Andrew Garfield

On this date in 1983, actor Andrew Russell Garfield was born in Los Angeles to Lynn (Hillman) and Richard Garfield, both with British roots. They moved to England when he was 3. His paternal grandparents emigrated to London from Eastern Europe. The family surname was originally Garfinkel.

“I wasn’t actually raised Jewish,” Garfield has said. “My father is Jewish and that side of my family is Jewish, but he’s nonpracticing and left the faith as a young boy, of his own volition. My mom is a kind of pantheist, and my father became an atheist but I think he’s now coming around to some kind of higher power.” (Fandango, Oct. 31, 2016)

He took his first acting classes at age 9, eventually graduating in 2004 from the University of London, where he studied speech and drama. He soon garnered public attention with appearances in episodes of the BBC’s “Doctor Who” before his U.S. film debut in “Lions for Lambs” (2007) with Tom Cruise, Meryl Streep and Robert Redford.

He co-starred opposite Carey Mulligan and Keira Knightley in the science fiction drama “Never Let Me Go” in 2010, winning a Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor. He also won awards that year for his role in “The Social Network” about the founding of Facebook. He was cast as Spider-Man/Peter Parker in 2012’s “The Amazing Spider-Man.”

Garfield made his Broadway debut in 2012 as Biff Loman in a revival of “Death of a Salesman” for which he was nominated for a Best Featured Actor Tony Award. He had roles in two 2016 films, Martin Scorsese’s drama “Silence” and Mel Gibson’s war movie “Hacksaw Ridge.” He lost 40 pounds to play a Portuguese Jesuit priest in “Silence.”

More film roles followed: “Breathe” (2017), “Under the Silver Lake” (2018), “Mainstream” (2020), “The Eyes of Tammy Faye,” playing televangelist Jim Bakker, and “Spider-Man: No Way Home” (2021. He won the 2018 Tony for Best Leading Actor in Tony Kushner‘s “Angels in America.” Kushner commented on Out online (Feb. 8, 2018): “I think it’s one of the most remarkable performances of a contemporary gay character by a straight guy I’ve ever seen.”

Garfield started dating “Spider-Man” co-star Emma Stone in 2011. According to Vanity Fair, they “split for good” in 2015.

Hulu announced in March 2022 that Garfield would play a detective in a seven-episode series of Jon Krakauer‘s Mormon Church exposé “Under the Banner of Heaven.”

He has said that he has been a spiritual seeker since childhood. “Certainty is the most terrifying thing to me. … It is so healthy to doubt. Certainty starts war. Certainty starts war on behalf of ideology: ‘I know and you don’t.’ That’s the scariest thing to me, what a human being is capable of doing.” (“The Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” Jan. 24, 2017) 

PHOTO: Garfield in Toronto in 2009; photo by csztova under CC 2.0

Freedom From Religion Foundation