Rami Malek is an award-winning American actor best known for his lead role as Elliot Alderson in the USA Network television series “Mr. Robot”. He has received critical acclaim for his performances and won an Emmy Award, Screen Actors Guild Award, and Critics’ Choice Television Award for his work on the show.
Early Life and Background
Rami Malek was born on May 12, 1981 in Los Angeles, California to Egyptian immigrant parents. His late father was a tour guide in Cairo and later sold insurance in California. His mother is an accountant.
Malek has an identical twin brother named Sami who is younger by four minutes. He also has an older sister named Yasmine.
He grew up in Sherman Oaks and attended Notre Dame High School where he graduated in 1999. Malek was interested in becoming an actor from a young age. In high school, he sent audition tapes to casting directors in Los Angeles.
|May 12, 1981 (age 42 years)
|Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Said Malek, Nelly Abdel-Malek
|Sami Malek (twin brother), Yasmine Malek (sister)
After high school, Malek attended the University of Evansville in Indiana where he studied fine arts. He graduated in 2003 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in theater.
Early Acting Career
Shortly after graduating from college, Malek moved back to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career full-time. He took on small guest roles in popular TV shows like “Gilmore Girls” and “Medium”.
His first major acting role came in 2004 on the war drama series “Over There”. He appeared in two episodes as a U.S. Army Specialist serving in Iraq.
Over the next few years, Malek continued getting minor parts in shows like “The War at Home” and had a recurring guest role as Kenny, a suicide bomber, on the eighth season of “24”.
In 2010, his career started gaining more momentum when he was cast as the Egyptian coven vampire Benjamin in “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2”. This was his first role in a major feature film franchise.
Breakout Role in Mr. Robot
Malek’s big break came in 2015 when he was cast as the lead character Elliot Alderson, a cybersecurity engineer and hacker with social anxiety disorder, on the critically acclaimed drama “Mr. Robot”.
The show became a hit and earned rave reviews for its unique visual style and tension-filled plot.
Malek received universal praise from critics for his performance as Alderson. His emotional nuance and ability to portray Elliot’s complex mental state was lauded.
In 2016, he won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for his work on the first season of “Mr. Robot”.
|Primetime Emmy Award
|Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
|Critics’ Choice Television Award
|Best Actor in a Drama Series
|Best Actor – Television Series Drama
Over the following years, Malek won additional acclaim, awards and nominations for playing the role of Elliot Alderson.
The show ran for four seasons and concluded in 2019, cementing itself as a landmark program. Entertainment Weekly listed “Mr. Robot” as the 13th best show of the 2010s decade.
Film Breakthrough with Bohemian Rhapsody
On the heels of his success with “Mr. Robot”, Malek took on the most high-profile role of his career so far – legendary Queen frontman Freddie Mercury in the biopic film “Bohemian Rhapsody” (2018).
The film charts Queen’s meteoric rise and Mercury’s life story up to their iconic 1985 Live Aid performance. Critics praised Malek’s magnetic portrayal of Mercury’s flamboyant stage presence and singing voice.
|October 24, 2018
Malek’s passionate performance earned him industry-wide praise. He received Best Actor awards from the Screen Actors Guild, Golden Globes and BAFTA.
The pinnacle achievement was winning Best Actor at the 91st Academy Awards in 2019 for his role as Freddie Mercury. It was the first Oscar win for an actor of Egyptian heritage.
Continued Film and TV Success
As Malek’s star continues rising in Hollywood, he has taken on more challenging film roles showcasing his versatility.
Notable projects include:
Little Things (2018)
Cop drama with Denzel Washington and Jared Leto set in 1990s L.A. Malek was praised for his supporting role as a skeptical detective.
Remake of 1973 film about unjust imprisonment. Malek plays opposite Charlie Hunnam with both garnering positive reviews.
No Time to Die (2021)
Malek portrayed main villain Safin opposite Daniel Craig in his last James Bond outing. Critics called Malek’s performance unsettling and sinister. The film became one of highest grossing Bond films.
Upcoming roles for Malek include playing the antagonist in “Amsterdam” directed by David O. Russell and a supporting part in Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer”.
Beyond acting, Malek narrated the 2021 docuseries “The Human Factor” about the Israel–Palestine conflict. The project allowed him to connect more deeply with his cultural roots and heritage.
Despite being a sought after actor, Malek leads a relatively quiet personal life out of the spotlight. He has residences in Los Angeles and New York.
He tends to keep details of his dating life private. Malek was romantically linked to his “Bohemian Rhapsody” co-star Lucy Boynton after meeting on set of the film.
Malek is an advocate for mental health awareness and supports nonprofits focused on helping people struggling with mental illness. This stems from playing his emotionally complex “Mr. Robot” character.
In interviews, he comes across as humble, socially conscious and passionate about using his platform to spotlight important human rights causes like the plight of immigrants and refugees.
Outside of acting, Malek is an avid chess player having learned the game from his father as a child. He has participated in some chess tournaments and fundraisers over the years.
In summary, Rami Malek has emerged as one of the most sought after leading men in Hollywood over the last decade thanks breakout roles on “Mr. Robot” and “Bohemian Rhapsody”.
His ability to inhabit challenging, emotionally complex characters with sensitivity has won great acclaim from critics and fans alike. Few actors are able to communicate so much through subtle facial expressions and nuanced gestures like Malek.
Despite his meteoric rise to stardom, Malek remains deeply passionate about social issues and grounded in his cultural background. Rather than gettingabsorbed by fame, he chooses film and TV projects with care and collaborative directors.
As he enters his forties, Rami Malek’s star power shows no signs of fading anytime soon. His talent and choices have aligned perfectly to capture the cultural zeitgeist in projects that resonate deeply right now.
Exciting directors like Christopher Nolan see his ability to bring a unique presence to antagonistic roles in blockbusters. Yet he continues cherishing his indie roots taking risks that furthers his acting skills.
In many ways, Rami Malek reflects the fluid diverse melting pot of our society today. The son of immigrants marrying his Middle Eastern roots with all-American upbringing to find fame telling universal human stories. Despite Hollywood superficiality, he radiates depth, compassion and grounding in his work.
The next decade will surely cement his reputation as one the preeminent actors today through complex, enigmatic and unforgettable performances that linger in the mind. Rami Malek represents the kind of artist that doesn’t come along too often in any generation.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where is Rami Malek originally from?
Rami Malek was born in Los Angeles, California to immigrant Coptic Egyptian parents from Cairo. He grew up in the Sherman Oaks area and has an identical twin brother named Sami.
What was his breakthrough acting role?
Malek’s breakthrough role came when he was cast as Elliot Alderson, a socially anxious cyber-security engineer with dissociative identity disorder, on the critically acclaimed TV series “Mr. Robot”. His emotional performance earned widespread praise and several Best Actor awards.
What awards did he win for Bohemian Rhapsody?
For his passionate portrayal of Freddie Mercury in the Queen biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody”, Malek won the Oscar, Golden Globe, SAG and BAFTA for Best Actor in 2019 at the height of awards season.
What upcoming roles does Rami Malek have?
Currently Malek will play villains in the 2023 film “Amsterdam” directed by David O. Russell and in Christopher Nolan’s 2023 biopic “Oppenheimer” about scientist J. Robert Oppenheimer.
Who is Rami Malek dating?
Malek prefers to keep his dating life private. He has been romantically linked to actress and “Bohemian Rhapsody” co-star Lucy Boynton after meeting her on set of the 2018 film.
How did playing Elliot Alderson impact his perspective?
Getting into the complex psyche of his “Mr. Robot” character Elliot Alderson gave Malek more appreciation and awareness for people struggling with mental health disorders. He now advocates for mental health non-profits.