Justin Bartha Biography
Birth Name: Justin Bartha
Birth Place: Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, USA
Birth Place: Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, USA
Justin Lee Bartha was born on July 21, 1978 in Fort Lauderdale, FL but was raised along with his brother Jeffrey in the affluent Detroit suburb of West Bloomfield, MI. His father, Stephen, was a real estate developer and his mother, Betty, was a schoolteacher. Bartha graduated from West Bloomfield High School in 1986 and attended New York University's Tisch School of the Arts to study acting. While living in the Big Apple for 11 years, he wrote and directed commercials, and produced a pilot for MTV titled "The Dustin and Justin Show," before throwing in the towel and moving to Los Angeles to pursue a fulltime acting career. Bartha first appeared in the short film "Tag" (1999) before getting cast in his first feature role, the epic misfire, "Gigli" (2003). A supposed romantic/crime comedy that starred then power couple Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez - jointly coined "Bennifer" by the obsessive tabloid media and fans - Bartha was one of the few high points for critics with his portrayal of the kidnapped, psychologically-challenged brother of the federal prosecutor. Bad reviews and dismal box office sales made "Gigli" one of cinema's most famous flops in history and hardly the way a young actor wanted to usher in his big screen career.
Lucky for Bartha, "Gigli" did not impact him negatively. That was reserved for the two leads. A year later, he was cast as the charming and somewhat goofy scientist, Riley Poole, in "National Treasure," opposite Nicholas Cage, Jon Voight and Diane Kruger. The adventure-laden movie followed a team of treasure hunters in search of a centuries old mythical treasure. Although Bartha said he had never pictured himself starring in an action/adventure film, there was something more to the flick that ultimately attracted him. It did not hurt that his character, a sports car enthusiast, ends up with a red-hot Ferrari 360 Spider at the end of the film. Though "National Treasure" made over $35 million at the box office during its opening weekend alone, Bartha chose not to strictly make action blockbusters. The actor had a supporting role in the indie dramedy, "Trust the Man" (2005), opposite David Duchovny and Julianne Moore, and showed off his comic chops as Matthew McConaughey's best friend, Ace, in "Failure to Launch" (2006), a romantic comedy co-starring Sarah Jessica Parker. Bartha attempted a small screen career as well, joining the cast of NBC's "Teachers." The series premiered on early 2006, but was cancelled less than two months later due to low ratings.
Three years after starring in the biggest movie of his career, Bartha once again stepped into the role of Riley Poole for "National Treasure: Book of Secrets," a movie that doubled the action and mystery of its predecessor. The film also took the cast and crew across the pond for its thrilling scenes, including shoots in London and Paris. The film reunited Bartha with Cage, Voight, Kruger and Harvey Keitel, while a couple of notable award-winning actors joined the cast - Ed Harris and Helen Mirren. The actor expressed interest in a third "National Treasure" film, with hopes that his character would be transformed into a suave, James Bond-type treasure hunter. "I'd like to see more ladies for Riley," Bartha joked. "Just a lot of ladies."
Though he was a relatively low-profile celebrity, Bartha did become a target of tabloid magazines and bloggers for his love life. He dated Lydia Hearst until August 2007, a break-up that induced the actor to have a screaming match with his socialite ex during an Academy Awards party in February 2008. Bartha was then photographed with actress-fashion designer-mogul Ashley Olsen at a New York restaurant in May 2008. The pair made it official that they were dating just a few months later. A rumor that the Bartha proposed to Olsen also swirled around October 2008, though it was never confirmed.
The actor stayed busy for most of 2009 with the release of two of his films, "The Hangover" and "The Rebound." In "The Hangover," Bartha played groom-to-be, Doug Billings, who goes to Las Vegas for his bachelor party, but during the film's first act, goes missing, leaving his three moronic friends (Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis) to recount the hilarious, alcohol-fueled events that lead to his disappearance. The film became the year's highest-grossing comedy and made stars out of all the relatively unknown actors. The film's gross-out humor was the furthest away from "The Rebound," a romantic comedy Bartha starred in opposite Catherine Zeta-Jones. In it, he played Aram Finklestein, a young New Yorker who catches the eye of his neighbor (Zeta-Jones), a single mother looking for love. Unfortunately, unlike his other offering that year, "The Rebound" disappeared off the box office radar quickly.
Next up for the in-demand actor, Bartha joined an ensemble cast that included Shia LaBeouf, Natalie Portman, and Orlando Bloom in "New York, I Love You" (2009), an American remake of the French film "Paris, je t'aime" (2006). The actor appeared in two vignettes directed by the Emmy Award-winning Randall Balsmeyer. Bartha also began production on three other movies in 2009: "Holy Rollers," about a Brooklyn teen who gets involved with an Israeli drug cartel; "Justqu'a toi," a romantic comedy he executive produced and starred in about a recently-dumped man who flies off to Paris; and the drama "Long Time Gone" with Christina Ricci and Anjelica Houston.