“I think network television has underestimated the intelligence of viewers for many years. I think the average viewer is much more intelligent than executives give them credit for. They crave intensity and are willing to sit down and watch a quality show.” Adrian Pasdar
American actor and movie director Adrian Pasdar hit the big time with the popular NBC series “Heroes” (2006-present), which cast him as Nathan Petrelli, a New York congressman with the ability to fly.
A promising football player prior to pursuing an acting career, Pasdar first came to the attention of the public in “Top Gun” (1986), one of the top grossing films of the 1980s. He continued to earn notice in such movies as the cult hit “Near Dark” (1987), the British comedy “Just Like a Woman” (1992), Brian De Palma's “Carlito's Way” (1993), Bob Balaban's “The Last Good Time” (1994) and Richard Schenkman's “The Pompatus of Love” (1996). He was also the star of the 1990 TNT TV movie “The Lost Capone” and played the title role in the Fox TV series “Profit” (1996-1997). He then starred in the drama series “Mysterious Ways” (PAX, 2000-2002) and appeared in popular series like “Judging Amy” (2003-2005) and “Desperate Housewives” (2005). But, it was “Heroes” that really propelled him to celebrity status.
“I love directing. It's a different level of focus and a real mental challenge.” Adrian Pasdar
As a director, Pasdar is known for helming the award-winning feature “Cement” (1999), starring Chris Penn. It brought him Grand Award at the 2000 WorldFest Houston and an Audience Award at the 2000 AngelCiti Film Festival. He also was a co-producer and contributed to the film soundtrack.
Pasdar lives with his singer wife, Natalie Maines, and their two children in Los Angeles, California, and Austin, Texas. He dated Gregory Peck's daughter, Cecilia Peck, from 1988 to 1990.
Pasdar enjoys playing chess. Other hobbies include skydiving and riding a Harley. A fan of tattoos, he wrote his children' names on a tattoo of an anchor on his right arm. He also has a tattoo of the Chinese character for strength that he got during the set of “Shanghai 1920” in 1991 and a Bobcat tattoo on his upper right arm. Pasdar named his production company “Bobcat Films.”
Along with Greg Gunberg, Hugh Laurie, James Denton, Teri Hatcher and Jesse Spencer, Pasdar is a member of the charity rock group Band From TV, for which he plays the guitar. Some of the income from the band's concerts is donated to his appointed charity, the Rush Epilepsy Center.
Childhood and Family:
Adrian Kayvan Pasdar was born on April 30, 1965, in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. His father, Homayoon Pasdar, was born in Tehran, Iran, and was a heart surgeon with a practice near Philadelphia. His mother, Rosemarie, came from Germany and worked as a nurse before becoming an English teacher and travel agent in France. His parents divorced in 1974 and Adrian split his youth between America and France.
A star athlete at Marple Newtown Senior High School in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, Adrian earned a scholarship to play linebacker at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, where he majored in English. His sports career, however, was cut short by a serious car accident during his freshman year. This accident also forced him to finish his freshmen year in a wheelchair and undergo intensive physical therapy. The desperate Adrian next turned his attention to campus stage productions and tried to rediscover his childhood interests, writing and acting. After leaving college, he studied at the Lee Strasberg Theater Institute in New York.
On June 24, 2000, Adrian married Natalie Maines (born on October 14, 1974), the lead singer of the country music group Dixie Chicks. They first met in May 1999 at the wedding of band member Emily Robison and singer-songwriter Charlie Robison, where Natalie served as a bridesmaid to Emily and Adrian served as a groomsman to Charlie. Adrian and his wife welcomed their first child, son Jackson Slade Pasdar, on March 15, 2001. Their second son, Beckett Finn Pasda, was born on July 14, 2004.
His younger sister, Anamarie Pasdar (born in 1973), was an artistic director/associate producer for the SoHo Rep Theater Company in New York City before serving as the Associate Artistic Director at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco. Known to her family and close friends as “Pink,” she appeared in an episode of “Mysterious Ways” called “Handshake.”
After a serious automobile accident prevented him from continuing his football career, Adrian Pasdar left school and returned home to Pennsylvania, where he worked as a tech resident in an internship with the People's Light and Theater Company. It was while constructing a set that the end of his left thumb was cut off. He received money as medical compensation and used it to attend the celebrated Lee Strasberg Theater Institute in New York. While still studying, 19-year-old Pasdar made his feature acting debut in Tony Scott's “Top Gun” (1986), opposite Tom Cruise. He portrayed a fighter pilot named Chipper, a part Scott wrote for him.
Pasdar appeared in bigger roles in Alan Johnson's “Solarbabies” (1986), Joe Roth's “Street of Gold” (1986), where he costarred with Klaus Maria Brandauer and Wesley Snipes, and Ken Friedman's indie-drama “Made in U.S.A.” (1987) before graduating to a leading role in Kathryn Bigelow's cult vampire flick “Near Dark” (1987), in which he played a naive cowboy named Caleb Colton. Despite this early triumph, he put acting on the back burner for a year and traveled to Berlin and Paris. It was during this period that Pasdar wrote an unpublished novel, which was chosen by Steven Spielberg but never produced.
The Massachusetts native resurfaced when he was cast opposite Mia Sara and Dennis Boutsikaris in his TV movie debut, “Big Time” (1989), which was produced by American Playhouse. Also that year, he supported Peter Falk in “Cookie.” Pasdar next played Jimmy Capone in the TNT biopic “The Lost Capone,” starred as a medical student named Michael Chatham in the Marisa Silver-directed horror feature “Vital Signs” and appeared in the independent “Torn Apart” (all 1990). The following year, he costarred as Dawson Cole, the ill-natured son of an American shipping baron, in the Hong Kong movie “Shang Hai yi jiu er ling/Shanghai 1920,” opposite John Lone, and teamed up with Kelly McGillis and Jon DeVries for the based-on-novel “Grand Isle,” helmed by Mary Lambert.
Pasdar next portrayed Gerald Tilson/Geraldine, a cross-dresser who embarks on an affair with a British divorcee (played by Julie Walters), in the British drama “Just Like a Woman” (1992, released in the U.S. in 1994). However, he once again quit acting due to a lack of roles and the perception that his career was going nowhere. Pasdar recalled, “I had gotten so out of touch with reality that one day in 1992, I just sold my house at a $200,000.00 loss, moved back East, and put my money into T-bills. I spent the next year working behind the counter and running the cash register for room and board at Vandam Diner, a little lower east Manhattan diner owned by a friend's father.”
After leaving his waiter and cashier post, Pasdar made a memorable comeback in Brian De Palma's “Carlito's Way” (1993), opposite Al Pacino, Sean Penn, Penelope Ann Miller and John Leguizamo. He also played Captain John Harling in George Hickenlooper's “The Killing Box” and appeared in the off-Broadway production of “Aven u Boys.” Pasdar was then cast in “The Last Good Time” (1994, released theatrically in 1995) and appeared in the CBS television movie “Shadows of Desire” (1994) and Showtime's biblical drama, “Slave of Dreams” (1995).
In 1995, Pasdar ventured into directing with the short “Beyond Belief,” which he also wrote. The film premiered at the East Hamptons Film Festival in October that same year and won the finalist Award at the Houston Film Festival in June the following year. When he reappeared in front of the camera, the good looking actor scored his major break with his title role on the Fox television series “Profit.” Debuting on April 1996, the show received critical acclaim but was quickly canceled due to low ratings. He next costarred in the independent film “The Pompatus of Love” (1996, with Jon Cryer, Tim Guinee and Adam Oliensis), appeared on the based-on-play “A Brother's Kiss” (1997), and starred as Detective Vernon Coyle in the Emmy-nominated two-part NBC miniseries “House of Frankenstein” (1997).
Pasdar revisited TV in 1997 with his role of C. Oliver Resor on the CBS short-lived drama “Feds,” which was axed after six episodes. Guest spots in “The Outer Limits” followed in 1998 and small roles in the NBC television movie “Mutiny” and the movie “Desert Son” kept him busy in 1999. It was also in 1999 that Pasdar made his feature directorial debut with “Cement,” a $1.7 million independent drama. Starring Chris Penn, Jeffrey Wright, Henry Czerny and Sherilyn Fenn, the art-house film won a Grand Award for Theatrical Feature Film at the 2000 WorldFest Houston and an Audience Award at the 2000 AngelCiti Film Festival. In addition to directing, Pasdar also served as co-producer, composed the music, and wrote “Peach Jam” and “Wildcat Shoe,” which he also performed for the film’s soundtrack.
Entering the new millennium, Pasdar costarred as Declan Dunn on the supernatural series “Mysterious Ways,” which debuted on NBC in 2000 and went on to air on PAX-TV from 2000- 2002. He also guest starred as a graphic novelist in a 2002 episode of “The Twilight Zone” called “Dream Lover,” portrayed Terry Farrell's new found lover in the Lifetime movie “Crossing the Line” (2002) and had the recurring role of ADA David McClaren in the Amy Brenneman-led series “Judging Amy,” which he played from 2003 to 2005. Pasdar's profile received a further boost with his recurring role on three episodes of the ABC hit series “Desperate Housewives” (2005).
Pasdar enjoyed even more success when he won the role of Nathan Petrelli on the NBC drama “Heroes” (2006). The show went on to become a hit and has won such awards as a 2007 ASCAP for Top TV Series, a 2007 Saturn for Best Network Television Series, a 2007 People's Choice for Favorite New TV Drama, a 2007 Teen Choice for Choice TV for Breakout Show, a 2007 Television Critics Association for Program of the Year, a 2008 BAFTA TV for Best International, a 2008 Teen Choice for Choice TV Show: Action Adventure, and a 2009 People's Choice for Favorite Sci Fi/Fantasy Show. The show has also collected Emmy and Golden Globe nominations.
The former football player resumed his big screen career by starring in the low-budget thriller “Home Movie” (2008), his first movie since “Secondhand Lions” (2003), a comedy directed and written by Tim McCanlies and starring Michael Caine and Robert Duvall. On stage, he was spotted co-writing and co-directing the 2007 musical “Atlanta,” which premiered at the Geffen Playhouse.
AngelCiti Film Festival: Audience Award-Drama, “Cement,” 2000
WorldFest Houston: Grand Award, Theatrical Feature Film, “Cement,” 2000
WorldFest Houston: Grand Award, “Cement,” 2000