Zen Brant Genser is an American actor known for his roles on The Adventures of Sinbad and All My Children.
Gesner was born in the Van Nuys neighborhood of Los Angeles, California, on June 23, 1970. He is the son of late stage actress Nan Martin and influential architect Harry Gesner. He was named after Zen, the school of Mahayana Buddhism that preaches enlightenment through meditation. He has an older half-brother, Casey Martin Dolan, from his mother's first marriage to musical composer Robert E. Dolan, and two older half-siblings from his father's prior marriages, Jason Gesner (who is a hydroelectric manager) and Tara Tanzer-Cartwright (who is a teacher). His paternal great-uncle is famed aircraft industrialist and designer Jack Northrop, who founded the Northrop Corporation in 1939.
As a young child, Gesner was interested in music and is able to play both the piano and trumpet. He became an aspiring actor while attending Santa Monica High School after he landed a small part in the school's production of Hamlet. Since then, Gesner went on to play leading roles in the school's renditions of Nicholas Nickleby and The Sound of Music. Upon graduating from Santa Monica High, Gesner joined the South Coast Repertory Theatre located in Orange County, California, where he performed in small roles and watched other, more experienced actors perfect their craft. After touring the audition circuit, Gesner was accepted into LAMDA's intensive summer program on Shakespeare. Towards the end of the course, he was offered a position in the general three-year program at the Academy.
At LAMDA, Gesner not only performed in such plays as Richard III, The Cherry Orchard, and Anything Goes, but also studied a wide variety of other topics, which ranged from poetry to archery to fire-blowing. He especially excelled in the field of fencing; during his second year, he earned an advanced certificate from The Society of British Fight Directors. After graduating from the Academy, Gesner went on to work as an assistant fight director to The Royal Opera located in London, England, U.K. He made his feature film debut in Dumb & Dumber and, in addition, put his real-life surfing skills to very good use when he played a surfer in the Chris Isaak music video "Somebody's Crying".
After four auditions and a screen test, Gesner was able to earn the titular role of the syndicated fantasy-action series The Adventures of Sinbad. It was filmed in Cape Town, South Africa, and required a lot of stuntwork and special effects usage. Between shoots, Gesner decided to add to his physical performance skills by picking up tricks from a local circus troupe. These tricks included tightrope walking, inverted rope-climbing, kicking and flipping up from the ground (a process known as "kipping"), and stunt flips. Although it was listed on the fall lineup for a third season, the well-rated series ended its run after its second season due to contract disputes between the production company and the series distributors. Since the conclusion of The Adventures of Sinbad in 1998, Gesner appeared on other TV series such as Friends and All My Children. In addition, he portrayed the role of David Patrick in the 2005 film The Ringer, which was about the Special Olympics. He also became the official spokesperson for Chicken Of The Sea's 2005 "What Women Want" marketing campaign.
In his personal life, Gesner is married to a woman named Cynthia Farrelly. He met her after returning to the U.S. following a gig as the "Mystery Man" in the opening of each episode of Take the Money & Run, in which he handed a briefcase containing $100,000 to two-person contestant teams and relays instructions to them. Cynthia is the sister of the Farrelly Brothers, and as such, Gesner received several small roles in their films, including Dumb & Dumber, Fever Pitch, Kingpin, Me, Myself & Irene, Osmosis Jones, Shallow Hal, and There's Something About Mary. Sometime after his marriage with Cynthia, he and his wife officially moved to Hollywood, where Gesner worked part-time in construction while auditioning for TV and film roles. They have three sons: Finn Harry, Rory Farrelly, and Tuck John. Gesner currently resides with his family in Malibu, California.
On Criminal MindsEdit
- Gates of Darkness (2017) as Stephen's Father
- Paid in Full (2016) as Sam
- A Date to Die For (2015) as Michael Hill
- Slightly Single in L.A. (2013) as Church Usher
- Movie 43 (2013) as Stripper (segment "Truth or Dare")
- Hall Pass (2011) as Passenger Cop
- Criminal Minds - Reflection of Desire (2010) TV episode - Robert
- Shattered! (2008) as Carter
- Rex (2008) as Ned
- Bagboy (2007) as Police Officer Sinead
- Fetch (2007) as Spike (short, credited as Zen Gessner)
- Best of Chris Isaak (2006) as Unknown Character (video, segment "Somebody's Crying", uncredited)
- The Ringer (2005) as David Patrick
- Fever Pitch (2005) as Steve
- The Hollow (2004) as Marcus (video)
- Knee High P.I. (2003) as Policeman #2
- Small Town Conspiracy (2003) as John Haleran
- Boat Trip (2002) as Ron
- Legend of the Phantom Rider (2002) as Suicide
- Social Misfits (2001) as Counselor Travis
- Shallow Hal (2001) as Ralph
- Osmosis Jones (2001) as Emergency Room Doctor #1
- The Breed (2001) as West
- Me, Myself & Irene (2000) as Agent Peterson
- All My Children (1998-1999) as Braden Lavery (25 episodes)
- Friends (1998) as Dave
- There's Something About Mary (1998) as Bartender
- The Adventures of Sinbad (1996-1998) as Sinbad (44 episodes)
- Gettin' Up (1997) as Unknown Character
- The Glass Cage (1996) as Customer
- Kingpin (1996) as Thomas
- Wish Me Luck (1995) as Henry Krinkle
- Soldier Boyz (1995) as Guard #1
- Compromising Situations (1995) as Phillip Larsen
- Victim (1994) as Sgt. Greg (short)
- Dumb and Dumber (1994) as Dale's Man #1
- That's Awesome! The Story of 'Dumb and Dumber To' (2015) - Producer (video documentary)
- Bagboy (2007) - Producer
For an up-to-date filmography, see here.