Elijah Wood

Elijah Jordan Wood (born January 28, 1981) is an American actor, voice actor, film producer, and DJ. He portrayed Frodo Baggins in the Lord of the Rings film trilogy (2001–2003) and in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012).

Elijah Wood
Wood in 2019 at the Phoenix Fan Fusion
Elijah Jordan Wood

(1981-01-28) January 28, 1981
ResidenceAustin, Texas, U.S.
OccupationActor, voice actor, producer, DJ
Years active1989–present

Wood made his film debut in 1989 with a small part in Back to the Future Part II. He went on to achieve recognition as a child actor with roles in Avalon (1990), Paradise (1991), Radio Flyer, Forever Young (both 1992), The Adventures of Huck Finn and The Good Son (both 1993). As a teenager, he starred in films such as North, The War (both 1994), Flipper (1996), The Ice Storm (1997), Deep Impact and The Faculty (both 1998). Following the success of Lord of the Rings, Wood has appeared in a wide range of films, including Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004), Sin City, Green Street, Everything Is Illuminated (all 2005), Paris, je t'aime, Bobby (both 2006), Celeste and Jesse Forever, Maniac (both 2012), Grand Piano (2013), The Last Witch Hunter (2015), The Trust (2016), and I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore (2017).

Wood's voice work includes the role of Mumble in Happy Feet (2006) and its sequel; the title character in 9 (2009); and Spyro in the Legend of Spyro video game trilogy (2006–2008). In addition, he provided the voice of Beck on Disney XD's Tron: Uprising (2012–2013), and Wirt in the Cartoon Network miniseries Over the Garden Wall (2014). From 2011–2014, Wood played the role of Ryan Newman on the FX television series Wilfred, for which he received a Satellite Award nomination for Best Actor. From 2016–17, he starred as Todd Brotzman on the BBC America series Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency.

Wood had his own record label, Simian Records, which he founded in 2005 and which was dissolved in 2015. In 2010, he founded the production company SpectreVision, which specializes in producing horror films such as The Greasy Strangler and A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night.

Early life

Wood was born on January 28, 1981, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the second of three children.[1] His parents, Debbie (née Krause) and Warren Wood, operated a delicatessen.[2] He was raised Roman Catholic[3][4][5] and has an older brother named Zachariah[6] as well as a younger sister, Hannah. At age seven, Wood began modeling in his hometown and took piano lessons.[7][8] In elementary school, he appeared in The Sound of Music and played the title character in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. He also served as choir boy in a Marion Creative Council production of See How They Run. In 1989, his parents sold their delicatessen and the family–without his father–moved to Los Angeles for Wood to pursue an acting career. His parents divorced when he was 15.[9]


1988–1998: Early work

Wood modeled and appeared in local commercials. He got his first break in the music video for Paula Abdul's "Forever Your Girl", directed by David Fincher. This was followed by a pivotal role in the made-for-TV film, Child in the Night, and a minor role in Back to the Future Part II. Nine-year-old Wood auditioned for a role in Kindergarten Cop, but was told by director Ivan Reitman that his performance was not believable, which Wood later said was "a harsh thing to say to a nine-year-old".[10] Playing Aidan Quinn's son in Avalon garnered professional attention for Wood; the film received widespread critical acclaim and was nominated for four Academy Awards. A small part in Richard Gere's Internal Affairs was followed by the role of a boy who brings estranged couple Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson back together in Paradise (1991). In 1992, Wood co-starred with Mel Gibson and Jamie Lee Curtis in Forever Young, and with Joseph Mazzello in Radio Flyer.

In 1993, Wood played the title character in Disney's adaptation of Mark Twain's novel, The Adventures of Huck Finn, and co-starred with Macaulay Culkin in the psychological thriller The Good Son. The following year, he starred in The War, alongside Kevin Costner. Roger Ebert's review of the film praised Wood highly, stating that Wood "has emerged, I believe, as the most talented actor, in his age group, in Hollywood history".[11]

Wood's title role–opposite Bruce Willis–in the Robert Reiner film North (1994) was followed by a Super Bowl commercial for Lay's "Wavy" potato chips (with Dan Quayle).[12] In 1995, Wood appeared in the music video for The Cranberries' "Ridiculous Thoughts", played the lead role in Flipper, and co-starred in Ang Lee's critically acclaimed The Ice Storm. In 1997, Wood played Jack "The Artful Dodger" Dawkins in a made-for-TV adaptation of Oliver Twist, alongside Richard Dreyfuss. The following year, he had a leading role in the sci-fi disaster film Deep Impact, and a starring role in The Faculty, directed by Robert Rodriguez. In 1999, Wood played a suburban white teenager who affects hip-hop lingo in James Toback's Black and White, and a junior hitman in Chain of Fools.

1999–2003: The Lord of the Rings

Wood was cast as Frodo Baggins in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, the first installment of director Peter Jackson's adaptation of J. R. R. Tolkien's multi-volume novel. This gave Wood top billing as Baggins, alongside a cast that included Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler, Orlando Bloom, Cate Blanchett, Christopher Lee, Sean Bean, Sean Astin, Billy Boyd, Dominic Monaghan, Viggo Mortensen, and John Rhys-Davies. The Lord of the Rings trilogy was filmed in New Zealand, in a process taking more than one year for principal photography alone, with pick-up shots occurring annually for the next four years. Before the cast left the country, Jackson gave Wood two gifts: one of the One Ring props used on the set and Sting, Frodo's sword. He was also given a pair of prosthetic "hobbit feet" of the type worn during filming. Fellowship was released in 2001 and went on to gross more than $870 million at the worldwide box office.

In 2002, Wood lent his voice to the DTV release of The Adventures of Tom Thumb and Thumbelina. Later that year, the second part of Peter Jackson's trilogy was released, titled The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. The film grossed $926 million at the worldwide box office.

In 2003, Wood starred in the DTV film All I Want and also camoed as 'The Guy' in Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over. The concluding chapter of the Rings trilogy, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King was unveiled that December, and grossed in excess of $1.1 billion at the worldwide box office. At the 76th Academy Awards, the film received all 11 Academy Awards for which it was nominated, therefore holding the record for highest Oscar sweep.


Wood's first role following his Lord of the Rings success was in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004), in which he played Patrick, an unscrupulous lab technician who pursues Kate Winslet. The film received the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay in 2005. He next played the serial killer Kevin in Robert Rodriguez's adaptation of Frank Miller's comic book series, Sin City (2005). On May 12, 2005, Wood hosted MTV Presents: The Next Generation Xbox Revealed for the launch of the Xbox 360 games console.[13]

In Everything Is Illuminated (2005), Wood starred as a young Jewish-American man on a quest to find the woman who saved his grandfather during World War II. It was based on the novel of the same name by Jonathan Safran Foer. In Green Street (also 2005), he played an American college student who joins a violent British football firm. Both had limited release but were critically acclaimed.

Wood shot a small part in Paris, je t'aime (2006), which consists of 18 five-minute sections, each directed by a different director. Wood's section, called "Quartier de la Madeleine", was directed by Vincenzo Natali. The film played at the Cannes Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival.[14]

In George Miller's animated musical Happy Feet (2006), Wood provided the voice of Mumble, a penguin who can tap dance, but not sing.[15] Happy Feet grossed over $380 million worldwide, and received both the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature and the BAFTA Award for Best Animated Film. Wood reprised his role for the film's sequel, Happy Feet Two (2011).

Also in 2006, he was part of the ensemble cast of Emilio Estevez's drama Bobby, a fictionalized account of the hours leading up to the June 5, 1968, shooting of U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy. In the film, Wood marries Lindsay Lohan's character in order to avoid being drafted for the Vietnam War.[16] Bobby screened in competition at the Venice Film Festival. Wood—along with his co-stars—received a nomination for the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture.

Later that year, Wood hosted the television special Saving a Species: The Great Penguin Rescue for Discovery Kids;[17] he received a nomination for the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Performer in Children's Programming.[18] That same year, it was announced that Wood was set to star in The Passenger, a biographical film about singer Iggy Pop.[19] However, the project failed to come to fruition after years in development.[20]

On January 4, 2007, Wood joined Screen Actors Guild president Alan Rosenberg in a live telecast to announce the nominees for the 13th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards.[21] Later that year, he starred in Day Zero, a drama about conscription in the United States, which had its debut at the Tribeca Film Festival.[22]

In The Oxford Murders (2008), a film adaptation of the novel of the same name by Guillermo Martínez, Wood played a graduate student who investigates a series of bizarre, mathematically-based murders in Oxford.[23] The following year, he voiced the lead in the animated feature film 9,[24] which was produced by Tim Burton.

Wood's first starring television role came on the FX series, Wilfred, where he played Ryan Newman. The pilot was shot in the summer of 2010,[25] and the series lasted four seasons, with the final episode airing in the U.S. on August 13, 2014. For his role, Wood received a nomination for the Satellite Award for Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy in 2011.

In January 2011, it was confirmed that Wood had signed on to reprise the role of Frodo Baggins in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the first film of the Hobbit trilogy, directed again by Peter Jackson.[26] The film was released the following year and grossed over $1 billion at the worldwide box office.[27]

Also in 2011, Wood featured in the Beastie Boys' music video for "Make Some Noise", along with Seth Rogen and Danny McBride. He then starred in the Flying Lotus music video "Tiny Tortures," where he played a recent amputee coming to grips with his new situation. The psychedelic video was described as "menacing and magical".[28]

In 2012, Wood had a supporting role in the romantic comedy Celeste and Jesse Forever, and starred in the horror film Maniac, for which he received the Fangoria Chainsaw Award for Best Actor.

In 2013, Wood played the leading role in the Hitchcockian suspense thriller Grand Piano. Next he provided the voice of main character Wirt in Cartoon Network's animated miniseries Over the Garden Wall.[29] The series collected three Primetime Emmy Awards in 2015, including Outstanding Animated Program.[30] This was followed by prominent roles in films The Last Witch Hunter (2015), opposite Vin Diesel; The Trust (2016), opposite Nicolas Cage; and I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore (2017), opposite Melanie Lynskey. The latter film was awarded the U.S. Dramatic Grand Jury Prize at Sundance in January 2017.[31]

From 2016–2017, Wood co-starred with Samuel Barnett as Todd Brotzman on the BBC America series Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency. It was announced in December 2017 that the show had not been renewed for a third season.[32]

Other work

Elijah Wood appears in The Cranberries music video "Ridiculous Thoughts" and in Danko Jones' three-piece series : "Full Of Regret", "Had Enough", "I Think Bad Thoughts".[33][34] He also appears in Beastie Boys music video "Make Some Noise".[35]

In 2005, Wood started his own record label called Simian Records. On September 19, 2006, Wood announced that Simian had signed The Apples in Stereo as their first band, with their new album New Magnetic Wonder released in February 2007.[36] In addition, he also directed the music video for "Energy".[37]

Wood has also provided voiceovers for video games, including the voice of Spyro the Dragon in the Legend of Spyro game trilogy,[38] as well as reprising Mumble in the game version of Happy Feet.[39]

On April 11, 2008, Wood was the guest host of Channel 4's Friday Night Project. On April 25, 2009, Wood was honored with the Midnight Award by the San Francisco International Film Festival as an American actor who "has made outstanding contributions to independent and Hollywood cinema, and who brings striking intelligence, exemplary talent and extraordinary depth of character to his roles".[40]

In addition to producing and acting, Wood has become a well-known disc jockey. Together with his friend Zach Cowie, they formed Wooden Wisdom and has toured around the world. They have spun at events such as the Bushmills Live 2012 festival at the Old Bushmills Distillery, the opening of the Brickell City Centre and at the pre-Emmy party at The London West Hollywood hotel.[41][42]

Wood signed up to co-produce and also star in the film Black Wings Has My Angel, based on the noir novel of the same name, with Anthony Moody and Rob Malkani of Indalo Productions. Wood, alongside Tom Hiddleston and Anna Paquin, was set start shooting in late 2012, but the production of the movie was delayed.[43]

In 2010, Wood, together with Daniel Noah and Josh C. Waller, founded The Woodshed, a production company that promotes horror films. In 2013, the company was re-branded as SpectreVision.[44]

Wood voiced Shay, one of two main characters in the adventure game Broken Age, for which he received the 2014 Performance in a Comedy, Lead award from National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers (NAVGTR).[45]

Charity work

On April 23, 2010, in a charitable gesture, Wood visited the town of Curepto, Chile, one of the hardest hit by the 8.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Chile on February 27, 2010. He made personal visits to many of the victims and was accompanied by the First Lady of Chile, Cecilia Morel.[46][47]

Personal life

Wood has a tattoo of the number nine written in the Sindarin language, which uses the Tengwar script, and in the English language (rather than Quenya as is widely believed), below his waist on the right side. It refers to his character as one of the Fellowship of the Ring. The other actors of "The Fellowship" got the same tattoo, with the exception of John Rhys-Davies, whose stunt double got the tattoo instead.[48]

In May 2006, Autograph Collector Magazine published its list of 10 Best & 10 Worst Hollywood Autograph Signers; Wood was ranked #7 of Best Signers.[49]

Wood was an active supporter of Bernie Sanders during the 2016 presidential election.[50]

In 2016, Wood discussed his belief that organized child sexual abuse happens in the Hollywood film industry.[51] A year after Wood's comments, The New York Times broke the story of sexual assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein, leading to the Weinstein effect phenomenon and the #MeToo campaign.[52][53][54]



  1. "Elijah Wood Biography". The Biography Channel. A+E Television Networks, LLC. Archived from the original on December 16, 2013. Retrieved January 15, 2014.
  2. Rauzi, Robin (April 6, 1993). "Elijah Wood: Having Fun Acting as a Kid". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 15, 2014.
  3. ""Hooligans" – The seven sins according to Elijah Wood". always.ejwsites.net.
  4. "Elijah Wood Biography". The Biography Channel. AETN UK. Archived from the original on January 8, 2014. Retrieved January 20, 2014.
  5. Heath, Chris (April 11, 2002). "The Secret Life of Elijah Wood". Rolling Stone (893). His Catholic mother favored biblical names. His older brother was Zachariah, his younger sister would be Hannah. He got Elijah. "He was a prophet," Wood says, "a messenger of God." This Elijah does not imagine himself a messenger of God and has not stayed close to organized Catholicism, but he does try to pray every night before he goes to sleep.
  6. John Gaudiosi (April 2, 2007). "Elijah Wood's Got Game". bloomberg.com. Retrieved March 28, 2016.
  7. Harnick, Chris (June 27, 2013). "Elijah Wood Reveals Vintage Modeling Pictures On 'Conan' (VIDEO)". The Huffington Post. Retrieved January 20, 2014.
  8. Hopewell, John (October 12, 2013). "Elijah Wood at Sitges: 'Genre Is Getting the Respect It Deserves'". Variety. Retrieved January 15, 2014.
  9. "BIOGRAPHY: Elijah Wood". Lifetime. AETN UK. Archived from the original on October 29, 2016. Retrieved December 30, 2016.
  10. Wood calls in and discusses this in an episode of My Dad Wrote a Porno.
  11. Ebert, Roger (November 4, 1994). "The War Movie Review & Film Summary (1994)". Roger Ebert. Retrieved January 15, 2014.
  12. "Wavy Lay's Super Bowl Commercial Finds Child Star Elijah Wood Waging "Wavy Lay's Challenge" to Super Bowl Bound Troy Aikman". PR Newswire. January 27, 1994. Retrieved January 20, 2014.
  13. "New Xbox to kick off console wars". BBC News. May 12, 2005. Retrieved January 15, 2014.
  14. Vary, Adam B. (September 19, 2006). "Who's making what? This week's announced projects". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved October 20, 2019.
  15. "Filming Happy Feet 'was like jazz', says Elijah Wood". BBC News. November 22, 2011. Retrieved January 15, 2014.
  16. "Weinsteins To Present Estevez's "Bobby"". Rotten Tomatoes. March 17, 2006. Retrieved January 15, 2014.
  17. "Elijah Wood Examines the Plight of Penguins in Saving a Species: The Great Penguin Rescue". SeaWorld. Archived from the original on May 4, 2008. Retrieved January 15, 2014.
  18. Gough, Paul J. (February 8, 2007). "PBS leads kids' Emmy noms with 18". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on March 11, 2007. Retrieved January 15, 2014.
  19. "Elijah Wood to play Iggy Pop". Softpedia. Archived from the original on August 28, 2006. Retrieved October 18, 2006.
  20. "Iggy Pop biopic with Elijah Wood starring is basically dead." The Playlist, April 6, 2009.
  21. "Actor Recipients Sandra Oh and Elijah Wood Join Sag President Alan Rosenberg to Announce Nominees". The Student Operated Press. December 28, 2006. Retrieved January 15, 2014.
  22. "Day Zero". Tribeca Film Festival. Tribeca Enterprises LLC. Retrieved January 15, 2014.
  23. Rolfe, Pamela (December 27, 2006). "Wood joins suspects in 'Murders'". The Hollywood Reporter. AP. Retrieved January 15, 2014.
  24. Vineyard, Jennifer (November 25, 2008). "Elijah Wood Goes Animated For Post-Apocalyptic Animated Epic, '9'". MTV Movies Blog. Retrieved January 15, 2014.
  25. Stanhope, Kate (June 29, 2010). "Elijah Wood Signs on For First Starring TV Role with Wilfred Pilot". TV Guide. Retrieved January 15, 2014.
  26. "Elijah Wood returns as Frodo in 'The Hobbit'". The Independent. January 10, 2011. Retrieved January 15, 2014.
  27. "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey". BoxOfficeMojo.
  28. "Elijah Wood Takes A Dark Trip With Flying Lotus In "Tiny Tortures"". Fast Company. November 30, 2012.
  30. "Cartoon Network's Over the Garden Wall Wins Three Emmys". Cartoon Brew. September 16, 2015.
  31. "2017 Sundance Film Festival Award Winners" (PDF). Sundance Film Festival Official Site. Sundance Organization. Retrieved January 31, 2017.
  32. "Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency has been cancelled". Den of Geek!. December 19, 2017. Retrieved September 19, 2018.
  33. "Yes, the guy in the middle of nowhere in the music video of 'Ridiculous Thoughts' of The Cranberries is young Elijah Wood". indianexpress.com. January 28, 2017. Retrieved November 10, 2019.
  34. "DANKO JONES - Actors Elijah Wood, Ralph Macchio And Jena Malone Discuss Below The Belt Video Trilogy In New Video EPK". www.bravewords.com. April 5, 2011. Retrieved November 10, 2019.
  35. "First video from 'Hot Sauce Committee Pt. 2' features Elijah Wood as a young Ad-Rock". www.rollingstone.com. April 21, 2011. Retrieved November 10, 2019.
  36. "Elijah Wood's Label to Release New Apples in Stereo Album". Spin. September 26, 2006. Retrieved January 15, 2014.
  37. Mills, Fred (January 11, 2007). "Apples In Stereo, Elijah Wood Make Synergy and Video "Energy"". Harp. Archived from the original on March 15, 2009. Retrieved January 15, 2014.
  38. Kuo, Li C. (May 8, 2006). "Elijah Wood is Spyro the Dragon". GameSpy. Retrieved January 15, 2014.
  39. "Happy Feet star Elijah Wood". CBBC Newsround. November 29, 2006. Retrieved January 15, 2014.
  40. "Double Woods Honored at Midnight Awards". International Film Guide. April 24, 2009. Archived from the original on March 19, 2012. Retrieved January 15, 2014.
  41. "Actor Elijah Wood of DJ Wooden Wisdom to Perform at 'Bushmills Live'". Yahoo!. April 23, 2012. Archived from the original on May 27, 2012. Retrieved June 23, 2012.
  42. "Wood spins for Emmy". New York Post. September 15, 2011. Retrieved June 23, 2012.
  43. Kit, Borys (April 19, 2007). "Wood to Produce 'Black Wings'". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. Retrieved April 18, 2007.
  44. Yamato, Jen. (September 4, 2013) Elijah Wood's Woodshed Rebrands As SpectreVision, Adds Music Management. Deadline. Retrieved on 2015-05-05.
  45. "NAVGTR Awards (2014)". National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers. Archived from the original on March 22, 2017. Retrieved January 27, 2017.
  46. Elijah Wood visita a los damnificados del terremoto en Curepto (23/04/10). 3tv.cl
  47. Visit the 27F earthquake victims Archived July 13, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. Latercera.com. Retrieved on May 5, 2015.
  48. "The stars of The Lord of the Rings trilogy reach their journey's end". SciFi.com. Archived from the original on March 6, 2007. Retrieved May 31, 2007.
  49. "Depp, Clooney best at signing fan autographs". Today.com. Retrieved July 6, 2006.
  50. "Elijah Wood on Twitter".
  51. "Elijah Wood claims Hollywood gripped by Jimmy Savile style sex abuse". May 22, 2016.
  52. "Is Hollywood sitting on a pedophilia scandal?". The Week. October 19, 2017. Retrieved April 23, 2019.
  53. Frisby, Troy (October 17, 2017). "Inside Hollywood's other secret problem of hidden sexual abuse of young boys". AOL. Retrieved April 23, 2019.
  54. "Harvey Weinstein scandal: 5 times women who came forward with stories of sexual harassment were ignored". Hindustan Times. November 6, 2017. Retrieved April 23, 2019.

Further reading

  • Sibley, Brian. The Lord of the Rings Official Movie Guide. Houghton Mifflin, 2001. ISBN 0-618-15402-7.
  • Holmstrom, John. The Moving Picture Boy: An International Encyclopaedia from 1895 to 1995, Norwich, Michael Russell, 1996, p. 398.
Preceded by
Jess Harnell
Voice of Spyro the Dragon
Succeeded by
Josh Keaton
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