Screen Actors Guild Award-winning actor Stephen Culp is popular among TV viewers as Rex Van De Kamp (2004-2007), the doctor husband of perfectionist Bree Van De Kamp (played by Marcia Cross), on the ABC hit "Desperate Housewives."
The extremely busy TV actor, who portrayed Robert F. Kennedy in the HBO biopic "Norma Jean & Marilyn" (1996) and the historical film about the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, "Thirteen Days" (2000), also had recurring roles in "JAG" (as Special Agent Clayton Webb; 1997-2004), "Star Trek: Enterprise" (as Major Hayes; 2003-2004), "ER" (as Dave Spencer; 2004), "The West Wing" (as Speaker of the House Jeff Haffley; 2003-2005), and starred in the short-lived ABC drama-thriller, "Traveler" (2007).
He also squeezed in guest appearances on such hit TV shows as "One Life to Live," "The Cosby Show," "L.A. Law," "Diagnosis Murder," "Touched by an Angel," "Beverly Hills, 90210," "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman," "Chicago Hope," "V.I.P.," "Boston Public," "Ally McBeal," "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," "24," and "Numb3rs."
Beginning his acting career off-Broadway and in local theater productions, Culphas played significant roles in the films "Gross Anatomy" (1989), "Dead Again" (1991), "Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday" (1993), "Fearless" (1993), "James and the Giant Peach" (1996), "Nurse Betty" (2000), "The Emperor's Club" (2002), "Spartan" (2004), "The Sisters" (2005), and "Firehouse Dog" (2007). He will next be seen in the upcoming thriller "From Within" and the drama/comedy "Leaving Barstow."
The 5' 11" character actor lives in California with his wife and twins.
Childhood and Family:
Son to a naval officer father, Steven Bradford Culp was born in La Jolla, California, on December 3, 1955. Following his parents' divorce, young Culp moved to Virginia Beach, Virginia, where he and his two sisters and a brother were raised by their mother, Ohio-born Mary Ann "Anjo" Joseph, and their stepfather, John Raymond Grabinsky, who was also a naval officer.
Culp graduated from First Colonial High School, in Virginia Beach, Virginia, in 1974 and went on to study English literature at College of William and Mary, in Williamsburg, Virginia. While there, he participated in a student exchange program that took him to The University of Exeter, in England. He later received a MFA degree in Theater Arts from Brandeis University in 1981.
Culp lives in California with his wife Barbara and their twins, Katherine Bradford Culp and Joseph Raymond Culp, who were born on October 6, 2001.
On the morning of January 1, 2006, Culp's half sister, Kathryn Harvey, along with her husband, Bryan Harvey, guitarist and singer for the critically acclaimed duo “House of Freaks,” and their two young daughters, were brutally murdered in Richmond, Virginia. The accused killer, Ricky Javon Gray, was convicted and sentenced to receive the death penalty.
Talking about the death of his half sister and his brother-in-law, Culp said, “They (both) seemed to be able to touch everyone around them in a positive way. Their deaths are a huge blow that we're all still reeling from. The only positive thing I can say is that we've all been inspired to follow their example in our lives. They were truly amazing people.”
With an MFA degree in Theater Arts under his belt, Stephen Culp decided to test the water in New York City and began acting off-Broadway and in local theater productions. He first appeared on television in 1982 on the NBC soap opera "Another World" and ABC's "One Life to Live." Afterward, he concentrated on stage work and has appeared in a number of productions before moving to Los Angeles in the late 1980s.
In the new destination, he landed his TV-movie debut in NBC's Emmy-winning production of Gore Vidal's novel about the 16th President of the United States, "Lincoln" (1988; with Sam Waterston in the title role), and made his big screen debut the following year in the medical drama starring Matthew Modine and Daphne Zuniga, "Gross Anatomy" (1989).
Stephen was also spotted as a guest in an episode of NBC’s sitcom "The Cosby Show," ABC’s primetime series "A Man Called Hawk," CBS’ sitcoms "Murphy Brown" and "Newhart," ABC’s comedy-drama "Hooperman," NBC’s legal drama "L.A. Law," and NBC/ABC’s crime/mystery drama "Father Dowling Mysteries."
Culp returned to the big screen in Kenneth Branagh's psychological thriller "Dead Again" (1991) and the slasher film and the ninth installment in the "Friday the 13th" film series, "Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday" (1993). He was also cast in Peter Weir's Oscar-nominated film adaptation of Rafael Yglesias' novel, "Fearless" (1993) and Henry Selick's big screen version of Norwegian author Roald Dahl's children's book, "James and the Giant Peach" (1996).
During this time, TV viewers could catch him in the made-for-television movies "Quicksand: No Escape" (1992; starring Donald Sutherland and Tim Matheson), "A Walton Thanksgiving Reunion" (1993), the novel-based "Donor Unknown" (1995; featuring Peter Onorati and Clancy Brown) and the HBO biopic "Norma Jean & Marilyn" (1996; with Ashley Judd and Mira Sorvino in the title roles), in which he portrayed Robert F. Kennedy.
He also guest-starred in CBS’ mystery drama series starring Dick Van Dyke, "Diagnosis Murder" and the drama "Touched by an Angel," NBC’s drama "Sisters," NBC’s sci-fi drama "Baywatch Nights," FOX’s popular primetime drama "Beverly Hills, 90210," CBS’ Emmy-winning western series starring Jane Seymour, "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman," FOX’s soap opera "Pacific Palisades," the syndicated mystery/drama "Mike Hammer, Private Eye," the syndicated adventure drama "Pensacola: Wings of Gold," NBC’s crime/drama "Profiler," CBS’ medical drama "Chicago Hope," the hit Lifetime drama "Any Day Now," the short-lived FOX supernatural drama "Brimstone," and the syndicated "V.I.P."
Additionally, Culp played a photographer named Richard Stewart in an educational ESL video series filmed in 1990-1991 and portrayed Brian Hamilton in 1995 in the popular CBS soap opera, "The Young and the Restless." He was also cast as Special Agent Clayton Webb in the long-running CBS military drama series, "JAG." He stayed on the show from 1997-2004.
Hitting the new millennium, Culp starred as Yvan in the Yasmina Reza play "Art" at the South Coast Repertory, in California, and portrayed Kennedy once again in Roger Donaldson's historical film about the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, "Thirteen Days," starring and produced by Kevin Costner. He then added to his resume supporting roles in the films "Nurse Betty" (2000), Neil LaBute's dark comedy starring Renée Zellweger, "The Emperor's Club" (2002; starring Kevin Kline), Michael Hoffman's critically acclaimed dramatic film based on Ethan Canin's short story "The Palace Thief," "Spartan" (2004), a political thriller by writer/director David Mamet starring Val Kilmer, and "The Sisters" (2005; starring Maria Bello, Mary Stuart Masterson and Erika Christensen).
Besides his "JAG" stint, Culp portrayed Attorney Dixon in the FOX award-winning comedy-drama series starring Calista Flockhart, "Ally McBeal," Detective John O'Brien in the ABC drama "Philly," had a role in the ABC mystery "Push, Nevada," portrayed Ted Simmons in the FOX Emmy and Golden Globe award-winning action/drama "24," and Dave Spencer, Dr. Corday's (played by Alex Kingston) love interest, on the hit NBC medical drama "ER."
Additionally, he played Major Hayes (2003-2004) on the UPN sci-fi series "Star Trek: Enterprise," Speaker of the House Jeff Haffley (2003-2005) on the NBC political drama "The West Wing," and Rex Van De Kamp (2004-2007), the doctor husband of the perfectionist Bree Van De Kamp (played by Marcia Cross), on the ABC hit "Desperate Housewives," which earned him two Screen Actors Guild Awards for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series. He also starred as a Special Agent in the short-lived ABC drama-thriller, "Traveler" (2007), which was canceled after eight first episodes.
Culp also managed to squeeze in guest appearances on CBS’ romantic crime drama starring Kathleen Quinlan, "Family Law," NBC’s drama starring Melina Kanakaredes, "Providence," FOX’s teen drama "Boston Public," NBC's crime/drama starring Jill Hennessy, "Crossing Jordan," NBC’s political drama starring Josh Brolin, "Mister Sterling," ABC’s legal drama "The Practice," and the short-lived NBC legal drama starring Rob Lowe, "The Lyon's Den." He was seen in the popular, Emmy Award-winning CBS cop/crime drama "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," and the CBS crime/cop drama starring Rob Morrow and David Krumholtz, "Numb3rs," as well as starred in the TV movies "Murder, She Wrote: A Story to Die For" (2000), "How to Make a Monster" (2001) and "Deck the Halls" (2005).
TV viewers recently caught Culp guest-starring in dual episodes of the TNT cop drama starring Kyra Sedgwick, "The Closer," and in a single episode of CBS’ police procedural drama "Navy NCIS: Naval Criminal Investigative Service.” He also appeared in Sci Fi Channel's "Stargate: Atlantis," ABC’s legal drama "Boston Legal," and the NBC drama "Medium."
As for his big screen work, Culp co-starred with Josh Hutcherson, Bruce Greenwood, and Dash Mihok in Todd Holland's family film "Firehouse Dog" (2007) and Phedon Papamichael's thriller "From Within," which will be released at the Tribeca Film Festival in April-May 2008. He has completed his upcoming film, "Leaving Barstow," a drama/comedy directed by Peter Paige in which he will co-star with Kevin Sheridan, Michelle Clunie, Ryan Michelle Bathe, and Scott Klace.
“My ambition was to be in a Robert Altman movie because I loved the ambiance that he set up and it seemed to be an actor’s paradise to work in those movies. I’d love to work with M. Night Shyamalan. He’s the most Hitchcockian of contemporary directors in that there’s an emotional resonance that goes beyond the material. Shyamalan is the only one who has such a strong emotional pull and seems to be about things that are unnamable and it’s not just a tricked up thriller plot. He really hits an emotional place.” Stephen Culp
Screen Actors Guild: Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series, "Desperate Housewives," 2006
Screen Actors Guild: Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series, "Desperate Housewives," 2005