Austin was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York in a little beach community called Sea Gate at the end of the famous Coney Island boardwalk. From a very young age he felt at home in the limelight, entertaining people and making them laugh - but Austin actually dreamed of playing major league baseball as a catcher for the New York Mets! Once it was clear that biology and genetics were teaming up to prevent that from happening, he turned his focus to... becoming a DOCTOR!!! Eventually, even that became a complex form of procrastination.
Austin's favorite holiday was Halloween because he loved dressing up & putting on make-up. He even kept a costume chest in his house with masks, capes, hats & props, so he could get into character whenever he wanted! All throughout his childhood he also performed in plays, usually musical comedies. From his first role as "The Sun" in his kindergarten play, to the title role of Dracula in a Junior High School production of Young Dracula, to the Dentist in a summer camp version of Little Shop of Horrors, to the part of Stanley in Brighton Beach Memoirs (his first full production in college), Austin’s future was being mapped out before his eyes.
Luckily, Austin had very supportive parents who managed to make a lower middle-class existence an extremely comfortable environment for him to reach his potential. His mother, Shari, was a high school Health & Physical Education teacher and coach for over 30 years. His father, Arthur, went to school for Hotel & Restaurant Management, but also worked in the employment industry for several years, and was the manager of a meat distribution company for over 20. He even owned a gourmet candy store at one point called “Cravings” on Sheepshead Bay Road. Both of Austin’s parents, now retired, have been the foundation for his success and continue to be there for him every step of the way. He also has a younger brother, Jeremy, who is a Phys. Ed. teacher & coach at a local LA private school.
Austin attended Mark Twain Junior High School for the Gifted & Talented, where he was in Drama Talent. There he came into contact with Ms. Celestine DeSaussure & Mr. Michael Polenski (or Ms. “D” & Mr. “P” – as he referred to them back then). They cultivated Austin’s talent and encouraged him to achieve his dreams. He is forever grateful for their contributions to his development as an artist. Austin was then accepted into the Medical Science program at Midwood High School at Brooklyn College, where he performed in the annual SING competitions. There he won the Morty Gunty Award for Performing Arts; was a member of Arista & Archon; and played JV Basketball, Varsity Baseball & Varsity Soccer.
Austin went on to Major in Theater at Binghamton University. He performed in the title roles of Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead and I Hate Hamlet, among others- in addition to several original productions. He was encouraged to further his education and to seriously pursue a career by his acting teacher Eugene Lesser- who proved to be a supportive, yet demanding mentor, and inspired his persistent work ethic. Austin took Gene’s advice and continued his training at The Actors Studio Drama School, where he received an MFA in Acting. Elizabeth Kemp, Doug Moston and Gene Lasko were the teachers there that provided the foundations of Austin’s technique. His thesis project was a scene from Beggars in the House of Plenty by John Patrick Shanley. Austin also appeared in the original play Safe by Ben Rosenthal, and a self-conceived piece called Walking to School in which he played the African-American little girl depicted in Norman Rockwell's painting "The Problem We All Live With."
Soon after graduating, Austin became a lifetime member of The Actors Studio. There he had the privilege to work with the likes of Al Pacino, Faye Dunaway & Estelle Parsons; and under the tutelage of Ellen Burstyn, Martin Landau, Harvey Keitel, Arthur Penn, and Lee Grant - among others. While a struggling actor in New York City, Austin worked as a bartender, a bouncer, a busboy, a cater-waiter, and a substitute teacher to make a living - all while he took classes to hone his audition skills, worked “in session” at The Actors Studio, and performed in a slew of independent & student films, and Off-Off Broadway plays. He also co-created and performed in an improv & sketch comedy show called Mmm... Comedy that ran for 7 months. Austin’s television debut was in the Comedy Central film Porn 'n' Chicken, but his break came in 2004 when he was cast as Lou-Lou Versini in an episode of LAW & ORDER: Criminal Intent opposite Vincent D'Onofrio & Kathryn Erbe. After several trips to Los Angeles, Austin landed a leading role in a Warner Brothers TV pilot for FOX called Spellbound, with Christine Baranski, Barry Bostwick and Dave Annable. He soon moved out to LA for good and began making a living as an actor.
Austin’s initial success was in national commercials. He appeared in spots for Toys ‘R’ Us, Wendy’s, Dr. Pepper, State Farm, Burger King, and AT&T. He also played Benjamin Bankes, the pig in the Ad Council’s “Feed the Pig” PSA campaign. Since then, Austin has appeared on numerous television shows and has been cast in lead roles on a number of films, traveling as far as India & Africa to shoot them. All of these credits can be found on IMDb.com
As a writer, Austin has published a collection of poems called An Actor Without An Audience: Poetry For Artists, Lovers and Everymen (2011) and a comic book series called The KINETIX (2018), with his writing partners, Dave Maulbeck & Josh Taub. The comic centers on a group of teenagers with disabilities & chronic illnesses who are students by day & a team of superheroes by night! Austin has lived with Type 1 Diabetes for over 34 years and is a Celebrity Ambassador for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), so being an advocate for inclusion & representation is a passion of his. He has dedicated his free time to advocating for T1D around the world by bringing awareness, raising money, and inspiring young people to achieve their dreams.
Most recently, Austin released his first children's book, Zoo's On First (2019), co-written with his brother Jeremy Basis & illustrated by Dave Maulbeck (available online at Amazon, BookBaby and Barnes & Noble). He also wrote, executive-produced & starred in a short film The Fear We Share, which is now streaming online.
Austin was recently honored as a “distinguished alumnus” of Mark Twain Intermediate School For The Gifted And Talented in Brooklyn, NY and inducted into their Hall of Fame.