Oscar-nominated actor Jeremy Lee Renner was born in Modesto and attended Modesto Junior College, where he explored several areas of study, including computer science, criminology and psychology before the theatre department, with its freedom of emotional expression, drew him in.
Renner has said he found his calling after signing up for a drama class. The actor’s former drama professor, Charline Freedman, called Renner one of her best students ever, telling The Modesto Bee, “I would say within a month, I knew we had somebody very special in this young man.” Renner himself credits his time at Modesto Junior College as pivotal in launching his successful career. He called Freedman “my acting coach, my gal,” noting she “pointed me in the direction that I never turned back from.”
Possessed of an off-kilter stare that can be alternately boyish and demonic, Renner has enjoyed a successful career as a character actor and quirky leading man. After scoring the lead role in “National Lampoon's Senior Trip” in 1995, Renner went on to book numerous television movies, guest spots, pilots and independent films. In 2000 he landed a recurring role in the WB's “Angel” as Penn, a 17th-century vampire/serial killer.Renner received an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Male Lead for his breakout performance as the notorious Jeffrey Dahmer in “Dahmer,” a critically-acclaimed portrayal of one of the most infamous serial killers of modern times. He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance in “The Hurt Locker” in 2008 and for Best Supporting Actor for his role in “The Town” two years later. More recently, Renner played the role of Hawkeye in several Marvel Cinematic Universe films.