Dylan McDermott

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Dylan McDermott
Dylan McDermott (Straighten Crop).jpg
McDermott in May 2009
BornMark Anthony McDermott
(1961-10-26) October 26, 1961 (age 52)
Waterbury, Connecticut, U.S.
Years active1987–present
Spouse(s)Shiva Rose (1995–2009; divorced)
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Dylan McDermott
Dylan McDermott (Straighten Crop).jpg
McDermott in May 2009
BornMark Anthony McDermott
(1961-10-26) October 26, 1961 (age 52)
Waterbury, Connecticut, U.S.
Years active1987–present
Spouse(s)Shiva Rose (1995–2009; divorced)

Dylan McDermott (born Mark Anthony McDermott; October 26, 1961) is an American actor. He is best known for his role as lawyer and law firm head Bobby Donnell on the legal drama series The Practice, which earned him a Golden Globe and an Emmy Award nomination. He is also well known for his roles in the first two seasons of American Horror Story, entitled American Horror Story: Murder House and American Horror Story: Asylum portraying Dr. Ben Harmon and Johnny Morgan, respectively. He also starred as Lt. Carter Shaw on the TNT series Dark Blue, and FBI Special Agent Duncan Carlisle in the CBS drama series Hostages.

Early life[edit]

McDermott was born in Waterbury, Connecticut, the son of Diane (née Marino) and Richard McDermott. He is of English, French, Irish, and Italian descent.[1][2] Diane was 15 and Richard was 17 when McDermott was born; by 1967, the couple had divorced, and Diane and her two children were living with her mother, Avis (Rogers) Marino.[3] On February 9, 1967, Diane was shot dead.[1] Her death was originally ruled an accident, but police later claimed that evidence they had found would be enough to file murder charges against John Sponza, who had been living with Diane at the time. Sponza told authorities that Diane accidentally shot herself after picking up a gun he had been cleaning. Sponza, who police say had ties to organized crime, was shot dead in 1972; his body was found in the trunk of a car in a Waltham, Massachusetts grocery store parking lot.[4]

McDermott and his sister were raised by Avis in Waterbury.[3] As a teenager, he began taking trips to visit his father, who owned the West Fourth Street Saloon in Greenwich Village, New York.[5] The two would go to the movies and the younger McDermott would work in his father's bar, serving drinks and breaking up fights.[6] He would also fast-talk his way into the Mudd Club and Studio 54.[1] McDermott was uncomfortable with himself as a teenager, saying he had a "Dorothy Hamill hairdo". He began to imitate his acting heroes, such as Marlon Brando and Humphrey Bogart, to adopt their demeanor.[7] McDermott graduated from Holy Cross High School in Waterbury.

McDermott's father's third wife was playwright Eve Ensler (author of The Vagina Monologues), who legally adopted McDermott when he was 15 and she was 23.[8] She has since divorced his father. Ensler, with whom McDermott has remained close, encouraged him to pursue an acting career,[4] and began writing roles for him into her plays.[1] After Ensler suffered a miscarriage, he took on the name Dylan, the name planned for her unborn child.[6] He attended acting school at the Jesuit-run Fordham University, as well as studying under Sanford Meisner at the Neighborhood Playhouse.


McDermott starred as Chris in the 1989 film Twister about a man who tried to rescue his girlfriend and daughter from a tornado storm.[9] The same year brought Neon Empire, a movie about the rise and fall of one man in Las Vegas.[10] However, his first big break as an actor was in the hit film In the Line of Fire. Through his connection with Clint Eastwood, McDermott was able to land his first major gig in The Practice. The show expanded McDermott's stardom, and he made People's list of the "50 Most Beautiful People In The World 1998" with the magazine calling him a "a prime-time heartthrob".[7] He got this distinction again in 2000.[11] Despite his success on The Practice, McDermott was cut from the show. Executive producer David E. Kelley cited "economic and creative realities" as a result of pressure from ABC to reduce costs. McDermott did appear in the final two episodes of the final season.[12]

In 2004, McDermott starred alongside Julianna Margulies four-part mini-series The Grid, playing FBI Special Agent Max Canary in an anti-terrorist unit.[13] Returning to theater in 2006, the actor played a returned soldier suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder in the Ensler's play The Treatment.[14] In 2007, McDermott starred in the television series Big Shots. Due to low viewership, the show was cancelled in January 2008 after 11 episodes without completing the planned 13-episode season. On October 30, 2008, TV Guide reported that McDermott was due to co-star alongside Shannen Doherty in the film Burning Palms, a satire based on Los Angeles stereotypes told through five intertwining storylines.[15] Beginning in 2009, McDermott starred in the TNT drama Dark Blue, playing a veteran cop who heads a squad of undercover LAPD officers.[16] The show ran for two seasons, each consisting of ten episodes. In 2011, McDermott starred on American Horror Story on FX as Dr. Ben Harmon. He returned to the second season as a new character due to the series' anthology format, this time portraying Johnny Morgan. In 2012, he appeared in three films; The Campaign, playing Tim Wattley, a campaign manager, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, as the father of main character Charlie (Logan Lerman), and Nobody Walks, as Leroy. He recently appeared in the action thriller Olympus Has Fallen as a traitorous Secret Service Agent who helps a group of terrorists seize control of the White House.

In May 2013, McDermott launched his first Photography Exhibition in Montreal, Quebec at Avenue Art Gallery as part of a collaboration with Art Agent, Marina Cutler. The Exhibition titled THE DYLAN PROJECT, MAKE SOME NOISE! tied his support for The V-Day Organization and love of photography together as the project is a way to bring attention and funds to this organization that supports women in various ways who have suffered violent acts of aggression. McDermott and Cutler have plans to bring THE DYLAN PROJECT to other locations.

Personal life[edit]

McDermott has a younger sister, Robin.[3] He married actress Shiva Rose on November 19, 1995.[3] They have two daughters, Collette and Charlotte. Collette's birth is prominently featured in Ensler's Vagina Monologues.[1] On September 27, 2007, People confirmed that McDermott and Rose had separated.[17] On May 16, 2008, CelebTV.com reported that McDermott had filed for divorce from Rose.[18] The divorce was finalized on January 2, 2009.[19]

McDermott has been featured in magazines such as Men's Health.[20] In 1999, he was a finalist in the GQ "Man of the Year" issue.[21][22] McDermott is a recovering alcoholic who has been sober for over 20 years.[23]



1987Hamburger HillSgt. Adam Frantz
1988Blue Iguana, TheThe Blue IguanaVince Holloway
1989Neon Empire, TheThe Neon EmpireVicTelevision film
1989Steel MagnoliasJackson Latcherie
1990HardwareMoses "Hard Mo" Baxter
1991Into the BadlandsMcComasTelevision film
1991Where Sleeping Dogs LieBruce Simmons
1992Jersey GirlSal Tomei
1992Fear Inside, TheThe Fear InsidePete CaswellTelevision film
1993In the Line of FireAl D'Andrea
1994Cowboy Way, TheThe Cowboy WayJohn Stark
1994Miracle on 34th StreetBryan Bedford
1995Destiny Turns on the RadioJulian Goddard
1995Home for the HolidaysLeo Fish
1997'Til There Was YouNick Dawkan
1999Three to TangoCharles Newman
2001Texas RangersLeander McNelly
2003Party MonsterPeter Gatien
2003WonderlandDavid Lind
2003Runaway JuryJacob WoodUncredited
2005EdisonSergeant Francis Lazerov
2005Tenants, TheThe TenantsHenry Lesser
2005Mistress of Spices, TheThe Mistress of SpicesDoug
2006Unbeatable HaroldJake Salamander
2006A House DividedAndersonTelevision Film
2007Messengers, TheThe MessengersRoy
2007Have Dreams, Will TravelUncle
2010Burning PalmsDennis Marx
2012Nobody WalksLeroy
2012Campaign, TheThe CampaignTim Wattley
2012Perks of Being a Wallflower, TheThe Perks of Being a WallflowerMr. Kelmeckis
2013Olympus Has FallenDave Forbes
2013FreezerRobert Saunders
2014Behaving BadlyJimmy LeachCompleted


1992Tales from the CryptGeorge GatlinEpisode: "This'll Kill Ya"
1997–2004Practice, TheThe PracticeBobby Donnell147 episodes
1998Ally McBealBobby Donnell2 episodes
1998Sin City SpectacularHimselfEpisode: #1.5
1999Saturday Night LiveHostEpisode: "Dylan McDermott/Foo Fighters"
2003Will & GraceTomEpisode: "Heart Like a Wheelchair"
2004Grid, TheThe GridFBI Agent Max Canary2 episodes
20063 lbsDr. Douglas HansonUnaired Pilot
2007–08Big ShotsDuncan Collinsworth11 episodes
2009–10Dark BlueCarter Shaw20 episodes
2011American Horror Story: Murder HouseDr. Ben Harmon12 episodes
2012–13American Horror Story: AsylumJohnny Morgan5 episodes
2013–14HostagesDuncan Carlisle15 episodes


Awards and nominations[edit]

YearAssociationCategoryNominated workResult
1998Viewers for Quality TelevisionBest Actor in a Quality Drama SeriesThe PracticeNominated
1999Golden Globe AwardsBest Actor – Television Series DramaThe PracticeWon
1999Primetime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Lead Actor in a Drama SeriesThe PracticeNominated
1999Satellite AwardsBest Actor – Television Series DramaThe PracticeNominated
1999Screen Actors Guild AwardsOutstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama SeriesThe PracticeNominated
1999Television Critics Association AwardsIndividual Achievement in DramaThe PracticeNominated
2000Golden Globe AwardsBest Actor – Television Series DramaThe PracticeNominated
2000Satellite AwardsBest Actor – Television Series DramaThe PracticeNominated
2000Screen Actors Guild AwardsOutstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama SeriesThe PracticeNominated
2000Viewers for Quality TelevisionBest Actor in a Quality Drama SeriesThe PracticeNominated
2001Golden Globe AwardsBest Actor – Television Series DramaThe PracticeNominated
2001Screen Actors Guild AwardsOutstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama SeriesThe PracticeNominated
2004Prism AwardsBest Performance in a Theatrical Feature FilmWonderlandNominated
2012San Diego Film Critics Society AwardsBest Performance by an EnsembleThe Perks of Being a WallflowerWon
2012Saturn AwardsBest Actor on TelevisionAmerican Horror Story: Murder HouseNominated


  1. ^ a b c d e "In Search of Dylan McDermott". Esquire. 133 (3):166, March 2000.
  2. ^ Biography for Dylan McDermott at the Internet Movie Database
  3. ^ a b c d "Hollywood's New Golden Boy"
  4. ^ a b "Dylan McDermott is on a path of rediscovery", Washington Post - MSNBC.com
  5. ^ "THEATER; Today the Anatomy, Tomorrow the World". New York Times. September 26, 1999. 
  6. ^ a b Rita Braver. "Dylan McDermott" (interview), CBS Sunday Morning, October 30, 2011.
  7. ^ a b (1998-05-11), "Dylan McDermott". People. 49 (18):144
  8. ^ [1], Interview with wife Shiva Rose McDermott
  9. ^ Pitman, Randy (1990-02-01), "Twister". Library Journal. 115 (2):124
  10. ^ Pitman, Randy (04-01-1990), "The Neon Empire". Library Journal. 115 (6):154
  11. ^ No byline (2000-05-08), "Dylan McDermott". People. 53 (18):174
  12. ^ "Legal Eagles Out of Practice". People. 59 (21):19 (June 2, 2003)
  13. ^ Kelleher, Terry (2004-07-26), "The Grid". People. 62 (4):35
  14. ^ McCarter, Jeremy 2006-09-25, "Eve Ensler Has Issues". New York. 39 (33):78
  15. ^ "Shannen Doherty, Dylan McDermott Join Burning Palms Ensemble Film" TV Guide. October 30, 2008. Retrieved on October 31, 2008.
  16. ^ TNT Dark Blue website
  17. ^ No byline (2007-10-15), "CELEBRITY ROUNDUP". Time. 170 (16):27. Retrieved on 2008-01-15
  18. ^ Dylan McDermott files for divorce from wife Shiva Rose. Retrieved on 2008-05-20
  19. ^ No byline (2007-12-02), "McDermott to Wife: Til January Do Us Part". Retrieved on 2008-12-02
  20. ^ O'Neill, Hugh (September 2004), "ICONS of Style". Men's Health, Vol. 19 (7): 48
  21. ^ Johnson, Julie A. (1999-12-13), "Hanks rules roost on Nov. newsstands". Advertising Age. 70 (51): 62
  22. ^ "20 YEARS OF SEXY LAWYERS". People.64 (22): 181-82 (2005-11-28)
  23. ^ "Practice makes perfect: Life's a beach for Dylan McDermott and new girlfriend". London: Daily Mail. 2010-09-28. 

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