18 Things to Know About Jon Bernthal

The "King Richard" actor has likened being a supporting actor to being a hired assassin.

Well, folks, awards season 2022 is somehow nearly upon us. We will soon find out the nominees for this year’s Academy Awards, and outlets like The Hollywood Reporter predict plenty of Jews and Jewish productions in contention for some of the highest honors in the film world. These include Andrew Garfield for his role in “Tick, Tick … Boom!,” possibly Alana Haim in “Licorice Pizza,” Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story”… and Jewish actor Jon Bernthal, who might snag a Best Supporting Actor nomination for his role in “King Richard.”

So, while we wait to find out which of our Jewish faves we’ll be rooting on at the Oscars, let’s take some time to learn more about this dark horse contender.

Here are 18 things to know about Jon Bernthal.

1. Jon was born in Washington, D.C. to a Jewish family.

2. His paternal grandfather was Murray Bernthal, a notable Jewish musician and producer.

3. Jon has described his younger self as “a troublemaker.”

4. He attended Skidmore College, where he grew close to theater professor Alma Becker (great name). Ultimately, however, Jon dropped out without graduating.

5. Instead, he moved to Russia and studied at the Moscow Art Theater School.

“It was a real privilege to be there,” he told the Moscow Times. “It was a tough discipline. I grew up playing sports, boxing, etc. My time at the Moscow Art Theater was just as rigorous and hard, and perhaps more disciplined than any of the organized sports that I played.”

6. At the same time he was auditioning for the Moscow Art Theater school, he was also playing semi-professional baseball in Russia.

Listen to him discuss the experience on CONAN:

7. After Moscow, Jon continued his acting studies at Harvard University’s Institute for Advanced Theater Training at the American Repertory Theater.

8. Jon first garnered critical success for his role as Shane Walsh in “The Walking Dead”

9. In 2010, Jon married Erin Angle, a trauma nurse. They now have two sons, Henry and Billy, and a daughter, Adeline.

Please enjoy this adorable photo of Jon and his children:

10. Despite having portrayed a lot of “tough guy” types, Jon is anti-toxic masculinity.

You can hear his full thoughts on toxic masculinity in this clip from an episode of “Hot Ones”:

And you can watch the full episode of “Hot Ones” here:

11. Jon has played numerous supporting acting roles in his career, and has likened it to a very interesting job.

“My friend James Badge Dale and I talk about it like we get to be hired assassins: We go in, throw down and walk away,” he told The New York Times. “There’s something unbelievably liberating in that.”

12. According to Jon, the most important job he’ll ever have is as a dad.

13. Jon starred in Netflix’s “The Punisher” alongside numerous other Jews!

They include Ben Barnes as  Billy Russo, Amber Rose Revah as Dinah Madani and Ebon Moss-Bachrach as David Lieberman.

14. Jon is a huge proponent of adopting pitbulls and hopes to change the stigma around the breed.

I know that there’s a certain stigma that’s attached to these dogs and what I really try to do with them is to change that, reverse that,” Bernthal told INSIDER. “I really want to change people’s idea of these dogs and of the people that have them.”

15. And if you’re wondering, yes he does have his own dog! Jon has a pitbull named Bam Bam (who actually has his own Instagram account).

This is what Bam Bam looked like as a puppy:

16. Jon has played more Italian characters than Jewish characters.

His Italian roles include Johnny Soprano in “The Many Saints of Newark,” Lee Iacocca in “Ford v Ferrari,” Frank Castle in “The Punisher” and Al Capone in “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian.”

17. Jon “fought” to get the role of tennis coach Rick Macci in “King Richard.”

“They didn’t see me for it initially, he told The Hollywood Reporter. “And I really, really wanted to do it.”

18. Jon recently announced his upcoming video podcast “Real Ones with Jon Bernthal.”

You can check out the trailer here:


Evelyn Frick

Evelyn Frick (she/they) is a writer and associate editor at Hey Alma. She graduated from Vassar College in 2019 with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature. In her spare time, she's a comedian and contributor for Reductress and The Onion.

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