“I think education is one of the greatest tools for most kids, not only to expand their book knowledge, but their ability to experience new things. I think it opens more doors than any other experience I can think of.” Will Estes
American actor Will Estes first came to the attention of the public when he won the role of Lassie's owner Will McCullough on the television series “The New Lassie” (1989-1991), where he collected three Young Artist nominations for his performance. He has since played regular roles on the series “It Had to Be You” (1993), “Kirk” (1995-1996), from which he picked up a Young Artist nomination, “The Secret World of Alex Mack” (1997), “Meego” (1997), “Kelly Kelly” (1998) and “Reunion” (2005). However, he is perhaps best known for playing JJ Pryor on the NBC series “American Dreams” (2002-2005). More recently, he joined the cast of the CBS series “Blue Bloods,” playing Tom Selleck's son, Jamie. Estes has also worked in several motion pictures, including “U-571” (2000), “New Port South” (2000), “May” (2002) and “Not Since You” (2009).
Currently, Estes resides in Los Angeles, CA. A lifelong animal lover, he has two dogs and participates in various animal charities, including Best Friends and The Humane Society. He was once romantically involved with actress Jennifer Love Hewitt. His favorite movie is “The Empire Strikes Back.”
Childhood and Family:
An only child, William Estes Nipper, who would later be popular as Will Estes, was born on October 21, 1978, in Los Angeles, California. He was educated at a private high school and graduated with an A average in 1996. He went on to study English literature at Santa Monica College in Santa Monica, CA. Will began acting as a child but did not consider it as a career until he graduated high school.
The New Lassie
Young Will Estes first appeared on television as a guest star on the series “Santa Barbara” “Highway to Heaven” (both 1988) and “Murphy's Law” (1989). He also appeared in various commercials during this period before eventually getting his big break when he was chosen among 700 kids to portray Will McCullough on the TV series “The New Lassie,” which aired between 1989 and 1991. For his acting in the series, Estes received Young Artist nominations for Best Young Actor in an Off-Primetime Family Series (1990), Best Young Actor Starring in an Off-Primetime Series (1991) and Best Young Actor Starring in an Off-Primetime or Cable Series (1992).
Estes made his television film debut with a small part in the Emmy award winning drama “Miracle Landing” (1990), starring Connie Sellecca, Wayne Rogers and Ana Alicia. He followed it up with an appearance alongside Douglas Barr, Jane Carr and Julia Duffy in CBS’ “Menu for Murder” (1990) and a starring role in the Emmy Award winning film “The Last Halloween” (1991), opposite Rhea Perlman and William Hanna. Also in 1991, Estes made his big screen debut as Teddy on “Dutch,” a film helmed by Peter Faiman that was written by John Hughes and starred Ed O' Neill, Ethan Randall and JoBeth Williams. The film received negative reviews from critics and performed poorly at the box office.
After “The New Lassie” left the airwaves, Estes guest starred in “Baywatch” (1992) and “Harry and the Hendersons” (1993) and returned to series television as a regular on the CBS short lived sitcom “It Had to Be You,” playing Christopher Quinn. Starring Faye Dunaway and Robert Urich, the series ran from September to October 15, 1993. 1993 also found the actor appearing in the children's TV miniseries “Rhythm & Jam,” starring as Johnny Quest on the animated television film “Jonny's Golden Quest” and having a featured role on the CBS film “When Love Kills: The Seduction of John Hearn,” starring Gary Cole, Marg Helgenberger and Gregg Henry. On the big screen, he provided the voice of Willy in the unsuccessful animated movie “Once Upon a Forest,” which starred the voices of Michael Crawford, Benji Gregory, Elisabeth Moss and Ben Vereen.
In 1994, Estes landed the recurring role of Alex on the ABC sitcom “Boy Meets World” and appeared in an episode of “Step by Step” called “Growing Up Is Hard to Do” (1994). He then appeared as Andrew in the episodes “Michelle Rides Again: Part 1 and 2” of the ABC hit sitcom “Full House” (1995), played Michael Murphy on the TV film “Brothers' Destiny” (1995), opposite Danny Aiello, Rick Aiello and Donald Borza II, and was featured in the film “How to Make an American Quilt” (1995), starring Winona Ryder, Anne Bancroft, Ellen Burstyn, Kate Nelligan, Alfre Woodard and Jared Leto.
In 1995, Estes joined the cast of the family sitcom “Kirk,” starring Kirk Cameron. In the series, Estes played Kirk's younger brother, Cory, a role that brought him a 1996 Young Artist nomination for Best Performance by a Young Actor - TV Comedy Series. Still in 1995, Estes made his first appearance as Hunter Reeves on the Nickelodeon science fiction series “The Secret World of Alex Mack.” He would move on to become a regular cast member on the show's last season in 1997. Estes also played the role of Trip Parker on the science fiction sitcom “Meego,” starring Bronson Pinchot. The show debuted on CBS on September 1, 1997, but was canceled after six episodes.
Estes was next cast as Robert Hays' son on the television sitcom “Kelly Kelly.” The series ran on The WB from April to June 1998. The same year, he made a guest appearance in an episode of “Diagnosis Murder.” In 1999, Estes landed a recurring role on the long running family series “7th Heaven,” a role he kept until 2000, and played the role of Taz on the film “Blue Ridge Fall” (1999), which was directed and written by James Rowe and starred Peter Facinelli, Jay R. Ferguson and Rodney Eastman.
In 2000, Estes was cast in the Jonathan Mostow directed film “U-571,” opposite Matthew McConaughey, Bill Paxton, Harvey Keitel, Thomas Kretschmann, Jon Bon Jovi, Jack Noseworthy and Tom Guiry. The film was well received by critics and a success at the box office and won an Academy Award for Best Sound Editing. He then starred with Brenda Strong in the segment “Come to Granny” of the 2000 film “Terror Track,” which was directed by Lance W. Dreesen and Clint Hutchison, who wrote the script. 2000 also saw him appear in an episode of “The Fugitive” called “Guilt.” The next year, Estes worked with Margaret Colin, Jay O. Sanders and Aaron Ashmore on the Lifetime TV film “The Familiar Stranger,” portrayed Nicky in “Mimic 2,” the direct-to-video sequel to the 1997 film “Mimic,” and costar with Todd Field and Blake Shields in “New Port South,” a drama written by James Hughes that was directed by Kyle Cooper.
From 2002 to 2005, Estes starred as John J. “JJ” Pryor Jr. on the NBC television series “American Dreams.” While working on the show, Estes also appeared as Adam's roommate, Chris, on the 2002 horror film “May,” starring Angela Bettis, Jeremy Sisto, Anna Faris and James Duval, worked on the 2004 short “Charity” and costarred with Aidan Quinn and Marcia Gay Harden in the 2004 TV film “See You in My Dreams.”
Estes next starred as Will Malloy on the Fox series “Reunion,” which ran from September to December 15, 2005. In 2006, he appeared as Adam Halder in an episode of “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” called “Class.” Estes then starred as Jack Kerouac in the short film “Luz del mundo” (2007), which was directed and co-written by Ty Roberts, teamed up with Adam Countee, Brendan Countee and Marc Gilbar on the TV film “Squeegees” (2008), supported Tim Abell, Dotan Baer and Jon Barton in Tim Hyten's short “Angels and Fire” (2009) and played the supporting role of Billy Sweetzer in the Jeff Stephenson directed film “Not Since You” (2009). In addition, he appeared in episodes of “Eleventh Hour” (2008), “In Plain Sight” (2009) and “The Cleaner” (2009).
In 2010, Estes landed the role of Jamie Reagen on the series “Blue Bloods,” which premiered on CBS on September 24, 2010. The show also stars Donnie Wahlberg, Bridget Moynahan, Len Cariou, Tom Selleck, Jennifer Esposito and Amy Carlson. Estes also portrayed Jimmy Duvante on the dramatic film “Magic Valley” (2011), opposite Scott Glenn, Kyle Gallner and Alison Elliott.