hollywood after picking up some momentum and come back where they left off. But Tobey did just that. His performance in 1996’s Oscar-nominated short film Duke of Groove caught the attention of a number of Hollywood filmmakers, including director Ang Lee, of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Hulk fame. In 1997, he cast Tobey in The Ice Storm, a project that would prove to be his first test of stardom.

Tobey next appeared in Woody Allen’s Deconstructing Harry (as the young “Harvey Stern”) in 1997, and Terry Gilliam’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (as a hitchhiker) the following year.

But it was 1998’s Pleasantville, his first major role, that would give Tobey the luxury of choosing his roles, instead of taking whatever was offered to him. Director Gary Ross liked Tobey so much, he called him five years later to embody his protagonist in the racehorse drama, Seabiscuit.

tobey maguire in cider house rules

Tobey was becoming an identifiable face by 1999, when he starred in the Oscar-winning The Cider House Rules, next to Michael Caine and Charlize Theron. He reunited with Ang Lee that same year for Ride with the Devil, and the following year he appeared in the critically-acclaimed Wonder Boys, starring Michael Douglas. Exploring his playful side, Tobey then lent his voice to “Lou the Beagle” in the animated Cats & Dogs in 2001.

tobey maguire is peter parker in spider-man

Tobey insists that he doesn’t care for fame, but that seems to contradict his decision to take on a role in an explosively successful project. But the shrewd and laconic Maguire had a greater plan. He knew that no matter how talented an actor he was, studio heads still wanted to see results in numbers. So Tobey decided to pack on several pounds and don the mask of Peter Parker and his alter ego for the 2002 blockbuster, Spider-Man.

If he makes two sequels (one of which was already released in June 2004), Tobey will make no less than $26 million out of the Spider-Man franchise.

tobey maguire enjoys celebrity

Maguire has no immediate projects, since he works on the basis of merit, not volume. But it surely won’t be long until we see him embody another sensitive loner who achieves greatness in a believable yet very relatable way. In between Spider-Man releases, Maguire shed about 25 pounds in order to portray jockey Red Pollard, for 2003’s Seabiscuit.

Tobey Maguire lives in Beverly Hills, just a few doors down from Keanu Reeves. His girlfriend, Jennifer Meyer, is a publicist at Ralph Lauren and the daughter of Universal Studios head, Ron Meyer. He can often be seen with Leo DiCaprio’s posse of friends.

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