Best known in the mid-'90s for playing the earnest but often fumbling Dr. John Carter on the hit television drama ER, Noah Wyle has also appeared in a few feature films, notably Swing Kids in which he played a chillingly ardent member of the Hitler Youth. The son of an electrical engineer and an orthopedic nurse, Wyle was raised in Hollywood. He attended a boarding school and, while growing up, dreamed of becoming a basketball player. Lacking the height and the necessary skill, he turned toward acting. After graduation, he had the opportunity to go to college, but turned it down in favor of studying acting with Larry Moss. Wyle supported himself by working as a busboy and gained experience on stage, a venue he dearly loves. In 1990, he landed his first television role, albeit a very small one, in the NBC miniseries Blind Faith. In 1991, he made his feature film debut as the contented son Ask in the family drama Crooked Hearts (1992). More supporting roles followed, including a turn as Sir Lancelot in Guinevere, a made-for-cable look at the famed Arthurian queen as told from a feminist perspective. In 1997, Wyle starred in the independent drama The Myth of Fingerprints as a 23-year-old who has trouble getting over a breakup with his girlfriend. He had a memorable turn as Steve Jobs in the made-for-TV docudrama Pirates of Silicon Valley in 1999, and two years later he was in the cult favorite Donnie Darko. In 2004 he finished his work as a regular on ER after 11 years on the hit program, though he would return for the series finale three years later. Though he worked steadily, he returned to episodic TV for the scci-fi series Falling Skies.
Biography by Sandra Brennan
- Participated in the National High School Institute, Northwestern University's precollege theatre-arts program, during his junior year of high school.
- Collects items related to Noah's Ark.
- Met his first wife, Tracy Warbin, on the set of the film The Myth of Fingerprints (1997).
- Bought his house, a 46-acre ranch in Santa Ynez Valley, CA, from Bo Derek in 1999.
- Portrayed Apple cofounder Steve Jobs in the 1999 TV-movie Pirates of Silicon Valley; Jobs later invited Wyle to impersonate him during a speech at the 1999 MacWorld expo.