Matthew Settle was born on September 17, 1969 in Hickory, North Carolina. His first feature film role was in the teen horror film I Still Know What You Did Last Summer. In 2001, he played the World War II army officer Ronald Speirs in the Emmy Award-winning HBO miniseries Band of Brothers. He currently plays Rufus Humphrey on The CW's popular teen drama, Gossip Girl.
Born on September 17, 1969, Matthew Settle grew up in Hickory, North Carolina. The youngest of six children, Settle was part of a deeply religious southern family. His father, Robert Settle, was a Baptist minister, and his mother, Joan, worked as the church organist. Asked what he learned by growing up in a household with two sisters, Settle answered, "That women are to be loved, not understood."
When Settle was 14 years old, his family moved to Sevierville, Tennessee. Settle got his first job selling Gospel records in the gift shop at nearby Dollywood, the theme park owned by country music legend Dolly Parton. This early exposure to the music industry made a strong impression on Settle. In 1988, at the age of 19, he packed his bags and moved to New York City to join a rock band. Settle and his band quickly parted ways, though, and he turned to less exciting work: selling meat and seafood out of the back of a truck on Long Island.
In 1993, Settle made his foray into the world of acting when he was discovered by Jay Julien, legal counsel to Robert De Niro and many other Hollywood stars. Julien introduced Settle to the renowned acting instructor William Esper, and Settle studied at Esper's New York acting studio for the next three years. Settle, however, did not become a celebrity overnight. He achieved his rise to Hollywood stardom slowly, through a series of increasingly prominent roles. He made his acting debut in 1996, starring as an Irish immigrant in the unsold CBS pilot Shaughnesy. Two years later, he broke into feature films when he played opposite Jennifer Love Hewitt in the teen horror film I Still Know What You Did Last Summer. In 2001, Settle's career took a major leap forward when he was cast to portray the World War II army officer Ronald Speirs in the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers. The acclaimed series was nominated for 19 Emmy Awards and won six, catapulting Matthew Settle, at the age of 32, into the world of notable Hollywood actors.
Propelled by his role on Band of Brothers, Settle took on increasingly prominent television and film roles. He had a five-episode stint on ER and played opposite Ashley Judd in the film Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood (2002). Hoping to improve his ability to win major leading roles, Settle began training in a host of different activities including fencing, sailing and tap dancing. Settle's training and perseverance paid off in 2007, when he landed the role of father figure Rufus Humphrey on The CW's popular teen drama, Gossip Girl. The role finally made Matthew Settle a household name among television fans.
Just before landing his big role on Gossip Girl, Settle generated real-life gossip-page chatter of his own by eloping with Israeli actress Naama Nativ in 2006. On March 5, 2009, Nativ gave birth to a daughter, Aven Angelica Settle. The couple split ways in February 2010. Speaking about the separation and pending divorce, Settle said, "Things happen in life and you just have to roll with it ... I wish things could have been better but our focus is on our daughter."
Besides his career in television and film, Settle has also performed in numerous stage roles. His stage credits include Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, Neil Simon's Barefoot in the Park and Anton Chekov's The Seagull. In 2010, Settle took time off from Gossip Girl to make his Broadway debut as Billy Flynn in the Tony Award winning revival of the musical Chicago.
With his biggest role to date on Gossip Girl and his recent debut on Broadway, Settle's career is soaring to new heights. The actor is enjoying the ride. He said in a March 2010 interview, "I think it may be the most fun I've ever had in my career."
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