Ravi Patel is an American actor of East Indian descent known for his part on FOX’s TV series Past Life as well as his current appearances in Grandfathered and Netflix’s Master of None alongside Aziz Ansari. He also co-directed and starred in the award-winning documentary Meet the Patels.

Ravi Patel: Early Life and Switch to Acting

Patel was born on December 18, 1978 in Freeport, Ill., to the family of a financial consultant father and a mother working in real estate. In many respects, he had a typical Indian-American childhood and adolescence. He was exposed to the business world and eventually graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2001 with a major in Economics and International Studies. During his last year in college, Patel worked as a broker and continued as an investment banker immediately after graduation. He considered going to law school, but his early interests put him on an entrepreneurial path. He co-founded and ran a successful poker magazine, All In.

Patel’s switch to acting began when he got asked to fill in for the MC at an L.A. arts festival that his sister Geeta Patel was producing. “It was a couple of things. One, her friend asked me to audition for something, and that went really well and I got an agent,” Patel told uInterview. “And also… she produced a big arts festival and I got asked to be the MC of it.” He ended up doing more than half an hour of improvised standup comedy and was contacted by many people in the industry over the next week.

Ravi Patel: Acting Career and Current Projects

After he got discovered, Patel made his acting debut in the 2006 independent feature Boys and Girls Guide to Getting Down, which was awarded 5 prizes at the Los Angeles Film Festival the same year. Some of his early credits include appearances on It’s Always Sunny in PhiladelphiaScrubs, and the blockbuster Transformers. In 2010, Patel starred as Dr. Rishi Karna in the crime drama TV series Past Life on FOX.

In 2014, Patel starred in and co-directed the documentary about his family Meet the Patels along with his sister Geeta, which they started working on as early as 2009. The film explores the demands and expectations towards marriage in a first-generation Indian immigrant family. It has received mostly positive critical reviews and won the Audience Award at the Los Angeles Film Festival, where it premiered.

Patel is currently a regular on FOX’s Grandfathered alongside John Stamos. He can be also seen on the brand new Netflix comedy-drama series Master of None, created by Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang. The series was recently renewed for a second season, scheduled to premiere in 2017.

Ravi Patel: Personal Life

In the 2014 documentary Meet the Patels, he discusses some facts about his dating life, mentioning a red-headed American named Audrey that he dated without his parents’ knowledge. The documentary film further traces the clash between generational expectations about marriage and love, as Patel sets out on a quest to find a partner that he loves and his parents approve of.

In 2013, he started a successful venture — a granola bar company called “This Bar Saves Lives.” The idea behind the company is to provide life-saving packets of food in areas around the globe where the numbers of children dying from severe acute malnutrition are particularly high for every granola bar they sell. The campaign has been endorsed by Whole Foods and has helped thousands of kids around the world.

Watch Ravi Patel’s full uInterview:

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