Family & Companions
The all-American nice guy with the great head of hair, Barry Watson solidified his role as a wholesome dreamboat, playing Matt Camden on "7th Heaven" (WB 1996-2006), the most successful series in WB network history. Despite being a bone of contention with producers on the conservative family drama, Watson refused to cut his shaggy hair. The fans loved it and eventually executives came to appreciate, not only the hair, but the actor as well, who showed a great strength and courage in the face of potential tragedy.
Born April 23, 1974 in Traverse City, MI as the third of four children, Watson and family soon moved to a Richardson, TX - a Dallas suburb - where he began modeling at age eight. In high school, the only boy in his class with long hair and an earring stood out from the crowd - even more so when, at age 14, his lawyer father and paralegal mother divorced - an uncommon practice back then. One year later, Watson picked up and moved to L.A to pursue his acting dreams. Almost right away, the handsome teen landed a part on the daytime soap opera, "Days of Our Lives" (NBC, 1965- ), but the gig lasted only six months. Although a noble first attempt, Watson was unable to secure another role, so he returned to Texas to graduate from Richardson High School.
In 1993, it was with a renewed determination that Watson returned again to L.A. to make his mark. In between auditions and guest appearances on shows like CBS' "The Nanny" (1993-99) and "Nash Bridges" (1996-2001), Watson worked a variety of jobs. Typically Hollywood, he landed a job as a parking attendant at the House of Blues on the Sunset Strip - where he parked Tori Spelling's car. Only six months later, Spelling and Watson met again when he was cast in the TV movie "Co-ed Call Girl" (1996) with the "Beverly Hills 90210" star in the lead. Although she didn't remember their first encounter, Watson jogged her memory, reminding her that she had failed to tip him. She later gave him a better tip by introducing him to his first wife, Laura Payne Gabriel, on the set of "Malibu Shores" (NBC, 1996) after Spelling's father, legendary television producer, Aaron Spelling, had hired Watson as a recurring character on the short-lived series. The famed producer was impressed enough with Watson that he promised him another job after the series ended.
It wasn't long before the ever loyal, elder Spelling delivered on his promise, casting Watson as Matt Camden, the oldest of seven children to the Reverend Eric Camden and his wife Annie on "7th Heaven." The spiritual drama delivered a moral message in every episode that resonated with viewers during its decade-long run. Watson's character was only minutely rebellious of his minister father, but he did start smoking cigarettes! Watson managed to convey some of the normal angst of teenaged years without violent or delinquet cliches. As the fairer sex fans swooned, others in the biz began to notice Watson's appeal as well. He made his feature film debut in 1999 after "Scream" director Kevin Williamson cast Watson as bad boy Luke Churner opposite Katie Holmes in "Teaching Mrs. Tingle" (1999), both starring as teenagers holding their spiteful teacher (Helen Mirren) hostage.
In 2002, Watson's world came crashing down. After a routine check, he received the devastating news that he had Hodgkin's Disease, a form of lymphatic cancer. He took an understandable sabbatical from "7th Heaven" to undergo chemotherapy. One year later, the cancer was officially in remission. Healthy again, he returned to work on the WB series for its 150th episode and continued on as a recurring cast member. With a new lease on life, he went on to star in the comedy "Sorority Boys" (2002) as a cross dressing college student, as well as taking a turn to the dark side in the horror film, "Boogeyman" (2005).
Back on primetime, Watson got his first grown-up, leading man role in ABC's high hopes drama, "What About Brian" (2006-07). As Brian, the lead player and last single guy in his group of friends, Watson's character searched for the "one" while his coupled friends struggled in their own relationships, but urged Brian to join their club just the same. The plot thickened when Brian realized that he had found the "one" in his best friend's fiancé. Critics described the show as a cross between "Friends" (NBC 1994-2004) and "Thirtysomething (ABC 1987-1991). And once again Watson had the good fortune to be paired with a prolific television producer - this time, "Brian" producer J.J. Abrams - also creator of the hit series "Lost" (ABC 2004- ) and Alias (ABC 2001- 06).
Though his profile had raised exponentially following his cancer bout, Watson still liked to keep his private life private. Little was known about his first marriage to Laura Payne Gilbert. He later married Tracy Hutson, an actress and designer on "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" (ABC, 2003- ). However, Watson was less shy about acknowledging proudly that he had became a father, following the birth of first child, Oliver, in May 2005.
Cast (Feature Film)
At age 15, moved to Los Angeles
Early TV credit, a six-month stint on the NBC soap "Days of Our Lives"
TV-movie debut, "Fatal Deception: Mrs. Lee Harvey Oswald" (NBC)
Returned to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career
Guest-starred on several episodes of "The Nanny" (CBS)
Cast as eldest son Matt Camden on "7th Heaven" (WB), left the show in 2002 when he was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma
Had a recurring role on "Malibu Shores" (NBC)
Feature film debut, "Teaching Mrs. Tingle"
Had co-starring role in "Sorority Boys", about three frat boys who don drag and pledge at a sorority
Employed as a writer on "7th Heaven" while undergoing chemo-therapy treatment
Returned to the "7th Heaven" set (after being declared cancer free) for its 150th wedding episode
Starred in the thriller "Boogeyman" as a man traumatized by the memories of terrible events he experienced in his childhood bedroom
Returned to "7th Heaven" (The WB) for the final two seasons
Cast as the lead character Brian Davis in the ABC series, "What About Brian"
Played the title character's love interest in the ABC series, "Samantha Who?"