Billy Magnussen

Tony-nominated actor Billy Magnussen found success on both stage and screen, winning critical praise for Christopher Durang's comedy "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike" and in film and television projects as "Into the Woods" (2014), "Bridge of Spies" (2015) and "American Crime Story: The People Vs. O.J. Simpson" (FX, 2016). Born William Gregory Magnussen on April 20, 1985 in the Woodhaven neighborhood of Queens, New York, he came from athletic parents: his father, Greg, was a professional bodybuilder, while his mother, Daina, was an aerobics instructor. When Magnussen was 10 years old, his family relocated to Cumming, Georgia, where he became involved in the wrestling program at South Forsyth High School. But he was forced to give it up after suffering an injury, and turned his interests to acting, which he pursued as a major at the North Carolina School of the Arts. He performed in several New York productions until earning his Broadway debut in a 2007 revival of Terrence McNally's comedy "The Ritz," which was soon followed by bit roles in features like "Happy Tears" (2009) with Demi Moore and Parker Posey. From 2008 to 2010, he played troubled teen Casey Hayes on the daytime soap "As the World Turns" (CBS, 1956-2010), before finding steady work as a guest player and supporting actor on episodic series like "Law and Order: Criminal Intent" (NBC, 2001-2011) and in independent features like Whit Stillman's "Damsels in Distress" (2011). His breakout role came the following year in Christopher Durang's "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike," playing Sigourney Weaver's slow-witted boyfriend Spike, who was prone to stripping down and displaying his toned body at the slightest provocation. For his performance, Magnussen netted a 2013 Tony Award nomination for Best Featured Actor in a Play, which gave a considerable boost to his profile. Guest appearances on series like "Boardwalk Empire" (HBO, 2010-14) and "The Leftovers" (HBO, 2014- ) preceded his turn as Rapunzel's prince in Rob Marshall's screen version of "Into the Woods." From there, Magnussen was in demand as a supporting player, playing young, self-assured professionals like his junior lawyer in Steven Spielberg's "Bridge of Spies" and a mortgage broker in Adam McKay's Oscar-nominated "The Big Short" (2015). In 2016, Magnussen was cast as Kato Kaelin in the first season of Ryan Murphy's "American Crime Story" series, "The People vs. O.J. Simpson." Co-starring roles in dysfunctional-family comedy-drama "The Meddler" (2016), Bruce Lee biopic "Birth of the Dragon" (2016) and Aubrey Plaza drama "Ingrid Goes West" (2017) followed.