Philip John Clapp (born March 11, 1971 in Knoxville, Tennessee) known by his stage name Johnny Knoxville, is an American actor, comedian and daredevil. He has been featured in a number of films, but is best known as the co-creator and principal star of the MTV series Jackass and its subsequent films.
Knoxville credits a copy of Jack Kerouac's On the Road given to him by his cousin, country singer/songwriter Roger Alan Wade, with giving him the acting bug. After graduating from South-Young High School in 1989 in Knoxville, he moved to California to become an actor, and at first appeared in commercials and as an extra. Not getting the big break he had hoped for, he began writing and pitching article ideas to various magazines. He also attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts on a scholarship, but dropped out within two weeks. An idea to test self-defense equipment on himself was picked up by the Jeff Tremaine-helmed skateboarding magazine Big Brother, and the stunts were filmed and included in Big Brother's Number Two video. Knoxville's antics became a staple for Big Brother, whose colorful cast of contributors also included Chris Pontius, Steve-O and Dave England.
Eventually, Knoxville, Tremaine, Sean Cliver and Dave Carnie produced a pilot that used Big Brother footage along with footage from Bam Margera's CKY videos, and with help from Tremaine's friend, film director Spike Jonze, they pitched a series to various networks. A deal was made with MTV and Jackass was born. Knoxville also participated in the Gumball 3000 for Jackass along with co-stars Steve-O and Chris Pontius and Jackass director Jeff Tremaine and producer Dimitry Elyashkevich. Prior to Jackass landing on MTV, Knoxville and company turned down an offer from Saturday Night Live to perform similar stunts for the show on a weekly basis (Knoxville eventually did host SNL in 2005).
Knoxville has been in several feature films, most notably was starring opposite Seann William Scott in Jay Chandrasekhar's adaptation of The Dukes of Hazzard. He has also worked with director John Waters in A Dirty Shame and starred in Daltry Calhoun, written and directed by Katrina Holden Bronson and produced by Quentin Tarantino. In The Ringer, Knoxville was cast as an able-bodied office worker who joins the Special Olympics to pay for a surgical operation for his gardener. He played a two-headed alien in Men in Black II. He also starred in the movie Lords of Dogtown as "Topper Burks", made a minor appearance in the 2000 movie Coyote Ugly, and was featured as a guest voice on an episode of King of the Hill. Knoxville appeared as a supporting character to The Rock in the 2004 remake of Walking Tall. He also guest-starred on the pilot of the show Unhitched. Knoxville is slated to appear in the John Madden-directed adaptation of Elmore Leonard's novel, Killshot. Knoxville guest-starred in a Season 3 episode "Prank Wars" on Viva La Bam, in which he and Ryan Dunn trashed Bam Margera's Hummer, among other pranks.
Knoxville has one daughter, Madison. She can be seen in the credits for Jackass Number Two. On February 1, 2007, Knoxville and his wife of twelve years, Melanie, filed for legal separation. Shortly afterwards, they filed for divorce on March 2008. They were married on May 15, 1995. On January 15, 2009 at the Los Angeles International Airport security workers discovered an inert grenade in his carry-on; he was detained and was cited for carrying a prohibited item into the airport. Knoxville explained on February 4th, 2009 on The Howard Stern Show how this was a prop from a commercial and that an assistant had packed his bag for him. Also on that February 4th visit he explained how he tore his urethra during a stunt for Nitro Circus explaining how he has to flush it twice daily. He said this is done by sticking a tube into his penis all the way up to his bladder (10-11 inches). Johnny said the process prevented scar tissue from forming.
Johnny Knoxville's tattoos consist of a symbol on his arm
which is inspired by an American punk band called The Germs. He has a bunch of
bad tattoos. But none worse than the massive Leon Spinks tattoo on his right
shoulder. He got it in Austin. It says LEON and it's a picture of the former
heavyweight boxer Leon Spinks.
There was not much thought put into getting this tattoo, Knoxville was sitting in a bar, thinking "I should get a tattoo of Leon Spinks on my arm!". He did get a tattoo of Leon Spinks the very next day." He admits, that he was "Pretty well oiled that night".