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Born April 19, 1978, James Edward Franco grew up in Palo Alto, California with his parents, Betsy Lou and Douglas Eugene, and his younger brother Dave.
His break-out role was that of Daniel Desario on the cult hit, Freaks and Geeks, where he played a freak alongside Seth Rogan and Jason Segel. Though the show was short-lived, the role put Franco on the radar, and he went on to make his film debut in 1999 with the Drew Barrymore hit Never Been Kissed.
Franco achieved acclaim and recognition with his portrayal of the title character in the 2001 film James Dean. To get into character, he cut off any contact with the outside world, including his family. "It was a very lonely existence," Franco has said about the process. "If I wasn't on set, I was watching James Dean. That was my whole thinking. James Dean. James Dean." He received a Golden Globe Award for the role, as well as Emmy and SAG nominations.
World-wide recognition came from Franco's role in the 2002 film Spider-Man, when he played Harry Osborn. As the best friend of the title character and son of the villain, The Green Goblin, Harry provided Franco with celebrity and fame.
Since then, Franco has starred in a variety of films including Tristan and Isolde, Knocked Up, 127 Hours , and more recently Oz the Great and Powerful alongside Mila Kunis and Michelle Williams, and Spring Breakers.
Franco received an Oscar nomination for Best Actor for his role in 127 Hours. He is currently working on a recurring role in the ABC soap opera General Hospital, and is a PhD candidate at Yale University.
Franco’s personal life has mostly been kept private. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree from UCLA in 2008 while continuing his acting career. He has taught small classes at NYU, USC and UCLA. Franco dated The Help actress Ahna O’Reilly for five years until 2011.