Dec. 8th, 1978
Covington, Louisiana, USA
Ian Somerhalder's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles
Guest TV Roles[none found]
Ian Joseph Somerhalder (born December 8, 1978) is an American actor and model, best known for playing Boone Carlyle in the TV drama Lost and Damon Salvatore in the TV drama The Vampire Diaries.
The son of a massage therapist and a building contractor, Somerhalder was born and raised in the small southern town of Covington, LA. Boating, swimming, fishing and training horses filled much of his recreational time growing up, as did the school drama club and performing with the local theater group.
With his mother's encouragement, at age 10 he began a modeling career that took him to New York each summer. By junior high, he opted to put modeling on the back burner and focus more on sports and school. A few years later, when the opportunity to model in Europe arose, Somerhalder grabbed it, embarking on an enriching path of work, travel and study that took him to cities including Paris, Milan and London.
At 17, he began studying acting in New York, and by 19 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 the feature film Black & White (1999). A talent manager visiting a client on the set spotted Somerhalder in a crowd scene of 400 and immediately signed him for representation. Happy to be anchored in New York, Somerhalder spends much of his time studying acting, writing and practicing yoga. His recreational interests include water and snow skiing and horseback riding.
Somerhalder was cast in the role of vampire Damon Salvatore as a series regular in The CW television drama series The Vampire Diaries (2009). The series premiere attracted The CW's highest premiere ratings of any season premiere since the network began in 2006. The series has continued to be the highest rated series on its channel with both Somerhalder's performance and show receiving a positive response from critics. Somerhalder has received a Teen Choice Award for his participation on the series. The show's fourth and most recent season premiered October 11, 2012.
In October 2012 it was reported that Somerhalder had been cast in the film Time Framed, which had begun filming in Los Angeles.
Somerhalder was involved in the cleanup after the Deepwater Horizon oil drilling disaster on April 22, 2010. His efforts included cleaning of oiled wildlife and taping public service announcements to let the public know how they could assist.
Somerhalder also supports the St. Tammany Humane Society, an organization for animal shelter and welfare. On November 13, 2010, he hosted a Bash on the Bayou charity fundraiser for the Society. During the event, Somerhalder was presented with a donation of $11,100 by The Vampire Diaries fandom for his birthday project.
Together with his The Vampire Diaries co-stars 'Candice Accola' and 'Michael Trevino', Somerhalder supports the It Gets Better Project, which makes it a goal to prevent suicide among LGBT youth associated with The Trevor Project.
Somerhalder announced, via Twitter and in various interviews that he was setting up The Ian Somerhalder Foundation (launched on December 8, 2010, Somerhalder's 32nd birthday), which he hopes will educate people on the importance of protecting the environment and animals: "Instead of gifts this year, my birthday wish is that we come together and raise funds to support projects that protect our habitat and nurture our furry friends".
In September 2011, Somerhalder confirmed that he and his The Vampire Diaries co-star 'Nina Dobrev' were "in a relationship". In May 2013, it was reported that the relationship had ended. This was later confirmed by Teen Wolf actor and close friend 'Colton Haynes'. He is currently engaged to Nikki Reed.
- His father, Robert Somerhalder, was a building contractor of French and English descent, and his mother, Edna, who is of Irish and Choctaw descent, grew up on a pig farm in Mississippi.
- In 2005, he bulked up, adding about 20 to 30 pounds of muscle to his slim frame, so he would be considered for more leading-man-type roles.
- Began modeling at age 10, modeled for Calvin Klein, Dolce & Gabanna, Gucci, Versace and Guess (Was the face of Guess? for two consecutive fall seasons).
- Was the face of Guess? for two consecutive Fall seasons.
- Attended Catholic school.
- Played varsity soccer and baseball.
- The surname "Somerhalder" originates from his adoptive great-grandfather. His biological great-grandfather, a wealthy English landowner, got one of his mistresses pregnant and paid an immigrant worker of his to marry this woman and give the baby a name, which was Somerhalder. The biological great-grandfather's name was Hull.
- Grew up with his mother, whom he has described as being "very spiritual".