A self-professed disciple of the legendary Jackie Gleason, Josh Peck launched his career as an eight-year-old stand-up comedian in his hometown of New York. The prodigious natural talent struck career gold early on when he was cast in a featured role on the Nickelodeon comedy series, "The Amanda Show" (2000-02), followed by the hit sitcom "Drake & Josh" (Nickelodeon, 2004-07), where he and co-star Drake Bell revived the "Odd Couple" (ABC, 1970-75) shtick for a new generation. His outspoken and self-deprecating brand of humor helped Peck land plum roles in independent projects and voiceover work in animated features, but it was his breakout performance as a disenfranchised teen drug dealer in "The Wackness" (2008) that revealed a versatile actor who appealed to all types of audiences.
Joshua Michael Peck was born on Nov. 10, 1986 in New York, NY, and was raised by his mother, who worked as a career counselor, and his maternal grandmother. A bout with asthma sidelined Peck in early childhood, and he drew solace - and inspiration - from cartoons and classic TV sitcoms, counting among his influences Jackie Gleason, Bill Cosby and Richard Pryor. Bit by the comedy bug, Peck was encouraged by his mother to explore his talents, and he performed with a children's musical theater group in New York before making his stand-up comedy debut at age eight at Caroline's Comedy Club. Peck made his feature film debut in 2000, opposite Kate Bosworth in the indie film, "The Newcomers," followed by the family comedy, "Snow Day."
Peck's knack for physical comedy (which often exploited his bulky frame) attracted the attention of Nickelodeon, who signed him as a regular cast member on "The Amanda Show," a sketch comedy series based around the talents of former "All That" (Nickelodeon, 1994-2005) star Amanda Bynes. One of Peck's costars was Drake Bell, another rising young actor, and the duo's onscreen chemistry gained a considerable fan base. Peck returned to feature films in 2001 with a supporting role in the Disney comedy, "Max Keeble's Big Move." The following year, Peck dove into the world of animated voiceover talent by contributing to the Cartoon Network series "Whatever Happened to Robot Jones?" (2002-04), and the wry Disney Channel program "Fillmore!" (2002-04). He acted against type with a cameo in the indie feature "Spun" (2002) starring Jason Schwartzman, Brittany Murphy and John Leguizamo as methamphetamine addicts.
Peck and Bell's popularity on "The Amanda Show" inspired Nickelodeon to build a series around them once the Bynes program ended in 2002. "Drake & Josh," about stepbrothers with clashing personalities, premiered in 2004 to immediate fan approval. Peck's broad physical comedy and Bell's heartthrob appeal caught on with the network's teen audience, and allowed the pair to work on subsequent projects, both together and on their own. But while Bell diverged into music and mainstream features, Peck's non-Nickelodeon efforts were consistently offbeat and intriguing. His eye-opening performance as a pitiable bully in the gripping crime drama "Mean Creek" (2004) earned him excellent reviews and a Special Distinction Award from the Independent Spirit Awards, along with the rest of a cast including Rory Culkin and Scott Mechlowitz. Peck also contributed a brief supporting performance to the urban drama, "Havoc" (2005) opposite Anne Hathaway, and landed a guest-starring role on the CBS series "The Guardian" (2001-04). While Peck established himself as a dramatic actor, he never left his comedy roots behind. He continued to star in "Drake and Josh" TV movies, including "Drake & Josh Go Hollywood" (2006) and the holiday-themed "Merry Christmas, Drake & Josh," which the duo also co-produced. He lent his voice to Eddie, one of the manic possums who help raise Queen Latifah's waylaid mammoth in "Ice Age: The Meltdown" (2006) and "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs" (2009).
The actor generated plenty of Hollywood buzz when he branched out from his wholesome Nickelodeon image with a starring role in "The Wackness." Peck debuted his leaner, toned physique in the film about a teenage loner who sells marijuana out of an ice cream cart and befriends one of his clients, played by Sir Ben Kingsley. Set against the urban streets of New York City during the '90s hip-hop Renaissance, Peck delivered a refreshing and multilayered performance that earned rave reviews from critics and film festival audiences alike. In 2010, Peck was cast alongside Chris Hemsworth and Josh Hutcherson in "Red Dawn," about a group of teenagers who band together to save their town from an invasion of Chinese and Russian soldiers. The film was a remake of the 1984 film that starred the late Patrick Swayze.
Cast (Feature Film)
Cinematography (Feature Film)
Made feature film debut opposite Kate Bosworth in the indie drama "The Newcomers"
Acted in the family comedy "Snow Day"
Cast as a regular performer on Nickelodeon's "The Amanda Show"; first collaboration with Drake Bell
Co-starred with Bell on the teen comedy series "Drake & Josh" (Nickelodeon)
Delivered a dramatic turn as a bully in the crime drama "Mean Creek"
Voiced the character Eddie the possum in "Ice Age: The Meltdown"
Made TV directorial debut on the "Drake & Josh" episode "Battle of Panthatar"
Co-executive produced and starred in the TV movie "Merry Christmas, Drake & Josh" (Nickelodeon)
Played a young marijuana dealer opposite Ben Kingsley in "The Wackness"
Reprised voice role of Eddie in "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs"
Returned to voice the animated possum character in "Ice Age: Continental Drift"