James Van Der Beek

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James Van Der Beek
James William Van Der Beek

(1977-03-08) March 8, 1977 (age 46)
EducationCheshire Academy
Alma materDrew University
Years active1992–present
Height1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)

James William Van Der Beek[1] (/ˈvændərˌbk/;[2] born March 8, 1977)[3] is an American actor best known for his portrayal of Dawson Leery in the WB series Dawson's Creek and Johnny "Mox" Moxon in Varsity Blues (1999). He played a fictionalized version of himself on the cult ABC sitcom Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23, starred in CSI: Cyber as FBI Special Agent Elijah Mundo, and as Matt Bromley on the FX drama Pose.

Early life and stage career[edit]

Van Der Beek was born in Cheshire, New Haven County, Connecticut, son of Melinda (née Weber) (1950-2020),[4] a former dancer and gymnastics teacher, and husband James William Van Der Beek, a cellular phone company executive and former professional baseball pitcher. He is partly of Dutch ancestry; his last name translates to "from the creek".[5][6]

Van Der Beek played the role of Reuben in his middle school production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. At the age of 15, he asked his mother to take him into New York City to get an agent and try his hand in professional acting. He made his professional debut off-Broadway at age 16 in 1993 in the New York premiere of Edward Albee's play Finding the Sun with the Signature Theatre Company. He played the role of "Fergus". Both he and the production, which was also directed by Albee, received positive reviews.[7][8] A decade later, in 2003, he appeared again off-Broadway, briefly, in the play Rain Dance.

Aged 17, while still in high school at Cheshire Academy, he performed in the musical Shenandoah at the Goodspeed Opera House, and made his feature film debut as a sadistic bully in Angus (1995) and shot a small role in the independent film I Love You, I Love You Not (1996).

He attended Drew University, on an academic scholarship, where he participated in an all-male a cappella group,[9] but dropped out once Dawson's Creek was picked up to series.[10] He performed at the Vineyard Theater in New York in Nicky Silver's play, My Marriage to Ernest Borgnine, and he played a supporting role in the independent film Cash Crop, which was originally shot in spring of 1997 and originally titled Harvest until released in 2001.[11]

Television and film career[edit]

In early 1997, Van Der Beek auditioned for three television pilots. One of them was for the fledgling WB Network show Dawson's Creek. Van Der Beek won the title role of Dawson Leery, and the show's 1998 debut was a success that helped to establish the network and its cast. The series ran for six seasons and was syndicated worldwide. In 1999, he starred in the teen football drama Varsity Blues, which held the number 1 spot at the U.S. box office for its first two weeks.[12] He won an MTV Movie Award for his role.

Around this time he was selected one of People magazine's "50 Most Beautiful People in the World", and he appeared in several other films, including Texas Rangers, Scary Movie, and Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back, playing himself playing Jay in the film within the film opposite Jason Biggs as Silent Bob.[citation needed] In 2002, he played Sean Bateman (younger brother of American Psycho protagonist Patrick Bateman) in the film adaptation of the novel The Rules of Attraction by Bret Easton Ellis, written and directed by Roger Avary. The film was an initial box office failure, but found a cult following on DVD.[13]

In 2006, he appeared on the Direct-to-DVD thriller The Plague, which was produced by Clive Barker and was panned by critics. After Dawson's Creek ended in 2003, he returned to off-Broadway, in Lanford Wilson's Rain Dance. He completed an unproduced screenplay titled Winning. Since then, he made a few appearances on television, including a role on Ugly Betty. In 2007, he guest-starred in a two-part episode of the series Criminal Minds, playing a serial killer with dissociative identity disorder called Tobias Hankel who kidnaps and drugs one of the main characters, Spencer Reid. In 2008, he made a guest appearance on How I Met Your Mother, in which he played Simon, one of Robin Scherbatsky’s early boyfriends, multiple times.[citation needed]

In 2008, he began a recurring role on One Tree Hill as a filmmaker who was largely the satirical opposite of Dawson Leery. He appeared in an episode of the fifth season of Medium. In 2009, he portrayed real life kidnapper Anthony Steven "Tony Zappa" Wright in the Lifetime network television film Taken In Broad Daylight.[citation needed] In 2009, he won Best Actor at the 8th Annual San Diego Film Festival for his portrayal of FBI agent Jake Kelly working in Taiwan in the political thriller Formosa Betrayed, which also won Best Picture. The film was distributed theatrically in the United States starting February 26, 2010.[14]

On January 5, 2010, TVGuide.com confirmed that Van Der Beek had been cast in a major recurring role on the television series Mercy. He played Dr. Joe Briggs, the new womanizing ICU chief who harbors a dark secret.[15] He starred alongside Rhona Mitra, Josh Lucas, and Jon Hamm in the Anders Anderson thriller film Stolen.[16]

In 2011, he portrayed Kesha's nemesis in her music video for "Blow".[17] He portrayed a fictionalized version of himself on the television series Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23. The show debuted to critical praise, with Van Der Beek earning particularly good notices for his comic timing and sendup of his own image.[18] The show was cancelled after two seasons, but remains popular on Netflix and on Logo TV which picked it up in syndication.

On March 4, 2015, he began his role as Senior Field Agent Elijah Mundo on CSI: Cyber. In 2017, Van Der Beek appeared in the British comedy series Carters Get Rich.[19] He made a cameo in the film Downsizing (2017), starring Matt Damon, and voices Boris Hauntley in the Disney Junior show Vampirina.[20][21][22]

As a writer, Van Der Beek co-created, wrote, produced and starred in What Would Diplo Do?, in which he portrays producer and DJ Diplo. It was Van Der Beek's first foray as show runner of a series. The show debuted on Viceland to positive reviews, both for the writing and Van Der Beek's performance,[23] was called, “The Veep of DJ Culture” by the L.A. Times[24] and scored 90% on Rotten Tomatoes[25]

In 2019 Van Der Beek was cast in the Emmy-nominated Pose as Matt Bromley [26] on FX, a role he played for one season.[27]

Van Der Beek joined the cast of the 28th season of Dancing with the Stars. He was paired with professional dancer Emma Slater. A surprisingly good dancer,[28] Van Der Beek was consistently scored in the top spot and favored to win until he was eliminated in the semi-finals, finishing in fifth place. That night, he revealed that his wife, Kimberly, had suffered a miscarriage forty-eight hours prior. The judges scored him lowest, and then, in a decision that was controversial with fans, sent him home.[29][30][31]

Personal life[edit]

First marriage[edit]

Van Der Beek was previously married to actress Heather Ann McComb from 2003 until their separation in April 2009.[32] Van Der Beek filed for divorce in the fall of that year,[33] which was finalized and enforced in spring 2010.[34]

Second marriage[edit]

Van Der Beek married business consultant Kimberly Brook on August 1, 2010, in a small ceremony at the Kabbalah Center near Dizengoff Plaza in Tel Aviv, Israel.[35][36] The couple have six children: Olivia (born September 25, 2010),[37][38] Joshua (born March 13, 2012),[39] Annabel (born January 25, 2014),[40][41] Emilia (born March 23, 2016),[42][43] and Gwendolyn (born June 15, 2018).[44] They announced in October 2019 that they were expecting their sixth child.[45] In November 2019, it was revealed that Van Der Beek's wife, Kimberly, had suffered a miscarriage.[46] In September 2020, they announced that they were leaving Los Angeles and moving to Texas.[47] On November 22, 2021, he posted on TikTok and Instagram the welcoming of his 6th child Jeremiah, who was born 5 weeks earlier. He said after two 17+ week losses, they kept the pregnancy quiet.



Year Title Role Notes
1993 Clarissa Explains It All Paulie Episode: "Alter Ego"
1995 As the World Turns Stephen Anderson 3 episodes
1996 Aliens in the Family Ethan Episode: "You Don't Have a Pet to Be Popular"
1998–2003 Dawson's Creek Dawson Leery Main cast; 122 episodes
2006 Robot Chicken Various Voices 2 episodes
2007 Criminal Minds Tobias Hankel / Raphael 2 episodes
2007 Ugly Betty Luke Carnes Episode: "Grin and Bear It"
2007 Eye of the Beast Dan Leland Television film
2008-2013 How I Met Your Mother Simon 3 episodes
2008–2009 One Tree Hill Adam Reese 4 episodes
2009 Medium Dylan Hoyt Episode: "All in the Family"
2009 The Storm Dr. Jonathan Kirk Miniseries; 2 episodes
2009 The Forgotten Judd Shaw Episode: "Lucky John"
2009 Taken in Broad Daylight Anthony Steven "Tony Zappa" Wright Television film
2009 Mrs. Miracle Seth Webster Television film
2010 Mercy Dr. Joe Briggs 10 episodes
2011 Law & Order: Criminal Intent Rex Tamlyn Episode: "To the Boy in the Blue Knit Cap"
2011 Franklin & Bash Nathan Episode: "Bachelor Party"
2011 Salem Falls Jack St. Bride Television film
2012–2013 Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23 James Van Der Beek Main cast; 26 episodes
2012 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Sean Albert Episode: "Father Dearest"
2013 The Eric André Show James Van Der Beek
Team Go! Member #2
Episode: "James Van Der Beek / Steve-O"
Episode: "Lauren Conrad; Reese Witherspoon"
2014 Friends with Better Lives Will Stokes Main cast; 13 episodes
2015–2016 CSI: Cyber Elijah Mundo Main cast
2017 Carters Get Rich Trent Zebrisky Main cast
2017 What Would Diplo Do? Diplo Co-creator, writer
2017 Room 104 Scott Episode: "Pizza Boy"
2017–2021 Vampirina Boris Hauntley (voice) Main cast
2017 Modern Family Bo Johnson Episode: "No Small Feet"
2017 Drop the Mic Himself Episode: "James Van Der Beek vs. Randall Park / Gina Rodriguez vs. Rob Gronkowski"
2018 Pose Matt Bromley Main cast (season 1)
2019 Dancing with the Stars: 28 Himself Season 28
2020 25 Words or Less Himself Game Show


Year Title Role Notes
1986 Castle in the Sky Pazu Voice
English dub produced in 1998 by Disney
1995 Angus Rick Sandford
1996 I Love You, I Love You Not Tony
1998 Harvest James Peterson
1999 Varsity Blues Jonathon "Mox" Moxon
2000 Scary Movie Dawson Leery Uncredited
2001 Texas Rangers Ranger Lincoln Rogers Dunnison
2001 Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back Himself
2002 The Rules of Attraction Sean Bateman
2003 Castle in the Sky Pazu Voice (English dub, 1998)
2005 Standing Still Simon
2006 The Plague Tom Russell Direct-to-video
2007 Final Draft Paul Twist
2009 Formosa Betrayed Jake Kelly
2009 Stolen Diploma / Roggiani
2010 The Big Bang Adam Nova
2012 Backwards Geoff
2013 The Magic Bracelet Joe Short film
2013 Labor Day Officer Treadwell
2015 Power/Rangers Rocky DeSantos / Red Ranger Short film, screenwriter
2017 Downsizing Anesthesiologist
2019 Jay and Silent Bob Reboot Himself
2020 Bad Hair Grant

Awards and nominations[edit]

MTV Movie Awards
Year Nominee / work Award Result
1999 Varsity Blues Best Breakthrough Male Performance Won
2001 Scary Movie Best Cameo in a Movie Won
Teen Choice Awards
Year Nominee / work Award Result
1999 Dawson's Creek Choice TV Actor Nominated
Varsity Blues Choice Movie Breakout Star Won
2012 Don't Trust the B in Apt 23 Choice TV: Male Scene Stealer Nominated
Blockbuster Entertainment Awards
Year Nominee / work Award Result
2000 Varsity Blues Favorite Actor – Newcomer (Internet Only) Nominated
San Diego Film Festival


Year Nominee / work Award Result
2009 Formosa Betrayed Best Actor Won
NewNowNext Awards
Year Nominee / work Award Result
2011 JamesVanDerMemes.com[49] OMG Internet Award Won


  1. ^ "James Van Der Beek: 25 Things You Don't Know About Me". Us Weekly. January 16, 2013. Archived from the original on February 16, 2013. Retrieved January 16, 2013.
  2. ^ "Island Hoppers | Episode 1. Well-Crafted Comedy | Carnival Cruise Line x Thrillist". Carnival Cruise Line. October 1, 2019. Archived from the original on 2021-11-17. Retrieved January 24, 2021.
  3. ^ "UPI Almanac for Sunday, March 8, 2020". United Press International. March 8, 2020. Archived from the original on March 8, 2020. Retrieved June 21, 2020. …actor James Van Der Beek in 1977 (age 43)
  4. ^ rep-am.com
  5. ^ "Van Der Beek". Behind the Name. Retrieved 26 June 2018.
  6. ^ "James Van Der Beek profile". Filmreference.com. Retrieved April 25, 2016.
  7. ^ Richards, David (February 10, 1994). "Review/Theater; 3 Albee One-Acters About People Boxed In". The New York Times. Retrieved May 5, 2010.
  8. ^ Canby, Vincent (February 20, 1994). "SUNDAY VIEW; A Season of Albee, Obsessions Safely Intact". The New York Times. Retrieved May 5, 2010.
  9. ^ Chin, Mike (January 23, 2009). "Friday Factoid: James Van Der Beek". The A Cappella Blog. Retrieved April 9, 2012.
  10. ^ "James Van Der Beek: Actor". People. May 11, 1998. Retrieved April 25, 2016.
  11. ^ Rabin, Nathan (2002-04-19). "Cash Crop". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2017-11-13.
  12. ^ "Varsity Blues (1999)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved April 25, 2016.
  13. ^ "THE RULES OF ATTRACTION Review". Aintitcool.com. Retrieved April 25, 2016.
  14. ^ "Formosa Betrayed". Formosathemovie.com. Retrieved April 25, 2016.
  15. ^ Eng, Joyce. "James Van Der Beek Scrubs In to Mercy". TVGuide.com. Retrieved April 25, 2016.
  16. ^ "STOLEN, Starring Jon Hamm & Josh Lucas Acquired". Ifcfilms.com. Archived from the original on August 21, 2014. Retrieved April 25, 2016.
  17. ^ Franich, Darren (February 26, 2011). "James Van Der Beek talks Ke$ha, killing unicorns, and playing himself". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved October 2, 2019.
  18. ^ "Review:Don't Trust the B in Apt. 23". The Hollywood Reporter. 10 April 2012. Retrieved April 25, 2016.
  19. ^ Tartaglione, Nancy (2016-06-28). "James Van Der Beek To Star In Sky 1 Comedy 'Carters Get Rich'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 2017-05-07.
  20. ^ Valerio, Britt (2017-06-27). "James Van Der Beek and Lauren Graham Will Star in Disney Junior's Vampirina This Fall". Oh My Disney. Retrieved 2017-11-12.
  21. ^ Cap, Jocelin (2017-09-27). "James Van Der Beek Describes Vampirina Boris Hauntley". BSC Kids. Retrieved 2017-11-12.
  22. ^ Logan, Michael (2017-06-27). "Lauren Graham and James Van Der Beek Head a Starry Voice Cast in Disney Junior's 'Vampirina'". TV Insider. Retrieved 2017-11-12.
  23. ^ "TV Review: 'What Would Diplo Do?' Starring James van der Beek". 31 July 2017.
  24. ^ "Review: James van der Beek is a superstar DJ in the painfully funny 'What Would Diplo Do?'". Los Angeles Times. 3 August 2017.
  25. ^ "What Would Diplo Do?". Rotten Tomatoes.
  26. ^ "Pose".
  27. ^ Hyman, Dan (7 June 2018). "James van der Beek Doesn't Cry in His New TV Role". The New York Times.
  28. ^ "James van der Beek is the 'DWTS' Season 28 Front-Runner: Premiere Recap". 17 September 2019.
  29. ^ "James van der Beek deserves a second chance on 'Dancing with the Stars,' and so do these 12 other screwed celebs". 4 December 2019.
  30. ^ "Yes, the 'Dancing with the Stars' judges screwed up axing James van der Beek — and this is probably why they did it". 19 November 2019.
  31. ^ "James van der Beek talks joyful 'Dancing with the Stars' return (Stays mum on elimination)". USA Today.
  32. ^ "James Van Der Beek, Wife Split". Us Weekly. June 9, 2009. Retrieved April 25, 2016.
  33. ^ Bryant, Adam. "James Van Der Beek Files for Divorce". TV Guide.
  34. ^ "James Van Der Beek reaches divorce settlement with ex". Entertainment Weekly. March 31, 2010. Archived from the original on April 5, 2010. Retrieved April 25, 2016.
  35. ^ Oh, Eunice; Jordan, Julie (August 2, 2010). "Details of James Van Der Beek's Spiritual Wedding in Israel Revealed". People. Archived from the original on August 24, 2018.
  36. ^ Foundation, Nathanson (August 1, 2010). "מזל טוב: דוסון נשוי" [Mazal Tov: Dawson Marries]. Ynet (in Hebrew). Ynet. Archived from the original on June 16, 2018. Retrieved April 25, 2016.
  37. ^ Van Der Beek, James [@vanderjames] (September 27, 2010). "Olivia Van Der Beek, born 9/25" (Tweet). Archived from the original on July 16, 2012 – via Twitter.
  38. ^ Nudd, Tim (September 28, 2010). "James Van Der Beek Welcomes Daughter Olivia". People.
  39. ^ Van Der Beek, James, in Derschowitz, Jessica (March 14, 2012). "James Van Der Beek and wife welcome a son". CBS News. Archived from the original on October 8, 2019. Retrieved October 8, 2019. Had my first son this morning.... James Van Der Beek (@vanderjames) March 13, 2012
  40. ^ Lewis, Raha (January 31, 2014). "James and Kimberly Van Der Beek Welcome Daughter Annabel Leah". People. Archived from the original on October 8, 2019. his rep tells People exclusively.
  41. ^ Van Der Beek, Kimberly (January 31, 2014). "We named our baby girl". Kimberly Brook verified Instagram account. Archived from the original on 2021-12-26. [graphical text image] Annabel
  42. ^ Van Der Beek, James (March 25, 2016). "Happy to share that two days ago, @vanderkimberly and I were lucky enough to welcome a little baby girl into the world...Emilia Van Der Beek". James Van Der Beek verified Instagram account. Archived from the original on 2021-12-26.
  43. ^ Stark, George; Michaud, Sarah; Leonard, Elizabeth (March 25, 2016). "James Van Der Beek Welcomes Daughter Emilia". People.
  44. ^ Leonard, Elizabeth; Mizoguchi, Karen (June 17, 2018). "James Van Der Beek and Wife Kimberly Welcome Fifth Child". People. Retrieved June 30, 2018.
  45. ^ Murphy, Helen; Dugan, Christina (October 8, 2019). "James Van Der Beek Opens Up About Expecting 6th Child After Heartbreaking Miscarriages". People.
  46. ^ "James Van Der Beek Reveals Wife Kimberly Suffered a Miscarriage: 'We Lost the Baby'". People. Retrieved 2019-11-20.
  47. ^ "James Van Der Beek and His Family Are Moving from Los Angeles to Texas: 'Onto the Next Big Adventure!'". PEOPLE.com. Retrieved 2020-10-01.
  48. ^ "Award Winners". San Diego Film Festival. 2011-01-23. Archived from the original on 2011-01-23. Retrieved 2019-09-23.
  49. ^ "Vandermemes from James Van Der Beek, lauren, BoTown Sound, Antonio Scarlata, Danny Jelinek, Funny Or Die, Betsy Koch, Aubrey Binzer, and Christin Trogan". Funnyordie.com. Retrieved April 25, 2016.

External links[edit]