Born April 10, 1988 in Los Angeles, California, Haley Joel Osment is the son of teacher Theresa and actor Eugene Osment. He was signed with a talent agent at the age of four. At an audition, he was asked to describe the biggest thing he had ever seen; his description of an IMAX theater screen led to his winning a part in a Pizza Hut TV commercial from which his career took off.
Osment’s first on-screen appearance was in the 1994 TV movie, Lies of the Heart: The Story of Laurie Kellogg followed by his big screen portrayal of Tom Hanks’ son in Forrest Gump for which he received world-wide notice. After several minor roles, he had regular roles in the TV series Thunder Alley (1994-1995), The Jeff Foxworthy Show (1995-1997) and Murphy Brown (1997-1998). His performance as the boy who could see dead people in the 1998 megahit The Sixth Sense co-starring Bruce Willis and Toni Collette made him one of the most popular child actors of his day earning him an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
Cast in numerous films following his Oscar nomination, he was seen in major roles in numerous other films including 2000’s Pay It Forward with Kevin Spacey and Helen Hunt for which he won a Blockbuster award, 2001’s A.I. Artificial Intelligence with Jude Law and Frances O’Connor for which he won a Saturn award, 2001’s Edges of the Lord with Willem Dafoe and Liam Hess and 2003’s Secondhand Lions with Michael Caine and Robert Duvall for which he won a Critics’ Choice award.
Osment provided voiceovers for numerous videos including Chip in 1997’s Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas, Zephyr in 2002’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame II for which he was nominated for a Young Artists award and Mowgli in 2003’s The Jungle Book 2 for which he was again nominated for a Young Artists award.
The actor made his Broadway debut in the 2008 revival of American Buffalo co-starring John Leguizamo and Cedric the Entertainer.
Osment has long provided voiceovers for the video game Kingdom Hearts that have lasted from 2002 to the present.
In 2019, Osment was in roles on competing streaming TV and internet services. He was seen early in the year in Netflix’s Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile co-starring Zac Efron as serial killer Ted Bundy, along with Lily Collins, Jim Parsons and John Malkovich. More recently he has appeared in Amazon’s The Boys in a cast that also included Karl Urban, Jack Quaid, Anthony Starr, Erin Moriarty, Dominque McElligott, Jesie T. Usher, Laz Alonso, Chace Crawford, Tomer Capon, Karen Fukuhara, Nathan Mitchell and Elisabeth Shue.
Osment can next be seen in The Devil Has a Name also starring David Strathairn, Edward James Olmos. Alfred Molina, Kate Bosworth and Martin Sheen. He remains a vital presence as an actor at 31.
FORREST GUMP (1994), directed by Robert Zemeckis
Nominated for 13 Academy Awards and winner of 6, this worldwide hit is remembered for both its eyepopping special effects integrating worldwide events with the life of a man from the Vietnam War to the then present, and for the strong acting of its cast, particularly the Oscar winning performance of Tom Hanks as the dimwitted man who becomes an unwitting witness to history along with such supporting players as Oscar nominee Gary Sininse, Sally Field, Robin Wright, Mikelti Williamson and more. Osment has just one scene, but it is a pivotal role as Hanks’ son at the end of the film.
THE SIXTH SENSE (1999), directed by M. Night Shyamalan
This highly successful thriller was nominated for 6 Academy Awards including Best Picture, Director, Supporting Actor Osment as the boy who see dead people and Supporting Actress Toni Collette as his concerned mother. The story revolves around a psychiatrist played by Bruce Willis who at the request of former patient Donnie Wahlberg takes on the case of the troubled nine-year-old played by Osment. Emotionally stunning, with chilling turns along the way, the ending whether you see it coming or not, will leave you spellbound. Willis, Osment and Collette have all been good in other roles, but never better than they are here.
PAY IT FORWARD (2000), directed by Mimi Leder
Kevin Spacey, who plays Osment’s physically and emotionally scarred teacher, had already won his two Oscars for Usual Suspects and American Beauty Helen Hunt, who plays Osment’s mother, had already won hers for As Good As It Gets when they joined the young actor in this adaptation of Catherine Ryan Hide’s book about the boy who comes up with a plan of paying forward a good deed done for them by doing a good deed for three other people. Jay Mohr, Jim Caviezel, Jon Bon Jovi and Angie Dickisnon co-star in its emotionally involving drama.
A.I. ARTIFICAL INTELLIGENCE (2001), directed by Steven Spielberg
Stanley Kubrick worked on adapting Brian Aldiss’ 1969 short story “Supertoys Last All Summer Long” for two decades before turning the project over to Spielberg who cast Osment as the advanced robotic boy who longs to become real so that he can regain the love of his human mother. The resultant film featuring Frances O’Connor, Sam Robards, Jake Thomas, Jude Law, William Hurt and Ken Leung, was nominated for 2 Academy Awards for Best Visual Effects and Best Score. Osment’s father, Eugene, appears in a minor role, the second of four of his son;s films in which he appeared.
THE BOYS (2019), created by Eric Kripke, Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen
This tongue-in-cheek Amazon streaming adventure series about a group of vigilantes set out to take down corrupt superheroes who abuse their superpowers was one of the year’s nicest surprises. Osment has a minor albeit important role as a confederate of the seven superheroes who can read people’s minds by touching them. The series starring Karl Urban, Jack Quaid, Anthony Starr, Erin Moriarty, Dominque McElligott, Jesie T. Usher, Laz Alonso, Chace Crawford, Tomer Capon, Karen Fukuhara, Nathan Mitchell and Elisabeth Shue will be back for a second season in 2020.
HALEY JOEL OSMENT AND OSCAR
- The Sixth Sense (1999) – nominated – Best Supporting Actor