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From Entourage to Leading Man: The Jeremy Piven Phenomenon

From Entourage to Leading Man: The Jeremy Piven Phenomenon

As the actor who portrayed the high-functioning show-business predator Ari Gold on TV’s “Entourage,” Jeremy Piven won three Emmys and a Golden Globe during the series’ 2004-2011 run on HBO. But the real-life Piven has a very different style than his character, preferring to take a measured approach in his work. He’s still an alpha male, of course, but he has honed his craft over the decades, with roles in many classic films and a long history on Broadway.

He’s a craftsman and proud of it, though his path to success wasn’t exactly smooth. He started out as a stage actor in Chicago before moving to the small screen in the late 1980s, with a recurring role on The Larry Sanders Show and eventually landing the head writer role on HBO’s cult comedy series, Mr. Sanders.

His career took off from there, and Piven racked up more than 50 film and television credits by the time he was 40. He has been working steadily since, and was even a frequent guest host on the daytime talk show Sherri Shepherd from 2012 to 2013.

In 2013, Piven made his big-screen debut in The Expendables Jeremy Piven III. That same year, he also began playing the title character in British TV series Mr. Selfridge, a historical drama about the founder of a department store in pre-World War I London. The series is a throwback to an earlier age of elegance and class, which was something that appealed to Piven, who was raised in a theatrical household and attended the famed Piven Theatre Workshop in Evanston, Illinois.

A few months ago, Piven was in the midst of a busy schedule, appearing in a number of movies and on the television series The Good Fight and Elementary. However, the actor was hit with multiple allegations of sexual misconduct, resulting in a canceled series on CBS and a delay in Piven’s latest film project, a heist movie called Sweetwater.

Piven smiles a little when asked about the situation, but then he begins to speak more candidly. “Part of the problem is there’s such a tidal wave of gossip and innuendo that you’re inundated with,” he says.

“I think it’s important to stay in a state of play and that’s what actors do. It’s the most fun you can have in life. And I’m having a blast doing it.”

Piven grabs a seat at an outdoor table at the Larchmont Bungalow, a casual restaurant/coffee shop on a homey little street south of downtown Hollywood. He’s lean and muscular, wearing jeans, a Henley-collar shirt and a buckskin jacket. His complexion is radiant, and he has that serene quality that seems to be either about tranquility or self-control. He’s dressed in all black, with the exception of his blue baseball cap.

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