Philip John Clapp (born March 11, 1971), better known by his stage name Johnny Knoxville, is an American actor, comedian, daredevil, and screenwriter. He has been featured in a number of films, but is perhaps best known as the co-creator and principal star of the MTV reality series Jackass.
Knoxville was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, the son of Lemoyne and Philip Clapp, who was a car salesman.
Knoxville credits a copy of Jack Kerouac's On the Road given to him by his cousin, country singer/songwriter Roger Alan Wade, with giving him the acting bug. After graduating from South-Young High School in 1989 in Knoxville, he moved to California to become an actor, and at first appeared in commercials and as an extra. Not getting the big break he had hoped for, he began writing and pitching article ideas to various magazines. An idea to test self-defense equipment on himself was picked up by the Jeff Tremaine-helmed skateboarding magazine Big Brother, and the stunts were filmed and included in Big Brother's Number Two video.