Chad Lowe
Birth Date:
January 15, 1968
Birth Place:
Dayton, Ohio, USA
5' 8½''
Famous for:
His role as Jesse McKenna on the ABC's Life Goes On (1991-1993)
Actor, Director, Producer
Santa Monica High School in Santa Monica, California
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Life Goes On


Actor Chad Lowe obtained a nationwide reputation as an HIV artist named Jesse McKenna in the drama series “Life Goes On” (1991-1993), which brought him an Emmy Award and a Viewers for Quality Television Award. Lowe also appeared in a number of films, such as television’s There Must Be a Pony (1986), the horror comedy Highway to Hell (1992), the series “Melrose Place” (1996-1997, made a recurring performance as Carter Gallavan) and Fielder’s Choice (2005, TV, played the titular role).

Apart from his rosy path as an actor, Lowe also took a crack at directing. Debuting with the short film The Audition (2000), he later directed another short film and a couple of TV programs. His upcoming project as a director is for the drama comedy Beautiful Ohio, which will be released in 2006.

On a more private note, Lowe, who in 1991 began volunteering for The Los Angeles Youth Network homeless shelter, married actress Hilary Swank in 1997. However, in March 2006, Swank filed for divorce. Although initially keeping quiet about the separation, Swank recently surprised many with her interview in Vanity Fair, in which she disclosed Lowe’s past substance abuse as a reason for their separation.

Sheen’s Advice

Childhood and Family:

Charles Lowe (later famous as Chad Lowe) was born on January 15, 1968, in Dayton, Ohio. A son of Chuck Lowe (trial lawyer) and Barbara Lowe (writer/retired teacher), he is the brother of actor Rob Lowe (born on March 13, 1964). His parents divorced and his mother later remarried.

At age 9, Chad and his family moved to California where he studied at Santa Monica High School. When he was 15, Chad was encouraged by family friend Martin Sheen to explore his acting talent. This triggered his decision to study acting under Alan Savage in New York. Just before his 16th birthday, Chad found an agent and landed two jobs on the same day.

As for his romantic life, Chad walked down the aisle with actress Hilary Swank (born on July 30, 1974) on October 2, 1997. The couple has since separated.



Chad Lowe initially appeared in several off-Broadway productions such as “Grotesque Love Songs,” the Public Theatre staging of “Coming of Age in Soho” and the Williamstown Festival revival of “Huckleberry Finn.” In 1984, he received a small part in the TV docudrama Flight 90: Disaster on the Potomac (1984) and made an unaccredited appearance as a computer hacker in the romantic comedy movie Oxford Blues (1984), which starred his brother.

Acquiring the titular role in the NBC teen sitcom “Spencer” (1984), Lowe quickly left the series after six episodes, reportedly due to a salary dispute and/or creative differences. He was then seen as Josh Sydney, the son of Elizabeth Taylor’s character, in the TV movie version of James Kirkwood’s play There Must Be a Pony (1986), before costarring opposite Donald Sutherland in the mystery movie Apprentice to Murder (1988). His performance as Donny Trueblood in the little-seen True Blood (1989) was underrated, but he fared better as Stephen/Stephanie in the romantic comedy Nobody’s Perfect (1990).

Returning to L.A., Lowe joined the cast of the acclaimed family drama series “Life Goes On” (1991-1993) for its last two seasons, playing HIV-positive artist Jesse McKenna. Thanks to his impressive portrayal, the actor soon collected an Emmy and a Viewers for Quality Television for Best Supporting Actor. While working with the series, Lowe also took the supporting turn of Kippie Petworth in the TV drama An Inconvenient Woman (1991), starred as Charlie Sykes in the horror comedy Highway to Hell (1992) and costarred with Alyssa Milano in Candles in the Dark (1993, TV, as Jaan Toome).

The performer next had roles in the western TV movie Siringo (1994, played Winton Powell), the western series “Snowy River: The McGregor Saga” (1995, guest starred as Sam Taylor) and the drama Driven (1996, appeared as LeGrand). In late 1996, he began appearing as Carter Gallavan in “Melrose Place” (1996-1997). Following his performance in Suicide, the Comedy (1998, as JJ), Lowe carried out the leading role of Stan Warden in the TV mystery thriller The Apartment Complex (1999) and the recurring part of Craig Spence in “Now and Again” (1999-2000).

Exploring his cinematic skills, Lowe helmed the short film The Audition (2000), where he also appeared onscreen with wife Hilary Swank and actress Brittany Murphy. After appearing in “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” (2001), the filmmaker made his sophomore effort in directing with the short movie The Space Between (2002). It led to his helming the crime drama series “Hack” (2002-2004) and an episode of “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” (2003).

Previously giving engaging performances in Unfaithful (2002) and Red Betsy (2003, played Orin Sanders), Lowe took guest roles in a number of TV series, including “Without a Trace” (2004, also helmed a 2006 episode) and “Medium” (2005). Still on the small screen, he starred as Phillip Fielder, a narcissistic bachelor suddenly nurturing his 8-year old nephew, in the drama Fielder’s Choice (2005).

Lowe’s next directing effort, the drama comedy Beautiful Ohio, is scheduled for release in 2006. Centering on a family living in the 70s, the movie will feature William Hurt, Rita Wilson, Michelle Trachtenberg and Julianna Margulies.


  • Emmy: Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, “Life Goes On,” 1993
  • Viewers for Quality Television: Best Supporting Actor in a Quality Drama Series, “Life Goes On,” 1993
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