With his easygoing demeanor and schoolboy charm, actor Cody Linley was certainly many a school girl's crush during the early period of his career. The preteen, who came from a family of actors, made his first appearances with small parts in such feature films as "My Dog Skip" (2000), "Miss Congeniality" (2000) and "Cheaper by the Dozen" (2003). Linley soon attracted the attention of Disney casting directors with guest work in an episode of "That's So Raven" (Disney Channel, 2003-07) and a supporting turn in the family feature "Hoot" (2006). That same year, the young actor instantly became a heartthrob to millions of teenage girls when he was cast as Jake Ryan, the on-again, off-again love interest of Miley Cyrus on the immensely popular kiddie sitcom "Hannah Montana" (Disney Channel, 2006-2011). In 2008, Linley danced his way to an even larger audience when he cut a rug on "Dancing with the Stars" (ABC, 2005- ) with the aid of two-time professional champion Julianne Hough. After "Hannah Montana," he turned up in a similar recurring role on the family sitcom "Melissa & Joey" (ABC Family, 2010-15). An accomplished comedic actor with a keen interest in music as well, Linley's options were many as he eyed the next step in his still young career.
Cody Martin Linley, who was born on Nov. 20, 1989, was not part of some Hollywood acting camp, nor did he hail from New York's theater community. The blonde-haired future star was raised in Lewisville, TX and lived with his parents Lee and Cathy Linley - who later divorced and remarried others - and his four brothers. However, Cathy was also a locally known acting coach, who taught future Disney stars such as Demi Lovato from "Camp Rock" (2008) and Madison Pettis from "The Game Plan" (2007). Linley helped his mom teach at the school while pursuing his own acting career. He made his onscreen debut in the TV movie "Still Holding On: The Legend of Cadillac Jack" (1998) opposite real-life entertainment couple Clint Black and Lisa Hartman Black. Linley's older brother, Chad, also acted in the movie, leading to them playing the same role in different stages of life. In 2000, Linley had small parts in a handful of feature films including the family movie "My Dog Skip," the drama "Where the Heart Is," and the Sandra-Bullock comedy hit, "Miss Congeniality."
Even with four brothers at home, Linley's 2003 movie "Cheaper By The Dozen" pitted him against a family of 12 that included then-Disney darling, Hilary Duff. The young star played the bully, Quinn, who teased the younger members of the Baker clan. A year later, Linley appeared on another Disney project, the hit tween sitcom "That's So Raven" (Disney Channel, 2003-07), starring Raven-Symoné. Linley's next big movie project the feature "Hoot" (2006), which focused on three friends who save a local colony of Burrowing owls. Linley's close friend, singer-actress Brie Larson, also appeared in the movie. Establishing himself as a hardworking actor with all-American good looks and an endearing smile made Linley a Disney Channel staple, highlighted by his recurring role as Jake Ryan - an obvious reference to the similar dreamboat character from "Sixteen Candles" (1984) - on the network's hit "Hannah Montana." The show's title character, played by pop princess Miley Cyrus, falls in love with Jake, and in the 2006 episode, "People Who Use People," the two shared their first onscreen kiss.
Another "Hannah" star, Emily Osment, acted with Linley in the straight-to-DVD release "The Haunting Hour: Don't Think About It" (2007), based on a novel by R.L. Stine. Rumors swirled among fans that the Texas-born star was dating both Cyrus and Osment, but the three of them claimed they were all just friends. It was revealed two years later that Linley briefly dated fellow Texas native Demi Lovato, but the couple split up a few months before "Camp Rock" premiered. That same year, Linley reunited with Lovato when he was made an online correspondent for the third installment of "Disney Channel Games" (2006- ), a series of competitions that featured the network's biggest stars. Linley kept busy in 2008. Aside from his "Disney Channel Games" hosting duties, he also lent his voice to a video game production titled "The Hardy Boys: The Hidden Theft" along with singer Jesse McCartney, as well as appeared in the independent film "Forget Me Not." He took center stage that summer when he joined the eclectic cast of ABC's "Dancing With The Stars." The seventh season of the hit reality series paired the young star - at age 18, the youngest contestant to date - with professional dancer and country artist Hough, and had him battling for the coveted trophy against celebrities like Lance Bass, Kim Kardashian, and Cloris Leachman, as well as athletes Misty May-Treanor and Warren Sapp.
Youthful and energetic, Linley performed well on "DWTS," becoming one of the early odds-on favorites of the competition. Fate intervened, however, during the seventh week of competition when Hough was forced to temporarily withdraw after being diagnosed with endometriosis and having to undergo an unplanned surgery to remove her appendix. Although Linley and his replacement partner, Edyta ¿liwi¿ska, managed to hold on through week eight and Hough returned to perform the following week, the teen star was ultimately eliminated in the semifinals, placing a respectable fourth overall. After four seasons, Linley's tenure on "Hannah Montana" came to an end when Jake was caught cheating on Hannah in the appropriately title episode "It's the End of the Jake as We Know It" in 2010. Things stayed relatively quiet for Linley for a couple of years post-"Hannah," until he reappeared on the small screen in a 2012 episode of the Melissa Joan Hart-Joey Lawrence sitcom "Melissa & Joey" (ABC Family, 2010-15). Introduced in the second season, Linley played the recurring character of Aidan Haber, a conscientious student who becomes romantically involved with Hart's wild child niece, Lennox (Taylor Spreitler).
Cast (Feature Film)
Made onscreen debut in the TV movie "Still Holding On: The Legend of Cadillac Jack"
Had a small role in Jay Russell's family movie "My Dog Skip"
Played Ashley Judd's oldest son Brownie Coop in the film, "Where the Heart Is"
Played the bully, Quinn in the family film "Cheaper By The Dozen"
First major role in a feature, "When Zachary Beaver Came to Town"
Played the son of the Vikings coach in the film "Rebound"
Cast as one of three youngsters trying to save a local colony of Burrowing owls in the film "Hoot"
Appeared as Jake Ryan in several episodes of the Disney Channel's "Hannah Montana"
Acted in the straight-to-DVD release "The Haunting Hour: Don't Think About It" alongside Emily Osment
Joined the seventh season of ABC's reality competition "Dancing with the Stars"
Co-hosted the Disney Channel Games with Brian Stepanek and Meaghan Jette Martin