Often playing characters with a sensitive demeanor lurking beneath a brooding surface, Balthazar Getty is an actor whose offscreen life has boasted as much drama as his onscreen work. Born in Los Angeles, CA, on January 22, 1975, Balthazar Getty's father was John Paul Getty III, the grandson of famous oil tycoon J. Paul Getty, and a notorious figure in his own right after his ear was cut off by kidnappers in 1973. John Paul Getty III suffered a debilitating drug overdose in 1980 which left him in a wheelchair, and in time he and his wife Gisela Zacher split up; Gisela remarried in 1988, to wedding translator and musician Olaf Kraemar. In 1989, a casting agent spotted young Balthazar Getty in his art class at school, and invited him to audition for a film role. Getty was then cast in the 1990 film adaptation of Lord of the Flies as Ralph, the child who struggles against the baser impulses which have overtaken his peers. Due to extensive post-production work on Lord of the Flies, Getty's second film -- a made-for-cable adaptation of The Turn of the Screw -- actually appeared first, but his work in Flies was well received and it wasn't long before more and bigger roles came his way. Getty won key roles in smaller independent projects such as Dead Beat and Where the Day Takes You as well as bigger-budget films, including Natural Born Killers, White Squall, and Lost Highway. However, the lure of the Hollywood high life took its toll as Getty's star rose; his family had a history of drug abuse, and Getty himself became addicted to heroin, only narrowly avoiding arrest in the fall of 1998, according to published reports. After this incident, Getty made a new commitment to health, and after kicking his habit began working steadily again in 2000 and 2001, appearing in the acclaimed independent films The Center of the World, MacArthur Park, and Four Dogs Playing Poker; Getty also tried his hand at working behind the scenes, serving as both star and executive producer of Shadow Hours. Getty took on the role of male witch Rich Montana in a guest-starring role on the television series Charmed (2003), and found more television success playing Agent Thomas Grace on ABC's popular prime time drama Alias (2005). He also worked in the ABC prime time drama Brothers & Sisters (2006) playing Thomas "Tommy" Walker, the second child of five.
Biography by Rovi
- Great-grandson of tycoon J. Paul Getty.
- His father, J. Paul Getty III, was kidnapped while on vacation in 1973. Although his family initially refused to pay the hefty ransom, the gangsters convinced them to do so by slicing off his right ear and sending it to a newspaper.
- Fell out of a tree and broke both arms shortly before filming his 1990 breakthrough role in Lord of the Flies; his injuries were worked into the movie.
- Founded production company called 5150.
- Formed the band Ringside with friend Scott Thomas, releasing a self-titled debut album in 2005. Appeared in pal David Arquette’s directorial debut The Tripper (2007).