Topher Grace was born in New York City on July 19th 1978*, and was raised in Darien, Connecticut and Massachusetts with his sister Jenny Grace (three years younger) by John and Patricia Grace. His first name is Christopher but he hated being called too commonly “Chris” in school so in seventh grade he decided to change it to “Topher” because he wanted to be original. He attended school in Massachusetts for two years where he began his acting career in musicals such as Joseph and the Amazing Technicolored Dreamcoat and The Pirates of Penzance. Topher also tried his first shot at directing with a choose-your-own-adventure style movie starring his classmates.
He attended New Hampshire’s boarding school Brewster Academy, New York’s private School of Theater Neighborhood Playhouse, the University of Southern California and Los Angeles’s Groundlings Improvisation School. He dropped out of USC after finishing his freshman year to start his career in That 70s Show at age 20. He was cast in That 70s Show because the show’s creators, Bonnie and Terry Turner, had seen him play Pseudolus in a high-school production of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (their daughter attended the same high school as Topher). Apart from school plays, Topher had absolutely no acting experience before landing the role of Eric Forman, a level-headed and predominantly wholesome high school student coming of age in Me-Decade Wisconsin.
After the second season of That 70s Show, he broke into movies filming his first movie in summer 2000. He made an impressive film debut with his supporting role as Seth Abrahams in Traffic, Steven Soderbergh’s epic and widely acclaimed look at the American war on drugs opposite Erika Christensen and Michael Douglas. This role marked a drastic turn from Eric Forman, and garnered critical praise. Topher received positive notices for his work in the film, which cast him as a cocky prep school boy who turns his girlfriend (Erika Christensen) on to heroin and cocaine. His acclaimed work in Traffic saw his popularity further increased, acting as another testament to the beginnings of a promising career. The movie amassed 4 Academy Awards and 2 Golden Globe Awards.
In 2001 Topher had a cameo role in Ocean’s Eleven, whose director, Steven Soderbergh, also directed Traffic. Topher played himself, but an exagerrated version along with some other Hollywood teen stars such as Holly Marie Combs (Charmed), Shane West (Once and Again), Joshua Jackson (Dawson’s Creek) and Barry Watson (7th Heaven). He showed more of his sarcastic tongue-in-cheek side in the film and got to work with the likes of George Clooney and Brad Pitt. Even though it was small, the role got him attention from some critics.
In 2002 Topher had somewhat of a year off, only appearing as a voice in Roberto Benigni’s English-dubbed version of Pinocchio. However, Topher signed for another supporting role as Tommy Donegal in Mona Lisa Smile in 2002. The movie directed by Mike Newell and starring Julia Roberts was filmed in winter 2002.
After Mona Lisa Smile, Topher obtained his first leading role in the romantic comedy Win a Date with Tad Hamilton, starring Kate Bosworth and Josh Duhamel. The production started on May 2003 and was wrapped up in July 2003.
After that, Topher got another leading role in the independent movie P.S, adaptation of Helen Schulman’s novel. The filming of this romantic dramedy co-starring Laura Linney which began in September 2003 finished four months later in January 2004. Topher, as the work-aholic that he is, started shooting In Good Company two months later, a production written, produced and directed by the Weitz brothers where he stars opposite Dennis Quaid. Both of these movies got him further more recognition and praise and he even won two awards: the National Board of Review Award for Best Male Breakthrough Performance and the New Power Award.
In May 2005, he decided to quit the show after seven seasons playing the main character of Eric Forman and left the West Coast to move to his newly bought apartment in New York and to take a well-deserved break after a very hectic schedule juggling between movies and weekly tapings.
He will get back to work in January 2006 in the third installement of the Spiderman movies, where he is set to play a vilain.
As for his love life, we don’t know much about it since he likes to keep it private. However, he’s been rumoured to have been dating actress Anne Hathaway for awhile (2001-2002) and best-friend Ginnifer Goodwin (2002-present)…Now whether that is true or not, it’s all up to you and your imagination…But he’s said countless times he had
a crush on french actress Audrey Tautou from “Amelie”, and that one day they’ll marry, lol. Heh. Topher, I’ll give ya French classes anytime you want!
Credits: Imdb, Blockbuster, Gracie