Full Name: Ian Joseph Somerhalder
Born: 8 December 1978
Height: 5′ 9½” (1.77 m)
Eye Color: Blue
Hair Color: Brown/Black
Early Life: Ian Somerhalder was born and raised in Covington, Louisiana, the son of Edna, a massage therapist, and Robert Somerhalder, an independent building contractor. He has a brother, Robert, a former professional cyclist, and a sister, Robin, a broadcast journalist. He was raised a Catholic and attended St. Paul’s, a private Catholic school in Covington. His parents divorced when he was 13.
Career: With his mother’s encouragement, at age 10 he began a modeling career that took him to New York each summer. By junior high, he opted to put modeling on the back burner and focus more on sports and school. A few years later, when the opportunity to model in Europe arose, Somerhalder grabbed it, embarking on an enriching path of work, travel and study that took him to cities including Paris, Milan and London. At 17, he began studying acting in New York, and by 19 had committed himself to the craft, working with preeminent acting coach William Esper. His fate was sealed while working as an extra in a club scene in the feature film Black & White. A talent manager visiting a client on the set spotted Somerhalder in a crowd scene of 400 and immediately signed him for representation. He is best known for playing Damon Salvatore in the TV drama The Vampire Diaries and Boone Carlyle in the TV drama Lost.
• Began modeling at age 10, modeled for Calvin Klein, Dolce & Gabanna, Gucci, Versace and Guess (Was the face of Guess? for two consecutive fall seasons).
• Was the face of Guess? for two consecutive Fall seasons.
• Modeled for Calvin Klein, Dolce & Gabanna,and Gucci. However, he doesn’t like to talk about his modeling career because of the impressions people might get of him as being just another pretty face.
• Played varsity soccer and baseball.
• Ironically, the first actor to be cast as one of the survivors in “Lost” (2004).
• In 2005, he bulked up, adding about 20 to 30 pounds of muscle to his slim frame, so he would be considered for more leading-man-type roles.
• Has said in an interview he was planning to buy a home in Hawaii when filming the hit show “Lost” but couldn’t after his character was killed off in the show.
• He has a brother, Robert (Bob), and a sister. Their parents divorced when he was thirteen.
• His father, Robert Somerhalder, was a building contractor of French and English descent, and his mother, Edna, who is of Irish and Choctaw descent, grew up on a pig farm in Mississippi.
• Grew up with his mother, whom he has described as being “very spiritual”.
• Attended Catholic school.
• The surname “Somerhalder” originates from his adoptive great-grandfather. His biological great-grandfather, a wealthy English landowner, got one of his mistresses pregnant and paid an immigrant worker of his to marry this woman and give the baby a name, which was Somerhalder. The biological great-grandfather’s name was Hull.
• Was compared to looking like “a young Rob Lowe” by Rosie O’Donnell on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” (2009) (November 6, 2009).
The Vampire Diaries as Damon Salvatore (2009 – )