There are few actors who have more of a bad reputation than Jeremy Piven. He’s been called the biggest jerk in showbiz, and his latest antics haven’t done much to help his image. He’s been accused of bombarding his ex-girlfriend with creepy texts – and she’s just one in a long line of women the Lothario has dated.
Piven, 50, started his acting career at his parents’ well-regarded theatre school in Chicago and has amassed nearly two decades of TV and movie work. He made his big break playing ruthless Hollywood agent Ari Gold in Entourage, which earned him three Emmys and a Golden Globe. He followed it with the role of philandering department store owner Harry Selfridge in ITV’s Mr Selfridge, which is currently filming its fourth season.
But while his talent has earned him a host of accolades, it’s Piven’s behavior that often earns him the most negative attention. He’s notorious for squabbling with producers and other co-stars, and he’s been known to treat waiters and other service staff poorly. He once allegedly left a DVD Jeremy Piven of Entourage instead of paying a bill at the upscale sushi restaurant Nobu, leading to him being banned from every branch of the chain.
The actor has also been accused of sexual misconduct and inappropriate behaviour by multiple women over the years. He was accused of pinning one woman on a couch at a party in 1985, physically assaulting another in 1994 and trying to forcibly kiss a third woman in an elevator in 2003. Piven denies the allegations.
Even with his bad reputation, there’s no denying that Piven has a natural magnetism that pulls in viewers. He has a sophisticated charm that allows him to take audiences on a journey with his characters, from Jerry Capen in The Larry Sanders Show to Spence Kovak in Ellen and Trevor Hale in Cupid. But it’s impossible to watch his performance in Mr Selfridge and not feel that he is fundamentally miscast in the central role.
Piven is currently in the middle of a Broadway run in David Mamet’s Speed-The-Plow, starring alongside Elisabeth Moss from AMC’s Mad Men. He’s also starring in the Netflix series House of Cards, but he may not be around for very long. In a recent interview with the New York Times, Piven revealed that he’s considering a comeback as a film director. He said he’s looking at projects that are both “commercial and artistic.” No word yet on what those films might be, but with Piven at the helm, we expect them to be pretty good.