Taylor Daniel Lautner (/ˈlaʊtnər/; born February 11, 1992) is an American actor, model and martial artist. Lautner is best known for playing Jacob Black in The Twilight Saga film series based on the novels of the same name by Stephenie Meyer.
As a child, Lautner took up martial arts in Holland, Michigan and was ranked number one in his category by the American Sports Karate Association. Lautner later began his acting career, appearing in bit roles in comedy series such as The Bernie Mac Show (2003) and My Wife and Kids (2004), before having voice roles in television series like What’s New, Scooby-Doo? (2005) and Danny Phantom (2005). In 2005, he appeared in the film Cheaper by the Dozen 2 and starred in The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3-D. He also starred in the 2011 action film Abduction.
The late 2000s saw Lautner become a teen idol and sex symbol, after extensively changing his physique to keep the role of Jacob Black in further Twilight installments, and generating media attention for his looks. In 2010, he was ranked second on Glamour‘s “The 50 Sexiest Men of 2010” list, and fourth on People‘s “Most Amazing Bodies” list. Also in the same year, Lautner was named the highest-paid teenage actor in Hollywood.
Lautner was born on February 11, 1992, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, to Deborah and Daniel Lautner. His mother works for a software development company, while his father is a Midwest Airlines pilot. He has one younger sister named Makena. Raised as a Roman Catholic, Lautner has Austrian, English, German, Swiss-German, French, Irish, and Dutch heritage, and has stated that he has “distant” Native American ancestry (specifically Ottawa and Potawatomi), through his mother. Taylor grew up in Hudsonville, Michigan, a town near Grand Rapids. Lautner stated that when he was younger he was bullied in school because he was an actor. He commented, “I just had to tell myself I can’t let this get to me. This is what I love to do. And I’m going to continue doing it.”
He took his first karate class at the age of six. A year later, he attended the national karate tournament in Louisville, Kentucky, where he met Michael Chaturantabut, the founder of Xtreme Martial Arts. Chaturantabut invited Lautner to a camp he held at University of California, Los Angeles. Lautner trained with Chaturantabut for several years, earning his black belt by the age of eight, and winning several junior world championships. He appeared in an ISKA karate event televised on ESPN in 2003 that was later lampooned on the sports-comedy show Cheap Seats that first aired in 2006.
In junior high, Lautner—who was involved in karate, baseball and hip-hop dance—won the award for “Best Smile” and played in the school’s Turkey Bowl American Football game. He went to public school in Valencia, California at Valencia High School until his sophomore year.
Chaturantabut, who once portrayed the Blue Ranger in Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue, suggested to Lautner that he take up acting. For a few years, the Lautners flew from Michigan to Los Angeles for auditions when his talent agency called, and returned to Grand Rapids for school sometimes the same day. Lautner balanced karate and acting with being on the football and baseball teams at his school, and taking up jazz and hip-hop dance. After that became tiring, Lautner and his family decided to move to California for a month, to try it out, before moving to Santa Clarita, California, permanently in 2002.
Lautner has an intricate workout plan, which was covered by Men’s Health, and has a specific diet after developing his body for The Twilight Saga: New Moon. In addition, he still practices and trains in martial arts regularly. He has stated that he is drug and alcohol free.
Lautner resides with his parents and younger sister in Valencia, California, which he says he prefers due to the dearth of paparazzi. Lautner has said that he has never thought of moving out on his own, stating, “The thing I love is that my home life hasn’t changed. I still help out with the garbage. I still help out with the lawn.” He owns a BMW 5 series, with dark-tinted windows intended to provide anonymity.
The boost given to his career by the success of the Twilight films made him too busy to attend school, so he took the California High School Proficiency Exam to graduate from high school in 2008. He has stated on Late Show with David Letterman that if he does not have work, he would like to go back to school. In 2010, he stated that “I finished high school and enrolled in my local community college”.