Who is Leonardo Nam?

Born on 5 November 1979, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Leonardo Nam is a 39-year-old Argentine-Australian film and television actor. In addition to his acting prowess, he’s had several instances of working as a model. Fans perhaps know him as Felix Lutz, the meek and shy Body Shop technician in HBO’s hit show, “Westworld”. Even though his career spans almost two decades, he only achieved worldwide recognition with this difficult and critically praised role. In addition to “Westworld”, fans also know him for roles in “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift”, “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2”. “The Perfect Store and Perfect”. Critics rate him as one of the better support actors.

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Early Life and Education: From Argentina to Australia

Leonardo was raised by his parents in the capital of Argentina -both of them were Korean immigrants who moved to this South American country to start a new life. The cultural differences were a burden at first, but the Nam family quickly adjusted to the new environment, just so that their son would have an easier time fitting-in too. Thus, young Leonardo became fluent in both Spanish and Korean at a very young age. ‘I will forever be thankful to my mom and dad’, stated Nam on one occasion. ‘They explained the importance of communication in Spanish, but they also wanted me to stay true to our Korean heritage.’ However, things weren’t meant to last, as the Nam family had to move again; this time the destination was Sydney, Australia, so at the age of six, Leonardo was again forced to learn a foreign language.

Fortunately, he had experience in this department, so mastering English wasn’t so challenging, and he subsequently matriculated from Sydney Technical High School in 1998. Afterwards, he would attend one semester of architecture studies at the University of New South Wales, but he quickly discovered that such a career wasn’t for him, so he dropped out.

Moving to New York

Most 19-year-olds would think of moving from Australia to New York City as something terrifying, but Leonardo wasn’t your average 19-year-old. His entire life was based on trying to fit in and finding his identity in foreign environments.

Leonardo Nam

Thus, he saved up some money and made the move to The Big Apple to pursue his career as an actor. He actually loved acting even as a young kid, altough his parents advised him against devoting his life to such an unstable career. However, he changed his mind in college and went on to study acting at several locations in the city. Two of his teachers were William Carden and Austin Pendleton at the renowned HB Studio, both of whom remember Leonardo as one of the most hard-working students they’ve ever had. At the time of his arrival in NYC, he had $300 in his pocket, and resorted to sleeping on benches in Central Park before he made a nearby hostel his semi-permanent residence. ‘My parents both cleaned houses as an extra job, so no hard work was foreign to me’, commented Nam on his early struggles. ‘I was an immigrant yet again, and the only way was up.’

Career Beginnings: Struggles, Short Films, The Perfect Score and More

Life was slowly improving for Leonardo. Not only did he manage to find an apartment, but he also worked as a waiter and bartender in between auditions, to make ends meet. At the age of 12, he had read “King Lear” by Shakespeare for the first time, so it was a dream come true when he landed a role in “Twelfth Night”. Around this time, he mainly dabbled in short and indie films, however, everything changed when he was cast as Roy, a kid who smokes a lot of weed and was involved in an ingenious heist at the SATs. While the part didn’t resonate with him, he eventually changed his mind when he saw it was in “The Perfect Score”, alongside Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson.

Even though the movie was panned by critics, it was the big break Nam needed. His venture to the US was a success, and he was ready to build a solid career from the ground up. Despite being a foreigner everywhere he went, Leonardo opted to use his struggles and unusual background as motivation. Thus, he realized he needed to go all out, and moved to Los Angeles, California to find more opportunities.

Making a Name for Himself

Moving to California was definitely a good decision, as he was suddenly in the global center of show business. In 2004, he landed a part in Dan Polier’s “Debating Robert Lee”, a drama about a strict teacher with a military background who teaches students all about debate.

Afterwards, he made an even bigger splash by appearing in “The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants” – based on the 2001 novel by Ann Brashares, the movie was a smash success, with Nam playing the role of Brian McBrian, a hardcore gamer. Unfortunately, some of the novel’s fans didn’t quite approve of the directors’ choice of an Asian man for the part, as McBrian was described as a thin, blonde white guy in the book. However, Leonardo ignored all the latent racism and criticism, adamant in his goal of becoming a Hollywood star. And a star he did become; in 2006, he landed the part of Morimoto in “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift”. Afterwards, he would be cast in “Undoing”, “American Pastime”, “Half-Life” and many other seminal movies of the late 2000s. He also had a significant role in “The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants 2”, receiving praise from critics.

Leonardo Nam attends The CAPE Holiday Party held at The El Rey Theater in Los Angeles, CA on Monday, December 8, 2014. (Photo By Sthanlee B. Mirador/PRPP)

Posted by Sthanlee B. Mirador on Tuesday, December 9, 2014

A True Star

In a little less than a decade, Leonardo took the movie industry by storm, and became one of the more respected actors of the period. However, one thing was missing from his portfolio – roles in series. His goal at the beginning of the 2010s was to show everyone that he could handle character development, and that he was comfortable on the small screen. Thus, he made his television debut in “Bones”, followed by “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation”  and “Futurestates”. It was a nice start to his TV career, and he had recurring roles in “Nice Girls Crew”, “Betas” and “Royal Pains” too. While he didn’t manage to land a lead part, it was much-needed experience he was after.

In 2016, however, he was cast as Felix Lutz, which is, according to many, his best role to date. It also showed his versatility, as he seamlessly blended in with the futuristic setting of “Westworld”. He also made appearances in “Swamp Thing”, “Sneaky Pete”, “Prince of Peoria” and other shows. In his short time in Hollywood, Leonardo Nam went from zero to hero thanks to hard work and dedication. As such, he is considered to be an inspiration for Asians around the world.

Dealing with Racism

Asian men often have to work twice as hard as their peers to be able to land the same roles. For decades, Hollywood has discriminated against actors of Asian descent, and Leonardo knows the feeling all too well.

Initially, he was somewhat discouraged by the lack of acceptance, but he opted to use it as fuel for his fire. ‘On a number of occasions, they wanted me to play a Chinese delivery guy, even though I am Korean’, comments Nam. ‘I didn’t quit. Instead, I wanted to be the best possible Chinese delivery guy there is, just so I can earn respect.’ Before “The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants” was being shown in theaters, a fan sent him a letter saying ‘How could they cast you as Brian McBrian? He’s not Asian!”. However, when that fan saw the movie, she sent him a letter saying ‘You brought so much life to the character, I love him even more now!’ At the beginning of his career, a casting director gave him some resonating advice – ‘Instead of trying to be an Asian Hamlet, try to be so good that they can’t afford not to cast you in that role.’

Leonardo Nam

Personal Life: Is Leonardo Nam Married? Could He Be Gay?

Leonardo sharing little information with the public, but we do know that he has a partner and two children (twins) , as he often posts cute photos on Instagram. Thus, Leonardo Nam is believed to be heterosexual and happily married.

More About His Family and Trivia

Nam is very close to his mother, as they’ve attended numerous red carpet events together. She owned a clothing store when Leonardo was a kid, while his dad moved furniture. He has three older siblings, with whom he maintains close relationships too.

His dream role is James Bond, but realizes that it’s a distant dream at this point. In the future, Leonardo wants to devote more of his time to various stage productions. As he attended a technical high school, he wasn’t at all pleased with the absence of arts, so he single-handedly started the school’s first drama club.

Net Worth: How Rich is Leonardo Nam?

According to ArticleBio, Leonardo Nam has a net worth in the realm of $1 million.

Body Measurements: How Tall is Leonardo Nam?

Leonardo Nam is 5ft 10ins (178cms) tall, weighs approximately 154lbs (70kgs), and has black eyes and the hair to match.


Benjy is currently a reporter for BiographyPedia based in Adelaide, Australia. Prior to joining BiographyPedia in July 2019, he was a Bizarre TV reporter and theatre critic at TheSun. Benjy has also written for DailyMail and TMZ. Benjy studied journalism at Goldsmiths University of London, graduating in 2009. You can contact him at [email protected]

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