Everyone knows Ari Gold. Jeremy Piven gave life to Gold in 2004 and since that time has become synonymous with the series Entourage. But life for Piven since Entourage ended hasn’t been smooth sailing. Yes, Piven has found work but it has been scattered at best and his personal life has been taking on major hits with the many sexual allegations leveled against him. Here’s what happened.
THE PIVEN THEATRE WORKSHOP
Jeremy Piven’s artistic education is vast. While in his teenage years, he attended the Harand Theater Camp. He attended Drake University briefly then moved on to New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts in his sophomore year. As a senior, he left the Tisch School to go after his acting career. He also spent one semester at the National Theater Institute at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center.
But one of his most notable artistic educational ventures was at the Piven Theatre Workshop. If the name looks familiar, it should. The Workshop was founded by Joyce and Byrne Piven, Jeremy’s parents. The workshop has been in existence for close to five decades and has many famous alumni that include Piven as well as John Cusack and his sisters Joan Cusack and Ann Cusack, Aidan Quinn, Lili Taylor, Ann Lippert, Julian Bailey, and Kate Walsh.
JEREMY PIVEN’S LIFE BEFORE ARI
Jeremy Piven has been rolling along since the mid-’80s when he first starred in Lucas with the late Corey Haim. His next role came in the John Cusack-led movie One Crazy Summer, just one of many films that Piven and Cusack shared screen time on. In fact, Piven would follow-up One Crazy Summer with Say Anything, another film with Cusack.
Piven spent most of his early career on feature films. He was in The Grifters, White Palace, The Player, There Goes The Neighborhood, Judgement Night, Car 54, Where Are You?, PCU, and Miami Rhapsody. He did appear on a few TV series. One time he played George Costanza on the Seinfeld episode The Pilot, the show-within-a-show. He also played Ellen’s cousin on the Ellen show. Piven appeared on The Larry Sanders Show, The Dana Carvey Show, and The Drew Carey Show.
Jeremy Piven’s career before he found Entourage in 2004 was filled with many notable, successful movies. These included Gross Point Blank (with John Cusack again), Very Bad Things, The Family Man, Black Hawk Down, Old School, and Runaway Jury. Then Ari Gold entered his life.
THE ENTOURAGE YEARS
Jeremy Piven’s role as agent Ari Gold is based on real-life agent Ari Emanuel, who is the agent to actor Mark Wahlberg. Entourage is loosely based on Wahlberg’s early career in Hollywood. Emanuel was also the agent to Piven for a short time. The series lasted eight years on HBO and followed Vincent Chase (played by Adrian Grenier) and his “entourage”, played by Kevin Connolly, Kevin Dillon, and Jerry Ferrara. As Gold, Piven was nominated for an Emmy Award for four straight years, winning three times. He was also nominated for a Golden Globe Award five straight years, grabbing a win in 2008.
While Piven was enjoying major success with Entourage, he was also continuing work outside of the show. He was in the features Chasing Liberty, Two for the Money, Keeping Up with the Steins, took on a leading role in Smokin’ Aces, and Abandoned.
Entourage ended in 2011 but was brought back in 2015 as a feature film of the same name. This time, the boys are back as is Ari Gold, who has moved on from super-agent to studio head. The movie picks up pretty much where the series ended as Gold has asked Vincent to star in a movie he is developing. Vincent agrees to star in it but only if he can direct the film. The movie then follows the many ups and downs of Vincent, his entourage, and Ari, as they try to finish their movie.
JEREMY PIVEN STARTS SLOWING DOWN
With Entourage ending in 2011 and with all the success it brought Jeremy Piven, you’d think his career would continue its rise. It didn’t. Things slowed down, even though the Entourage movie happened.
He was in a couple of movies, So Undercover and Frank Miller’s Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, and then he picked up a series called Mr. Selfridge where he was the lead Harry Selfridge. When that series ended, Piven found another called Wisdom of the Crowd, but that series only ran for one season and Piven has been absent from Hollywood. Perhaps the accusations of sexual misconduct caught up with him.
SEXUAL ALLEGATIONS AND THE POLYGRAPH TEST
The first sexual misconduct accusations against Jeremy Piven came from actress Ariane Bellamar in 2017 when she fired off tweets accusing Piven of the misconduct.
Her first one read, “Hey @jeremypiven! ‘Member when you cornered me in your trailer on the #Entourage set? ‘Member grabbing my boobies on the 🛋 without asking??”
She followed that up with, ‘Member when I tried to leave; you grabbed me by the ass, looked at yourself in the mirror, & said what a ‘beautiful couple’ we made? #MeToo.”
A third read, “Jeremy Piven, on two occasions, cornered me & forcefully fondled my breasts & bum. Once at the mansion & once on set. #MeToo.”
And then the actress told Piven not to deny her allegations because there were recordings of it. “And, don’t try to deny it, sir. @HBO has us on 📼 together, & I’m sure @sprint has electronic back-ups of your abusive, explicit texts.#MeToo.”
Not long after, Jeremy Piven released a statement to Entertainment Weekly saying, “I unequivocally deny the appalling allegations being peddled about me. It did not happen,” Piven wrote. “It takes a great deal of courage for victims to come forward with their histories, and my hope is that the allegations about me that didn’t happen, do not detract from stories that should be heard.” As the #MeToo movement grew, more allegations were leveled at Piven. We won’t share the gory details but in total, Piven has eight allegations against him.
Jeremy Piven decided enough was enough and went all-in with his denials. He went so far in as to take a polygraph test to prove he wasn’t lying when he denied each and every accusation. The test was administered by a member of the American Polygraph Association and first covered the alleged Bellamar incident.
Some of the questions asked, obtained via The Blast, were, “Did you ever ‘grab’ and/or fondle Ms. Arieanne Bellamar’s breasts?” or “Did you ever ‘corner’ Ms. Bellamar in your trailer so that you could ‘grab’ her breasts and/or buttocks?” To each question, Piven answered “no.” The result of the test? His answers were evaluated by the polygraphist and determined without a doubt that Piven showed “no reactions indicative of deception to any of the relevant questions.” Pass.
He also took a test concerning two more women who accused him of sexual misconduct and passed those also. But the damage was done. As soon as the allegations came forth, CBS pulled his show Wisdom of the Crowd.
JEREMY PIVEN NOW
It seems as though Jeremy Piven is slowly returning to Hollywood. He had been going around the country performing stand-up and was most recently seen in the movie My Dad’s Christmas Date. He also has a few projects on deck, but it isn’t known if his alleged sexual misconduct has been the cause of this delay or if COVID has more of an effect. Regardless, coming back from these allegations has been a long road for Piven. Let’s see where he ends up.