Elijah Wood

Elijah Wood

Wood in September 2014
Born (1981-01-28) January 28, 1981
Cedar Rapids, Iowa, United States
Residence Austin, Texas, United States
Occupation Actor, voice actor, producer, DJ
Years active 1988–present

Elijah Jordan Wood (born January 28, 1981) is an American actor, voice actor, producer, and DJ. He made his film debut with a minor part in Back to the Future Part II (1989). Landing a succession of larger roles, he was critically acclaimed as a child actor by age nine, being nominated for several Young Artist Awards. As a child, he starred in the films Radio Flyer (1992), The Good Son (1993), North (1994), and Flipper (1996).

He began to take on teenage roles in the films The Ice Storm (1997), Deep Impact and The Faculty (both 1998). He is best known for his high-profile leading role as Frodo Baggins in Peter Jackson's epic film trilogy The Lord of the Rings (2001–03). Since then, he has chosen varied roles in films such as Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004), Sin City, Green Street, Everything Is Illuminated (all 2005), and Bobby (2006).

Wood provided the voice of Mumble in the award-winning animated musical films Happy Feet (2006) and Happy Feet Two (2011), as well as the eponymous lead in the Tim Burton-produced action/science fiction film 9 (2009). In 2005, he started his own record label, Simian Records. He did the voice acting for Spyro in the Legend of Spyro trilogy. In 2012, he began voicing Beck in the animated series Tron: Uprising, Sigma in the tenth season of the Rooster Teeth series, Red vs. Blue, and Wirt in the Cartoon Network miniseries Over the Garden Wall (2014). From 2011-14, Wood played the role of Ryan Newman in FX's cult dark comedy, Wilfred. As of late autumn 2016, he co-stars in the BBC America series Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency.

Early life

Wood was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the second of three children.[1] His parents, Debra (née Krause) and Warren Wood, operate a delicatessen.[2] Wood is of Austrian, Danish, English, German, and Polish descent.[3][4][5][6][7] He was raised Roman Catholic.[8][9][10] He has a brother, Zachariah, who is a video game producer at Sony,[11][12] and a sister, Hannah, who is an actress.[13] At age seven, Wood began modeling in his hometown and took piano lessons.[14][15] In elementary school, he appeared in The Sound of Music, followed by 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.


1988–1998: Early work

Wood modeled and did local commercials. For his career, his family moved to Los Angeles in 1988, where he got his first break in the video for Paula Abdul's "Forever Your Girl", directed by David Fincher. This was followed by a pivotal role in the 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".[16] Playing Aidan Quinn's son in Avalon and Tin Men garnered professional attention for Wood; Avalon 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). Wood co-starred with Mel Gibson and Jamie Lee Curtis in Forever Young (1992) and Joseph Mazzello in Radio Flyer.

In 1993, Wood played the title character in The Adventures of Huck Finn, and appeared in The Good Son; The following year he starred in The War. The latter film was nominated for four awards and won two. Roger Ebert's film review praised Wood highly, stating that Wood "has emerged, I believe, as the most talented actor, in his age group, in Hollywood history".[17]

Wood's title role in North was followed by a Super Bowl commercial for Wavy Lay's potato chips (with Dan Quayle).[18] In 1995, Wood was in the video for The Cranberries "Ridiculous Thoughts", played the lead role in Flipper, and was in Ang Lee's critically acclaimed, The Ice Storm. In 1997, Wood was Jack "The Artful Dodger" Dawkins in Tony Bill's film adaptation of Oliver Twist, and had a leading role in Deep Impact, and supporting one in The Faculty. 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.

In 2002, Wood lent his voice to the direct-to-video release of The Adventures of Tom Thumb and Thumbelina. The second part of Peter Jackson's trilogy was also released, titled The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. In 2003, Wood starred in the direct-to-video movie All I Want (also titled Try Seventeen). The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King was unveiled that December, sweeping the 76th Academy Awards in early 2004.


Wood in February 2006

Wood's first post-trilogy role was in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, as a lab technician; he next played the serial killer Kevin in Robert Rodriguez's adaptation of Frank Miller's comic-book series, Sin City. On May 12, 2005, Wood hosted a program called MTV Presents: The Next Generation Xbox Revealed, when the new Xbox 360 games console was launched.[19]

In 2005, Wood starred in Everything Is Illuminated, in which he plays 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, he played an American college student who falls in with a violent English football firm. Both had limited release, but were critically acclaimed.

Wood shot a small part in Paris, je t'aime, 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 opened on May 18 at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival and was shown at 2006 Toronto International Film Festival. First Look Pictures acquired the North American rights, and the film opened in the US in early 2007.[20]

In 2006, he was part of the ensemble cast of Emilio Estevez's Bobby, in which his character marries Lindsay Lohan's character to change his draft classification.[21] The film premiered at the Venice Film Festival and was released theatrically on November 17, 2006.

In Happy Feet, Wood provided the voice of Mumble, a penguin who can tap dance, but not sing.[22] Happy Feet was released on November 17, 2006, and has grossed over $380 million worldwide. The movie also received a Golden Globe Award nomination and won an Academy Award and a BAFTA for Best Animated Feature. Day Zero, a drama about the draft in the United States, had its debut at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival. Wood portrays draftee Aaron Feller.[23]

In 2006, Wood hosted the special Saving a Species: The Great Penguin Rescue for Discovery Kids Channel;[24] he was nominated for a Daytime Emmy in the category of acting in a children/youth/family special.[25] On January 4, 2007, Wood joined Screen Actors Guild President Alan Rosenberg to announce the nominees for the 13th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards.[26]

In The Oxford Murders, a film adaptation of the novel of the same name by Guillermo Martínez, Wood plays a graduate student who investigates a series of bizarre, mathematically based murders in Oxford.[27] It was released in Spain on January 18, 2008. Wood also voiced the lead in the animated feature film version of the short film 9.[28] A project in which Wood was set to star, a biographical film about singer Iggy Pop, putatively named The Passenger,[29] has not come to fruition after years in development.[30]

Wood's first starring TV role is on the FX series, Wilfred, in which he plays Ryan. The pilot was shot in the summer of 2010.[31] In January 2011, it was confirmed that Wood would reprise the role of Frodo Baggins in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the first film of The Hobbit trilogy,[32] released on December 14, 2012.

In 2012, Wood appeared in the psychedelic and dreamlike Flying Lotus music video "Tiny Tortures," where he appears as a recent amputee coming to grips with his new situation.

At PAX East in April 2012, it was confirmed that Wood would give the voice to Agent Maine's AI, Sigma, in Season 10 of the machinima series Red vs. Blue. Wood also starred in the Beastie Boys' music video for "Make Some Noise", along with Seth Rogen and Danny McBride.

In 2013 Wood starred in Grand Piano (Director: Eugenio Mira, Writer: Damien Chazelle).

Other work

Wood DJ'ing at the box.com launch party in New York in 2012

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.[33] In addition he also directed the music video for "Energy".[34] The other band signed to Simian thus far is Heloise and the Savoir Faire.

In 2006, Wood was also in Season 2 Episode 6 of American Dad!. He was the voice of Ethan, a college student and Haley's crush, who listens to Professor Baxter's (Roger) advice about following your heart and doing something new. Ethan takes this the wrong way and stabs his father 38 times (not shown) and becomes very crazy. Roger admits to being a fake, and he and Hayley leave, saying that the police are coming. This suggests that Ethan gets arrested, and is out of the show. Wood does not appear again.

Wood has also provided voiceovers for video games, providing the voice for Spyro the Dragon in the Legend of Spyro game trilogy,[35] as well as reprising Mumble in the game version of Happy Feet.[36] He also contributed his talents to fellow Lord of the Rings star Viggo Mortensen's album Pandemoniumfromamerica, singing and playing various instruments on the album.[37]

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".[38] Wood also starred in an episode of Yo Gabba Gabba!, entitled "Eat," where he danced and "went crazy" alongside the rest of the Yo Gabba Gabba! cast. Wood can be seen in a short film on stepthroughtheportal.com. The site is an interactive website created by Simian Records artists The Apples in Stereo, promoting their upcoming album, Travelers in Space and Time.

In addition to producing and acting, Wood has become a well-known DJ. With his friend Zach Cowie, he performs as "Wooden Wisdom a.k.a. DJ Frodo."[39] The duo has spun at events such as the Bushmills Live 2012 festival at the Old Bushmills Distillery and at the pre-Emmy party at The London West Hollywood hotel.[40][41]

Despite the common misconception, Wood has confirmed that his DJ name is just his name, and not "DJ Frodo" as has been falsely spread by the internet.[42]

Wood has 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, started shooting in late 2012.[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] In 2010, Wood starred in the web series 'Red vs Blue as the A.I. fragment Sigma.

Wood also stars in the TV show Wilfred and voiced Shay, one of two main characters in the adventure game Broken Age. In 2014 Wood provided the voice of Wirt in Over the Garden Wall, a miniseries on Cartoon Network.

Charity work

Wood has supported campaigns such as as Keep a Child Alive and ALDO/YouthAIDS. Fellow actor Liev Schreiber, who directed Wood in Everything Is Illuminated, commented that Wood has a "generosity of spirit" and a "sincere goodness as a human being".[45]

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

In 2013, Wood moved to Austin, Texas,[48] having sold his home in Santa Monica, California.[49]

Wood is a music lover, owning a collection of roughly 4,000 vinyl records and CDs. He has cited The Smashing Pumpkins as his favorite band.[50]

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. By coincidence, he later starred in a film titled 9. The other actors of "The Fellowship" got the same tattoo, with the exception of John Rhys-Davies, whose stunt double got the tattoo instead.[51]

In May 2006, Autograph Collector Magazine published its list of 10 Best & 10 Worst Hollywood Autograph Signers; Wood was ranked #7 of Best Signers.[52]

In 2008, during an appearance on Jack Osbourne's show Adrenaline Junkie, he became the first person to cross Victoria Falls on ropes.[53]

Wood outspokenly supported 2016 Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.[54]



  1. "Elijah Wood Biography". The Biography Channel. A+E Television Networks, LLC. 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. Elijah Wood – Photos – Sexiest Irish celebrities in Hollywood. NY Daily News (March 17, 2015). Retrieved on 2015-05-05.
  4. Always & Forever // Elijah Wood. Always.ejwsites.net (January 28, 1981). Retrieved on 2015-05-05.
  5. American Most Popular Actor – Elijah Wood. man.bf-1.com
  6. Biography. Elijah.fanst.net. Retrieved on May 5, 2015.
  7. Elijah Jordan Wood: b. 28 Jan 1981 Cedar Rapids, IA. Freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com. Retrieved on May 5, 2015.
  8. ""Hooligans" – The seven sins according to Elijah Wood". always.ejwsites.net.
  9. "Elijah Wood Biography". The Biography Channel. AETN UK. Retrieved January 20, 2014.
  10. 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.
  11. "Zach Wood". imdb.com. Retrieved 2016-03-28.
  12. John Gaudiosi (2007-04-02). "Elijah Wood's Got Game". bloomberg.com. Retrieved 2016-03-28.
  13. "Elijah Wood". nndb.com. Retrieved 2016-03-28.
  14. Harnick, Chris (June 27, 2013). "Elijah Wood Reveals Vintage Modeling Pictures On 'Conan' (VIDEO)". The Huffington Post. Retrieved January 20, 2014.
  15. Hopewell, John (October 12, 2013). "Elijah Wood at Sitges: 'Genre Is Getting the Respect It Deserves'". Variety. Retrieved January 15, 2014.
  16. Wood calls in and discusses this in an episode of My Dad Wrote a Porno.
  17. Ebert, Roger (November 4, 1994). "The War Movie Review & Film Summary (1994)". Roger Ebert. Retrieved January 15, 2014.
  18. "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.
  19. "New Xbox to kick off console wars". BBC News. May 12, 2005. Retrieved January 15, 2014.
  20. Vary, Adam B. (September 19, 2006). "The Deal Report". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved January 15, 2014.
  21. "Weinsteins To Present Estevez's "Bobby"". Rotten Tomatoes. March 17, 2006. Retrieved January 15, 2014.
  22. "Filming Happy Feet 'was like jazz', says Elijah Wood". BBC News. November 22, 2011. Retrieved January 15, 2014.
  23. "Day Zero". Tribeca Film Festival. Tribeca Enterprises LLC. Retrieved January 15, 2014.
  24. "Elijah Wood Examines the Plight of Penguins in Saving a Species: The Great Penguin Rescue". SeaWorld. Retrieved January 15, 2014.
  25. 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.
  26. "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.
  27. Rolfe, Pamela (December 27, 2006). "Wood joins suspects in 'Murders'". The Hollywood Reporter. AP. Retrieved January 15, 2014.
  28. Vineyard, Jennifer (November 25, 2008). "Elijah Wood Goes Animated For Post-Apocalyptic Animated Epic, '9'". MTV Movies Blog. Retrieved January 15, 2014.
  29. "Elijah Wood to play Iggy Pop". Softpedia. Retrieved October 18, 2006.
  30. "Iggy Pop biopic with Elijah Wood starring is basically dead." The Playlist, April 6, 2009.
  31. Stanhope, Kate (June 29, 2010). "Elijah Wood Signs on For First Starring TV Role with Wilfred Pilot". TV Guide. Retrieved January 15, 2014.
  32. "Elijah Wood returns as Frodo in 'The Hobbit'". The Independent. January 10, 2011. Retrieved January 15, 2014.
  33. "Elijah Wood's Label to Release New Apples in Stereo Album". Spin. September 26, 2006. Retrieved January 15, 2014.
  34. Mills, Fred (January 11, 2007). "Apples In Stereo, Elijah Wood Make Synergy and Video "Energy"". Harp. Retrieved January 15, 2014.
  35. Kuo, Li C. (May 8, 2006). "Elijah Wood is Spyro the Dragon". GameSpy. Retrieved January 15, 2014.
  36. "Happy Feet star Elijah Wood". CBBC Newsround. November 29, 2006. Retrieved January 15, 2014.
  37. "pandemoniumfromamerica". TDRS Music. Travis Dickerson. Retrieved January 15, 2014.
  38. "Double Woods Honored at Midnight Awards". International Film Guide. April 24, 2009. Retrieved January 15, 2014.
  39. "DJ Frodo in the mix". Ulster Business. April 25, 2012. Retrieved June 23, 2012.
  40. "Actor Elijah Wood of DJ Wooden Wisdom to Perform at 'Bushmills Live'". Yahoo!. April 23, 2012. Retrieved June 23, 2012.
  41. "Wood spins for Emmy". New York Post. September 15, 2011. Retrieved June 23, 2012.
  42. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Kp_Htcp_68
  43. Kit, Borys (April 19, 2007). "Wood to Produce 'Black Wings'". 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. "Everything Is Illuminated". IMDB. September 16, 2005. Retrieved October 18, 2006.
  46. Elijah Wood visita a los damnificados del terremoto en Curepto (23/04/10). 3tv.cl
  47. Visit the 27F earthquake victims. Latercera.com. Retrieved on May 5, 2015.
  48. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2358364/Elijah-Wood-Actor-swaps-Los-Angeles-home-Victorian-mansion-Texas.html
  49. http://variety.com/2011/dirt/real-estalker/elijah-wood-lists-santa-monica-house-1201231858/
  50. "Elijah Wood's Charity Work, Events and Causes". Look to the Stars. Retrieved March 28, 2011.
  51. "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.
  52. "Depp, Clooney best at signing fan autographs". MSNBC. Retrieved July 6, 2006.
  53. "A Famous Adrenaline Junkie – Jack Osbourne". itv2. Retrieved September 27, 2008.
  54. https://twitter.com/elijahwood/status/715578848000086016

Further reading

Preceded by
Jess Harnell
Voice of Spyro the Dragon
Succeeded by
Josh Keaton
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