“I never considered a career in broadcasting, not even as a kid.” Josh Charles
Kicking off his screen career in John Waters' “Hairspray” (1988), actor Josh Charles has portrayed roles in such films as “Dead Poets Society” (1989, as shy prep school student Knox Overstreet), “Threesome” (1994, as Eddie) and “Meeting Daddy” (2000, as Peter Silverblatt), among others. His recent and upcoming credits include “S.W.A.T.” (2003), “Seeing Other People” (2004), “Four Brothers” (2005), “The Darwin Awards” (2006), “Fast Track” (2006) “Brief Interviews with Hideous Men” (2009) and “After Life” (2009). On the small screen, Charles is perhaps best known for portraying the television host Dan Rydel in the ABC comedy “Sports Night” (1998-2000), from which he was nominated for a Screen Actors Guild and a Viewers for Quality Television Award. He has also acted in a number of TV films, including “Murder in Mississippi” (1990), “Cooperstow” (1993), “Norma Jean & Marilyn” (1996) and “Our America” (2002) and recently appeared in the series “Six Degrees” (2007) and “Wainy Days” (2007). Josh currently plays Will Gardner in the series “The Good Wife” (2009-2011).
As a stage actor, Charles took home a Festival Week Award for his starring role in the Stagedoor Manor production of “Confrontation” (1986). Other plays he has participated in include “The Dance Lesson” (1989), “The Distance From Here” (2004), “The Well-Appointed Room” (2006) and “The Receptionist” (2007).
As for his private life, Charles supports the Baltimore Orioles (baseball) and the Baltimore Ravens (football) teams. He was once romantically linked with actress Jennifer Connelly (dated in 2001).
Childhood and Family:
The son of Allan Charles, an advertising executive, and Laura, a gossip columnist for the Baltimore Sun newspaper, Joshua Aaron Charles, who would later be famous as Josh Charles, was born on September 15, 1971, in Baltimore, Maryland. He has a brother named Jeff. Performing standup comedy since the age of 8, Josh spent many summers at the Stagedoor Manor Theatre Camp in New York's Catskill Mountains when he was a teenager. He also enrolled at The Baltimore School for the Performing Arts, whose students included Jada Pinkett Smith and Tupac Shakur.
Dead Poets Society
8-year-old Josh Charles began his career performing standup comedy in his hometown of Baltimore, Maryland. By age 15, he was awarded a Festival Week for Best Actor for playing Brian in the Stagedoor Manor production of “Confrontation” (1986). He also performed in several other plays produced by Stagedoor Manor, including “Equus,” “Dark Of The Moon” and “The Court of The Stone Children.” Within two years, he made the leap to the big screen with a bit part in John Waters' “Hairspray” (1988). It was his next role, however, that offered the actor more exposure when he was cast as student Knox Overstreet in the Academy Award winning drama “Dead Poets Society” (1989), which was directed by Peter Weir and featured the Oscar nominated performance of Robin Williams. Also in 1989, Charles could be found on stage playing Jay in the production of “The Dance Lesson” at the Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, Connecticut.
Charles hit it big with his TV movie debut, “Murder in Mississippi” (NBC, 1990), in which he portrayed Andrew Goodman, the civil rights worker murdered alongside Mickey Schwermer and James Chaney in the summer of 1964. He then appeared in the TNT sport-themed “Cooperstow” (1993), starring Alan Arkin and Graham Greene. In between, Charles had his first romantic lead in the film “Don't Tell Mom The Babysitter's Dead” (1991), playing a fast food employee dating Christina Applegate, and starred opposite Jason Gedrick and Stephen Baldwin in Mike Binder's “Crossing the Bridge” (1992). Charles next earned praise as the sexually-baffled college roommate in the Andrew Fleming's “Threesome” (1994), where he rejoined Stephen Baldwin and acted with Lara Flynn Boyle. He next received roles in “Coldblooded” (1995), starring Jason Priestley, and “Pie in the Sky” (1996). Talking about his role in “Threesome,” he stated “Yeah, it's me, Lara Flynn Boyle and Stephen Baldwin in bed. Doing that scene was certainly uncomfortable. It's uncomfortable to do a love scene with just one other person. You throw someone else in there and you are even more uncomfortable. It helped that the three of us had a sense of humor.”
Charles made his return to television when he supported Craig Sheffer and Gabriele Anwar in “The Grave” (1996), portrayed sympathetic friend Eddie Jordan in the biopic “Norma Jean & Marilyn” (1996), starring Ashley Judd and Mira Sorvino, and appeared in “Crossworlds”(1997). In 1998, he made his debut as a series regular in the praised TV comedy “Sports Night,” which ran for two years on ABC in the U.S. and has since been syndicated internationally. Starring as the TV host Dan Rydell, Charles picked up a Screen Actors Guild nomination for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series and a Viewers for Quality Television nomination for Best Actor in a Quality Comedy Series (both 2000).
The following year, Charles found himself taking on the supporting role, opposite Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy, in the children's film “Muppets from Outer Space,” in which he was cast as a federal agent named Barker. A costarring role as a neurotic New Yorker who travels to Savannah to meet his girlfriend's family in the Peter Gould directed/written “Meeting Daddy” followed in 2000 before he starred as Dave Isay in Showtime's film “Our America” (2002), for director Ernest R. Dickerson. 2003 saw Charles join forces with Colin Farrell and Samuel L. Jackson in the big budget action film “S.W.A.T.,” which was adapted from the 1975 TV cop drama of the same name.
In 2004, Charles appeared on a New York stage in a revival of Neil LaBute's “The Distance From Here,” which won a Drama Desk for Best Ensemble Performance. He then appeared with Jay Mohr in the low budget comedy “Seeing Other People.” Next, director John Singleton cast him as a Detroit detective named Fowler in “Four Brothers” (2005). The action film, which starred Mark Wahlberg, Andre 3000, Tyrese Gibson and Garrett Hedlund, was a success at the box office although it received mixed reviews from critics. Charles then appeared as a paramedic in David Arquette's vehicle “The Darwin Awards” (2006) and was featured as Forrest Mead in “Fast Track” (also 2006). The same year, he also created the role of Mark in the world premiere of Richard Greenberg's “The Well-Appointed Room” for the Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago. He followed it up with a role in Caryl Churchill's “A Number” at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco. The latter play, however, had a short life.
Recently, Charles appeared in a recurring role on the TV series “Six Degrees” (2007), starring Jay Hernandez. He also acted in the TV sitcom “Wainy Days” (2007). In 2007, he originated the role of Mr. Dart in Adam Bock's “The Receptionist” and appeared “In Treatment” (2007) for TV, which was based on a successful Israeli TV show. He also had a cameo appearance in “Brief Interviews with Hideous Men” (2009) and will be seen in “After Life” (2009). Josh currently plays Will Gardner in the series “The Good Wife” (2009-2011).
Festival Week: Best Actor, “Confrontation,” (1986)