A handsome actor with leading-man looks and charisma to spare, one only wonders why it took actor Matthew Fox's career over a decade to finally set sail with his starring role as natural-born leader Jack on the hit ABC series Lost. Commanding the screen as the brave but conflicted organizer of a group of airplane-crash survivors stranded on a mysterious island, Fox played no small part in bringing compelling drama back to the small screen in a time when reality television seemed to dominate the dial. Of course, Lost wasn't Fox's first foray into television drama, having previously established himself as one of five siblings prematurely thrust into adulthood when their parents are killed by a drunk driver in the Golden Globe-winning Party of Five, but it did find him excelling in a manner that could point to a long and fruitful career. Unlike many actors who realize their calling early in life, in the Wyoming native's early years, it seemed as if an acting career was the absolute farthest thing imaginable in terms of future job prospects. Fox was raised on a ranch that raised horses and barley, and when it came time to choose a college, he opted to study economics at Columbia University -- where he also made quite a name for himself on the gridiron.
All arrows pointed to a prosperous future career on Wall Street, but when Fox was convinced to try his hand at modeling, the chips seemed to fall into place, and he was soon appearing on television commercials and essaying guest appearances on such popular sitcoms as Wings. In 1992, Fox went back to college for a role in the short-lived TV comedy Freshman Dorm, and though that show itself was decidedly short-lived, it helped his career by leading to roles in the film My Boyfriend's Back, the made-for-television feature If I Die Before I Wake, and, eventually, Party of Five. After his wining performance in Party of Five making Fox a familiar face to television viewers, it seemed only a matter of time before he stuck out on his own. Following a touching turn opposite Donald Sutherland in the made-for-television drama Behind the Mask, Fox took the role of an ex-policeman-turned-private investigator whose near-death experience bridges a gap to the spirit world in the supernaturally charged series Haunted, which was quickly canceled despite the fact that it was beginning to see a dedicated fan base. If Fox's career seemed to be floundering somewhat in the wake of Party of Five, that would certainly change when Lost debuted on ABC to impressive ratings in late 2004. With his role as the reluctant leader proving once and for all that Fox had what it took to be a leading man, long-time fans could rest assured that they would likely be seeing much more of him in the future. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi