With cool-eyed charisma and looks suggesting he had borrowed DNA from Paul Newman and Dennis Hopper, Barry Pepper first caught the attention of audiences and critics as the Bible-quoting Private Jackson in Saving Private Ryan. Before his role in the hit 1998 World War II epic, Pepper, a native of Canada, had been largely unheard of outside of his homeland.
Born in Campbell River, British Columbia, on April 4, 1970, Pepper had what can only be described as a unique upbringing. When he was five years old, his parents built a boat and, setting sail with Pepper and his two older brothers, spent the next three years traveling around the world. Pepper was schooled in places as far-flung as Tahiti, Fiji, and New Zealand, and after returning to Canada, went to college to study graphic design. By his own account a poor student, Pepper dropped out of college and decided to give acting a try. He made his professional debut on the popular Vancouver TV series Madison and stayed with the show for four years.