The Unexpected Rise of Hollywood's New ‘It’ Boy Jeremy Allen White

Say the phrase, “Yes, chef!” to most television fans these days and, chances are, it will conjure an image of Jeremy Allen White, Hollywood’s hottest new leading man. Once a shy teenager, the actor has blossomed over the years into a versatile performer who captivates audiences with his raw portrayals of complex characters. In this article, we’ll delve into his acting origin story; the differences between his iconic roles on Shameless and The Bear; the transformative experience of The Iron Claw; and what the future may hold for his life and career.

A Brooklyn boy

Before he came to fame playing a hardscrabble, tattooed Chicago chef with unruly hair and a fierce dedication to his craft, White grew up in Brooklyn, New York, as the son of theater performers.

His parents had tried for years to make it on Broadway but, when he came along, they got “real” jobs: his mom worked in the school system, and dad founded a business filming legal depositions. White inherited their love of performing, but initially, it wasn’t acting that he was interested in.

The man loves to dance

You see, as a child, White didn’t play football or little league — he danced. He told Interview magazine, “I trained as a dancer when I was young — jazz, ballet, tap. Going out dancing with friends is my favorite thing to do. I break out all my old moves.”

He laughed, “All my friends make fun of me because I have a very specific dance I do when the tempo changes. I guess it would be described as a, like, a weird sashay-tap thing. But if I could dance forever, that would be great.”

Theater was where his acting journey began

At only 11 years old, some of White’s trademark intensity reared its head: he quit his school’s dance program because it didn’t live up to his high expectations! He chuckled to GQ, “I didn't think it was serious enough for me. So obnoxious.”

And leaving dance was what wound up leading him to the theater — and he never looked back. In fact, even though he has since hit it big on TV and film, he still aspires to achieve his parents’ dream: make it on Broadway. He told GQ, “I guess I just want to see what it feels like.”

A compromise was reached to keep him in school

Throughout his teens, White managed to book parts in small theater productions and even some tiny movie roles, but he always felt as though school was holding him back. He told GQ, “I wasn't a bad kid, I just hated school. I knew it wasn't going to help me.”

His parents agreed on a compromise, though: he couldn’t leave school, but he could intern at a Brooklyn casting agency, which made him feel like a career in acting was a real possibility if he worked hard enough.