Born: 19 April 1978
Birthplace: Palo Alto, California
Best known as: Harry Osborn in the Spider-Man movies
James Franco was nominated for an Oscar as best actor for his role as an ill-fated climber in the 2010 movie 127 Hours. But he may still be best known as Harry Osborn -- AKA Green Goblin, Jr. -- in the Sam Raimi Spider-Man movies (2002-07). James Franco grew up in California and, after one year of college, began his acting career with small roles in TV productions in 1997. Fans remember Franco from the short-lived but critically acclaimed Judd Apatow series Freaks and Geeks (1999-2000, starring Linda Cardellini), but his career breakthrough came with his Emmy-nominated portrayal of James Dean in the 2001 TV movie James Dean. Although he lost the role of Spider-man to Tobey Maguire, he landed the role of Osborn, the son of the villainous Green Goblin (played by Willem Dafoe). In addition to that movie's sequels, James Franco has appeared in a number of dramas and comedies, including City by the Sea (2002, starring Robert DeNiro), In the Valley of Elah (2007, starring Tommy Lee Jones), Pineapple Express (2008, starring Seth Rogen) and Milk (2008, starring Sean Penn). In 127 Hours he played real-life outdoorsman Aron Ralston, who was forced to cut off his own arm to escape after being trapped by an 800-pound boulder during a solo climbing expedition in 2003.
Extra credit: James Franco earned a B.A. degree from UCLA in 2008, after taking classes while continuing his acting career. He has also taken graduate writing and filmmaking classes at a variety of colleges, and in 2010 enrolled as PhD student in the English program at Yale University... 127 Hours was based on Aron Ralston's book Between a Rock and a Hard Place.
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