Dylan McDermott

Dylan McDermott
Dylan McDermott
Born Mark Anthony McDermott
October 26, 1961 (1961-10-26) (age 50)
Waterbury, Connecticut, U.S.
Occupation Actor
Years active 1987–present
Spouse Shiva Afshar Rose (November 19, 1995-January 2, 2009) 2 children (Divorced)

Mark Anthony McDermott (born October 26, 1961), better known by his professional name of Dylan McDermott, is an American actor, known for his role as lawyer and law firm head Bobby Donnell on the television legal drama The Practice and his role in the series Dark Blue as Lt. Carter Shaw. McDermott currently stars in FX drama series American Horror Story as Dr. Ben Harmon.


Early life

McDermott was born in Waterbury, Connecticut, to Diane (née Marino) and Richard McDermott.[1] His Italian American mother was fifteen and his Irish American father was seventeen when he was born.[2] By 1967, the couple had divorced, and Diane and her children were living with her mother.[2] On February 9, 1967,[1] his mother was accidentally shot and killed with her boyfriend's gun; McDermott was five.[3] Her boyfriend reported to newspapers at the time that she picked up his gun and it went off.[1] He and his sister, Robin, then began to be raised by their maternal grandmother, Avis Marino, in Waterbury.[2]

As a teenager, McDermott began taking trips to visit his father, who owned the West Fourth Street Saloon in New York City. The two would see movies together, and the younger McDermott would work in his father's bar serving drinks and breaking up fights.[4] He would also fast talk his way into the Mudd Club and Studio 54.[1] McDermott was uncomfortable with himself as a teenager, saying he had a "Dorothy Hamill hairdo". He began to imitate his acting heroes, such as Marlon Brando and Humphrey Bogart, to adopt their demeanor.[5] McDermott attended and graduated from Holy Cross High School in Waterbury.

His father's third wife was Eve Ensler (author of The Vagina Monologues) and she legally adopted McDermott when he was fifteen years old and she was twenty-three;[6] she has since divorced his father. Ensler, with whom he has remained close, encouraged McDermott to pursue an acting career[3] and began writing roles for him into her plays.[1] After Ensler suffered a miscarriage, he took on the name Dylan—the name planned for her unborn child.[4] He attended acting school at the Jesuit-run Fordham University, as well as studying under Sanford Meisner at The Neighborhood Playhouse.


McDermott starred as Chris in the 1989 film Twister about a man who tried to rescue his girlfriend and daughter from a tornado storm.[7] The same year brought the Neon Empire, a movie about the rise and fall of one man in Las Vegas.[8] However, his first big break as an actor was in the acclaimed hit film In the Line of Fire. Through his connection with Clint Eastwood, McDermott was able to land his first major gig in The Practice. The show expanded McDermott's stardom, and he made People's list of the "50 Most Beautiful People In The World 1998" with the magazine calling him a "a prime-time heartthrob".[5] He nabbed the distinction again in 2000.[9] Despite his success on The Practice, McDermott (and five other starring cast members) were cut from the show. Executive producer David E. Kelley cited "economic and creative realities" as a result of pressure from ABC to reduce costs.[10] He did, however, return for the final two episodes of the final season as a special guest star.

In 2004, McDermott starred alongside Julianna Margulies four-part mini-series The Grid, playing FBI Special Agent Max Canary in an anti-terrorist unit.[11] Returning to theater in 2006, the actor played a returned soldier suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder in the Ensler's play The Treatment.[12]

In 2007, McDermott starred in the television series Big Shots. Due to low viewership, the show was cancelled in January 2008 after 11 episodes without completing the planned 13-episode season.

On October 30, 2008, TV Guide reported that McDermott was due to co-star alongside Shannen Doherty in the film Burning Palms, a satire based on Los Angeles stereotypes told through five intertwining storylines.[13]

Starting in 2009, McDermott starred in the Jerry Bruckheimer TNT drama, Dark Blue. McDermott played a veteran cop who heads a squad of undercover LAPD officers.[14] The show ran for two seasons consisting of ten episodes each.

McDermott currently stars in the horror/drama American Horror Story on FX as Ben Harmon, an East Coast psychiatrist who decides to move his family to California to start over after a series of marital and family issues. Unfortunately for the Harmons, the new house they purchase quickly is revealed to be haunted.

Personal life

McDermott is noted for his rugged looks and fashionable style, and, in addition to his People magazine nods[clarification needed],[15] he has been featured for his style in magazines like Men's Health.[16] In 1999, he was one of six-way tie for sixth in GQ's Man of the Year issue.[17]

McDermott used to date actress Julia Roberts, who played opposite him in the film version of "Steel Magnolias." McDermott married actress Shiva Afshar Rose, who is of half Irish and half Persian descent,[2] on November 19, 1995. They have two daughters - Colette (born 1996), and Charlotte Rose (born on September 8, 2005). Colette's birth is prominently featured in Ensler's Vagina Monologues.[1] On September 27, 2007, People confirmed that McDermott and Rose had separated.[18] On May 16, 2008, CelebTV.com reported that McDermott had filed for divorce from Rose.[19] The divorce was finalized on January 2, 2009.[20]

McDermott is a recovering alcoholic and has been sober for well over 20 years.[21]

Career credits



  • The Neon Empire (1989) - Vic
  • Into the Badlands (1991) - McComas
  • Tales from the Crypt (1992) - George - guest appearance
  • The Fear Inside (1992) - Pete Caswell
  • The Practice (1997–2003) - Bobby Donnell
  • Ally McBeal (1998) - Bobby Donnell - crossover guest appearance
  • Will & Grace (2003) - Tom - guest appearance
  • The Grid (2004) - FBI Agent Max Canary
  • Big Shots (2007) - Duncan Collinsworth
  • Dark Blue (2009–10) - Carter Shaw
  • American Horror Story (2011) - Ben Harmon


  • Golden Boy (date and role unknown)
  • Believe It, See It, Survival (1978) —
  • Biloxi Blues (1985) — Wykowski Selridge
  • Floating Rhoda and the Glue Man (1995) —
  • The Treatment (2006) — Man
  • Three Changes (2008) — Nate


  1. ^ a b c d e f "In Search of Dylan McDermott". Esquire. 133 (3):166, March 2000.
  2. ^ a b c d Articles: Hollywood's New Golden Boy
  3. ^ a b Dylan McDermott is on a path of rediscovery, Washington Post - MSNBC.com
  4. ^ a b Rita Braver. "Dylan McDermott" (interview), CBS Sunday Morning, October 30, 2011.
  5. ^ a b No byline (1998-05-11), "Dylan McDermott". People. 49 (18):144
  6. ^ [1], Interview with wife Shiva Rose McDermott
  7. ^ Pitman, Randy (1990-02-01), "Twister". Library Journal. 115 (2):124
  8. ^ Pitman, Randy (04-01-1990), "The Neon Empire". Library Journal. 115 (6):154
  9. ^ No byline (2000-05-08), "Dylan McDermott". People. 53 (18):174
  10. ^ Yu, Ting; Wren, Jennifer; Buckley, Suzanne; Clark, Champ; Christian-Goulding, Susan; Dagostino, Mark; Dodd, Johnny; Ellenson, Ruth Andrew; Hamm, Liza; Johnson, Lynsey; Jordan, Julie; Laboissiere, Regine; Mailander, Jodi; Marx, Linda; Nussbaum, Gail; Paley, Rebecca; Rodriguez, Brenda (2003-06-02), "Legal Eagles Out of Practice". People. 59 (21):19
  11. ^ Kelleher, Terry (2004-07-26), "The Grid". People. 62 (4):35
  12. ^ McCarter, Jeremy 2006-09-25, "Eve Ensler Has Issues". New York. 39 (33):78
  13. ^ Shannen Doherty, Dylan McDermott Join Burning Palms Ensemble Film" TV Guide. October 30, 2008. Retrieved on October 31, 2008.
  14. ^ TNT Dark Blue website
  15. ^ No byline (2005-11-28), "20 YEARS OF SEXY LAWYERS". People. 64 (22):181-182
  16. ^ O'Neill, Hugh (September 2004), "ICONS of Style". Men's Health, Vol. 19 (7):48
  17. ^ Johnson, Julie A. (1999-12-13), "Hanks rules roost on Nov. newsstands". Advertising Age. 70 (51):62
  18. ^ No byline (2007-10-15), "CELEBRITY ROUNDUP". Time. 170 (16):27. Retrieved on 2008-01-15
  19. ^ Dylan McDermott files for divorce from wife Shiva Rose. Retrieved on 2008-05-20
  20. ^ No byline (2007-12-02), "McDermott to Wife: Til January Do Us Part". Retrieved on 2008-12-02
  21. ^ "Practice makes perfect: Life's a beach for Dylan McDermott and new girlfriend". Daily Mail. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1315775/Lifes-beach-Dylan-McDermott-new-girlfriend.html. 

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