18 Things to Know About Armie Hammer

The Jewish actor has come a long way since his appearance in that iconic Passover episode of 'Gossip Girl.'

Armie Hammer is a 6’5″, blonde, blue-eyed grandson of an oil tycoon. And, fun fact, he’s Jewish! Read on for 18 things to know about the actor Armie Hammer…

1. Armie Hammer was born Armand “Armie” Douglas Hammer in Santa Monica, California to a Jewish dad and a non-Jewish mom. However, his dad converted to Christianity to marry his mom, and is now involved in Christian evangelical organizations, including Jews for Jesus.

2. Armie identifies himself as “half Jewish.” His exact quote is: “I’m half Jewish, but no one believes me because my looks lean a little WASP-y. It’s sometimes hard for me to get the roles I’m drawn to.”

3. His paternal great-grandfather is Armand Hammer, an oil tycoon and philanthropist. His parents emigrated from Odessa and settled in the Bronx. His father, Julius, named him from the “arm and hammer” symbol of the Socialist Labor Party of America, which means Armie Hammer is kinda named for that, too. Julius founded the Communist Party in New York.

4. “It was always a big deal in my family that we were Russian, more so than anything else,” Hammer said. “My great grandfather Armand was Jewish, but he didn’t even get his bar mitzvah. He was gonna be bar mitzvahed, and then he died the month before. That’s case in point of how it all kinda went.”

5. Armie has his last name in Russian tattooed on his wrist.

6. Back to Armie’s childhood: When he was 7, his family moved to the Cayman Islands, where he attended Faulkner’s Academy and Grace Christian Academy (a school his dad founded). Then, he went to Los Angeles Baptist High School, but dropped out his junior year of high school to pursue acting.

7. His parents were unhappy with that decision: “I was committed and I was prepared to deal with whatever the consequences of that might be. I mean, they weren’t ever not taking my phone calls or anything. I just had to prove to them that my reason for becoming an actor wasn’t so that I didn’t have to carry on going to school.”

8. His first role was on Arrested Development as a small guest role (credited as “Student #2”). That was followed by a few more small roles on Veronica Mars, Flicka, Desperate Housewives, and more.

9. In 2009, he landed a four-episode arc on Gossip Girl, as Gabriel Edwards.

gabriel edwards

Notably, his character crashes a Passover seder looking for Serena. Iconic:

10. His true breakout came in 2010, with his appearance as the Winklevoss twins in The Social Network. He was originally cast just as one twin, but then director David Fincher decided to make them identical and have Armie play both, sorta. While his body played one twin, his face was put onto Josh Pence (the actor who played the other twin). Here’s a visual effects breakdown:

11. After The Social Network, he starred in a range of poorly received films: J. Edgar to Mirror Mirror to The Lone Ranger. (Highly recommend this 2017 BuzzFeed Article: Ten Long Years Of Trying To Make Armie Hammer Happen: How many second chances does a handsome white male star get?)

12. In 2015, he turned it around slightly by playing a Soviet spy in The Man from U.N.C.L.E., a stylish and fun adaptation of a 1960s TV show.

13. Then, he pivoted to independent films, starring in The Birth of a Nation (whose premiere was overshadowed by the director Nate Parker’s history of sexual assault), Nocturnal Animals, and… yep… Call Me By Your Name in 2017. The film is based on the novel by the Jewish writer André Aciman, and explores the relationship between teenager Elio Perlman (Timothée Chalamet) and 20-something Oliver (Armie).

“Timmy is, without a doubt, the most emotionally accessible human being I have ever come across in my life,” Armie said of Chalamet. “You say something to him and you watch the entire thought process play out on his face. He is a completely open book, which is why you can end the movie on a seven-minute shot of just his face. I couldn’t do that!”

14. In 2018, Armie co-starred in Black Jewish filmmaker Boots Riley’s satirical Sorry to Bother You as a psychotic CEO. When the film was snubbed at the Oscars, he spoke out:

“How much trouble do I get myself in here?” Armie said. “If you really look at the kind of films and people that the Oscars really celebrate, I’m embarrassed to say that I wasn’t terribly surprised. I think that Boots, as a first-time director, came out of the gates swinging so hard — swinging for the fences and knocking it over the fence. I think that that is the kind of thing that should be celebrated, what Boots was able to do.” That being said, we didn’t make that movie thinking we were gonna win Academy Awards. We made it because we believed in Boots and we believed in the mission and we believed in what the movie said. So we did our jobs, and this is just another example of the Academy keeping it in the Academy.”

15. He played Marty Ginsburg, Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s husband, in the 2018 biopic On the Basis of Sex. He decided to do the film because, as he explained in 2017, “As the husband to a very strong woman and the father to a soon-to-be very strong woman, I loved the idea of women shaping history in, to borrow James Brown’s term, a man’s world.”

On the Basis of Sex

Here’s a visual comparison:

Armie Hammer Marty Ginsburg

In an interview, the film’s writer — and Ruth’s nephew! – Daniel Stiepleman explained to Alma, “She’s so happy with the casting. “I think part of the joy of the film” for Ruth is that “she gets Marty back for a couple hours. Because Armie is so good in that role.”

We’re not crying, you’re crying.

16. In May 2010, he married Elizabeth Chambers; they separated in July 2020. They have two children together, daughter Harper, 5, and son Ford, 3. This was his separation announcement, which Elizabeth also posted.

17. He has a very vocal social media presence. In 2019, he reflected on it, saying, “It’s very interesting to incur the wrath and the ire of the internet; the internet’s attention span is very short. My relationship with Twitter is like that fable of the frog and the scorpion: the frog gives the scorpion a lift across the river, right before the scorpion stings it. The frog goes, ‘Why did you do that?’ and he goes, ‘Because I’m a fucking scorpion!’”

18. He has perfect handwriting, reportedly. “That’s what happens when you grow up on a British island. You have mandatory cursive classes.” Here’s 11 more weird stories about Armie, including how his first date with his ex-wife Elizabeth was at an adult gift store, and how he dated a woman who tried to stab him during sex. He overshares a lot!

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