James William Van Der Beek, Jr. is an American television, film and stage actor, known for his portrayal of Dawson Leery in Dawson's Creek.
Van Der Beek made his professional debut in the New York premiere of three-time Pulitzer Prize winner Edward Albee's play Finding the Sun at the Signature Theatre Company in which he played the role of "Fergus." The production, which was also directed by Albee, received rave reviews, especially for the young Van Der Beek. With this experience under his belt, Van Der Beek was now sure he wanted to pursue acting. At age 17, while still in high school, he performed in the musical Shenandoah at the Goodspeed Opera House, and made his feature film debut as a bully in the teen-oriented 1995 film Angus. The following year, he shot the independent film I Love You, I Love You Not opposite Claire Danes and Jude Law.
After graduating from high school, Van Der Beek attended Drew University on a partial academic scholarship, where he took classes in English and sociology but later dropped out to pursue acting. While there, he performed in Drew's all-male a cappella group 36 Madison Avenue. During his stay he performed at the Vinyard Theater in New York in Nicky Silver's play, My Marriage to Ernest Borgnine, and played a supporting role in the independent film Cash Crop, which was originally shot in spring of 1997 and originally titled Harvest and was released (largely on his name, despite the fact that his role was quite small) in 2001 after he'd become famous.
Television and FilmEdit
After Dawson's Creek's run ended in 2003, Van Der Beek immediately returned to the New York Stage, in the New York Premiere of Lanford Wilson's Rain Dance. Since 2003, he has completed his first screenplay, Winning, a hero's journey/love story set in the world of modern-day Major League Baseball, and has optioned several properties to develop, including Charles Bowdon's non-fiction book A Shadow in the City.
Van Der Beek has made a few notable appearances on television, including a role on Ugly Betty, and a performance in 2007 in the two-part, post-Super Bowl episode of Criminal Minds in which he played Tobias Hankel a young man with Dissociative Identity Disorder. In 2008, he made a guest appearance on the CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother in which he played an old flame of Robin's who she falls for again. Since 2008, Van Der Beek has also had recurring role as a movie director on One Tree Hill. He also plays in the sitcom "Don't trust the bitch in apartment 23."
On November 6, 2008, TV Guide reported that Van Der Beek will co-star on upcoming FOX drama pilot Eva Adams.