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Elijah Jordan Wood (born January 28, 1981 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa) is a U.S. actor of English, Irish, German and Polish descent. He is the middle of three children born to Warren and Debbie Wood, who nicknamed Elijah "Spark Plug" because he was a manically energetic child. He has a brother Zack, a video game producer and seven years his senior, as well as a younger by three years sister Hannah, a poet and actress who has had small roles in a number of his films.
A professional actor since the age of nine, Wood is best known for the role of Frodo Baggins in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. He took the stage in his elementary school's rendition of the play The Sound of Music. The following year, he graduated to the title character of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Wood also served as choir boy during the production of See How They Run, produced by the Marion Creative Council.
Making his film debut with a minor part in Back to the Future II in 1989, Wood landed a succession of subsequent larger roles and became a critically acclaimed child actor. His performance in The War gained him a nomination by the YoungStar Awards (for which he was nominated five times and won once), and Roger Ebert said in his review of the film that "Elijah Wood has emerged, I believe, as the most talented actor in his age group in Hollywood history."
His role as Frodo in The Lord of the Rings made him a star, but he has thus far resisted typecasting by recently choosing less sympathetic roles, such as a stalker in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and a mute psychopath cannibal serial killer in Sin City.
Wood recently won the role of a young Iggy Pop in a yet-to-be-filmed biographical account of the rock-star. He recently started his own record label, called Simian Records. Wood is a huge music buff who claims to own something in the range of 3,000 CD's, and cites his favourite band as the Smashing Pumpkins.
While filming The Faculty he learned that casting had begun for New Zealand director Peter Jackson's epic production of J.R.R. Tolkien's classic novel trilogy The Lord of the Rings. Wood immediately had his friend, director George Huang, film an audition tape of him running in the fields with crudely made Hobbit feet, and sent the tape to Jackson. Despite Jackson's initial assertion that all of the Hobbit characters would be played by British actors, he was immediately won over by Wood's audition and the American Wood was cast in the lead role of Tolkien's diminutive hero Frodo Baggins. Jackson later said he could not possibly imagine another actor in the world who would be better-suited to Frodo.
The cast of the Rings movies was nominated for Best Ensemble Acting at the Screen Actors Guild Awards for three years in a row. They finally won in 2003, for the third film The Return of the King. For his performance as Frodo Baggins, Elijah Wood was nominated by the MTV Movie Awards.
In an interview about his latest film Everything Is Illuminated, director Liev Schreiber commented that his leading man Elijah Wood has a "generosity of spirit" and a "sincere goodness as a human being".