Gaius Charles

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Gaius Charles
Born (1983-05-02) May 2, 1983 (age 33)
Manhattan, New York, U.S.
Occupation Actor
Years active 2006–present

Gaius Charles (born May 2, 1983) is an American stage, television and film actor best known for playing Brian "Smash" Williams on the NBC sports-drama television series Friday Night Lights. He starred as Dr. Shane Ross on the ABC medical drama series Grey's Anatomy. Charles currently has a recurring role on the NBC historical-drama series Aquarius as Black Panther leader Bunchy Carter.[2]

Early life[edit]

Charles was born on May 2, 1983 in Manhattan, New York, then lived in Queens, and later moved to Teaneck, New Jersey with his family when he was in middle school. Growing up in the childhood home of composer Alan Silvestri, he graduated from Teaneck High School in 2001.[3] He attended Carnegie Mellon University's College of Fine Arts, where he obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in drama and performed in productions including Candide, The Wild Party and Spunk, the college's first production with an all-black cast.[4] He appeared in Romeo and Juliet as Mercutio at the Princeton Rep Shakespeare Festival and also studied at the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) in Sydney, Australia.[5]


Charles had guest-starred in one episode of The Book of Daniel and one episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and attended around 250 auditions before landing a main role on the ensemble cast of Friday Night Lights as Brian "Smash" Williams.[4] The night before his Friday Night Lights audition, he sprained his ankle and wound up in a hospital emergency room, which he took as "a sign from God that I should really prepare for this one", though he had originally intended to "kind of wing it".[3] When he got the part, he began to watch football, listen to Texas rap music, research famous running backs, as well as Texas's economic struggles.[3] Smash left the series as a main character in the second season, and Charles only held a recurring role in Season 3.[6][7]

Since his Friday Night Lights departure, Charles has appeared in a number of stage productions, including Broke-ology at Williamstown, Massachusetts' Theatre Festival.[8] He had major roles in the 2009 films Toe to Toe and The Messenger, and 2010's Bone Deep.[9] He also has appeared in minor roles in two movies released in 2010, Takers as Max and Salt as a CIA officer. More recently, Charles landed a recurring role in Grey's Anatomy, Season 9, as Dr. Shane Ross and became a series regular in Season 10.

Personal life[edit]

Charles's first name Gaius is an homage to both Gaius Julius Caesar and to one of Jesus' early disciples, Gaius, to whom the Third Epistle of John is addressed.[10] In 2007, he said of his name: "It's so unique that I guess as a kid you don't appreciate it. But as I've gotten older, people have come to really respond to it and really appreciate it for its unusual factor."[10]

Charles is Christian, calling his faith in Christ and God "the only thing that's really gotten me here to this point".[3] After his stint on Friday Night Lights, he left acting in order to pursue a degree in theology from Drew University.[11] Charles's interests include public speaking, boxing, aviation, and writing.[5]


Film and Television
Year Film Role Notes
2006 The Book of Daniel Carver Episode "Betrayal"
2006-2008 Friday Night Lights Brian "Smash" Williams 41 episodes
2007 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Jadan Odami Episode "Fight"
2009 The Messenger Recruiter Brown
Toe to Toe Kevin
2010 Salt CIA Officer
Takers Max
2011 Pan Am Joe Episode "Truth or Dare"
2012 NCIS Baltimore Detective Jason King Episode "Rekindled"
Necessary Roughness Damon Razor / Bryce Abbot Episode "Wide Deceiver"
2012–2014 Grey's Anatomy[12] Dr. Shane Ross Recurring (Season 9)
Main Cast (Season 10): 46 episodes
2015 Aquarius Bunchy Carter Series regular
2015 Batman: Bad Blood Luke Fox/Batwing Voice role
2015 Drunk History Muhammad Ali Episode "Cleveland"
2016 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D Ruben Mackenzie Episode "Watchdogs"


  1. ^ "Gaius Charles". ATX Television Festival. ATX Television Festival. Retrieved 24 August 2016. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b c d Rohan, Virginia (November 26, 2007). "Teaneck actor got in the zone to land Friday Night Lights role". The Record. 
  4. ^ a b "Alum Shines in Friday Night Lights". Carnegie Mellon University. 2006. Retrieved 2008-10-24. 
  5. ^ a b "GAIUS CHARLES as Smash Williams". NBC. Retrieved 2008-10-24. 
  6. ^ Fox, Erin (October 22, 2008). "Gaius Charles' Smashing Run Ends on Friday Night Lights". TV Guide. Retrieved 2008-10-24. 
  7. ^ Ausiello, Michael (July 11, 2008). "The Ausiello Files". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2008-10-24. 
  8. ^ Kennedy, Louise (July 14, 2008). "An emotionally complex look at a family's life". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2008-10-24. 
  9. ^ "Gaius Charles". Variety. September 14, 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-24. 
  10. ^ a b Holloway, Lynette (January 1, 2008). "Gaius Charles: Lights up the night". Ebony. 63 (3): 36. 
  11. ^ "A Star is Reborn". Drew Magazine. December 2011. 
  12. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (July 16, 2012). "'Grey's Anatomy' Admits 'Friday Night Lights' Alum". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 17, 2012. 

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