Michael Vartan

Active - 1991 - 2017  |   Born - Nov 27, 1968 in Boulogne-Billancourt , France  |   Genres - Comedy, Drama, Comedy Drama, Action, Thriller

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Biography by Lucia Bozzola

French-American actor Michael Vartan made his handsome presence felt in several European and independent films before getting his Hollywood studio break in the romantic comedy Never Been Kissed (1999).

Born in Boulogne-Billancourt , France and raised in the small Normandy town of Fleury, Vartan moved to Los Angeles at age 18 to be with his American mother. Though he began taking acting classes in Los Angeles, Vartan nabbed his first film roles in the French productions Un Homme et Deux Femmes (1991) and Promenades d'Ete (1992). Still working in Europe, Vartan gained international attention as the doomed lover of the fabled title character in Paolo Taviani and Vittorio Taviani's Fiorile (1993).

Returning to the Hollywood fold, Vartan appeared in To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar (1995) and The Pallbearer (1996). He played more substantial roles, however, in the indie AIDS drama Touch Me (1997) and college crime thriller The Curve (1998), as well as playing Julianne Moore's brother in Sundance entrant The Myth of Fingerprints (1997). Vartan finally earned his first starring role in a Hollywood studio production when star/executive producer Drew Barrymore insisted that he be cast opposite her in Never Been Kissed. As undercover reporter Barrymore's "high school" teacher, Vartan was an adult-teen dream come true; the movie went on to become Vartan's first Hollywood hit. Vartan was not so lucky, however, with his next Hollywood film, the critically lambasted Madonna vehicle The Next Best Thing (2000).

After he was impeccably cast as Lancelot in the lavish TV miniseries adaptation of The Mists of Avalon (2001), Vartan stayed with TV to play CIA agent Michael Vaughn, ally of Jennifer Garner's double agent Sydney Bristow, on the stylish, critically praised ABC action series Alias (2001). While on Alias, he appeared on the big-screen as Jennifer Lopez's intended in Monster-in-Law (2005).

When Alias ended in 2006, Vartan stayed mostly in television, on ABC's short-lived sitcom Big Shots (2007), followed by a three-season run on the TNT medical drama Hawthorne, playing the Chief of Surgery. In 2014, he had a recurring role on A&E's Bates Motel.

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  • Moved to Los Angeles from France at 18 to live with his mother, who encouraged him to pursue acting.
  • Wanted to be a professional pool player before he became an actor.
  • Nephew of 1960s French singing superstars Sylvie Vartan and Johnny Hallyday.
  • Hobbies include painting and playing guitar.
  • Avid hockey player and fan of the NHL's Los Angeles Kings, as well as baseball's New York Mets.
  • On his role in an ad campaign for the NHL's Stanley Cup, he told Sports Illustrated in 2004: "I've worked with some of the hottest women in Hollywood, and it's by far the most nervous I've been on camera. The moment I saw the Cup I got the chills. The first 10 takes I flubbed every line."