Paul Wesley

Also Credited As:

Paul Wasilewski, Paul Thomas Wasilewski
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Biography

As talented as he was boyishly handsome, actor Paul Wesley showed an early facility for playing misunderstood outcasts who audiences could empathize with. After receiving his start on a daytime soap opera while still in high school, the young actor graduated to primetime efforts like the short-lived lycanthrope drama "Wolf Lake" (CBS, 2001-02). Though not able find that one breakout role, Wesley continued to attract the attention of casting …
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Job Title

Actor, Producer

Born

Paul Thomas Wasilewski on July 23, 1982 in New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA

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About

As talented as he was boyishly handsome, actor Paul Wesley showed an early facility for playing misunderstood outcasts who audiences could empathize with. After receiving his start on a daytime soap opera while still in high school, the young actor graduated to primetime efforts like the short-lived lycanthrope drama "Wolf Lake" (CBS, 2001-02). Though not able find that one breakout role, Wesley continued to attract the attention of casting agents with his nuanced work in various roles, including turns as a teenage drug dealer on "Everwood" (The WB, 2002-06) and as a human-angel hybrid on the fantasy miniseries "Fallen" (ABC Family, 2006-07). A lead role in the low-budget horror-comedy "Killer Movie" (2008) proved more memorable, as it was on the set that Wesley met his future wife, actress Torrey DeVitto. After almost a decade of near breakout success, Wesley at last landed the career-defining role of the good hearted vampire Stefan Salvatore on the hit supernatural drama series "The Vampire Diaries" (The CW, 2009- ). Along with impossibly attractive co-stars Ian Somerhalder and Nina Dobrev, Wesley was catapulted to the upper echelon of hot young Hollywood talent virtually overnight. As the sexy and sinister show gained more devoted followers each season, the actor increased his profile with feature efforts like the violent action-comedy "The Baytown Outlaws" (2013). Well regarded for his ability to play characters on either side of the moral spectrum, Wesley was well positioned for a gratifying and robust career.

Paul Thomas Wasilewski was born on July 23, 1982 in New Brunswick, NJ and grew up in Marlboro, NJ. The only boy in the family, the future star had an older sister, Monika, and two younger sisters, Julia and Leah. After enrolling in a summer arts program when he was in third grade, Wesley found his true calling as an actor. He made his television debut on a 1999 episode of "Another World" (NBC, 1964-1999) and followed up with a multi-episode arc on another long-running daytime TV program, "The Guiding Light" (CBS, 1952-2009). On the latter, Wesley played Max Nickerson, a troubled teen who escapes juvenile hall. His portrayal of the classic character Lancelot in "Young Arthur" (NBC, 2002) created buzz around the hardworking actor. Wesley then joined the cast of "Wolf Lake" (CBS/UPN, 2001-02), a suspense thriller about a pack of werewolves living in a Seattle suburb. He played Luke Cates, the son of the town's most successful businessman and suitor of a 16-year-old girl who transforms into a werewolf on the supernatural series that also starred Lou Diamond Phillips.

Wesley bounced around between minor appearances in big budget feature films like "Minority Report" (2002) and television series such as "Smallville" (The WB, 2001-06; The CW, 2006-2011), "The O.C." (Fox, 2003-07), and "8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter" (ABC, 2002-05) before getting a recurring role as drug dealer Tommy Callahan on the drama series, "Everwood." Wesley's character really shook things up in the fictional Colorado town after he begins dating good girl Amy (Emily VanCamp). The actor played another unlikable character on the family drama "American Dreams" (NBC, 2002-05), starring as a racist, macho football player. In 2006, Wesley starred in the ABC Family miniseries "Fallen," in which the actor played Aaron Corbett, a kindhearted high school student who discovers at the age of 18 that he is actually a Nephilim, or half human/half angel. The series was based on the young adult novels The Fallen, written by Thomas E. Sniegoski. Wesley later told reporters at the 2006 Television Critics Association press tour that he related to his "Fallen" character because he always felt like an outcast growing up.

The up-and-coming actor, who also starred in independent film releases such as the horror genre satire "Killer Movie" (2008) and the crime drama "Elsewhere" (2009), found more success on the small screen with a recurring role on "Army Wives" (Lifetime Television, 2007- ) as PFC Logan Atwater, a soldier whose dreams of marrying the love of his life are squashed after getting shipped off to serve in Korea. The actor also had a guest-starring role as federal agent Jack Bauer's son-in-law on Fox's megahit series, "24" (2001-2010) opposite Kiefer Sutherland and Elisha Cuthbert. What proved to be Wesley's big break, however, came that same year when he was cast in "The Vampire Diaries" (The CW, 2009- ), a supernatural drama series created by Kevin Williamson and based on the popular book franchise by L.J. Smith. Wesley played Stefan Salvatore, an over a century old vampire living in the southern town of Mystic Falls. Somewhat naïve, with a gentle soul, Stefan was the exact opposite of his more nihilistic brother, Damon (Ian Somerhalder) Salvatore. With the handsome vampire brothers embroiled in a love-hate relationship with each other and feuding over their mutual desires for the lovely and human Elena (Nina Dobrev), the smoldering dynamic of the show proved a potent recipe for viewers. Much to his fans delight, Wesley was later able to give resident bad boy Somerhalder a run for his money when his vampire character succumbed to his addiction to human blood and unleashed "The Ripper," his murderous alter ego, for much of the show's third season.

Wesley wisely parlayed his newfound status as a bona fide TV heartthrob into more feature film work, with a co-starring role in the aquatic adventure "Beneath the Blue" (2010), the story of a group of marine mammal experts investigating the U.S. Navy's involvement with a rash of recent dolphin deaths. The actor's personal life experienced an upswing, as well, when after having dated Torrey DeVitto since working with her on "Killer Movie" in 2007, Wesley married the actress in a private ceremony in New York in the spring of 2011. The following year, DeVitto joined her husband on screen once again in a recurring role as Mystic Falls doctor Meredith Fell on "The Vampire Dairies," beginning during its third season. Another feature effort shot while on break from his hit series cast Wesley as a young ATF agent on the trail of a trio of redneck vigilantes in the action-comedy "The Baytown Outlaws" (2013), starring Eva Longoria and Billy Bob Thornton.