For audiences around the world whose ears ring with the haunting and fateful revelation of a child tortured by terrifying visions of the afterlife, Haley Joel Osment may forever be linked to his role in what would rank among the most popular supernatural thrillers ever made, The Sixth Sense (1999). An Oscar nominee at the age of 11, Osment quickly became one of the most recognized and versatile young actors working in film, proving to audiences that his talents exceeded typecasting by constantly tackling new and challenging roles and characterizations.
Born in Los Angeles, CA, on April 10, 1988, Osment set his acting career into motion, as many actors do, by appearing in commercials and taking small roles on television. Accompanied by his father to an audition for a Pizza Hut commercial and initially discouraged by the overwhelming amount of children vying for the role, Osment eventually stuck out the wait at his father's request and landed the role that would launch his career. Soon making his feature debut as the son of the titular shrimp slinger in the phenomenally successful Forrest Gump in 1994, Osment alternated between television (Murphy Brown and The Jeff Foxworthy Show) and film (Mixed Nuts and Bogus) while frequently appearing in such made-for-TV movies as The Ransom of Red Chief before making his breakthrough in director M. Night Shayamalan's The Sixth Sense.
Following the success of The Sixth Sense with the well-intended but fatally flawed feel-good failure Pay It Forward, Osment escaped relatively unscathed as critics recognized the young actor's exceptional performance in what was otherwise a flop with critics and audiences alike. Imagination was the key to Osment's next project: director Steven Spielberg's long-anticipated, much-hyped A.I. An elaborately futuristic tale of an android that aspires to experience human emotion, A.I. was the first and only collaboration of two of the most influential filmmakers of the 20th century, the late Stanley Kubrick (who conceived the story based on Brian Aldiss' short story Supertoys Last All Summer Long) and Spielberg. In addition to appearing onscreen, Osment lent his voice to a number of animated films in 2000 and 2001, including the Disney sequels The Hunchback of Notre Dame II and The Jungle Book II. After once again providing voice work for the comedy musical The Country Bears, Osment returned to the screen body intact with Secondhand Lions in 2003. Cast as an intorverted youngster whose irresponsible mother sends him off to spend his summer with his eccentric uncles in Texas, Osment's onscreen abilities were key in making his character's transformation from withdrawn child to responsible young man believable.