“If you can't be proud of what you do, go and sell shoes. Do something else.” Simon Baker
Australian actor Simon Baker, a former champion sportsman who competed at the state level in surfing and water polo, began his acting career on such successful Australian soap operas as "E Street," "Home and Away" and "Heartbreak High" before landing his breakout role in America as Nick Fallin on CBS’ drama series “The Guardian” (2001-2004), which earned him a Golden Globe nomination. First noticed by American moviegoers as troubled gay actor Matt Reynolds in “L.A. Confidential” (1997), Baker continued to deliver memorable roles in films like “Judas Kiss” (1998), “Ride with the Devil” (1999), “Red Planet” (2000), “The Affair of the Necklace” (2001), “The Ring Two” (2005), “Land of the Dead” (2005) and “The Devil Wears Prada” (2006). He will star in the upcoming films “Sex and Death 101,” opposite Winona Ryder, and “Last Man.”
After “The Guardian,” Baker starred as assassin Jeff Breen (2006-2007) on CBS’ short-lived crime/drama series "Smith," opposite Ray Liotta and Virginia Madsen.
The 5' 10" handsome, blondish Australian actor was one of People Magazine's "50 Most Beautiful People" (2002) and Fade In Magazine's "100 People in Hollywood You Need to Know" (2005). He is currently married to Australian actress Rebecca Rigg and they have three children together.
“I've never, ever looked at this like, 'I'm on a hit TV series in America. I've made it.' I've never approached it like that. For me it's always been about the personal fulfillment in what I'm doing at the time.” Simon Baker
Childhood and Family:
In Launceston, Tasmania, Australia, Simon Baker-Denny was born on July 30, 1969. In 1972, his parents moved to New Guinea and they divorced shortly thereafter. Simon eventually settled in the Sydney area when his mother remarried.
“I didn’t grow up with money, but I grew up with a lot of space. All I did was surf. I was committed to the ocean. That’s one thing about Australians; we have the capacity to embrace life.” Simon Baker
Simon, nicknamed Sime, competed on the state level in surfing and water polo in his teens. He was also one of the singers/dancers in the band Euphoria's film clip “Love You Right.”
After a failed marriage with an Australian woman (they had two kids), Simon Baker married Australian actress Rebecca Rigg in 1998. They have three children together: daughter Stella Baker (born in 1993) and sons Claude Baker (born in 1999) and Harry Friday Baker (born on September 19, 2001). Rebecca has known actress Nicole Kidman for many years and both Simon and Rebecca are very good friends with her. Kidman is the godmother of their son Harry.
On his wife Rebecca Rigg, Baker said, “I have a certain element of self destruction, self-loathing and the fact that I have a family and a wife has given me a sense of responsibility and a purpose and I owe a lot of where I am to that. My wife has always been a real rock for me. I am a country bloke and she's a city chick. I am a sort of surfie who's pretty laid back and relaxed and Rebecca is the energizer.”
Simon and his family resided until recently in Malibu, California, but have since moved back to Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Being asked about what he misses most from his home country, Baker replied, “I miss meat pies. They don't have them in LA. Actually, all I think about the whole time I'm in America is what I'm missing out on in Australia.”
Simon Baker began acting on Australian television during the late 1980s using the name Simon Baker Denny. He was first seen on the small screen in the romantic drama TV movie “Midnight Magic” (1987).
In 1991, Baker appeared in the music video for Melissa Tkautz's song “Read My Lips” and the Aussie dance outfit Euphoria's “Love You Right.” From 1992 to 1993, he played the regular role of Sam Farrell, the on-screen love interest to his off-screen companion and future wife Rebecca Rigg, in the successful soap opera “E Street.” After a two-episode appearance in the long-running drama series “A Country Practice,” he was seen in other popular TV series like “Home and Away” (as James Healey; 1994) and “Heartbreak High” (as teacher Thomas 'Tom' Summers; 1995-1996).
“There was nothing Hollywood about me changing my name. It was about wanting to find out where you fit in the world and where you come from. A lot of that became more potent for me when I was about to become a father myself. So that was the beginning of the saga and it took me to 30 to change back to Baker. It was really a process of letting go a lot of emotional baggage and guilt and all that sort of stuff and realizing I am of my own self who I am. So it was going full circle. Who you are and the moments that you have just before you go to sleep-if you're at peace in those moments, then nothing else matters.” Simon Baker
Baker moved to the United States in 1995 and settled in Los Angeles where he was occasionally known by his stepfather's surname (Simon Baker-Denny or Simon Denny). After starring in CBS’ unsold TV series pilot “The Last Best Place” (1996), he landed a small, but important, part as the doomed gay aspiring actor in Curtis Hanson's acclaimed film adaptation of the 1990 crime fiction novel of the same title by James Ellroy, “L.A. Confidential” (1997), starring Kevin Spacey, Kim Basinger and fellow Australian actors Russell Crowe and Guy Pearce.
This led to further opportunities in supporting roles. He portrayed an egocentric actor and romantic rival to Adrien Brody in Eric Bross' romantic film “Restaurant” (1998) and a sex-obsessed kidnapper partnered with Carla Gugino in writer-director Sebastian Gutierrez's crime drama thriller “Judas Kiss” (1998). He landed the role of George Clyde, one of the four Bushwhackers at the center of Ang Lee's Civil War drama film inspired by Daniel Woodrell's novel, “Ride With the Devil” (1999), in which he shared the screen with Tobey Maguire, Skeet Ulrich, Jeffrey Wright, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers and folk/pop singer Jewel. He also returned to Australia to star in the TV movie “Secret Men's Business” (1999), which earned him an AFI nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Television Feature or Mini-Series.
Entering the new millennium, Baker played the lead role of a colorblind photographer in Adam Collis' little-seen film “Sunset Strip.” He was also cast as Chip Pettengill, one of the astronauts sent to Mars, in Antony Hoffman's sci-fi film “Red Planet,” alongside Val Kilmer, Tom Sizemore, Carrie-Anne Moss and Benjamin Bratt.
2001 proved to be Baker's breakout year. He made his American TV series debut as a regular in “The Guardian,” playing the main character of Nicholas "Nick" Fallin, a hot-shot corporate lawyer forced to work as a part-time legal child advocate after being found guilty of drug possession. He starred in the CBS drama series from September 25, 2001, to May 4, 2004, and was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Drama.
On his character in “The Guardian,” Baker explained, “I like the fact that he's imperfect, which is like everyone. Everyone's a bit imperfect in his own way. He's imperfect in an interesting way. He means well and wants to be a good person. I just think he's overcoming a lot of his own baggage. That's what drew me to it. It didn't seem usual. It seemed like a throwback to a period where we used to have leading characters that weren't genetically, spiritually perfect. Remember those days? Leading men were regular guys, someone you could identify with. Steve McQueen was a regular guy. Charles Bronson was a regular guy. Clint Eastwood's a regular guy.”
During his hefty three-year stint in “The Guardian,” Baker played Adrien Brody's romantic rival once again, this time for Hilary Swank's character, in Charles Shyer's period drama film based on a scandal in the final days of the French monarchy, “The Affair of the Necklace” (2001). In the lavish costumed drama, he portrayed Rétaux de Villette, a gigolo who also had a talent for forgery.
Nearly three years after disappearing from the wide screen, Baker returned with the male lead role of a high school history teacher betrayed by his wife (played by Frances O'Connor) in writer-director Alan Brown's “Book of Love” (2004). The film also represented the debut of Bryce Dallas Howard, daughter of Oscar-winning director Ron Howard.
Following the demise of “The Guardian,” Baker was cast in George A. Romero's “Land of the Dead” (2005), the fourth installment in the “Night of the Living Dead” series. In the horror/thriller film, Baker played the lead role of Riley Denbo. The movie also starred John Leguizamo, Dennis Hopper and Asia Argento.
That same year, Baker also co-starred as Naomi Watts' new boyfriend, Max Rourke, in Hideo Nakata's remake of the Japanese film “Ringu” (1998), “The Ring Two,” an inevitable sequel to the surprise hit horror “The Ring” (2002). He followed it up with another lead role in Sanaa Hamri's romantic comedy film “Something New” (2006), in which he played a landscape architect who goes on a blind date. Baker was also seen as Christian Thompson in David Frankel's Oscar-nominated adaptation of Lauren Weisberger’s best-selling novel, “The Devil Wears Prada” and assassin Jeff Breen (2006-2007) on CBS’ short-lived crime/drama/thriller series "Smith," opposite Ray Liotta and Virginia Madsen.
Baker has completed his upcoming film, “Sex and Death 101,” a dark comedy by writer-director Daniel Waters in which he will star opposite Winona Ryder and Leslie Bibb. He is currently in Australia filming “Last Man,” Fred Schepisi's war drama film based on the book by Graham Brammer.
“Every time I'd do a film, I'd come back and have to hit the pavement again and audition for other films. I didn't get the Hugh Jackman ride, or the Heath Ledger ride: one movie and click. In America, it has so much to do with money. If you're involved in a film that makes a lot of money, suddenly you're a star. But you never know how a film's going to turn out when you're making it. You always hope for the best. People don't set out to make shitty movies. You do the best you can and you hope.” Simon Baker
Family Television: Actor, "The Guardian," 2002
Logie: Most Popular New Talent, "E Street," 1993