Classically trained actor Jon Bernthal currently stars as Shane Walsh, in AMC's breakout hit series, The Walking Dead, based on Robert Kirkman's comic book of the same name. For Bernthal, the extraordinary role of a survivor of the zombie apocalypse marks another remarkable turn in a career defined by acclaimed and varied performances both on stage and on screen.
The Walking Dead earned a Golden Globe nomination for Best Drama Series, a Writers Guild of America nomination for Best New Series, and recognition as one of AFI's Ten Best Television Programs of the Year. The series set new records as the most watched drama series in basic cable history, and is aired internationally in over 120 countries and 33 languages.
Currently, Bernthal is filming Ric Roman Waugh's action drama, Snitch, opposite Susan Sarandon and Dwayne Johnson for Summit Entertainment. Bernthal plays an ex-con laborer for the construction company owned by Johnson's character, who is forced by his boss to help connect him to an underground drug dealer.
Bernthal completed production on Oren Moverman's Rampart, where he will co-star opposite Woody Harrelson, Steve Buscemi, Robin Wright and Sigourney Weaver. The film, based on the Rampart Police Scandal of the early nineties follows veteran police officer Dave Brown (Harrelson) as he struggles to take care of his family, and fights for his own survival. Bernthal stars as a young cop who looks up to Brown, but then turns on him.
Bernthal's first major film role was in the Oliver Stone picture, World Trade Center with Nicholas Cage and Maria Bello. He has also starred in Date Night, with Steve Carell and Tina Fey; in Roman Polanski's award-winning The Ghost Writer, opposite Ewan McGregor; Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian opposite Ben Stiller and Christopher Guest and Hank Azaria; and the independent films The Air I Breathe with Kevin Bacon and Julie Delpy, and Day Zero with Elijah Wood. Alongside his father, Bernthal has launched a production company with several film and television projects in development.
In television, Bernthal was recently part of the ensemble in the Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg HBO miniseries, The Pacific. The role required Bernthal to undergo boot camp training, as well as combat training with Marines. His other television work includes turns on: Boston Legal, CSI: Miami, Law & Order Special Victims Unit, How I Met Your Mother, and Without A Trace. His first series in a starring role was The Class, created by David Crane and directed by James Burrows.
During his college years, Bernthal was given the remarkable opportunity to study the prestigious Moscow Arts Theatre in Russia, renowned for its regimented program and disciplined training. Educated in acting, acrobatics, ballet and rhythm, the intense training provided Bernthal with a solid foundation in his craft. While studying at MAT, Bernthal was discovered by the director of Harvard University's Institute for Advanced Theatre Training, at the American Repertory Theatre in Moscow. He was invited to study and graduated with a Master of Fine Arts.
Bernthal, a veteran of more than 30 theatre productions, recently returned to his roots in the Rogue Machine Theatre's Small Engine Repair, where he starred as Terrance Swaino. This dark comedic drama charts three working class friends in Manchester, New Hampshire as they reunite for an evening of drinking, fighting and reminiscing. Small Engine Repair won an Ovation Award in 2011 for Best Play. Bernthal had previously starred in Neil LaBute's Fat Pig at the Geffen Playhouse. His other theatre credits include Langford Wilson's Fifth of July at New York's Signature Theatre, the off-Broadway production of The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, where Bernthal played Ui, at the Portland Stage Company; and This is Our Youth, at the Studio Theatre in Washington, D.C. His love of theatre led him to open his own non-profit theatre company Fovea Floods, in upstate New York.
Bernthal was a professional baseball player both in the U.S. minor leagues and European Professional Baseball Federation. These days, Bernthal prefers boxing where he has trained for years and boxes six days a week. He also teaches boxing to at risk children to teach them discipline and work ethic, leading them to channel their issues into a sport which teaches them confidence and control. Bernthal also works to retrain pit bulls that have been abused, then placing them in new, loving homes. Bernthal lives with his wife Erin, their baby Henry and their dogs, Boss and Venice.