Josh Duhamel

It was perfectly appropriate that actor Josh Duhamel attained national prominence on the television show "Las Vegas" (NBC, 2003-08). Sin City, the gambling capital of the world, was built on the inherent human belief in luck, and Duhamel was always a prime example of uncanny good fortune. From being born with stunningly handsome looks, to stumbling into lucrative modeling and acting careers, Duhamel seemed to succeed without trying. But to get a break was one thing; to take advantage of that break was another. To his credit, Duhamel worked hard, and it was that dedication to his craft that caught the attention of director Michael Bay and won Duhamel a coveted part in the summer blockbuster feature "Transformers" (2007) and its sequels. Although he did not break through into the first rank of film stars following those successes, he continued working steadily as an action hero and romantic lead, as well as taking another crack at TV with the short-lived police comedy-drama "Battle Creek" (CBS 2015). Joshua David Duhamel was born Nov. 14, 1972, in Minot, ND. His father, Larry, was an advertising salesman and his mother, Bonny, was a high school teacher. Minot was the fourth largest city in the 47th largest state; not exactly a hotbed of future Hollywood talent. Not surprisingly, Duhamel never considered acting as a profession; focusing instead on sports. He was a natural athlete, and with his chiseled All-American looks, he was the Big Man on Campus at Minot State University, where he played quarterback on the football team and majored in biology. Duhamel, the future Hollywood heartthrob, was planning on becoming a dentist. But after leaving school, he decided to put off a career of cleaning teeth and filling cavities to follow an ex-girlfriend to San Francisco. He enjoyed the warm weather and laid-back California lifestyle, doing an assortment of odd jobs to pay the bills. He worked construction, filled orders on the night shift at a hardware distribution center, and loaded boxes in the stockroom for the Gap clothing store. It was not a glamorous existence, to say the least, but as usual, Duhamel got lucky. A scout from a modeling agency noticed him and asked if he would be interested in doing some modeling work. Broke and without any other career options, Duhamel accepted the offer. Little did he know he was on his way to stardom.During the early and mid-1990s, Duhamel worked steadily as a model. He even won an IMTA (International Modeling and Talent Association) contest, beating out another future Hollywood star named Ashton Kutcher. But Duhamel grew bored of being a male mannequin, when all you had to do was stand around and look pretty in clothes. Although he had no formal training, Duhamel decided he wanted to try acting. The audition process appealed to his competitive nature and nobody could argue that he did not possess leading man looks. After moving to Los Angeles, he got a bit part in singer Christina Aguilera's popular "Genie in a Bottle" video. Then Lady Luck kissed him on the cheek again when he won the role of Leo du Pres, the charming schemer on the long-running TV soap hit, "All My Children" (ABC, 1970-2013). It may have been a mixture of luck and looks that got Duhamel on "All My Children," but it was his acting ability and easy charm that turned him into a soap opera star. From 1999 through 2002, he won critical acclaim and earned three Daytime Emmy nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, winning the award in 2003. With nothing left to prove on the show, Duhamel left "Children" in 2003, moving back to Los Angeles from New York to try to break into the movies. It did not take Duhamel long to land his first starring role. "The Picture of Dorian Gray" (2004), based on Oscar Wilde's book about a beautiful man who never grows old, barely managed to get a release in the U.S., but it showcased Duhamel's screen presence to good effect. He next won a major part in "Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!" (2004), playing the eponymous hero of the romantic comedy. "Win a Date" was a loser at the box-office, but although the film flopped, Duhamel held his own with up-and-coming co-stars Kate Bosworth and Topher Grace. Duhamel's comedy chops impressed the producers of "Las Vegas," who cast him as Danny McCoy, the hunky head of surveillance at the fictional Montecito Casino. His character proved so popular, that Duhamel guest-starred as McCoy on another primetime drama, "Crossing Jordan" (NBC, 2001-07). It was also on the set of "Las Vegas" that Duhamel met his girlfriend and eventual wife, Stacy "Fergie" Ferguson, a singer in the popular American hip hop band, The Black Eyed Peas, who had performed as themselves on the show. (The couple separated in 2017 and their divorce became final in November 2019.) "Las Vegas" was a solid primetime performer for NBC, despite taking its beatings from critics. It raised Duhamel's stature around Hollywood and ensured he found work in features during breaks from shooting the TV series. "Turistas" (2006) was a forgettable low-budget entry in the "torture porn" pantheon of grisly horror films, with the film dying as quickly as Duhamel's character in the movie. But his luck held up when he was cast as Captain Lennox in Michael Bay's baby, "Transformers." While machines and CGI effects were the real stars of this loud and long box-office behemoth, the movie showcased Duhamel's athleticism and leading man looks. It was one of the biggest international blockbusters of 2007, and served notice that Duhamel might become the next TV star-turned-movie action hero in the tradition of Bruce Willis. Although Duhamel returned for he sequels "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" (2009) and "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" (2011), Duhamel's career settled into a steady but unremarkable groove alternating romantic comedies such as "Life As We Know It" (2009) and "New Year's Eve" (2011) with thrillers like "Lost in the Sun" (2014) and "Misconduct" (2016). Duhamel also co-starred in the animated series "Fanboy and Chum Chum" (Nickelodeon 2009-2014) during this period. He returned to television with the Vince Gilligan comedy-drama "Battle Creek" (CBS 2015), which lasted only one season. After playing baseball legend Bill Lee in the biopic "Spaceman" (2016), Duhamel appeared in a comedy reboot of '70s cop series "CHiPS" (2017) and returned to the Transformers franchise in "Transformers: The Last Knight" (2017). Duhamel next appeared in a supporting role in teen romantic comedy "Love, Simon" (2018) and the Shark Week based-on-a-.rue-story survival film "Capsized: Blood in the Water" (Discovery, 2019) before making his writing and directing debut with the comedy "The Buddy Games" (2019).