Casper Robert Van Dien, Jr.
|Birthplace:||Ridgefield, Bergen County, New Jersey, United States|
Son of <private> Van Dien and <private> Van Dien (Morrow)
|Managed by:||Erskine Stuart Richard Guinness|
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About Casper Van Dien
An action specialist whose impossibly chiseled jaw makes him the ideal candidate to portray heroes who favor plenty of action over useless small talk, Casper Van Dien first made an impression on viewers with a recurring role on the teen soap Beverly Hills 90210 before taking a turn as James Dean (James Dean: Race with Destiny) and battling giant killer bugs on faraway planets in Starship Troopers.
Born on December 18, 1968 in Ridgefield, New Jersey, Van Dien was raised in Milton, Florida by his father, Casper Sr., a former fighter pilot and naval commander, and his mother, Diane, a retired nursery school teacher. There is a long military tradition in Van Dien's family. Aside from his father, his grandfather was a Marine during World War II. Van Dien is a descendant of an old Dutch family long settled in the New York area; his other heritage includes Swedish, French, English and Native American.
The street on which Van Dien grew up in New Jersey, Van Dien Avenue, was named after his great great grandfather. In high school, Van Dien was often referred to as "Ken doll" due to his good looks, and got into many fights for that reason. Coincidentally, he was later described as a "perfect life-sized Ken doll." When Van Dien was older, his family moved to Florida, where he enrolled at the St. Petersburg campus of the Admiral Farragut Academy, graduating 3rd in command. Next, he went to Florida State University in Tallahassee but never graduated.
Moving to Los Angeles, Van Dien landed a number of small parts in various television series and movies. Two early breaks were recurring roles on the daytime soap opera One Life to Live and the prime time drama Beverly Hills, 90210. Keen to expand his acting talents, Van Dien took a bit part in the video game franchise, Wing Commander IV. Van Dien starred in the 1997 James Dean biopic James Dean: Race with Destiny. Soon after, he got the breakthrough role of Johnny Rico in Paul Verhoeven's 1997 science fiction action film Starship Troopers, a role he reprised in the 2008 film Starship Troopers 3: Marauder. This directly led to his being cast as Tarzan in Tarzan and the Lost City (1998). Van Dien next played Brom von Brunt in Tim Burton's 1999 film Sleepy Hollow, a reworking of the classic Washington Irving tale.
In 2000 Van Dien appeared in Cutaway as well as Aaron Spelling's short-lived NBC prime time soap Titans with Yasmine Bleeth, John Barrowman, Perry King and Victoria Principal. He filmed several scenes as Patrick Bateman in 2002's The Rules of Attraction, the character that Christian Bale had played in 2000's American Psycho. However, the scenes wound up on the cutting room floor.
Returning to military-themed roles, Van Dien was a Navy commander in the straight-to-video release Danger Beneath the Sea (2002) and an Army captain fighting in Vietnam in Under Heavy Fire (HBO, 2003). Following roles in television movies like Skeleton Man (Syfy, 2005), Officer Down (Lifetime, 2005) and Slayer (Syfy, 2006), he starred on the limited serial Watch Over Me (MyNetwork TV, 2006-07) before returning to his breakthrough role of Johnny Rico for the straight-to-video Starship Troopers 3: Marauder (2008). Following a recurring role as a detective on Monk (USA, 2002-09), Van Dien went against type to appear in the holiday comedy The Dog Who Saved Christmas Vacation (ABC Family, 2010).
Van Dien was married to 3½ years older Carrie Mitchum (granddaughter of Robert Mitchum) from 1993 to 1997. They have two children, Casper "Cappy" Robert Van Dien III and Caroline Dorothy Grace "Gracie" Van Dien, of whom Van Dien holds full custody. Van Dien had co-starred with Robert Mitchum in James Dean: Race with Destiny.
Van Dien met actress Catherine Oxenberg, who is 7 years his senior, during the filming of the 1999 TV movie The Collectors, and they soon worked together again in the 1999 thriller The Omega Code. On May 8, 1999 they married in Las Vegas, Nevada. In 2005 the couple appeared in their ownreality series, I Married a Princess, which aired on the Lifetime Television channel in the United States, LIVINGtv in the United Kingdom and Lifestyle You in Australia; Oxenberg's mother is Princess Elizabeth of Yugoslavia.
Van Dien and Oxenberg have two daughters, Maya (born September 20, 2001) and Celeste Alma (born October 3, 2003). Oxenberg and Van Dien are celebrity ambassadors for the non-profit organization Childhelp.