American actor, born on June 28, 1966, in Evanston, Illinois. Only his mother was a non-actor; his father and all his siblings (most notably, his sister Joan) have been actors for years.

John became a member of Chicago's prestigious Piven Theatre Workshop when he was still in elementary school and was an almost-full-time actor, working on stage and in commercials, by the time he was 12 years old. His first feature film was "Class", with Rob Lowe and Andrew McCarthy, in 1983, when he was just 17. This was followed by high-profile roles in "Sixteen Candles", "The Sure Thing", "Stand by Me", "Better Off Dead", and "Eight Men Out" within just a couple of years. One of his best-known roles was as Lloyd Dobler, the incurable romantic with the blaring boombox in "Say Anything..." in 1989.

Cusack spent most of the 1990s in low-key but respected films, like "The Grifters" and "Bullets over Broadway". He directed and produced shows for a Chicago theater group he founded called the New Criminals and started up a sister company with some high school friends--New Crime Productions' first film was the quirky "Grosse Pointe Blank", which Cusack starred in and helped write. He followed up with "Con Air", "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil", and "Pushing Tin", before moving on to oddball cult hits, like "Being John Malkovich" and "High Fidelity", as well as highbrow historical dramas like "Max".

It's hard to try to sum up an actor's career when he's still working, but Cusack has made a successful career out of playing underdogs, cynics, and outcasts, and there's little doubt that his acting choices will continue along similar lines. All indications are that he prefers playing unconventional characters in unconventional movies, which is good news--there are already too many actors who act for the paycheck, and it's nice to see someone who's acting because it's fun and challenging...

Research from the Internet Movie Database (www.imdb.com)

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