Jared Leto Turns 41: See the Birthday Boy’s Career Evolution (PHOTOS)

By: Gabrielle Chung / December 26, 2012

Many Face of Leto
Click through the changes faces of Jared Leto
My, my, how the time flies.

It’s hard to believe that actor-turned-rocker Jared Leto is turning the big 4-1 on Wednesday.

The former teen idol first broke onto the scene with 1994’s My So-Called Life as the object of Claire Danes’ affections, Jordan Catalano. Since then, he’s found success in both big blockbuster movies and indie art house films, stepping into a variety of roles including 1970s Olympic hopeful Steve Prefontaine and a WWII soldier.

But Leto isn’t just wowing spectators on the silver screen.

Alongside his brother Shannon, the Louisiana-native is also the frontman for alternative rock group, 30 Seconds to Mars.

Over the years, the band has released three successful full-length albums, including the platinum-certified A Beautiful Lie.

Now, Leto is tackling his toughest role yet, playing a cross-dressing, transsexual woman with HIV during the height of the AIDS epidemic for The Dallas Buyers’ Club. The film co-stars Matthew McConaughey.

“Your body goes through weird stages,” he previously told  Vulture about fasting for his role.

“Sometimes it’s hard to hold onto water, for me it’s not about the most weight I can lose — it’s more to represent the character.”

This isn’t the first time the actor has taken extreme measures to transform his weight for his on-screen persona. In 2007, the self-professed vegan gained 62 pounds to play the infamous murderer of John Lennon in the flick Chapter 27 — and it came with dramatic consequences. Leto lost the weight so abruptly he was diagnosed with gout.

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To celebrate Leto’s birthday, and his booming Hollywood career, we’re taking a look back at the actor’s career evolution.

Launch the gallery above to see how he’s transformed through the years.