Family & Companions
Charismatic actor Jensen Ackles rose to television prominence as the star of a popular primetime series prior to branching out to feature films. Shortly after moving to Los Angeles, the Dallas native landed several TV guest spots before taking on a recurring role on the daytime soap "Days of Our Lives" (NBC, 1965- ) in 1997. Dissatisfied with his character's storylines, Ackles left "Days" for primetime and regular roles on such programs as "Dark Angel" (Fox, 2000-02), "Dawson's Creek" (The WB, 1998-2003) and "Smallville" (The WB/The CW, 2001-2011). One of many handsome young faces seen on the small screen every season, the actor broke away from the pack when he landed the role of the roguish Dean Winchester on the aptly-titled adventure-drama series, "Supernatural" (The WB/The CW, 2005- ). Though never a ratings juggernaut, the well-crafted genre show developed a fiercely loyal fan base that managed to keep it on the air for many seasons. As he enjoyed his "Supernatural" success, Ackles extended his résumé to include a turn as the hero of the 3-D horror feature, "My Bloody Valentine" (2009) and voice work as one of the Caped Crusader's more complex adversaries in the animated feature "Batman: Under the Red Hood" (2010). Blessed with classic leading man looks, but also possessing the skill to play multi-dimensional characters, Ackles remained a fan favorite for good reason.
Born Jensen Ross Ackles on March 1, 1978 in Dallas, TX, he was the middle child of three children born to Donna and Alan Ackles, an actor known for his recurring appearances on "Walker, Texas Ranger" (CBS, 1994-2000) and "Dallas" (CBS, 1984-88). Not surprisingly, young Jensen followed in his father's footsteps from an early age, beginning to model at the age of two and landing commercial work in print and TV ads for Wal-Mart, Nabisco and Radio Shack throughout his school years. Although he had not considered acting as a career goal, things began to change when Ackles was signed by an agency after being spotted in an acting workshop. After making his TV debut on a 1996 episode of the locally produced children's program "Wishbone" (PBS, 1995-98), Ackles cancelled his plan to study sports medicine at Texas Tech University and made the move to Los Angeles. Early auditions for the neophyte actor quickly paid off with guest spots on such teen-centric series as "Sweet Valley High" (syndicated, 1994-98) and "Mr. Rhodes" (NBC, 1996-97), as well as the mainstream adult sitcom, "Cybill" (CBS, 1995-98).
Things began to take off for Ackles in 1997 when he joined the cast of the long-running daytime soap opera "Days of Our Lives" (NBC, 1965- ) as Eric Brady. During his time on the show, he was awarded a Soap Opera Digest Award for Best Newcomer and was nominated for several Daytime Emmy Awards. Ackles left "Days of Our Lives" in 2000 when he picked up a supporting role in the miniseries, "Blonde" (CBS, 2001), based on the fictional Marilyn Monroe biography by Joyce Carol Oates and starring Poppy Montgomery as the tragic sex symbol. That same year, he joined the cast of creator James Cameron's short-lived sci-fi adventure, "Dark Angel" (Fox, 2000-02), starring Jessica Alba as a bio-engineered super-soldier attempting to remain anonymous in a post-apocalyptic Seattle. Ackles initially played the doomed serial killer, Ben, only to switch to the role of his bio-engineered twin brother, Alec, a freewheeling rogue and eventual ally of Alba's character. Although "Dark Angel" failed to survive past its second season, Ackles bounced back with a recurring role on the final season of "Dawson's Creek" (The WB, 1998-2003), followed by a turn as trouble-making high school football coach Jason Teague throughout the fourth season of the teenage superhero soap "Smallville" (The WB/The CW, 2001-2011).
Ackles made his feature debut as the star of the direct-to-DVD occult-horror film, "Devour" (2005), co-starring Dominique Swain and featuring the actor's real-life father, Alan, in a supporting role. Despite the disappointing results of "Devour," the young actor's career enjoyed a substantial uptick when he was cast alongside Jared Padalecki as the co-star of "Supernatural" (The WB/The CW, 2005- ). A macabre action-drama, it followed the exploits of Dean and Sam Winchester (Ackles and Padalecki, respectively), two brothers traveling the dark byways of America in search of their father (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), the man who trained them to fight the forces of evil. Despite a history of lackluster ratings, the show quickly won over an exceptionally loyal following. Nearly cancelled after its second season, "Supernatural" hung on for several years as a cult favorite, consistently receiving high marks for its inventive "monster of the week" storylines, as well as the strong performances of Ackles and his co-star.
Ackles' personal life soon matched the good fortune of his professional track record when he met actress Danneel Harris, one of the stars of "One Tree Hill" (The CW, 2003- ) on the set of their indie romantic-comedy, "Ten Inch Hero" (2007). The two continued to date after the low-budget film wrapped, eventually becoming engaged two years later. Buoyed by the success of "Supernatural," Ackles landed his first starring role in a widely released motion picture with "My Bloody Valentine" (2009). A gory remake of a 1981 slasher movie of the same title, the new version boasted the gimmick of 3-D technology and performed surprisingly well in theaters. He then lent his voice to the character of criminal mastermind Red Hood in DC's direct-to-DVD animated adventure, "Batman: Under the Red Hood" (2010). Following their year-long engagement, Ackles and Harris were wed in May of that same year. Developing an affinity for voice work, he provided more vocal characterizations for the video games "Tron: Evolution" (2010) and "The 3rd Birthday" (2011).
By Bryce Coleman
At age four, appeared in print and TV commercials for Wal-Mart, Nabisco and Radio Shack
Made TV acting debut in an episode of "Wishbone" (PBS)
While attending a workshop for actors in Dallas, spotted by a talent agent and signed to representation
Had a recurring role on the NBC sitcom "Mr. Rhodes"
Appeared on an episode of "Sweet Valley High" (syndicated)
Portrayed Eric Brady on the NBC daytime drama "Days of Our Lives"
Appeared in the CBS miniseries "Blonde," about Marilyn Monroe
Appeared on the first season of "Dark Angel" (FOX) as Ben
Became a series regular on "Dark Angel" (FOX) as Alec
Joined the final season of "Dawson's Creek" (WB) as CJ, Jen Lindley's lover
Joined the cast of "Smallville" (WB) playing Assistant Football Coach Jason Teague
Cast in the CW drama series "Supernatural" as Dean Winchester
Cast in the remake of the cult movie "My Bloody Valentine 3D"
Voiced Kyle Madigan in the "Parasite Eve" sequel game "The 3rd Birthday"
Voiced Jason Todd, aka the Red Hood, in the DC animated feature "Batman: Under the Red Hood"
Appeared on an episode of "Kings of Con"