Timothée Hal Chalamet is an American actor. Born December 27 1995 in Manhattan, New York, United States and grew up in the federally subsidized artists’ building Manhattan Plaza, in Hell’s Kitchen. His mother, Nicole Flender, is a third-generation New Yorker of half Russian Jewish and half Austrian Jewish descent.
She is a real estate broker at The Corcoran Group, and a former Broadway dancer; Flender earned her bachelor’s degree in French from Yale University, and has been a language and dance teacher. His French father, Marc Chalamet, is an editor for UNICEF and former New York correspondent for Le Parisien.
Marc is from Nîmes and is of a Protestant Christian background. Timothée’s paternal grandmother, who had moved to France, was originally Canadian of British descent. Chalamet’s older sister, Pauline (born 1992), is an actress and has lived in Paris.
Chalamet is fluent in English and French. He holds dual citizenship in the United States and France. Growing up, Chalamet spent summers in Le Chambon-sur-Lignon, a small French village two hours away from Lyon, at the home of his paternal grandparents. He stated that his time in France led to cross-cultural identity issues.
“Once I was there, I became the French version of myself,” he told La Presse. “I was completely imbued with the culture, and I even dreamed in French.” His childhood dream was to become a professional soccer player, saying, “I was a coach at a soccer camp in France. I coached six to ten-year-olds when I was around thirteen.”
Chalamet attended PS 87 William T. Sherman School for elementary school, and later the selective Delta program at MS 54 Booker T. Washington Middle School, which he described as a “miserable three years” due to the lack of a creative outlet within the school’s academically rigorous environment.
His acceptance into Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts was a turning point in his appreciation for acting. He stated, “I had some excellent teachers and really fell in love with it.
I saw that it could be and should be treated as a craft.” Harry Shifman, his sophomore year drama teacher at LaGuardia, was so impressed by his audition that he insisted on Chalamet’s acceptance into the school even though he had been rejected in the interview (due to his middle school record), saying “I gave him the highest score I’ve ever given a kid auditioning.” During high school, Chalamet dated Madonna’s daughter Lourdes (“Lola”) Leon, a fellow student, for a year. He starred in school musicals as Emcee in Cabaret and Oscar Lindquist in Sweet Charity, graduating in 2013.
He is also a YoungArts alumnus.
After high school, Chalamet (still aged 17) attended Columbia University for one year, majoring in cultural anthropology. He later transferred to New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study to pursue his acting career more freely, having found it difficult to assimilate to Columbia directly after filming Interstellar. Upon leaving Columbia, Chalamet moved to Concourse, Bronx.
Timothee Chalamet Career
As a child, Chalamet appeared in several commercials and acted in two horror short films called Sweet Tooth and Clown before making his television debut on an episode of the long-running police procedural series Law & Order (2009), playing a murder victim. He followed this with a minor role in the television film Loving Leah (2009). In 2011, he made his stage debut in the Off-Broadway play The Talls, a coming-of-age comedy set in the 1970s, in which he played a sexually curious 12-year-old Nicholas.
The chief theatre critic of New York Daily News wrote “Chalamet hilariously captures a tween’s awakening curiosities about sex.”
In 2012, he had recurring roles in the drama series Royal Pains and in the critically acclaimed spy-thriller series Homeland, in which he played Finn Walden, the rebellious son of the Vice President. Along with the rest of the cast, Chalamet was nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series.
In 2014, he made his feature film debut in a minor role in Jason Reitman’s critically panned Men, Women & Children. Later that year, he played the role of Tom Cooper, the son of Matthew McConaughey’s character, in Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar.
The film received positive reviews, with critics praising the cast’s performances, and grossed over $675 million worldwide. Also in 2014, Chalamet played the younger version of the co-lead role in Worst Friends, a comedy which had a limited theatrical release and received positive reviews.
In 2015, Chalamet co-starred in Andrew Droz Palermo’s fantasy-thriller One & Two, playing the role of Zac, a son who along with his sister, begins to explore unusual abilities and dark family secrets when their mother falls ill.
The film premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival, where it received mainly mixed reviews, before its limited theatrical release. His next role was playing the teenage version of James Franco’s character, Stephen Elliott, in Pamela Romanowsky’s The Adderall Diaries.
In his final role of 2015, Chalamet played Charlie Cooper, the sullen grandson of Diane Keaton and John Goodman’s characters in the Christmas comedy Love the Coopers, which received negative reviews.
Chalamet noted a period of time after Interstellar—a role he imagined would have served as a career breakout—in which his auditions were resoundingly unsuccessful, including such works as The Neon Demon, The Theory of Everything, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, and White Boy Rick.
In February 2016, he starred as Jim Quinn in the autobiographical play Prodigal Son at Manhattan Theatre Club. Handpicked by its playwright and director John Patrick Shanley and producer Scott Rudin, Chalamet portrayed a younger Shanley, a misfit Bronx kid in a prestigious New Hampshire prep school set in 1963. He received rave reviews for his performance and was nominated for the Drama League Award for Distinguished Performance and won the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Play.
Chalamet also co-starred opposite Lily Rabe in Julia Hart’s Miss Stevens as the troubled student Billy. Stephen Farber of The Hollywood Reporter wrote: “He is compelling even when he’s just watching silently and reacting to the other characters. When he has to explode with rage or manic energy, he’s startling. And in the drama competition, his reading of a climactic speech from Death of a Salesman suggests that this young actor has a bright future in many different media—I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a better performance of that speech.” Stephen Holden of The New York Times compared him to James Dean.
After being attached to the project for three years, Chalamet starred in Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me by Your Name, based on the novel of the same name, by André Aciman.
The story revolves around Elio Perlman, a young man living in Italy during the 1980s, who falls in love with Oliver (Armie Hammer), a university student who has come to stay with his family. In preparation for the role, Chalamet learned to speak Italian, as well as to play the piano and guitar. Call Me by Your Name premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival to critical acclaim; critics particularly highlighted Chalamet’s performance.
Olly Richards of Empire wrote, “In a film in which every performance is terrific, Chalamet makes the rest look like they’re acting. He alone would make the film worth watching”.
Jon Frosch of The Hollywood Reporter stated that no performance during the year “felt as emotionally, physically and intellectually alive” and included Chalamet in the magazine’s list of the best performances of the year.
The New York Times featured Chalamet on its list of the best actors of the year. For his performance in the film, he won the Gotham Independent Film Award for Breakthrough Actor, and received nominations for the Golden Globe Award, SAG Award, BAFTA Award, and Academy Award, all for Best Actor.
He is the third-youngest person in history to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor, and the youngest since Mickey Rooney in 1939.
In his second film of 2017, Chalamet played Daniel, a gawky teenager who gets swept up in the drug-dealing business over the course of a summer, in Elijah Bynum’s directorial debut, Hot Summer Nights.
It received a limited theatrical release in July 2018 and generated mixed reviews from critics, though Chalamet’s performance received praise from K. Austin Collins of Vanity Fair, who called the “sensitivity” in his performance “something special”. Later that year, he played Kyle Scheible, a rich hipster in a band and a love interest of Saoirse Ronan’s character in Lady Bird, the critically acclaimed solo directorial debut of Greta Gerwig.
Critics praised the ensemble cast, with Ty Burr of The Boston Globe taking particular note of Chalamet’s “hilarious” performance.
December saw the release of Chalamet’s final film of 2017, Scott Cooper’s western Hostiles, in which he played soldier Philippe DeJardin, alongside Christian Bale.
In 2018, Chalamet joined the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Later that year, Chalamet portrayed Nic, a teenager addicted to methamphetamine who shares a strained relationship with his father, the journalist David Sheff (portrayed by Steve Carell), in the drama Beautiful Boy.
The film is directed by Felix Van Groeningen and is based on a pair of memoirs—the elder Sheff’s memoir of the same name and Tweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamines by Nic Sheff.
Owen Glieberman of Variety drew comparisons with Chalamet’s performance in Call Me by Your Name, stating that “Nic, [whom he portrays] in his muffled millennial James Dean way, [as] skittery and self-involved” is a transformation from the “marvelous directness” he displayed in the role of Elio Perlman.
He received nominations for Best Supporting Actor at the Golden Globe, SAG, and BAFTA award ceremonies.
The following year, Chalamet starred in Woody Allen’s romantic comedy A Rainy Day in New York. Due to an allegation of sexual abuse against Allen, Chalamet donated his salary to the charities Time’s Up, LGBT Center of New York, and RAINN.
He did not promote the film, although it ironically became the number one film in the world (outside of the United States where it was not distributed).
Next, he portrayed Henry V of England, a young prince who unwittingly ascends the English Throne, in David Michôd’s Netflix period drama The King, based on several plays from Shakespeare’s Henriad.
Richard Lawson of Vanity Fair wrote, “Chalamet does robust work, straightening his lanky posture as he goes, rising up into the role like a man ascendant”.
In his third film release of 2019, Chalamet portrayed Theodore “Laurie” Laurence, a lovestruck teenager, in Little Women, an adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s novel of the same name.
Marking his second collaboration with Gerwig and Ronan, the film was acclaimed by critics, two of whom—Peter Travers of Rolling Stone and Ann Hornaday of The Washington Post—also praised Chalamet’s performance; with Travers noting that the actor portrays the role with “innate charm and poignant vulnerability,” while Hornaday highlighted his “languidly graceful” performance and its “playful physicality.” Chalamet hosted the December 12, 2020 episode of the sketch comedy series Saturday Night Live, featuring musical guest Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.
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