Jason Kent Bateman (born January 14, 1969) is an American actor, director and producer who rose to prominence as a high-profile adolescent actor in the 1980s, in sitcoms such as Silver Spoons and The Hogan Family, before returning in the early 2000s in the role of Michael Bluth on the critically acclaimed sitcom Arrested Development, for which he won a TV Land Award, a Golden Globe, and a Satellite Award. He has since established himself in Hollywood by appearing in several films, including Juno (2007), Hancock (2008), Up in the Air (2009), The Switch (2010), Horrible Bosses (2011), Paul (2011), The Change-Up (2011), Identity Thief (2013), Bad Words (2014), Horrible Bosses 2 (2014), The Gift (2015) and Zootopia (2016). He is the younger brother of actress Justine Bateman.
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Bateman was born in Rye, New York. His mother, Victoria Elizabeth, a former flight attendant for Pan Am, was English, born in Shrewsbury, Shropshire. His father, Kent Bateman, is an actor, writer and director of film and television, and founder of a repertory stage in Hollywood. Bateman’s older sister, Justine, is known for her work on the sitcom Family Ties. Bateman also has three half-brothers. Bateman was four years old when his family moved to Salt Lake City, Utah, and later to California. Bateman told Best Life magazine that he and his sister supported their parents with the paychecks they earned from their television shows; he also revealed that he was managed by his father until Bateman dissolved the business relationship at the age of 20.
Bateman first appeared in a cereal commercial for Golden Grahams in 1980 and started his television career on Little House on the Prairie as James Cooper, an orphaned boy who, along with his sister, is adopted by the Ingalls family. From 1982 to 1984, he was a supporting character on the television show Silver Spoons as Ricky Schroder’s “bad boy” best friend Derek Taylor. He appeared in the Knight Rider third-season episode “Lost Knight” in 1984, and a number of other small television roles. In 1984, in response to his popularity on Silver Spoons, the show’s producers gave Bateman his own starring role as Matthew Burton on the NBC sitcom It’s Your Move, from September of 1984 to February of 1985. In 1987, he appeared with Burt Reynolds on the men’s team in the inaugural week of game show Win, Lose or Draw.
Bateman earned the status of teen idol in the mid-1980s for his television work, most notably as David Hogan on The Hogan Family (originally titled Valerie and later, Valerie’s Family, after Valerie Harper left the series). He 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 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 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 1999. 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. The show was revived in spring 2013. 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. New episodes of Arrested Development have been released on Netflix with the original cast, including Bateman. 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 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 2012, Bateman returned to his role of Michael Bluth for the revival of Arrested Development along with the rest of the original cast. The now-Netflix sponsored series released Season 4 on its Instant Watch website on May 26, 2013. The series was expected to continue its run as well as a potential feature film. For the new fourth season, Bateman was once again nominated for Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series. However, season 4 was a one-off despite the success. There were rumours and talks of a season 5 being underway but Bateman confirmed that there aren’t any solid plans yet in March 2016. Later in the same month, Will Arnett said everyone is willing to go for another season but there have been problems with Bateman’s schedule.
Bateman features in the video for Mumford and Sons song “Hopeless Wanderer”.
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. He 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 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 and The Change-Up. In March 2012, Mansome, 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 and the 2014 comedies This Is Where I Leave You and Horrible Bosses 2. He also narrated the 2014 documentary Pump. In 2015, Bateman headlined Joel Edgerton’s thriller film The Gift, opposite Rebecca Hall and Edgerton.
In 2013, Bateman made his directorial debut with Bad Words, in which he also starred. He also directed and starred in an adaptation of The Family Fang. He voiced Nick Wilde, a fox, in the 2016 Disney animated feature Zootopia.
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In 1987, Bateman won the celebrity portion of the Long Beach Grand Prix. Throughout the 1990s, he struggled with an addiction to alcohol and drugs; he stated in a 2009 interview that “it was like Risky Business for ten years”.
Bateman married Amanda Anka, daughter of singer Paul Anka, in July 2001. They have two daughters: Francesca Nora (born in 2006) and Maple Sylvie (born in 2012). In late 2005, he had surgery to remove a benign polyp from his throat.