JAMES VAN DER BEEK
March 8, 1977
It could be said that fate played a hand in James Van Der Beek's entrance into the acting world, when at
the age of thirteen he suffered a mild concussion which prevented him from playing football for
the rest of the year. Finding himself on the sidelines, he decided to try out for the school
play and landed the lead role of Danny Zuko in "Grease." James was hooked and he wasted no time
in joining the community theatre group in his home town of Cheshire, where he grew up with fellow
siblings, brother Jared and sister Juliana.
Sixteen and still focused on pursuing an acting career, his mother, Melinda, agreed one summer
to travel the three hours each way to New York City in order for him to pursue acting
professionally. While James did manage to land an agent and a manager on their very first
visit, he didn't find much success auditioning for commercials.
The next year, he was cast in the Off-Broadway play, "Finding the Sun," which was written
and directed by Edward Albee. He describes this as the defining experience for him as an
actor, and commuted six hours every day during the limited three-month run for rehearsals
and performances in the middle of high school. After that experience, he starred in
"Shenandoah" at the Goodspeed Opera House.
His first on-screen performance came with a starring role in the 1995 feature film "Angus,"
and he was featured in "I Love You...I Love You Not" with Claire Danes. He also completed
the independent feature film "Harvest." But it was via his lead role in the smash hit,
"Dawson's Creek" which turned the six foot James into one of the hottest young men in
A dean's list student, Van Der Beek received an academic scholarship from Drew University
in Madison, N.J., where he majored in English with a minor in sociology. In his free time,
he enjoys writing and playing all kinds of sports.
Photo © Unknown
Bio by K. Kamarauskas ©2002 - [Please let us know of any errors]
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