Jason Bateman – the American television and film actor – was born on this day 14 January in 1969 and City Connect celebrates his birthday in our weekly Born This Day series of famous people birthday tributes by looking at Bateman’s life and work on the small and silver screens.
After appearing in several 1980s and 1990s sitcoms including It’s Your Move, and The Hogan Family, Jason Bateman came to prominence in the early 2000s for playing Michael Bluth on Arrested Development, for which he won a TV Land, a Golden Globe, and two Satellite Awards. Jason Bateman has since established himself in Hollywood by appearing in several films including The Kingdom, Juno, Hancock, Up in the Air, Horrible Bosses, The Change-Up and Identity Thief.
Bateman was born in Rye, New York, the son of Victoria Elizabeth, a former flight attendant for Pan Am, and Kent Bruce Bateman, an actor, film and television writer/director, and founder of a repertory stage in Hollywood. His mother was from the United Kingdom, born in Shrewsbury, Shropshire. His older sister is actress Justine Bateman, of Family Ties fame. Bateman also has three half-brothers. His family moved to Salt Lake City, Utah, when he was four, and later to California.
Bateman began his television career on Little House On The Prairie. He appeared in the Knight Rider third-season episode “Lost Knight” in 1984. In 1987, he appeared with Burt Reynolds on the men’s team in the inaugural week of game show Win, Lose or Draw. He earned the status of teen idol in the mid-1980s in shows such as Silver Spoons, It’s Your Move, and most notably Valerie (later renamed Valerie’s Family, and then The Hogans, and then The Hogan Family after Valerie Harper left the series), and became the Directors Guild of America’s youngest-ever director when he helmed three episodes of The Hogan Family at the age of eighteen.
After the series ended its run, he gained international recognition in the motion picture Teen Wolf Too, which, despite his casting in the title role, was a box office failure. In 1994, he played opposite legendary actors Katharine Hepburn and Anthony Quinn in the television film This Can’t Be Love. During this period, he had major roles on four series—Simon, Chicago Sons, George & Leo, and Some of My Best Friends—none of which lasted longer than one season. He also directed an episode of Two of a Kind in 1998. In 2002, he played the frisky sibling of Thomas Jane’s character in the feature film The Sweetest Thing.
In 2003, Bateman was cast as Michael Bluth in the comedy series Arrested Development. Although critically acclaimed, the series never achieved high ratings and ended on February 10, 2006. Bateman won several awards for his work on the series, including a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Television Series Musical or Comedy. He was also nominated in 2005 for the Emmy Award for Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series.
Bateman performed commentary on the 2004 Democratic National Convention for The Majority Report with Arrested Development co-star David Cross, and hosted NBC’s Saturday Night Live on February 12, 2005. In 2006, he appeared as a guest star on the Scrubs episode “My Big Bird” as Mr. Sutton, a garbage man with a flock of vicious ostriches as pets.
In 2009, Bateman became a regular voice actor for the short-lived Fox comedy series Sit Down, Shut Up. He voiced Larry Littlejunk, the gym teacher and only staff member that can teach. In 2010, Bateman and former Arrested Development co-star Will Arnett created “DumbDumb Productions,” a production company focusing on digital content. Their first video was “Prom Date,” the first in a series of “Dirty Shorts” for Orbit.
In 2004, Bateman appeared in Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story as ESPN 8 (“The Ocho”) commentator Pepper Brooks, and in Starsky & Hutch as Kevin, Vince Vaughn’s business partner.
Bateman reunited with Vaughn in 2006’s The Break-Up. In 2007, he played former lawyer Rupert “Rip” Reed alongside Ben Affleck in Smokin’ Aces, and also starred in The Kingdom, Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium, and Juno. In 2008, he co-starred with Will Smith and Charlize Theron in the superhero film Hancock.
Bateman’s 2009 films included Extract, written and directed by Mike Judge, and Couples Retreat, reuniting with Vince Vaughn in a comedy chronicling four couples who partake in therapy sessions at a tropical island resort (Kristen Bell played his wife).
In 2010, he starred in The Switch, a romantic comedy, with Jennifer Aniston. In 2011, he played the role of Special Agent Zoil in the comedy Paul, and starred in Horrible Bosses. 2011 also saw Bateman star in the hilarious comedy The Change-Up opposite Ryan Reynolds.
It was announced in January 2012 that a sequel to Horrible Bosses is in the works. In March 2012, Mansome, Jason Bateman’s first executive producer credit with Will Arnett, was announced as a Spotlight selection for the Tribeca Film Festival. The documentary, directed by Morgan Spurlock, is a comedic look at male identity as it is defined through men’s grooming habits, featuring celebrity and expert commentary. He made a dramatic turn in 2012 with the thriller film Disconnect, and starred in the 2013 comedy film Identity Thief.
In 2013, Bateman made his directorial debut with Bad Words. He is also set to direct and star in an adaptation of The Family Fang.
Bateman told Best Life magazine that he and sister Justine Bateman supported their parents with the paychecks they earned on their television shows, and that his father was his manager until Jason fired him at the age of 20. Throughout the nineties, Bateman struggled with drug use; he stated in an interview in 2009 that “It was like Risky Business for 10 years”.
Since July 2001, Bateman has been married to Amanda Anka, daughter of singer Paul Anka. Their child, Francesca Nora Bateman, was born October 28, 2006. Their second child, Maple Sylvie, was born February 10, 2012.
In late 2005, he had surgery to remove a benign polyp from his throat. The surgery and required recovery time halted production on Arrested Development, though enough episodes had been completed to get the show through the November sweeps period.
Bateman is a fan of the Los Angeles Dodgers and wore Dodgers clothing in the 2008 film Hancock.
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