Gaius Charles

Gaius Charles Headshot


Birth Date: May 2, 1983

Age: 41 years old

Birth Place: New York, New York

In just a few short years, actor Gaius Charles emerged from the New York stage and became a star on television, thanks to his first major role, playing running back Brian "Smash" Williams on the critical darling, "Friday Night Lights" (NBC, 2006-2011). Charles shone as the talented, but stereotypical jock who matures following a brush with scandal, leading to wider exposure and prominent roles in both major features and on other popular shows. After leaving "Friday Night Lights" in its third season, the actor branched out to land guest spots on series like "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (NBC, 1999- ) and NCIS" (CBS, 2003- ), while securing parts in films like "The Messenger" (2009) and "Salt" (2010). Though he was only at the start of his career, Charles had already established himself as a dedicated performer capable of tackling a wide variety of roles.

Born on May 2, 1983 in New York City, Charles was raised in both Queens and Teaneck, NJ, where he lived in the childhood home of acclaimed composer Alan Silvestri. The young man soon came to enjoy all the opportunities the blossoming Teanack offered, which led to an opportunity to act in the seventh grade, with his interest in the craft formally solidified after an appearance in a school production of "Guys & Dolls." Charles went on to attend Teanack High School, acting in school productions, as well as in local theater, throughout his four years there before his 2001 graduation. By the time he was off to college, his acting résumé was peppered with stage credits including "Romeo & Juliet," as Mercutio, and "A Comedy of Errors," which he performed at the local Princeton Shakespeare Festival. The summer of 2001 brought his appearance as Shem in "Children of Eden," staged at the John Harms Theatre of the John Harms School where Charles had taken acting classes.

In the fall, Charles attended Carnegie Mellon University, where he appeared in various plays such as Voltaire's "Candide," Andrew Lippa's "The Wild Party" and George C. Wolfe's "Spunk." Along with acting, he also took to expanding his business savvy with courses at its Tepper School of Business. In 2004, Charles headed to Sydney, Australia where he appeared in a National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) production of "The Clink." During his school days, Charles also managed to act, write and produce a one-man show called "Meet Me in Iraq," which he performed to several crowds in a basement. He graduated from Carnegie Mellon's College of Fine Arts in 2005 with a BFA in drama. Once college was over, Charles hit the ground running, prepping himself with a series of self-written monologues, which he took with him to actor showcases in both New York and Los Angeles. With an agency and manager behind him, he started land work, including a role in an episode of the controversial series, "The Book of Daniel" (2006), though the show was pulled from the schedule before his episode made it to air.

In November 2005, Charles merged his talents with his religious faith and emphatically wrote down the date of February 2006 on a piece of paper. It was a date at which he felt he would finally be a regular presence on a major project. When that month rolled around, one of those many auditions came to fruition in the form of a leading role on a series. In a short period of time, Charles had managed to snag the role of Brian "Smash" Williams on the critically acclaimed series "Friday Night Lights" (NBC, 2006-2011). Based on the feature adaptation of H.G. Bissinger's book, the series followed the people and events surrounding a high school football team in a small, close-knit Texas town. Smash was the star running back on the Dillon High School Panthers and a stereotypical jock who matures after being caught taking performance-enhancing drugs. Charles played the character up until the third season, when Smash suffers a knee injury and loses a scholarship, only to work his way onto the team at Texas A&M.

After leaving "Friday Night Lights," Charles resumed his stage career with several productions, including an appearance in "Broke-ology" at the Williamstown Massachusetts Theatre Festival. From there, he landed an episode of the perennial procedural, "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (NBC, 1999- ) and had a prominent supporting role as a military recruiter opposite Woody Harrelson and Ben Foster in the moving war drama, "The Messenger" (2009). Following a major part in the little-seen indie drama, "Toe to Toe" (2010), Charles appeared in the crime thriller "Takers" (2010) and played a CIA officer in the action thriller "Salt" (2010), which starred Angelina Jolie as an agency operative accused of being a Russian spy. Back on the small screen, he landed an episode of the quickly canceled period drama, "Pan Am" (ABC, 2011-2012), and played a Baltimore detective on "NCIS" (CBS, 2003- ). Charles went on to play an academically-minded football player with a shady past in an episode of "Necessary Roughness" (USA Network, 2011-13) and had a three-episode arc as Dr. Shane Ross on the ninth season of "Grey's Anatomy" (ABC, 2005- ).

By Shawn Dwyer

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