ames Van Der Beek
Dawson Leery on "Dawson's Creek"
Fate certainly played a hand in James Van Der Beek's
entrance into the acting world, but it was his dedication and
talent that earned leading roles in
"Dawson's Creek" and two
provocative new films - "I Love You...I
Love You Not" and "Harvest."
Suffering a mild concussion when he
was 13 years old, the athletic Van
Der Beek wasn't permitted to play on
the football team that year. So, for
the first time, he decided to try out for
the school play and landed the lead role of Danny Zuko in
the school's production of "Grease." Bitten by the acting
bug, he continued to do local children's theater in his
hometown of Cheshire, Conn.
He was still focused on acting at age 16, so his mother
agreed one summer to travel the three hours each way to
New York City in order for him to pursue acting
professionally. While he landed an agent and a manager
on their very first visit, he didn't find much success
auditioning for commercials.
The next year, he was cast in the Off-Broadway play,
"Finding the Sun," which was written and directed by
Edward Albee. He describes this as the defining
experience for him as an actor, and commuted six hours
every day during the limited three-month run for
rehearsals and performances in the middle of high school.
After that experience, he starred in "Shenandoah" at the
Goodspeed Opera House.
His first on-screen performance came with a starring role in
the 1995 feature film "Angus," and he is featured in the
upcoming release "I Love You...I Love You Not" with
Claire Danes. Last summer, he completed the
independent feature film "Harvest."
A dean's list student, Van Der Beek received an academic
scholarship from Drew University in Madison, N.J., where
he majors in English with a minor in sociology. In what little
free time he has, he enjoys writing and playing all kinds of
A picture of Dawson!
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