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Jake T. Austin
Jake Austin Szymanski
New York City, New York, U.S.
Birth date
December 3, 1994 (1994-12-03) (age 26)
Active Years

Jake Austin Szymanski (born December 3, 1994), known professionally as Jake T. Austin, is an American actor. Beginning a career as a child actor at the age of seven, Austin is a five-time Young Artist Award nominee, 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.

Early life

Austin was born in New York City, the son of Giny Rodriquez Toranzo and Joe Szymanski.[1][2][3] His middle initial, "T", is taken from his mother's maiden name.[1] His mother is of Puerto Rican, Argentine, and Spanish descent, and his father is of Polish, Irish, and English ancestry.[4][5] Austin embraces his Puerto Rican heritage, though he has said that he is not fluent in Spanish.[6] He has a younger sister, Ava.[3][4]


2002–06: Beginnings

File:Jake T. Austin 2008.jpg

Jake T. 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.[3] In 2004, he landed his first major role – voicing Diego, the cousin of Dora, on the hit Nickelodeon animated series Dora the Explorer.[7][8] He continued to voice Diego on the spin-off series, Go, Diego, Go!, for three seasons.[4][7][8] 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.[9] 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 wouldn't be released in the United States until more than three years later due to post-production financing difficulties.[10][11]

2007–11: Wizards of Waverly Place

File:Jake T.Austin 2010.jpg

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.[4] 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.[4][12][13] 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.[14][15] 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.[16] 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.[17] In the fall of 2010, Austin was named as one of the "25 Brightest Latino Stars Under 25" by Latina magazine.[18] He has written and sold his first screenplay, Kings of Suburbia, which he has said is written in the same vein as his favorite film Stand By Me.[7][19]

2011–2015: The Fosters

File:Jake T. Austin 2011 (Straighten Crop).jpg

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.[20] He was also in the romantic-comedy film New Years Eve, released in December 2011.[21] The following year, he had guest roles on the Lifetime comedy-drama Drop Dead Diva as Samuel Forman, a 16-year-old multimillionaire,[22] and on the NBC legal drama series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit as Rob Fisher, the boyfriend of a girl whose family is massacred.[23]

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.[24] 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."[25] His role was recast for the third season.[26]


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.[27] 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.[28] On September 20, 2016 Austin and Johnson were announced as the first couple to be eliminated from the competition.[29]

Personal life

Austin divides his time between living in Los Angeles and New York. He has two dogs, Bogey and Beju.[4][8][30] His family owns an historic restaurant called The Clarksville Inn.[3][30][31] The restaurant, located in West Nyack, New York, originally opened in 1840 as a hotel.[3][3][31]

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 VarietyTemplate:'s Power of Youth initiative, which partners with young stars to help raise money for their chosen causes.[2][32][33]



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


Year Title Role Notes
2003 Late Show with David Letterman Kid 1698 Episode: "December 23, 2003"
2004 Dora the Explorer Diego (voice) 3 episodes
2005–08 Go, Diego, Go! Diego (voice) 56 episodes
2005 Merry F#%$in' Christmas Various (voice) TV special
2007 Johnny Kapahala: Back on Board Chris TV movie
2007–12 Wizards of Waverly Place Max Russo Main role; 94 episodes
2008 Happy Monster Band Bluz (voice) 10 episodes
2009 Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie Max Russo TV movie
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 TV special
2013–15 The Fosters Jesus Foster Main role; 41 episodes
2016 Dancing with the Stars Himself Contestant on season 23
2017 Justice League Action Blue Beetle Episodes: "Time Share"
"Field Trip"

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 [34]
2007 Imagen Award Best Actor – Television Nominated [35]
Young Artist Award Best Performance in a Voice-Over Role – Young Actor Everyone's Hero Nominated [36]
2008 ALMA Award Outstanding Male Performance in a Comedy TV Series Wizards of Waverly Place Nominated [37]
Young Artist Award Best Young Ensemble Performance in a TV Series (with Selena Gomez, David Henrie, and Jennifer Stone) Nominated [38]
2009 ALMA Award Year in TV Comedy – Actor Nominated
Imagen Award Best Actor – Television Nominated [35]
Teen Choice Award Choice TV: Sidekick Nominated [39]
Young Artist Award Best Performance in a TV Series – Leading Young Actor Nominated [40]
2010 Best Performance in a Feature Film – Leading Young Actor Hotel for Dogs Nominated [41]
Best Performance in a TV Series – Leading Young Actor Wizards of Waverly Place Nominated [41]
2012 Hollywood Teen TV Awards Favorite Television Actor Won
2013 Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards Favorite TV Actor Nominated [42]
Teen Choice Awards Summer TV Star: Male The Fosters Nominated [43]
2014 Choice TV Actor: Drama Nominated
2015 Nominated [44]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Jake T. Austin facts. Jake T. Retrieved on October 15, 2010.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Selena Gomez on being Latin. Retrieved on January 9, 2011.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Interview: Jake T. Austin. Miss O & Friends. Retrieved on January 9, 2011.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 Jake T. Austin "Max Russo". Disney Channel Medianet. Retrieved on January 9, 2011.
  5. Hernández, Lee (January 7, 2009). Jake T. Austin's 'powers' beyond TV. New York Daily News. Retrieved on January 10, 2009.
  6. Arreola, Cristina (December 3, 2014). 20 THINGS YOU NEVER KNEW ABOUT JAKE T. AUSTIN. Latina. Retrieved on January 2015.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Interview: Jake T. Austin 'Go, Diego, Go!'. Miss O & Friends. Retrieved on January 9, 2011.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Meet The Voice of Diego: Jake Toranzo Szymanski. Nick Jr.. Retrieved on January 13, 2011.
  9. 'Everyone's Hero': An Interview with Jake T. Austin. Retrieved on January 9, 2011.
  10. Interview: 'The Perfect Game's' Jake T. Austin. Cinema Blend. Retrieved on January 9, 2011.
  11. 'The Perfect Game' stages ninth-inning comeback. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved on January 12, 2011.
  12. Levin, Gary (October 18, 2007). Nielsens: Friday night was 'Murder' on ABC. USA Today. Retrieved on January 12, 2011.
  13. Cable's most-watched shows, Oct. 15-21. USA Today (October 23, 2007). Retrieved on January 12, 2011.
  14. 'Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie: Jake T. Austin Interview. Retrieved on January 9, 2011.
  15. 'Wizards of Waverly Place' Movie Casts Spell. TV Guide (August 27, 2009). Retrieved on 2011-01-09.
  16. Top 100 Most-Watched Telecasts On Basic Cable For 2009 - Ratings. (December 29, 2009).
  17. Jake T. Austin Interview 'Hotel For Dogs'. Chuck The Movieguy. Retrieved on January 9, 2011.
  18. The 25 Brightest Latino Stars Under 25: Jake T. Austin. Latina. Retrieved on January 12, 2011.
  19. Jake T. Austin Writing A Script - 'Kings Of Suburbia'. MTV Movies Blog (April 15, 2010). Retrieved on January 9, 2011.
  20. Stub
  21. Who's the Married Actor Kissing.... MSNBC (March 18, 2011). Retrieved on May 11, 2011.
  22. Nededog, Jethro (March 7, 2012). 'Wizards of Waverly Place' Star Jake T. Austin Lands 'Drop Dead Diva' Guest Role (Exclusive). The Hollywood Reporter.
  23. 'Law & Order: SVU': Jake T. Austin Books Guest Role. The Huffington Post (January 13, 2012). Retrieved on January 13, 2012.
  24. Goldberg, Lesley (October 18, 2012). 'Wizards of Waverly Place's' Jake T. Austin to Co-Star in Jennifer Lopez's ABC Family Pilot (Exclusive). The Hollywood Reporter.
  25. Mink, Casey (March 24, 2015). 'The Fosters' Finale: Jake T. Austin Confirms Series Exit – Is Jesus Dead?. Hollywood Life. Retrieved on May 31, 2015.
  26. 'The Fosters' Recasting Jesus After Jake T. Austin’s Departure. Hollywood Life (June 8, 2015).
  27. Sands, Rich (January 18, 2016). Roll Call: Meet the Cast of Justice League vs. Teen Titans. Retrieved on January 18, 2016.
  28. ‘DWTS’ 2016 Celebrity Cast Revealed: Ryan Lochte, Amber Rose, Rick Perry Among Star Lineup. Good Morning America: Yahoo (August 30, 2016). Retrieved on August 30, 2016.
  29. 'Dancing with the Stars' Results Live Blog: The First Elimination of Season 23. (September 20, 2016). Retrieved on September 20, 2016.
  30. 30.0 30.1 Jake T. Austin Goes To "The Dogs". OK! (January 2009). Retrieved on January 12, 2011.
  31. 31.0 31.1 Saving An Historic Building. Nyack-Piermont NY Patch. Retrieved on January 12, 2011.
  32. Jake T. Austin Interview: A Stellar Night 2010. ClevverTV (March 24, 2010). Retrieved on January 9, 2011.
  33. Jake T. Austin - Variety's Power of Youth. Retrieved on January 9, 2011.
  34. 27th Annual Young Artist Awards. 26th Young Artist Awards. Retrieved on January 9, 2011.
  35. 35.0 35.1 2007 Imagen Foundation Awards. Imagen 2007 Awards. Archived from the original on August 4, 2009. Retrieved on January 9, 2011.
  36. 28th Annual Young Artist Awards. 27th Young Artist Awards. Archived from the original on May 31, 2014. Retrieved on January 9, 2011.
  37. 2008 Alma Awards. TV Squad. Retrieved on January 9, 2011.
  38. 29th Annual Young Artist Awards. 29th Young Artist Awards. Archived from the original on July 6, 2008. Retrieved on January 9, 2011.
  39. 2009 Teen Choice Awards. CinemaBlend. Retrieved on January 9, 2011.
  40. 30th Annual Young Artist Awards. 30th Young Artist Awards. Retrieved on January 9, 2011.
  41. 41.0 41.1 31st Annual Young Artist Awards. 31st Young Artist Awards. Retrieved on January 9, 2011.
  42. Kids' Choice Awards 2013 TV nominees- EXCLUSIVE. Entertainment Weekly (February 13, 2013).
  43. FINAL TIDE OF NOMINEES ANNOUNCED FOR "TEEN CHOICE 2013" AIRING SUNDAY, AUGUST 11, LIVE ON FOX. Archived from the original on October 7, 2014. Retrieved on July 17, 2013.
  44. Coggan, Devan (June 9, 2015). Teen Choice Award nominations pit Zayn Malik against One Direction. Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved on June 11, 2015.

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