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|Also Known As:||Dean George Tanaka||Died:|
|Born:||July 31, 1966||Cause of Death:|
|Birth Place:||Mount Clemens, Michigan, USA||Profession:||Cast ... actor screenwriter producer director football player|
After establishing himself as a talent to watch in episodes of "Life Goes On" (ABC, 1989-1993) and "Beverly Hills 90210" (Fox, 1990-200), actor Dean Cain made his name by donning the red cape for "Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman" (ABC, 1993-97). For several years, opposite co-star Teri Hatcher, Cain made the widely-played role his own. By opting to portray both Superman and Clark Kent as hunky heartthrobs in a contemporary romance, Cain helped pave the way for the mainstream acceptance of comic book superheroes. It did not hurt that he was a good-looking former athlete whose freak knee injury was all that stood in the way of a pro football career. After "Lois & Clark" left the airwaves, Cain receded from the headlines, though he continued to work, hosting a revamped "Ripley's Believe It or Not" (TBS, 1999-2004), exploring his villainous side in the thriller "Out of Time" (2003), and playing the murderous, deceitful Scott Peterson in "The Perfect Husband" (USA, 2004).
Born Dean George Tanaka on July 31, 1966, in Mt. Clemens, MI, Cain was the son of actress Sharon Thomas and U.S. Army serviceman Roger Tanaka, who left his mother before he was even born. Cain and brother Roger were later adopted by his mother's second husband, director Christopher Cain. After moving to California with his parents, he took up acting as a child, appearing in bit parts in the films, "Elmer," (1976) and "Charlie & The Talking Buzzard" (1979). Cain later attended Santa Monica High School, where he earned scholarship offers as a star athlete, while also appearing in his first speaking role in his step-father's film "The Stone Boy" (1984). Upon graduation, he enrolled at Princeton University, where he played football as a free safety and defensive back, as well as excelled in volleyball. Cain set a school record for interceptions in a single game while, at the same time, scoring off the field by dating fellow student Brooke Shields. After earning his bachelor's in history, Cain signed as a free agent with the Buffalo Bills, but a devastating preseason knee injury ended his football career.
Not surprisingly, Cain returned to film full time, first trying his hand at screenwriting, then acting. Thanks to his talent and good looks, he had little trouble landing jobs in commercials and bit parts in television - one of his first was the made-for-television movie, "Things That Go Bump in the Night" (ABC, 1989). He went on to appear in the follow-up series of the same name, then made guest appearances on "Life Goes On" and "A Different World," (NBC, 1987-93). Cain managed to draw attention with a four-episode stint as Rick, the dashing boyfriend of Brenda (Shannon Doherty), on "Beverly Hills, 90210" (Fox, 1990-2000). After a handful of bit parts in between, Cain landed the role of Superman in "Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman." Conceived as a new take on the superhero, the show focused on the romantic storyline of Clark and Lois Lane, played by Teri Hatcher. The show was an instant success and surprise hit with female viewers, who were quickly drawn in to the romantic, fanciful storylines. Cain was straightforward in his characterization of Superman. But the bigger role was Clark, with the actor eschewing the standard nerdy, awkward reporter for a more handsome, dashing journalist.
The show was a ratings hit for four seasons, while Cain was able to flex his writing muscles, penning episodes in the second and third seasons. During this time, he also wrote and hosted a prime time special, "Off Camera With Dean Cain," profiling the lives of celebrities such as Andrew Shue and Daphne Zuniga. At the peak of popularity of "Lois & Clark," producers took the bold step of marrying Lois and Clark - but when it was revealed that Clark mistakenly married a clone of Lois, many fans felt that they were cheated. Lois and Clark wed for real in the third episode of the fourth season, but by then viewership had already dropped. A finale suggesting that Lois and Clark would be adoptive parents when an infant arrives on their doorstep, failed to get the show renewed for a fifth season.
Free of the red cape, Cain moved on to a series of smaller roles and guest parts. He developed, produced and hosted "Ripley's Believe It or Not!" which ran for four seasons on TBS before its cancellation. He also guest starred on the short-lived remake of "Fantasy Island," (ABC, 1998-99), and on episodes of "Just Shoot Me," (NBC, 1997-2003) and "Frasier" (NBC, 1993-2004). He also had a regular role on "The Division," (Lifetime, 2001-04), playing the character of Inspector Jack Ellis. Back in the feature world, he had a small part in the 2001 Jerry Zucker comedy "Rat Race," but made subsequent appearances in mainly B-movie action fare such as "Firetrap," (2001) "New Alcatraz," (2002) and "Dark Descent" (2002). He raised his profile, however, playing the heavy in the 2003 Denzel Washington thriller, "Out of Time," in 2003.
The role of the bad guy led to his portrayal of Scott Peterson in the 2004 television movie, "The Perfect Husband: The Laci Peterson Story," for the USA Network. Initially reluctant to take a role he feared would be exploitative, Cain changed his mind, thanks to encouragement from his father to take on the part - but only if the script was good and it allowed him a chance to stretch his acting chops. Since that high profile role, Cain appeared as a regular on "Hope & Faith," (ABC, 2003-06) and played the recurring character of Casey Manning on the hit series, "Las Vegas" (NBC, 2003-08). He had a lead role in the made-for-television disaster epic, "10.5: Apocalypse," (NBC, 2006), then starred in another made-for-TV holiday romance, "A Christmas Wedding," (Lifetime, 2006), and the miniseries, "Final Approach" (Hallmark, 2007). In "September Dawn" (2007), his step-father's period drama on the Mountain Meadows Massacre in 1857, Cain had a small, but significant role as Joseph Smith, founder of the controversial Mormon Church.
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