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Once upon a time, Rami Malek was a young budding actor booking only bit parts in plays at New York theatres before moving to Los Angeles for a chance to compete for a spot among the stars. In 2004, he got his first TV role and a couple of years later, appeared in a film for the first time but his big break took an awfully long time. However, it would prove to be worth the wait as today, Malek can boast of accolades that many who came before him can only dream of. He is revered for his role as Elliot Alderson in the USA Network drama thriller Mr. Robot in which he has also served as the producer for at least two seasons.
The Truth About Rami Malek’s Origin and Family Background
Upon first glance at Rami Malek’s face, many would immediately become curious about his roots. His parents – Said Malek and Nelly Abdelmalek migrated to America from Egypt, he also identifies as an 8th Greek. Malek would be born on May 12, 1981, in Torrance, Los Angeles County, California, where his parents would later settle.
Unlike most immigrants, the Malek’s choice to immigrate was not as a result of any crisis in their home country but due to his father’s affinity to the western culture. A tour guide, Malek’s father Said had a soft spot for America and so decided to move there. They first settled in Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles, where the patriarch worked as an insurance salesman and his wife an accountant. Malek’s father passed in 2006. Despite Said’s love for the west, he made sure his children learned about their roots as young Rami spoke Arabic often in his childhood.
Rami Malek did not come to the world alone but was accompanied by his identical twin brother, Sami Malek who is excelling in his career as an English teacher. Rami also has an older sister named Yasmine who is a doctor specializing in emergency management.
Malek’s Rough Start In The Entertainment Circle
Rami’s parents had wanted him to become a lawyer, however, in high school, he seemed to struggle with forming arguments but in the process of attempting school debates, he discovered his theatric qualities. His teacher encouraged him to give acting a chance which led to his performance at a school play where his parents were hugely impressed and even got emotional. Thrilled by his own performance, Rami Malek made up his mind to pursue an acting career. In 2003, he graduated from the University of Evansville with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. Malek wanted to study theatre even further by getting into grad school but his growing student debt saw him change plans, he instead moved to New York in a bid to land roles in theatres. Malek became part of the Slant Theatre Project which consisted of fellow actor and director friends he had made in the theatre scene; they performed their own plays in the city.
While in New York, Rami Malek frequently visited his family in Los Angeles and during one of his visits, he was convinced by a casting director to relocate to Los Angeles so he could look into Hollywood. Rami’s early days in Hollywood were not without struggles, living with his parents, he worked at restaurants to make ends meet and with no roles forthcoming, he considered a change in career – real estate came to his mind but before he could go ahead with the career switch, things started to take a brighter turn.
Career Rise and Prominent Roles
His first screen role came on the TV show, Gilmore Girls, wherein he portrayed the fictional character, Andy. A year later, Malek got his SAG card and was ready for bigger things. Later in 2005, he landed his first recurring role as Kenny Al-Bahir in the FOX sitcom, The War at Home. For the next decade, the best roles Rami Malek could get were supporting roles. He played the role of a suicide bomber named Marcos Al-Zacar in the 8th season of 24, eventually, his impressive performance with small roles opened bigger doors. He acted in 2011’s Larry Crowne, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2, Short Term 12, Da Sweet Blood of Jesus, Battleship, and The Master.
Rami Malek’s big break came when he was cast to play the lead role of Elliot Alderson in Mr. Robot – a psychological thriller. Sam Esmail, the screenwriter, had seen the audition of 100 other actors for the role but was unimpressed until he saw Malek’s. The show was met with immediate critical acclaim, putting his name on the headlines of many media powerhouses. Rami Malek has now won an Emmy, as well as a Critics Choice Award for the role. His first starring role was as Jonah/Buster in 2016’s Buster’s Mal Heart – a film met with huge critical acclaim.
The visibility that Mr. Robot brought Malek meant more roles for the actor. In 2017, he earned a voice role in the hit animated show, BoJack Horseman. Malek’s career went notches higher, thanks to his apt portrayal of legendary musician Freddie Mercury in his biopic Bohemian Rhapsody. The role earned him his first Oscar Award, making him the first Egyptian to win an Oscar for Best Actor. The role also earned him a Golden Globe, SAG and BAFTA Award. Bohemian Rhapsody was also a hit at the theatres, grossing $900 million to become the highest-grossing musical biographical film ever and the 6th highest-grossing film of 2018.
His involvement in the film not only brought him greater recognition but love as well. Malek met his first publicly-known girlfriend Lucy Boynton on Bohemian Rhapsody. She played his character’s famous love interest Mary Austin and the reel-life chemistry between them spilt into real life. Rami Malek is on to even greater achievements!