Also Credited As:Ian Joseph Somerhalder
|Ian Joseph Somerhalder on December 8, 1978 in Covington, Louisiana, USA|
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Born Dec. 8, 1978 in Covington, LA, Somerhalder was raised by his mother, Edna, a massage therapist, and his father, Robert, a building contractor. He made his modeling debut at 10 years old after signing a three-year contract with the Ford Modeling Agency, mainly in an effort to buy fishing equipment and a bicycle. Consistent modeling work caused the small town Southern boy to spend many summers in New York City. When not posing in front of a camera, Somerhalder enjoyed the usual activities of a boy growing up, including boating, swimming, fishing and training horses. While he also participated in the school drama club and performed with the local theater group, Somerhalder took time off from his modeling career to enjoy school and early adolescence. But he returned to work in his mid-teens, landing extensive print and runway jobs that took him to Europe, while working in campaigns for Calvin Klein, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Versace, and Guess.
At 17, Somerhalder began studying acting in New York, and only two year later, had committed himself to the craft, working with preeminent acting coach William Esper. His fate was sealed while working as an extra in a club scene in James Toback's feature film "Black & White" (1999), when a talent manager who was visiting the set spotted Somerhalder in a crowd of 400 and immediately signed him for representation. The actor subsequently made his television debut on an episode of the acclaimed sci-fi drama, "Now and Again" (CBS, 1999-2000). The following year, he landed his first role of substance, starring on the teen drama "Young Americans" (The WB, 2000), as the brooding Rawley Academy student, Hamilton, son of the prep school's dean who falls for a teenage girl (Katherine Moenning) posing as a boy, leading him to question his own sexuality. Despite being a spin-off of the popular "Dawson's Creek" (The WB, 1998-2003), the series only survived for eight episodes.
After a small role in the bittersweet drama "Life as a House" (2001), Somerhalder was cast as Paul Denton in "Rules of Attraction" (2002), a satirical teen black comedy based on the novel by Bret Easton Ellis. He next had a well-received, multi-episode stint on "Smallville" (The WB, 2001-2011), in which he played the mysterious Adam Knight, rival to Clark Kent (Tom Welling) for the affections of Lana Lang (Kristin Kreuk). Somerhalder was next cast as a series regular on J.J. Abrams' sci-fi mystery phenomenon, "Lost" (ABC, 2004-2010). Somerhalder played the controlling, but caring Boone Carlyle, a young man saddled with a self-absorbed sister, Shannon Rutherford (Maggie Grace) - actually step-sister, with whom he is in love - and is among the 48 survivors of Oceanic flight 815 stranded on a deserted island that contains incalculable mysteries. Although Somerhalder's character was killed off during the first season, the mysteries surrounding the island and the frequent flashbacks offered several opportunities for the actor to return in a guest starring capacity, particularly in the show's final season.
In the meantime, Somerhalder appeared in the teen horror flick, "Pulse" (2006), a story that focused on the dangers of our wireless society, in which his character hacks into a computer and accidentally channels a mysterious wireless signal which breeds a terrifying evil. Panned by critics, the cheapie horror flick managed to fare decently at the box office and as a rental. Somerhalder continued to land roles in the feature world, while maintaining high-profile romances with heiress Nikki Hilton, "Lost" co-star Maggie Grace and later actress Ashley Greene. Meanwhile, he co-starred opposite David Strathairn in the indie drama, "The Sensation of Light" (2008), before landing a leading role as Damon Salvatore, the malevolent vampire brother of Stefan (Paul Wesley), on the popular teen series, "The Vampire Diaries" (The CW, 2009- ), based on the best-selling novels by L.J. Smith. Back on the big screen, he had a supporting role as a psychotic assassin in the British-made action thriller, "The Tournament" (2009), which focused on the world's best assassins who converge on a small Scottish town to compete in a deadly million-dollar game.