Emile Davenport Hirsch (born March 13, 1985) is an American television and film actor. He began performing in the late 1990s, appearing in several television films and series, and became known as a film actor after roles in Lords of Dogtown, The Emperor's Club, The Girl Next Door, Alpha Dog, and Into the Wild. In 2008, Hirsch starred in Speed Racer and in Milk with Sean Penn, his director from Into the Wild.
Hirsch was born in Topanga, California, the son of Margaret (née Davenport), a visual artist and teacher who designed pop-up books, and David Hirsch, an industrial consultant, manager, and producer. His older sister Jenny introduced him to acting. Hirsch was raised in Los Angeles, California, and Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he lived with his mother after his parents divorced. He attended Paul Revere Middle School and the Academy of Music at Alexander Hamilton High School in Los Angeles. Hirsch left early and did not obtain a high school diploma.
Hirsch began acting at the age of eight, appearing in minor roles on television shows and made-for-television films, including Kindred: the Embraced; Sabrina, the Teenage Witch and NYPD Blue. He made his film debut with the 2002 drama, The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys, where he starred opposite Kieran Culkin in the story of two Catholic school boys. His next role was in the prep school drama, The Emperor's Club, which was released later in 2002. Both films received generally positive reviews, but performed only moderately at the box office.