ByKarly Rayner, writer at
Movie Pilot's celebrity savant
Karly Rayner

Ian Somerhalder is arguably the biggest draw to The Vampire Diaries and with his smouldering good looks and the wittiest lines in the show as Damon Salvatore, it's not rocket science to see why!

The wildly popular actor turned 36 earlier this week, so what better time to take a step back and examine what the famously altruistic actor was up to before he started terrorizing Mystic Falls?

The Early Years

Ian Somerhalder was born and raised in Covington, Louisiana. He is the son of Edna, a massage therapist and Robert, a builder.

He was also clearly absolutely adorable from the moment he arrived on this Earth. Those eyes!

Modelling Prodigy

Ian Somerhalder began modeling at the tender age of 10, which has produced a succession of wonderfully '90s photo shoots for us to enjoy!

Also, kudos for caring about the environment at such a young age!

Teenage Heartthrob

A teenage Ian for Versace
A teenage Ian for Versace

Ian Somerhalder went on to have a successful modeling career, striking a pose for companies as high profile as Versace and Guess.

The results range from pretty laughably outdated...

What were Versace thinking in the '90s?!
What were Versace thinking in the '90s?! timelessly gorgeous

Although Ian modelled into his early 20s, he'd realized his ambition in life was to become an actor at the tender age of 17.

Young Americans

Although Ian had a couple of one episode bit parts in shows such as Now and Again, he first made his big break onto the small screen in 2000 in Young Americans.

The Dawson's Creek spinoff show only ran for one season, but it received critical acclaim for it's progressive viewpoint on themes such as gender roles.

The Rules of Attraction

Ian's next major role was on the big screen, but bizarrely, still related to Dawson's Creek!

22-year-old Somerhalder took on the meaty role of Paul Denton, a gay student who becomes obsessed with a straight boy at his college, played by James Van Der Beek.

For a brief moment in cinematic history, the biggest heartthrobs of the time, were seen frolicking on a bed together in partial undress. Beautiful.


Somerhaler's next notable role was back in his natural habitat of television in Smallville.

In 2004, he played the recurring character of Adam Knight, a patient who died of a rare liver disease and was resurrected by LuthorCorp.

Alas, his second chance at life didn't last long and Somerhalder only featured in six episodes of the show.


Ian Somerhalder's most iconic role before The Vampire Diaries was indisputably as Boone Carlyle in the cult TV show, Lost.

The fan favorite character lasted 25 episodes before he was crushed to death by a piece of falling plane, along with the shows eye candy credentials.

The Vampire Diaries

In 2009, Ian Somerhalder finally landed in the role that has defined his career: The smoldering Damon Salvatore.

This strike of master casting gave the older Salvatore brother a face that perfectly matches his seductive and confident personality.

Somerhalder's witty lines and comic timing have made Damon one of the shows most beloved characters, and his charm means he can literally get away with murder.


Have you seen Ian Somerhalder in any of his roles before The Vampire Diaries?

(Source: Wikipedia)


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