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Ryan Kwanten is an Australian actor who became famous for playing Jason Stackhouse on the hit HBO vampire drama True Blood.
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Born in Sydney, Australia, Ryan Kwanten was an athletic teenager when he was spotted dropping his brother off at an acting audition. First appearing on an Australian TV show, it wasn't long before Kwanten became an international star. Kwanten has become famous worldwide for playing Jason Stackhouse, the loveable, muscular brother of main character Sookie Stackhouse on the hit HBO vampire drama True Blood.
I want to be the champion. If I'm knocked down, you're damn sure I'm getting back up again. A lot of actors who may very well be more talented than me don't have that kind of tenacity in the face of rejection. That resilience gives me a distinct advantage.
Actor. Born November 28, 1976 in Sydney, Australia. Ryan Kwanten's father, Eddie, is a Dutch-born immigrant who worked for NSW Maritime, the Australian regulatory body for maritime safety, and was also a champion paddleboarder. Ryan's mother, Kris, worked for the Australian crisis-support organization Lifeline coordinating "op-shops," secondhand stores set up by charities as fundraisers.
Influenced by his father, Kwanten was an athletic child who excelled at golf, tennis, biathlons and—especially—surfing. At the age of 12, his love of surfing almost cost him his life when he was the victim of a shark attack. "I was surfing on my local break and was at the top of the wave and fell and went to pull my arm out and it didn't come out, so I yanked it out and blood spurted everywhere," Kwanten recalls. "I felt something between my legs and got on my board and paddled in, and I see the life guard running down. It made the local paper." What might have been a deeply traumatizing experience for most 12-year-old boys did not keep Kwanten out of the water for long. "I was swimming again the next day," he recalls.
Kwanten's mother described her son as a "very unassuming" and "very focused" child. Kwanten himself, however, paints a rather different picture of his youth. "I was a little shit growing up," he says. "Rebellious. It was beyond the usual teen angst, and I really don't know why. There was no rhyme or reason or motives in my aggression. But I got it out of my system around 21 and have been a very happy boy since."
Kwanten stumbled into acting accidentally at the age of 15. His mother was dropping off his little brother (who aspired to be an actor) at an audition at an acting agency. Kwanten was in the car too, headed to swim practice. The woman running the audition mistakenly grabbed him and told him to audition. "I just wanted to go swimming. I was so scared," Kwanten remembers. "But I ended up getting into the agency and my brother didn't. It was the right place. The right time." A year later, in 1992, Kwanten landed his first acting gig, a recurring role on the Australian TV series A Country Practice.
Upon graduating from high school, Kwanten enrolled at the University of Sydney to study business. He also continued to pursue acting, and the age of 21, while still a student, he landed his breakthrough role as Vinnie Patterson on the enormously popular Australian soap opera Home and Away. He remained on the show for five years, from 1997-2002, before deciding to pack his bags and move to Los Angeles with hopes of making it big in Hollywood.
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