After breaking into the business as an extra on films like "Risky Business" (1983) and "Bad Boys" (1983), versatile actor Jason Gedrick went on to play everything from cops to gangsters and everything in between on numerous television shows, many of which failed to survive their first season. In fact, the most consistent theme of his career was his tendency to appear on shows that performed well with critics, but were unable to attract big ratings. Prior to his string of bad luck on the small screen, Gedrick starred opposite Louis Gossett, Jr. in "Iron Eagle" (1986), and soon found himself in films make by some of the biggest directors of the day, including Oliver Stone's "Born on the Fourth of July" (1989) and Ron Howard's "Backdraft" (1991). Turning to television, Gedrick began his string of regular roles in critically hailed, but short-lived dramas. Among the notables were "Sweet Justice" (NBC, 1994-95), "Murder One" (ABC, 1995-96) and "EZ Streets" (1996-97), the latter of which remained influential for its intricate plotting and noir style. He did enjoy successful recurring and guest starring roles on hit shows like "Ally McBeal" (Fox, 1997-02) and "Desperate Housewives" (ABC, 2004-12), while maintaining a steady presence on numerous made-for-television movies. Not one to have trouble finding work, Gedrick landed a spot in the cast of "Luck" (HBO, 2012), a promising series from executive producer David Milch that finally gave him the opportunity to break his streak of unsuccessful shows.
Born on Feb. 7, 1965 in Chicago, IL, Gedrick was attending Gordon Technical High School when he landed extra work on "Bad Boys" (1983), where star Sean Penn encouraged him to pursue an acting career. But in order to appease his parents, Gedrick instead enrolled at Des Moines' Drake University, where he majored in business. Soon after, however, he dropped out due to suffering from an undiagnosed case of dyslexia, which led to following Penn's advice after all. In short order, he won roles in teen fare like "The Heavenly Kid" (1985) and "The Zoo Gang" (1985), while scoring the lead in "Iron Eagle" (1986), an Air Force action-drama that was overshadowed by the high-flying "Top Gun" (1986). By the late 1980s, he was starring in notable indie films like "Promised Land" (1987), the first film commissioned by the Sundance Film Festival, and "Crossing the Bridge" (1992), while earning supporting roles in big budget features like "Born on the Fourth of July" (1989) and "Backdraft" (1991). He also honed his craft off-Broadway in "Mrs. Dally Has a Lover" (1988) with Judith Ivey, and on Broadway with "Our Town" (1989) alongside Helen Hunt and Don Ameche.
Gedrick gained his widest exposure from the succession of television series he appeared in over the next two decades, though most of the shows lasted just one season. Such was the case with college drama "Class of '96" (Fox, 1993) and the legal drama "Sweet Justice" (NBC, 1994-95), costarring Cicely Tyson and Melissa Gilbert. Steven Bochco's "Murder One" (ABC, 1995-96) was innovative because the entire first season centered around one court case, in which Gedrick's character, a Hollywood heartthrob, was accused of killing a 15-year-old girl. Though "Murder One" managed to survive for two years, Gedrick did not return following his initial season, since the show moved on to another case. In its stead, Gedrick landed a regular role on the Paul Haggis crime drama "EZ Streets" (1996-97), which focused on the interconnected lives of criminals, cops and politicians in a dying American city. While innovative, the show - which influenced such later hits as "The Wire" (HBO, 2002-08) "Lost" (ABC, 2004-2010) and "The Sopranos" (HBO, 1999-2007) - was off the air after only a handful of episodes.
Following a role as a gangster alongside Danny Aiello and Joe Mantegna in two miniseries, "The Last Don" (CBS, 1997) and "The Last Don II" (CBS, 1998), Gedrick had a high-profile guest star role on episodes of "Ally McBeal" (Fox, 1997-02) as the "hot car wash guy," before winning the lead in the mafia-themed series "Falcone" (CBS, 2000). He played the real-life Donnie Brasco, though "Brasco" was changed to "Falcone" due to copyright restrictions. But once again, Gedrick was denied an opportunity at stardom because the series failed to catch on. After a brief return to features with a supporting role in "Summer Catch" (2001), he continued to land regular roles on dramas like "The Beast" (ABC, 2001), which centered around a Los Angeles news station, the crime-centric "Boomtown" (NBC 2002-03) and NBC's "Windfall" (2006), about a group of people who win the lottery. He next had a six-episode run as Felicity Huffman's love interest on "Desperate Housewives" (ABC, 2004-12), while appearing in numerous made-for television movies like "Kings of South Beach" (A&E, 2007), "Wisegal" (Lifetime, 2008) and "Depth Charge" (Spike TV, 2009). In 2010, Gedrick joined the ensemble cast of David Milch's new HBO series, "Luck," which focused on the world of horse racing from the perspective of a recently released convict (Dustin Hoffman).
Cast (Feature Film)
Misc. Crew (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
First film appearance, as an extra in "Bad Boys"
Feature acting debut, "Massive Retaliation"
First leading role in features, "The Heavenly Kid"
Landed breakthrough role opposite Louis Gossett Jr. in action feature "Iron Eagle"
Broadway debut, replacing Eric Stoltz in "Our Town" opposite Helen Hunt
Cast in Oliver Stone's Vietnam War drama "Born on the Fourth of July"
Appeared in Ron Howard directed "Backdraft"
TV debut as series regular on Fox drama "Class of '96"
Appeared regularly on "Sweet Justice" (NBC) as reporter Bailey Conners
Cast as regular on ABC drama series "Murder One"
Co-starred with Ken Olin and Joe Pantoliano on CBS drama series "EZ Streets"
Starred on CBS crime drama "Falcone" as an FBI agent who goes undercover in the mob
Returned to series work as a serious-minded reporter on the ABC summer series "The Beast"
Landed role on NBC drama "Boomtown"
Cast on NBC's short-lived series "Windfall"
Landed recurring role on ABC's "Desperate Housewives" as Lynette Scavo's (Felicity Huffman) love interest
Guest starred on "Necessary Roughness" (USA Network) opposite Callie Thorne
Played a gambler on HBO's horse-racing drama "Luck" opposite Dustin Hoffman and Dennis Farina