Grew up in Lower East Side New York. Graduated from Friends Seminary High School in Manhattan.
Attended London's Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, Hampshire College and graduated with a Master's degree from the Yale School of Drama in 1992.
Son of actor Tell Schreiber and Heather Schreiber. Has four half-brothers and one-half sister, including younger half-brother, Pablo Schreiber.
His mother says she named him after her favorite author, Leo Tolstoy whose Russian name was Lev (pronounced "l'yehv" --the letter e in Russian is pronounced "yeh", and the standard English transliteration of the name is Lev). His father says he was named after a doctor in San Francisco who saved his mother's life.
Last name means "writer" in German.
Attended Friends Seminary High School with actress Amanda Peet when he was a senior and she was a freshman.
Liev's father is from a family that has lived in the United States for many generations, and has German, Swiss, Danish, Dutch, English, French, Norwegian, Belgian (Flemish), Scottish, and Welsh ancestry. Liev's mother is from an Ashkenazi Jewish family (from Poland and Russia).