James Van Der Beek
Real name: James William Van Der Beek Jr.
Birthdate: March 8, 1977
Partner: Heather McComb
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James Van Der Beek (born March 8, 1977 in Cheshire, Connecticut) is an American television and film actor, best known for his role as Dawson Leery in Dawson's Creek.
James William Van Der Beek, Jr. was born in Cheshire, Connecticut. Van Der Beek attended Cheshire Academy (a private school), where he played football, although he suffered a concussion which prevented him from continuing his interest in the game. He was identified as being dyslexic during his childhood, but became an honors student in his school.
He began acting at age 13, playing Danny Zuko in his school's performance of Grease. Van Der Beek began auditioning in New York City at age 16 and appeared in the off-Broadway play Finding the Sun, as well as in the play Shenandoah in 1994. Later, he was given a scholarship to attend Drew University, where he was an English major and participated in an all-male a cappella group, 36 Madison Avenue.
Van Der Beek started his film career with a supporting role in the teen-oriented movie Angus in 1995. Then he starred opposite Claire Danes and Jude Law in "I Love You, I Love You Not", and after that was "Cash Crop" which was originally titled "Harvest" and was filmed in 1997, but wasn't released until 2001. However, he did not gain wide renown until 1998, when he was cast in the lead role of Dawson Leery on the television series Dawson's Creek. He stopped attending college in order to film the series, but plans to return in order to complete his degree.
The series was a big success among its intended teenage audience, and Van Der Beek became a well known teen idol. Which was pretty odd to James because by the time he got the role he was in his 20's. His on and off air chemistry with Katie Holmes was one of the main reasons for the success of the show.
In 1999, Van Der Beek took a break from Dawson's Creek and starred in the lead role in the film Varsity Blues, as a player on a Texas high school football team. The film was successful, grossing $52 million and Van Der Beek won an MTV award for his lead performance, though the overstated Texas accent he occupied in the film earned him much ridicule in popular culture. He subsequently appeared in "Texas Rangers" and The Rules of Attraction. After Dawson's Creek ended in 2003, James continues to act in film and doing tv guest spots. However, he has done numerous TV pilots such as "Three", "Sex, Power, Love, and Polotics",and "Football Wives" but none were picked up by the networks.
In 1998, Van Der Beek was chosen as one of People Magazine's "50 most beautiful people in the world".
Presently, he is to Guest-Star on "Ugly Betty". And, his new movie Final Draft(2007) was released on September 18,2007.
He enjoys playing the guitar and participating in sports; his favorite football team is the Green Bay Packers.
He was also nominated for the 2000 Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Actor - Newcomer (for Varsity Blues)