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Jake T. Austin
Jake T Austin, arrives at the CIROC tasting event in Los Angeles, Nov 2018.jpg
Austin in 2018
Jake Toranzo Austin Szymanski

(1994-12-03) December 3, 1994 (age 29)
Other names Jake Austin
Occupation Actor
Years active 2003–present

Jake Toranzo Austin Szymanski (born December 3, 1994), known professionally as Jake T. Austin, is an American actor. Beginning his career as a child actor at the age of seven, Austin is best known for his role as Max Russo on the Disney Channel series Wizards of Waverly Place, and as the voice of Diego on the Nickelodeon animated series Go, Diego, Go!. Austin was also the original actor who portrayed Jesus Foster on the ABC Family family/teen drama series The Fosters. His feature film credits include co-starring roles in Hotel for Dogs, New Year's Eve, Rio and The Emoji Movie.

Early life

Austin was born in New York City, the son of Giny Rodriquez Toranzo and Joe Szymanski. His middle initial, "T", is taken from his mother's maiden name. His mother is of Puerto Rican, Argentine, and Spanish descent, and his father is of Polish, Irish, and English ancestry. Austin embraces his Puerto Rican heritage, though he has said that he is not fluent in Spanish. He has a younger sister, Ava.


2002–2006: Beginnings

Jake T. Austin 2008
Austin in 2008

Austin's career began in 2002 when he appeared in commercials. A year later, he appeared in his first credited acting role as Kid 1698 in a comedy sketch on The Late Show With David Letterman. In 2005, he landed his first major role – voicing Diego, the cousin of Dora, on the hit Nickelodeon animated series Dora the Explorer. He continued to voice Diego on the spin-off series, Go, Diego, Go!, for three seasons. Along with voicing Diego, Austin was cast in multiple voice roles for the feature films The Ant Bully and Everyone's Hero – he was also cast in the Comedy Central special Merry F#%$in's Christmas. In 2006, Austin landed the lead role of Angel Macias in his first live-action feature film, The Perfect Game, which was based on a true story about the first non-U.S. team to win the 1957 Little League World Series. The film would not be released in the United States until more than three years later due to post-production financing difficulties.

2007–2011: Wizards of Waverly Place

Jake T.Austin 2010
Austin at the premiere of The Perfect Game in 2010

Austin appeared in his first Walt Disney Company production in 2007 when he portrayed the role of Chris in the Disney Channel original film Johnny Kapahala: Back on Board. Later that same year, he was cast as Max Russo in the Disney Channel series Wizards of Waverly Place. He played the youngest sibling of a wizarding family, co-starring with Selena Gomez and David Henrie. Until the end of Wizards of Waverly Place in 2011, Austin appeared in multiple Disney productions. In the summer of 2009, he played the role of Max Russo in the Wizards on Deck crossover episode which included two other popular Disney shows, The Suite Life on Deck and Hannah Montana.

During the same summer, he starred in the made-for-television film Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie. The film was a ratings hit, becoming the second most-viewed Disney Channel film at that time, behind High School Musical 2. It was also the #1 scripted telecast of 2009. Austin made his live action feature film debut in 2009 with the role of Bruce, an orphan who hides numerous dogs in an abandoned hotel, in the DreamWorks film Hotel for Dogs. In the fall of 2010, Austin was named as one of the "25 Brightest Latino Stars Under 25" by Latina magazine. He wrote and sold his first screenplay, Kings of Suburbia, which he described as being written in the same vein as his favorite film Stand By Me.

2011–2015: The Fosters

Jake T. Austin 2011 (Straighten Crop)
Austin in September 2011

In 2011, Austin voiced the role of Fernando, an orphaned Brazilian boy who is forced to capture exotic birds, in the 20th Century Fox animated musical film Rio. He reprised the role in the sequel, Rio 2. He was also in the romantic-comedy film New Year's Eve, released in December 2011. The following year, he had guest roles on the Lifetime comedy-drama Drop Dead Diva as Samuel Forman, a 16-year-old multimillionaire, and on the NBC legal drama series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit as Rob Fisher, the boyfriend of a girl whose family is murdered.

Austin landed his next major role in 2013, when he was cast as Jesus Foster in the ABC Family family/teen drama series The Fosters. The series tells the story of two moms raising both biological and foster children in a "multi-ethnic" household in San Diego, California. He played Jesus for two seasons until he left the show in the second-season finale in 2015. In a statement on his departure, Austin said: "I'm honored to have been a part of such a groundbreaking series ... Thank you for letting me be a part of your family, it's been a pleasure." His role was recast for the third season, with Noah Centineo.


In 2016, he provided the voice for Jaime Reyes / Blue Beetle in the DC Comics animated direct-to-video film Justice League vs. Teen Titans. On August 30, 2016, Austin was revealed as one of the contestants who would compete on season 23 of Dancing with the Stars. He was partnered with professional dancer, Jenna Johnson. On September 20, 2016, Austin and Johnson were announced as the first couple to be eliminated from the competition. In October 2018, it was announced that Austin joined the cast of Adverse, a neo-noir thriller starring Mickey Rourke. Adverse had its premiere at the opening of the Fantasporto Festival on February 28, 2020, in Portugal.

Personal life

Austin divides his time between living in Los Angeles and New York. He has two dogs, Bogey and Beju. His family owns a historic restaurant called The Clarksville Inn. The restaurant, located in West Nyack, New York, originally opened in 1840 as a hotel.

Austin devotes time to various charitable causes including the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which grants wishes to children who have life-threatening medical conditions; the Starlight Children's Foundation, which is dedicated to improving the quality of life for children with chronic and life-threatening medical conditions; and Variety's Power of Youth initiative, which partners with young stars to help raise money for their chosen causes. He has also supported the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, stating "I know how important it is to have a supportive environment and feel good about yourself, especially as an adolescent."

In October 2020, Austin discussed his bi-racial familial heritage and the importance of voting in the upcoming US elections, "... whether it's via mail-in voting or at the polling place, becoming active in the electoral process is so important. Whether the person on the ticket is running for local, state or national positions, our role as their constituents starts with voting."



Year Title Role Notes
2006 The Ant Bully Nicky Voice
2006 Everyone's Hero Yankee Irving Voice
2009 Hotel for Dogs Bruce
2010 The Perfect Game Angel Macias
2011 Rio Fernando Voice
2011 New Year's Eve Seth Anderson
2013 Khumba Khumba Voice
2014 Rio 2 Fernando Voice
2014 Tom Sawyer & Huckleberry Finn Huckleberry Finn
2014 Grantham & Rose Grantham Portnoy
2016 Justice League vs. Teen Titans Jaime Reyes / Blue Beetle Voice
2017 Teen Titans: The Judas Contract Jaime Reyes / Blue Beetle Voice
2017 The Emoji Movie Alex Voice
2017 The Valley Chris
2020 Adverse Lars


Year Title Role Notes
2003 Late Show with David Letterman Kid 1698 Episode: December 23, 2003
2004 Dora the Explorer Diego Voice, 3 episodes
2005–2009 Go, Diego, Go! Diego Voice, main role (seasons 1–3)
2005 Merry F#%$in' Christmas Various Voice, TV special
2007 Johnny Kapahala: Back on Board Chris Television film
2007–2012 Wizards of Waverly Place Max Russo Main role
2008 Happy Monster Band Bluz Voice, 10 episodes
2009 Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie Max Russo Television film
2009 The Suite Life on Deck Max Russo Episode: "Double-Crossed"
2012 Drop Dead Diva Samuel Forman Episode: "Home"
2012 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Rob Fisher Episode: "Home Invasions"
2013 The Wizards Return: Alex vs. Alex Max Russo Television film
2013–2015 The Fosters Jesus Foster Main role (seasons 1–2)
2016 Dancing with the Stars Himself Contestant on season 23
2017 Justice League Action Jaime Reyes / Blue Beetle Voice, 2 episodes

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Work Result Ref.
2006 Young Artist Award Best Performance in a Voice-Over Role – Young Actor Go, Diego, Go! Nominated
2007 Imagen Award Best Actor – Television Go, Diego, Go! Nominated
Young Artist Award Best Performance in a Voice-Over Role – Young Actor Everyone's Hero Nominated
2008 ALMA Award Outstanding Male Performance in a Comedy TV Series Wizards of Waverly Place Nominated
Young Artist Award Best Young Ensemble Performance in a TV Series (with Selena Gomez, David Henrie, and Jennifer Stone) Wizards of Waverly Place Nominated
2009 ALMA Award Year in TV Comedy – Actor Wizards of Waverly Place Nominated
Imagen Award Best Actor – Television Wizards of Waverly Place Nominated
Teen Choice Award Choice TV: Sidekick Wizards of Waverly Place Nominated
Young Artist Award Best Performance in a TV Series – Leading Young Actor Wizards of Waverly Place Nominated
2010 Young Artist Award Best Performance in a Feature Film – Leading Young Actor Hotel for Dogs Nominated
Best Performance in a TV Series – Leading Young Actor Wizards of Waverly Place Nominated
2012 Hollywood Teen TV Awards Favorite Television Actor Wizards of Waverly Place Won
2013 Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards Favorite TV Actor Wizards of Waverly Place Nominated
Teen Choice Awards Summer TV Star: Male The Fosters Nominated
2014 Teen Choice Awards Choice TV Actor: Drama The Fosters Nominated
2015 Teen Choice Awards Choice TV Actor: Drama The Fosters Nominated

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Jake T. Austin para niños

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