Peter Facinelli

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Biography

A magnetic but all-too-infrequent presence in film and television during the late 1990s and early 2000s, actor Peter Facinelli excelled at playing wounded, often conflicted young men whose emotions frequently got the better of him and those around him. He made his initial splash in TV movies before gaining a groundswell with features like "Can't Hardly Wait" (1998) and "The Scorpion King" (2002). However, his ascent to stardom seemed to …
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Job Title

Actor, Producer, Writer

Born

November 26, 1973

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A magnetic but all-too-infrequent presence in film and television during the late 1990s and early 2000s, actor Peter Facinelli excelled at playing wounded, often conflicted young men whose emotions frequently got the better of him and those around him. He made his initial splash in TV movies before gaining a groundswell with features like "Can't Hardly Wait" (1998) and "The Scorpion King" (2002). However, his ascent to stardom seemed to sputter out shortly thereafter - his debut as a series lead with "Fastlane" (Fox, 2002-03) was met with indifference, and subsequent movie roles went largely unseen. In fact, for a time, it looked like he was relegated to being best know for being former "90210" (Fox, 1990-2000) star Jennie Garth's real-life husband. Television seemed to be his best showcase, where he gave stellar turns as a selfish artist on "Six Feet Under" (HBO, 2001-05) and a jittery crime witness in "Damages" (FX, 2007- ). Appearances in the much-anticipated vampire drama "Twilight" (2008) and other film projects seemed to indicate that Facinelli could return to prominence as one of the more promising and versatile young actors in Hollywood.

Born in the Ozone Park neighborhood of Queens, NY on Nov. 26, 1973, he was the son of Italian immigrants and the youngest of four children. After a year of college at St John's University in Jamaica, NY, he developed a passion for acting, and began studying the craft at the New York University-affiliated Atlantic Theater Company Acting School. Among his teachers were such noted stage and screen stars as William H. Macy, Felicity Huffman, and Giancarlo Esposito. After logging numerous roles in the Company's productions, he made his feature film debut as the Devil in Rebecca Miller's "Angela" (1995). A spate of challenging roles in TV movies soon followed, including a teenage hustler in "The Price of Love" (Fox, 1995), a young suicide victim in "After Jimmy" (CBS, 1996), and "Calm at Sunset" (CBS, 1996), a Hallmark Hall of Fame production about a college dropout who defies his family's wishes to become a fisherman alongside his father (Michael Moriarty). During the making of one such TV feature, "An Unfinished Affair" (ABC, 1996), Facinelli fell in love with his co-star, Jennie Garth, whom he married in 2001.

Facinelli made his feature film debut with the film adaptation of Joyce Carol Oates' "Foxfire" (1996). He quickly landed parts in several independent features, including "Dancer, Texas Pop. 81" (1998), before earning his movie breakout with "Can't Hardly Wait" (1998). His turn as a cold-hearted Big Man on Campus who dumps and then tries to reclaim Jennifer Love Hewitt earned him praise from critics as well as the admiration of the film's numerous teenaged female fans. The buzz about Facinelli after "Can't Hardly Wait" thrust him into the Hollywood spotlight, where he was snapped up for several major projects, each of which should have propelled him to the next level of stardom. Unfortunately, most of the pictures failed to succeed with both ticket buyers and critics; "The Big Kahuna" (1999) cast him as a young and devoutly religious salesman who vies for clients against world-weary pros Kevin Spacey and Danny DeVito, while "Supernova" (2000) was a big-budget special effects adventure built around Facinelli as a mysterious young man who endangers the lives of a crew of space travelers. Both pictures flopped during their theatrical runs, and Penny Marshall's "Riding in Cars with Boys" (2001), with Facinelli as a sympathetic high school friend of Drew Barrymore's, fared only slightly better. His sole success during this period was "The Scorpion King" (2002), the brawny costume epic built around wrestler-turned-actor Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.

Facinelli then moved to TV for "Fastlane," a high-energy crime drama created by "Charlie's Angels" feature director, McG. The premise had Facinelli and comic Bill Bellamy as unconventional Los Angeles police detectives working for an undercover unit stocked with the latest high-tech equipment for solving crimes. However, the show's visual flash did not generate much audience interest, and rising production costs brought it to a close after one season. Facinelli then segued to HBO's acclaimed drama "Six Feet Under," where he shared a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination in 2005 for his recurring role of Jimmy, a self-absorbed young artist who briefly beds budding painter Claire Fisher (Lauren Ambrose).

After "Six Feet Under," Facinelli kept active in independent features and television movies like "Touch the Top of the World" (A&E, 2006), about the first blind man to scale Mount Everest. His feature work, which included "Hollow Man II" (2006) with Christian Slater, went largely unseen or direct to DVD. Series efforts, such as the crime drama "Enemies" (ABC, 2006) and "Insatiable" (Showtime, 2007), also never graduated beyond the pilot stage. But Facinelli persevered, eventually landing the plum role of Gregory Malina, a young consultant who goes into hiding after witnessing a crooked business deal involving businessman Arthur Frobisher (Ted Danson), in "Damages." Facinelli's performance served as an excellent reminder of the talent he displayed earlier in his career.

Once again, the buzz surrounding Facinelli after "Damages" led to a string of quality projects. Chief among these was "Twilight," Catherine Hardwicke's adaptation of the popular Gothic romance novels by Stephenie Meyer. Facinelli was cast as Carlisle Cullen, a small town doctor who also serves as the benevolent patriarch of a clan of vampires. The books' teen fanbase all but assured that the film would do stellar box office during its release in late November 2008. Facinelli also appeared in the little-seen indie "Finding Amanda" with Matthew Broderick and Brittany Snow, as well as the short, "Reaper" (2008), which provided an amusing bookend to his film debut as Satan by casting him as Jesus. The books' teen fan base brought in stellar box office during its release in late November 2008; the same year Facinelli also appeared in the little-seen indie "Finding Amanda" with Matthew Broderick and Brittany Snow. The following year, Facinelli was cast as a cocky young doctor and co-worker of a troubled nurse (Edie Falco) on the dark Showtime offering, "Nurse Jackie" (2009- ), before reprising his role in the highly anticipated "Twilight" sequels "The Twilight Saga: New Moon" (2009) and "Eclipse" (2010).