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James Van Der Beek
Born James William Van Der Beek, Jr.
March 8, 1977 (1977-03-08) (age 33)
Cheshire, Connecticut, U.S.
Occupation Actor
Years active 1990–present
Spouse(s) Heather McComb (m. 2003–present) «start: (2003)»"Marriage: Heather McComb to James Van Der Beek" Location: (linkback: (filed for divorce)
Official website

James William Van Der Beek, Jr. (born March 8, 1977) is an American television, film and stage actor, known for his portrayal of Dawson Leery in the WB Network drama series Dawson's Creek.


Early life and stage career

Van Der Beek was born in Cheshire, Connecticut, the son of Melinda, a former dancer and gymnastics studio manager, and James William Van Der Beek, Sr, a cellular phone company executive and former professional baseball pitcher.[1] He attended Norton Elementary School, Dodd Junior High School, and the Cheshire Academy. At the age of 15, he asked his mother to take him into New York City to get an agent and try his hand professionally.

Van Der Beek made his professional debut in the New York premiere of Edward Albee's play Finding the Sun at the Signature Theatre Company in which he played the role of "Fergus." The production, which was also directed by Albee, received good reviews. [2] [3] At age 17, while still in high school, he performed in the musical Shenandoah at the Goodspeed Opera House, and made his feature film debut with a bit part as a bully in the teen-oriented 1995 film Angus. The following year, he shot a small role on the independent film I Love You, I Love You Not which starred Claire Danes, Jude Law and legandary French film star Jeanne Moreau.

Van Der Beek attended Drew University but later dropped out to pursue acting. He performed at the Vineyard Theater in New York in Nicky Silver's play, My Marriage to Ernest Borgnine, and played a supporting role in the independent film Cash Crop, which was originally shot in spring of 1997 and originally titled Harvest released until in 2001.

Television and film career

One day in early 1997, Van Der Beek auditioned for three television pilots. One of them was for the fledgling WB Network. The show was Dawson's Creek. Van Der Beek won the title role of "Dawson Leery", and the show's 1998 debut was a success that helped to establish the network and its cast, which included Katie Holmes, Michelle Williams, and Joshua Jackson. The series, shot in Wilmington, North Carolina, ran for six seasons, was syndicated worldwide, and made household names of the cast.

In 1999, he starred in the teen football comedy Varsity Blues, which held the #1 spot at the US Box Office for its first two weeks.[4] Van Der Beek won an MTV Movie Award for his role.

During this time, Van Der Beek was chosen as one of People magazine's "50 Most Beautiful People in the World", and appeared in several other films, including Texas Rangers, Scary Movie, and Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back.

In 2002, he played Sean Bateman (younger brother of American Psycho protagonist Patrick Bateman) in the film adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis' The Rules of Attraction, written and directed by Roger Avary. The film was an initial box-office failure, but found a cult following on DVD.[5] In 2006 he also appeared on the Direct-to-DVD thriller The Plague, which was produced by Clive Barker and was panned by critics.

After Dawson's Creek's run ended in 2003, Van Der Beek immediately returned to the Off-Broadway Stage, in Lanford Wilson's Rain Dance. He completed an unproduced screenplay titled Winning. Since then he has made a few appearances on television, including a role on Ugly Betty, and a performance in 2007 in a two-part episode of the series Criminal Minds in which he played a fanatic religious serial killer with dissociative identity disorder called Tobias Hankel who kidnaps and drugs one of the main characters Spencer Reid. In 2008, he made a guest appearance on How I Met Your Mother. Since 2008, he has also had a recurring role on One Tree Hill. He recently appeared on The Storm a NBC miniseries, and in an episode of the fifth season of Medium. In 2009, Van Der Beek portrayed real life kidnapper Anthony Steven "Tony Zappa" Wright in the Lifetime network television movie Taken In Broad Daylight.

In 2009, Van Der Beek won Best Actor at the 8th Annual San Diego Film Festival for his portrayal of FBI agent Jake Kelly in the political thriller "Formosa Betrayed", which also won Best Picture. The film will be distributed theatrically in the US starting February 28, 2010. [6]

On January 5, 2010, confirmed that James Van Der Beek had been cast in a major recurring role on Mercy. James will play Dr. Joe Briggs, the new womanizing ICU chief who harbors a dark secret. The role could become a regular gig for the 32-year-old actor.[7] He stars alongside Rhona Mitra, Josh Lucas and Jon Hamm in the Anders Anderson thriller film Stolen.[8]

Personal life

In July 2003, Van Der Beek married actress Heather McComb. In June 2009, Van Der Beek's representative confirmed that the couple had separated after six years of marriage. Also, in 2010 it was confirmed that a very close look-alike had been spotted at the Braums in Gainesville, Texas.[9] On November 20, 2009, Van Der Beek filed for divorce.[10]


Year Film Role Notes
1995 Angus Rick Sandford
1996 I Love You, I Love You Not Tony
1998 Cash Crop James Peterson Alternative titles: Harvest
A Desperate Season
1998 Castle in the Sky Pazu (Voice) Alternative titles: Laputa: The Flying Island
Tenkū no Shiro Rapyuta
1999 Varsity Blues Jonathon "Mox" Moxon
2000 Scary Movie Dawson Leery Uncredited
2001 Texas Rangers Lincoln Rogers Dunnison
Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back Himself
2002 The Rules of Attraction Sean Bateman
2005 Standing Still Simon
2006 Danny Roane: First Time Director James Van Der Beek
The Plague Tom Russell Direct-to-DVD release
2007 Final Draft Paul Twist
2009 Stolen Diploma/Roggiani
Formosa Betrayed Jake Kelly
Year Title Role Notes
1993 Clarissa Explains It All Paulie 1 episode
1995 As the World Turns Stephen Anderson Unknown episodes
1996 Aliens in the Family Ethan 1 episode
1998-2003 Dawson's Creek Dawson Leery 128 episodes
2005 Three John-O Unsold pilot
2006 Sex, Power, Love & Politics Ozzie Television movie
Robot Chicken Various roles (Voice) 2 episodes
2007 Eye of the Beast Dan Leland Television movie
Football Wives Brian Reynolds Unsold pilot
Criminal Minds Raphael/Tobias Hankel 2 episodes
Ugly Betty Luke Carnes 1 episode
2008 How I Met Your Mother Simon 1 episode
2008-2009 One Tree Hill Dixon 4 episodes
2009 Medium Dylan Hoyt 1 episode
Debbie Macomber’s Mrs. Miracle Seth Webster Television movie
Taken In Broad Daylight Tony Zappa Television movie
2010 Mercy Dr. Joe Briggs Unknown episodes

Awards and nominations

Year Award Result Category Film or series
2000 Blockbuster Entertainment Awards Nominated Favorite Actor - Newcomer (Internet Only) Varsity Blues
1999 MTV Movie Awards Won Best Breakthrough Male Performance Varsity Blues
2001 Best Cameo in a Movie Scary Movie
1999 Teen Choice Awards Nominated TV - Choice Actor Dawson's Creek
Won Film - Breakout Performance Varsity Blues


External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

James William Van Der Beek, Jr. (born March 8, 1977) is an American film actor.


  • I love New York City. Everyone is busy with their own lives - and no one is interested in some Hollywood celebrity walking past in downtown Manhattan.Thats why it's my favorite city. You can do what you want without attracting a crowd of curious onlookers.
  • I'm not about to talk about what's romantic in my life - I figure if you talk about it once - then that's an open invitation for everyone to dig into your personal life even further. So, I just keep my private life to myself. If people want to write anything about me, then can go ahead and do whatever they want. But they won't get a comment out of me, that's for sure. It's a free country and I can keep my mouth shut whenever I want!
  • Sometimes it can be really stressful. But that's where it's important to have a close cast working together. On our show - Michelle, Katie, Josh and I get along really well. We all started together - and we back each other whenever we have any problems with the writers. So if there's unity amongst the cast then that reduces the level of stress and tension that can work its way into a long running show.
    • Talking about shooting a TV show

External links

Wikipedia has an article about:

Simple English

James William Van Der Beek, Jr. (born March 8, 1977) is an American television and movie actor. He is best known for his role as Dawson Leery in Dawson's Creek alongside Katie Holmes.

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