With his golden curls, sensuous mouth, and sculpted body, Ryan Phillippe looks more like he was peeled off a Botticelli canvas than "discovered" in a Delaware barbershop. Phillippe, who was born September 10, 1974, in New Castle, DE, rose from obscurity to become one of the most talked-about actors of his generation, attracting at first numerous admirers of his good looks, and later fans of risk-taking performers.
Phillippe got his first break on the ABC soap opera One Life to Live, on which he portrayed daytime's first gay teenager, Billy Douglas. The role, which he played from 1992 to 1993, won him both favorable notices and increasing recognition. After quitting the show to focus on his screen career, Phillippe got a small part in 1995 submarine action thriller Crimson Tide. More work -- and more boat-oriented action -- followed in 1996 with Ridley Scott's White Squall, in which Phillippe was given a prominent role alongside two other up-and-coming actors, Ethan Embry and Scott Wolf. After this mainstream, big-budget venture, Phillippe took a walk down the yellow brick road of independent filmmaking, first with his starring role as an abused trailer-park teen in Little Boy Blue (1997), and then in Gregg Araki's Nowhere (1997), as the latest of Araki's trademark ultra-horny boys.