Billy Magnussen Biography

Actor (1985–)
Actor Billy Magnussen has appeared in such films as 'Into the Woods' and 'Bridge of Spies.' He also received a Tony Award nomination in 2013 for his work in the play 'Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike.'


Actor Billy Magnussen started his career on the stage, and made his first appearance on Broadway in 2007. He then moved on to the daytime drama As the World Turns. Around this time, Magnussen also landed roles in such films as Twelve (2010). Returning to Broadway in Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, he received his first Tony Award nomination in 2013. Magnussen showed off his musical talents in the musical film Into the Woods (2014) and displayed his more serious side in the thriller Bridge of Spies (2015).

Early Life and Career

Born on April 20, 1985, in New York City, William Gregory "Billy" Magnussen may be best known for his work in such films as Into the Woods (2014) and Bridge of Spies (2015). He discovered acting in high school after an injury sidelined him from wrestling. As he told, he found theater to be “a liberating world.” Magnussen joked that it was also “where the women are, so that’s why I stayed.” Magnussen went on to hone his craft at the North Carolina School of the Arts. In 2007, he made his Broadway debut in The Ritz.

Magnussen soon moved on daytime television, playing Casey Hughes on the soap opera As the World Turns from 2008 to 2010. Around this time, he also worked on such films as Happy Tears (2009) with Parker Posey and Demi Moore. In the 2010 crime drama Twelve, Magnussen played a ruthless murderer opposite rapper 50 Cent, Chance Crawford and Emma Roberts. He told WWD that the project was “fun.” He found it a change from his usual parts. “I was, like, ‘I get to shoot 50 Cent, are you kidding me?’ That was the first person I actually killed.”

Recent Projects

In 2013, Magnussen netted a Tony Award nomination for his portrayal of Spike in Christopher Durang’s play Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike. He co-starred with David Hyde Pierce, Sigourney Weaver and Kristine Nielsen in this critically acclaimed play. The following year, Magnussen was part of another high-profile production—the film adaptation of the hit musical Into the Woods. He played Rapunzel’s prince in this fantastical fusion of fairy tales.

Magnussen showed his dramatic talents in 2015. He had a supporting role in the Cold War drama Bridge of Spies starring Tom Hanks, which earned strong reviews. On the small screen, Magnussen played infamous house guest Kato Kaelin in American Crime Story: People v. O.J. Simpson. Kaelin was a friend of the defendant O.J. Simpson and served as one of the witnesses during the trial. This production features an all-star cast, including John Travolta, Cuba Gooding Jr., David Schwimmer and Sarah Paulson. 

In addition to acting, Magnussen has a passion for music. He plays guitar in the band Reserved for Rondee. The group funded their first full album, Back in Velvet (2013) through a Kickstarter campaign. One of his band mates is Tom Degnan, another former soap star who appeared on As the World Turns and One Life to Live.

Billy Magnussen

(Photo: Alessandra Nölting, via Wikimedia Commons)

Fact Check

We strive for accuracy and fairness. If you see something that doesn't look right, contact us!