- Philip John Clapp Jr.
March 11, 1971 (age 50)
- Actor, Comedian, Television Producer, Screenwriter, Stunt Performer, Film Producer, Voice Actor
- Melanie Cates (1995–2008) (divorced) Naomi Nelson (2010–present)
- Lemoyne Clapp, Philip Clapp
Johnny Knoxville (born Philip John Clapp, Jr.; March 11, 1971) is an American actor, comedian, film producer, screenwriter, and stunt performer. He is best known as a co-creator and star of the MTV reality stunt show Jackass, which aired for three seasons from 2000–2002. A year later, Knoxville and his co-stars returned for the first installment in the Jackass film series, with a second and third installment being released in 2006 and 2010, respectively. In 2013, he starred in Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa as his Jackass character Irving Zisman. Knoxville has had acting roles in films like Men in Black II (2002), The Dukes of Hazzard, The Ringer (both 2005) and The Last Stand (2013), as well as having voiced Leonardo in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014).
Knoxville was born Philip John Clapp, Jr. in Knoxville, Tennessee. His father, Philip Clapp, Sr., was a tire/car salesman, and his mother, Lemoyne Clapp (née Houck), taught Sunday school. Knoxville credits a copy of Jack Kerouac's On the Road, given to him by his cousin, singer-songwriter Roger Alan Wade, with giving him the acting bug. After graduating from South-Young High School in 1989 in Knoxville, he moved to California to become an actor. In the beginning, Knoxville appeared mostly in commercials and made several minor appearances as an extra. When the "big break" he sought eluded him, he decided to create his own opportunities by writing and pitching article ideas to various magazines. An idea to test self-defense equipment on himself captured the interest of Jeff Tremaine's skateboarding magazine Big Brother, and the stunts were filmed and included in Big Brother's "Number Two" video.
In October 2013 on the late night talk show Conan, Knoxville revealed that he comes from significant inbreeding, discovered when he hired an American genealogist to help trace his family tree. It was during the search that the extent of inbreeding among his family was actually discovered, the genealogist informed Knoxville. Knoxville was not alarmed, but amused.
Knoxville is responsible for many of the ideas in Jackass, and is often seen as the de facto leader of the crew. The show also stars Jeff Tremaine, Sean Cliver, Joe Sperry (Spoezy), and Dave Carnie who produced a pilot that used footage from Big Brother and Bam Margera's CKY videos. With help from Tremaine's friend, film director Spike Jonze, they pitched a series to various networks. A deal was made with MTV and Jackass was born. Knoxville also participated in the Gumball 3000 for Jackass along with co-stars Steve-O, Chris Pontius, Jackass director Jeff Tremaine, and producer Dimitry Elyashkevich. Prior to Jackass premiering on MTV, Knoxville and company turned down an offer to perform their stunts for Saturday Night Live on a weekly basis, though Knoxville later hosted a 2005 episode of the show.
Film and television roles
Knoxville has been in several feature films, most notably starring opposite Seann William Scott in Jay Chandrasekhar's adaptation of The Dukes of Hazzard. He starred in Jackass: The Movie, Jackass Number Two, and Jackass 3D (which marked the 10th anniversary of the franchise). He played a two-headed alien in the 2002 film Men in Black II. Knoxville also worked with John Waters in A Dirty Shame in 2004, and appeared as a supporting character to The Rock in Walking Tall in the same year. He starred in Katrina Holden Bronson's Daltry Calhoun in 2005, and in The Ringer as an office worker who pretends to be disabled and joins the Special Olympics to pay for surgery for his office's janitor. He starred in the movie Lords of Dogtown as Topper Burks, made a minor appearance in the 2000 movie Coyote Ugly, and was featured as a guest voice on two episodes of King of the Hill.
Knoxville appeared in the John Madden-directed adaptation of Elmore Leonard's novel, Killshot. He guest-starred in a Season 3 episode "Prank Wars" on Viva La Bam, in which he and Ryan Dunn trashed Bam Margera's Hummer and performed other pranks. He also voiced himself in an episode of Family Guy. Knoxville also co-produces The Dudesons in America and the now-canceled Nitro Circus on MTV. In 2010, Knoxville hosted a three-part online video for Palladium Boots titled Detroit Lives. The videos focus on the resurgence of creativity in Detroit. Knoxville guest starred as the voice of Johnny Krill, an extreme sports enthusiast, in a 2012 episode of SpongeBob SquarePants. Knoxville voiced Leonardo in the 2014 film, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. He was not asked to return for the sequel.
Knoxville married Melanie Lynn Cates on May 15, 1995. They have a daughter, Madison (born 1996). His daughter can be heard in the credits for Jackass Number Two, is seen in "The Making of Jackass Two" on the special features on the DVD, and was seen in the credits of Jackass 3D, punching Tremaine with a boxing glove. After 11 years of marriage, the couple separated in July 2006. Knoxville filed for divorce on July 3, 2007. The marriage was legally ended in March 2008, with final divorce arrangements settled in July 2009.
On August 18, 2009, Knoxville announced that he and his girlfriend Naomi Nelson were expecting a baby. Nelson gave birth to a son, Rocko Akira Clapp, on December 20, 2009 in Los Angeles. Knoxville and Nelson married on September 24, 2010. Nelson gave birth to a daughter, Arlo Lemoyne Yoko Clapp, on October 6, 2011, in Los Angeles.