Ian Joseph Somerhalder (born December 8, 1978) is an American actor, model, activist and director.
He is known for playing Boone Carlyle in the TV drama Lost, Damon Salvatore in The CW’s supernatural drama The Vampire Diaries and Dr. Luther Swann in Netflix’s sci-fi horror series V Wars.
Somerhalder was born and raised in Covington, Louisiana, the son of Edna, a massage therapist, and Robert Somerhalder, an independent building contractor. He is the second of three children, with an older brother, Robert, and younger sister, Robyn. He attended Saint Paul’s School, a private school in Covington, Louisiana. He embarked on a modeling career from age 10 to 13, and by the age of 17 he decided to go into acting.
Somerhalder at the 2015 Wizard World Convention, February 2015.
In the summer of 2000, Somerhalder starred in the short-lived WB series Young Americans, a spin-off of Dawson’s Creek. He played Hamilton Fleming, the son of the dean of a prestigious boarding school. In 2002, Somerhalder played bisexual character Paul Denton in Roger Avary’s adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’ novel, The Rules of Attraction, alongside James Van Der Beek, Shannyn Sossamon, and Jessica Biel.
In 2004, Somerhalder scored his breakthrough role when he played Boone Carlyle in the hit TV show Lost. Despite his character’s death in the twentieth episode of the first season, Somerhalder returned to the role of Boone for seven more episodes between 2005 and 2010, including the series finale. Somerhalder was the first major character to die.
In 2009, Somerhalder appeared in the movie The Tournament where he played the role of an assassin participating in a lethal competition with other assassins. He appears in the coffee table book About Face by celebrity photographer John Russo.
In June 2009, Somerhalder was cast in the role of Vampire Damon Salvatore as a series regular in The CW television drama series The Vampire Diaries. The series premiere attracted The CW’s highest premiere ratings of any season premiere since the network began in 2006. The series has continued to be the highest-rated series on its channel with both Somerhalder’s performance and the show receiving a positive response from critics. Somerhalder began directing The Vampire Diaries in its third season and produced the series at the start of season 8. Somerhalder has received several Teen Choice Award’s and a People’s Choice Award for his participation on the series.
In October 2012, Somerhalder was cast in the film Time Framed, which had begun filming in Los Angeles. In April 2018, Somerhalder was cast in the role of Dr. Luther Swann as a series regular in the Netflix science fiction horror series V Wars. The series premiered on Netflix on December 5, 2019 and was cancelled in March 2020.