Oklahoma native Ryan Merriman began his career as a child actor, appearing in commercials and in local theater productions. By the time he was a teenager, he was appearing in film and television, starring in the TV movie Everything That Rises in 1998 when he was just 14. He would go on to appear in numerous projects over the next several years, like The Deep End of the Ocean, Halloween: Resurrection, The Ring Two, and Final Destination 3. In 2010, Merriman's notoriety increased substantially when he joined the cast of the night-time soap Pretty Little Liars as dastardly Ian Thomas. Additionally, that same year he appeared in the sports drama The 5th Quarter.