Born: March 17, 1964
Birthplace: Charlottesville, Virginia, U.S.
Robert Hepler Lowe (/loʊ/; born March 17, 1964) is an American actor and director. He made his acting debut at the age of 15 with ABC's short-lived sitcom A New Kind of Family (1979-1980). Following numerous television roles in the early 1980s, he came to prominence as a teen idol with roles in films like The Outsiders (1983), The Hotel New Hampshire (1984), Oxford Blues (1984), St. Elmo's Fire (1985), About Last Night... (1986), and Square Dance (1987). The success of these films established him as a Hollywood star.
Following a 1988 sex tape scandal and a highly scrutinized opening performance at the 1989 Oscars, Lowe's public image and film career declined. By the turn of the millennium, his career saw a resurgence when he ventured back into television, making his breakthrough as Sam Seaborn on the NBC political drama The West Wing (1999-2003), for which he received nominations for a Primetime Emmy Award and two Golden Globe Awards. His other significant television roles include; as Robert McCallister on the ABC drama Brothers & Sisters (2006-2010), as Chris Traeger on the NBC sitcom Parks and Recreation (2010-14), as Dr. Ethan Willis on the CBS medical drama Code Black (2015-2018) and the A&E reality series The Lowe Files (2017-), in which he appears with his two sons, Matthew and John Owen. In 2018, he made his directorial debut with the television film The Bad Seed, a remake of the 1956 film of the same name.
In addition to a Primetime Emmy Award nomination, Lowe has received six Golden Globe Award nominations, which span four of the seven categories for male actors and has won two Screen Actors Guild Awards.Lowe was born in Charlottesville, Virginia, the son of Barbara Lynn (née Hepler; 1939-2003), a schoolteacher and native of Connecticut, and Charles Davis Lowe (b. 1939), a trial lawyer. His parents divorced when Lowe and his younger brother Chad were young.
Lowe was baptized into the Episcopal church. He is of German, English, Irish, Scottish and Welsh ancestry. On the show Who Do You Think You Are?, Lowe found out that one of his ancestors, Christopher East, was a Hessian soldier. His ancestor was fighting under the command of Colonel Johann Gottlieb Rall and was captured at the American victory at Trenton, New Jersey, on the morning of December 26, 1776. As an American POW, his ancestor was given a choice, and took the option to stay in the United States.
Lowe was raised in a "traditional American setting" in Dayton, Ohio, attending Oakwood Junior High School, before moving to the Point Dume area of Malibu, California, with his mother and brother. In California, he attended Santa Monica High School, where he met Charlie Sheen. In his autobiography Stories I Only Tell My Friends, he wrote regarding Sheen, "We were both nerds he wanted to be a baseball player."
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One of Lowe's earliest roles came in the 1983 TV film Thursday's Child, for which he received his first Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Miniseries, or Television Film. He also appeared in the music video for The Go-Go's song, "Turn to You." His breakthrough role was his big screen debut in 1983, when he and Emilio Estevez were cast in Francis Ford Coppola's The Outsiders. Lowe played the role of Sodapop Curtis, the brother of the main character Ponyboy Curtis (C. Thomas Howell) and Darrel Curtis (Patrick Swayze). Lowe and Estevez reunited in St. Elmo's Fire, making them the two more prominent actors from the group known as the Brat Pack. About Last Night... followed, with Demi Moore (who had starred alongside Lowe in St. Elmo's Fire). He then received his second Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his role as the mentally disabled Rory in Square Dance (1987). In August 1987 he performed on stage, playing Baron Tusenbach in Chekov's The Three Sisters at The Williamstown Theatre Festival. He recalled meeting Paul Newman there, and that the older actor encouraged him to work in the theatre in 1993 when filming a British TV production of the Tennessee Williams play Suddenly, Last Summer with (the now) Dame Maggie Smith and Natasha Richardson.
Lowe is well known for playing Sam Seaborn in the television series The West Wing from 1999 - 2003 (and briefly in 2006). His performance in the show garnered Lowe a Primetime Emmy Award nomination and two Golden Globe Award nominations for Best Actor in a Drama Series. Lowe was drawn to the role because of his personal love of politics, and his longstanding personal relationship with Martin Sheen, who was cast as President Bartlet. When the show premiered, Seaborn was considered the lead, and the pilot centered on the character. But the acclaimed cast of the show—including Allison Janney, Richard Schiff, Dulé Hill, John Spencer, Bradley Whitford, Martin Sheen (whose President Bartlet was initially scripted as a small role) and Stockard Channing (whose First Lady was initially scripted as a guest role)— were all strong actors and eventually Lowe's character was no longer the lead. Lowe and series creator Aaron Sorkin soon found themselves at odds over the network's meddling with the show, most notably the network demanding changes in the Sam Seaborn character. Eventually, Lowe left the series, not long before Sorkin and director/executive producer Thomas Schlamme unceremoniously quit over a dispute with NBC. During the final season of The West Wing, Lowe returned to his role of Sam Seaborn, appearing in two of the final four episodes. In 2011, Lowe appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show and stated that he left the show because he did not feel he was being respected, when the other lead characters received a raise and he did not.
After leaving the show, Lowe was the star and executive producer of a failed NBC drama, The Lyon's Den (2003). In 2004, he tried again in a series entitled Dr. Vegas, but it also was quickly cancelled. In 2005, he starred as Lieutenant Daniel Kaffee in a London West End production of Sorkin's play A Few Good Men, the first time the two had worked together since The West Wing. Although Lowe had expressed unhappiness about his decreased role on that show at the time of his departure, he has now repeatedly said that any animosity between them is over and that he was pleased to be working once more with Sorkin, whose talents as a writer Lowe highly regards. Lowe passed on the role of Dr. Derek Shepherd of Grey's Anatomy, which eventually went to Patrick Dempsey.
Despite his two cancelled TV series and flops like View From the Top and the made-for-TV movie Perfect Strangers during his post-West Wing run, Lowe found success in the TV miniseries genre. The year 2004 marked his return to this genre; he had appeared in 1994's The Stand, based on Stephen King's book of the same name. In 2004 Lowe starred in the TNT remake of the Stephen King miniseries Salem's Lot which was the highest rated cable program of that summer and the highest ratings TNT original programming had at the time. In 2005 Lowe starred in the miniseries Beach Girls on the Lifetime network, based on the Luanne Rice novel of the same name. The series premiere received the highest ratings for a movie premiere in Lifetime history. In that same year, Lowe filmed his role as a movie agent in the 2006 independent film Thank You for Smoking. In 2006 he filmed The Perfect Day for TNT, in which he took a pay cut to film in New Orleans in order to help the hurricane-ravaged area. That same year, Lowe filmed Stir of Echoes: The Homecoming, the sequel to the 1999 Kevin Bacon thriller Stir of Echoes.
In 2006, it was announced that Lowe would join the cast of Brothers & Sisters for a guest run of several episodes. In January 2007, ABC announced that Lowe would be staying on Brothers and Sisters as a "special guest star" for the rest of Season 1 after Lowe's initial appearance on the show in November 2006 brought the best ratings and demographic showing for the show since its premiere. Soon after ABC announced an early Season 2 renewal for Brother & Sisters in March 2007, Lowe announced he would be returning for the show's second season. He continued to appear in the series until the end of the 2009-10 season. Unhappy with the stories and his lack of screen time in the fourth season, Lowe announced he would leave. In an episode broadcast on May 16, 2010, his character was part of a multi-vehicle crash involving a large truck and was put into a coma, the storyline was wrapped up in the first episode of the fifth season; Lowe did not appear in the episode.
In June 2006, he was the guest host for an episode in the third series of The Friday Night Project for the United Kingdom's Channel 4. Lowe has also appeared in a televised advertisement for 'Visit California', along with other celebrities including Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. (In the advertisement campaign, he was usually pictured in a white tee-shirt printed with the California state flag.) Lowe had a supporting role in the 2009 movie The Invention of Lying and a leading role in Too Late to Say Goodbye.
In 2010, he appeared in the biography of the Brat Packers called: Brat Pack: Where Are They Now? He also appeared on The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien. Lowe is currently teaming up with 44 Blue to produce a reality series entitled Potomac Fever about young adults living in Washington, D.C.
In July 2010, it was announced that Lowe would be providing the voice for the superhero Captain Marvel in the upcoming animated series, Young Justice. It was also announced in July 2010 that Lowe would become a series regular on the series Parks and Recreation. In 2011, Lowe guest starred in a recurring role on Showtime's comedy Californication. Lowe featured as the troubled but in-demand actor Eddie Nero - a character based upon "about ten people", according to Lowe but somewhat contradicted by sources at Showtime itself - employed to portray Hank in a film version of his book, Fucking and Punching.
In 2011, Lowe wrote a memoir titled Stories I Only Tell My Friends, which was released in May 2011. During his promotional tour for Stories I Only Tell My Friends, Lowe told Australian radio show The Kyle & Jackie O Show that during his five-day press visit to Australia in 1990, he was so badly affected by the overuse of painkillers that the only two things he remembers from the trip were being at the Sydney Zoo and getting a tattoo, although he states in his book that he does not remember getting the tattoo. In 2014, Lowe wrote a second book titled Love Life, which was released in April that year. He uses stories and observations from his life in a poignant and humorous series of true tales about men and women, art and commerce, fathers and sons, addiction and recovery, and sex and love.
In 2014, Lowe starred in a pilot for the single-camera comedy The Pro as Ben Bertrahm, a former professional tennis player. The pilot was not picked up for series. He also narrated The '90s: The Last Great Decade? on the National Geographic Channel, which aired in July of that year. In 2015, Lowe starred in the satirical thriller Pocket Listing.
Lowe has been a commercial spokesman for DirecTV since fall 2014. Commercials featuring Lowe contrast him with some alternate, less appealing form of Lowe, who instead has cable. The advertisements were pulled in April 2015 after the National Advertising Division, acting on a complaint by Comcast, found DirecTV's claims about its customer satisfaction, quality, and ranking to be less than truthful.
In February 2015, Fox announced they had greenlit a pilot for the comedy The Grinder starring Rob Lowe and directed by Jake Kasdan.
Since November 2015, Lowe voices Simba in the Disney movie and series The Lion Guard.
In December 2015, Lowe was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. His star is located in front of the Musso and Frank Grill on Hollywood Boulevard.
In 2015, Lowe launched Profile™, a men's skincare product line. The line features a collection of five antiaging products specially formulated for men. It is currently sold at Nordstrom stores and online. The product collection includes a cleanser, a shave gel, an aftershave serum, a moisturizer, and an eye serum in the price range of $24.50 to $59.50. In 2016, Lowe launched a fragrance product line called 18 Amber Wood with the Profile™ brand.
On August 27, 2016, a TV special for Comedy Central Roasts was recorded and aired on September 5, 2016, with Rob Lowe as the Roastee and David Spade as Roast Master. Amongst the Roasters were Jewel, Nikki Glaser, Ralph Macchio, Pete Davidson, Peyton Manning, Rob Riggle, Jimmy Carr, Ann Coulter and the "Roast Master General" Jeff Ross.
On April 21, 2017, KFC released a campaign featuring Lowe as astronaut Colonel Sanders giving a JFK speech spoof/homage about launching the Zinger chicken sandwich into space. Lowe said in a statement that when he was a child, his grandfather took him to meet Harland Sanders.
In late autumn 2017, Lowe began a reality series with his two sons, 24-year-old Matthew and 22-year-old Jon Owen, on A&E titled The Lowe Files. With the exception of the hour-long pilot, the series features 30-minute road trips with the Lowe boys, and occasional TV guest stars known in the field, investigating common urban myths and legends that Rob has loved since he was a young boy and has shared with his boys throughout their growth, sometimes to the frustration of the boys' mom and Lowe's wife, Sheryl. Some of the topics being explored are Bigfoot/Sasquatch, the alleged unidentified "submerged" objects that may have a base right off the coast from L.A., alien abduction, and ghosts and their direct responses to stumuli. The series debuted on August 2, 2017.
In October 2018, it was announced that Lowe will star in a new ITV series, Wild Bill, about an American policeman who moves to Boston, Lincolnshire with his daughter.
Lowe married Sheryl Berkoff in 1991. They met twice, once at a speed dating session, and again on the set of Lowe's movie, Bad Influence. The couple have two sons: Matthew Edward Lowe (b. 1993), and John Owen Lowe (b. 1995).
In 1988, Lowe was involved in a sex scandal over a videotape of him having sex with a 16-year-old girl he met in a nightclub. They were videotaped the night before the Democratic National Convention in Atlanta, Georgia. As the age of consent in Georgia was 14 at the time (until 1995 when it was raised to 16), both were of legal age to engage in sexual activity, although 18 was the legal age to be involved in such a recording. At the time, Lowe was campaigning for Michael Dukakis.
Another part of the same tape was leaked at the time, showing Lowe and his friend Justin Moritt both having vaginal and oral sex with a young American model named Jennifer, who was never identified, in a hotel room in Paris. This part of the original tape was sold as one of the first commercially available celebrity sex tapes, damaging Lowe's public image. Eventually, his career rebounded, and Lowe mocked his own behavior during two post-scandal appearances as host of Saturday Night Live.
In April 2008, Lowe filed separate lawsuits against three former employees accusing them of breach of contract, defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Lowe accused an ex‑nanny of engaging in a scheme to hurt the[which?] couple by spreading "malicious lies". Another former nanny was accused of falsely claiming to have had a personal and intimate relationship with Lowe, and also repeatedly expressing romantic interest in Lowe, claiming Lowe sexually harassed her and that Sheryl Lowe was an abusive employer. Rob Lowe claimed a former chef engaged in sex on their bed when the family was out of town, stole prescription drugs from the Lowes, broke several security cameras, overcharged them for food, and allegedly made statements to various people that Sheryl was heartless, cold and unclean.
Jessica Gibson, Lowe's 24-year-old former nanny, made 12 allegations against Lowe involving sexual harassment claims and labor-code violations. On June 19, 2008, Santa Barbara, California, Superior Court Judge Denise de Bellefeuille dismissed two allegations regarding labor-code violations due to lack of legal basis. The legal battle ended in May 2009, the press reported that court records showed that lawsuits filed by both nannies and Lowe were dismissed in Santa Barbara. Attorneys for both women and Lowe sought the dismissals.
Lowe was the first male spokesperson for the 2000 Lee National Denim Day fundraiser, which raises millions of dollars for breast cancer research and education. His grandmother and great-grandmother both suffered from breast cancer, and his mother died of the disease in late 2003.
Lowe is a founder of the Homeowner's Defense Fund, a Santa Barbara County non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to local control of land-use planning and transparency in government. The average price of tract homes in Santa Barbara in early 2006 was US$1,100,000, which motivated some to propose denser housing on existing lots. While in favor of increasing housing density, Lowe sought to build a 14,260-square-foot (1,325 m2) mansion for himself on an empty lot in Montecito, California. His protest over the appearance of the address of the empty lot in the Santa Barbara News-Press precipitated a mass resignation of senior employees at that newspaper on July 6, 2006.
|1983||The Outsiders||Sodapop Curtis|
|1983||Class||Franklin 'Skip' Burroughs IV|
|1984||The Hotel New Hampshire||John Berry|
|1984||Oxford Blues||Nick De Angelo|
|1985||St. Elmo's Fire||Billy Hixx|
|1986||About Last Night||Danny Martin|
|1987||Square Dance||Rory Torrance||Alternate title: Home Is Where the Heart Is|
|1988||Illegally Yours||Richard Dice|
|1991||The Dark Backward||Dirk Delta||Alternate title: The Man with Three Arms|
|1992||Wayne's World||Benjamin Kane|
|1992||The Finest Hour||Lawrence Hammer|
|1994||Frank and Jesse||Jesse James|
|1995||Tommy Boy||Paul Barish||Uncredited|
|1996||First Degree||Det. Rick Mallory||Direct-to-video|
|1997||Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery||Decapitated henchman's friend||Uncredited|
|1997||Living in Peril||Walter Woods|
|1998||For Hire||Mitch Lawrence|
|1998||One Hell of a Guy||Nick|
|1998||Crazy Six||Billie, a.k.a. Crazy Six|
|1999||Dead Silent||Kevin Finney|
|1999||Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me||Young Number Two|
|2000||Under Pressure||John Spencer|
|2000||The Specials||The Weevil/Tony|
|2002||Austin Powers in Goldmember||Middle Number Two|
|2003||View from the Top||Co-Pilot Steve Bench|
|2005||Thank You for Smoking||Jeff Megall|
|2009||The Invention of Lying||Brad Kessler|
|2009||Too Late To Say Goodbye||Bart Corbin|
|2011||I Melt with You||Jonathan|
|2011||Breakaway||Coach Dan Winters|
|2012||Knife Fight||Paul Turner|
|2013||Behind the Candelabra||Dr. Jack Startz|
|2014||Sex Tape||Hank Rosenbaum|
|2014||The Interview||Himself||Uncredited cameo|
|2016||Pocket Listing||Frank Hunter|
|2016||Monster Trucks||Reece Tenneson|
|2017||How to Be a Latin Lover||Rick the Gigolo|
|2017||Mune: Guardian of the Moon||Sohone (voice)|
|2018||Super Troopers 2||Guy Le Franc|
|2019||Christmas in the Wild|
|1983||Thursday's Child||Sam Alden|
|1990||If the Shoe Fits||Francesco Salvitore|
|1996||On Dangerous Ground||Sean Dillon|
|1997||Midnight Man||Sean Dillon|
|1999||Atomic Train||John Seger|
|2001||Jane Doe||David Doe|
|2002||Framed||Det. Mike Santini|
|2002||The Christmas Shoes||Robert Layton|
|2004||Perfect Strangers||Lloyd Rockwell|
|2005||The Christmas Blessing||Robert Layton|
|2006||A Perfect Day||Rob Harlan|
|2007||Stir of Echoes: The Homecoming||Ted Cogan|
|2009||Too Late to Say Goodbye||Bart Corbin|
|2012||Drew Peterson: Untouchable||Drew Peterson|
|2013||Prosecuting Casey Anthony||Jeff Ashton|
|2013||Killing Kennedy||John F. Kennedy|
|2015||Beautiful & Twisted||Ben Novack, Jr.|
|2015||The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar||Simba (voice)|
|2017||The Lion Guard: The Rise of Scar||Simba (voice)|
|2018||The Bad Seed||Also EP and director|
|1979-1980||A New Kind of Family||Tony Flannagan||11 episodes|
|1980||ABC Afterschool Special||Charles Elderberry||Episode: "Schoolboy Father"|
|1981||ABC Afterschool Special||Jeff Bartlett||Episode: "A Matter of Time"|
|1990-2000||Saturday Night Live||Host||3 episodes|
|1993||Great Performances||Doctor Cukrowicz||Episode: "Suddenly, Last Summer"|
|1994||The Stand||Nick Andros||4 episodes|
|1995||The Larry Sanders Show||Himself||Episode: "The Bump"|
|1998||Stories from My Childhood||Ivan (voice)||Episode: "Ivan and His Magic Pony"|
|1999-2006||The West Wing||Sam Seaborn||80 episodes|
|2003||The Lyon's Den||Jack Turner||13 episodes|
|2004||Dr. Vegas||Dr. Billy Grant||10 episodes|
|2004||Salem's Lot||Ben Mears||2 episodes|
|2005||Beach Girls||Jack Kilvert||6 episodes|
|2006-2010||Brothers & Sisters||Robert McCallister||76 episodes|
|2007||Family Guy||Stanford Cordray (voice)||Episode: "Road to Rupert"|
|2009||Family Guy||Himself (voice)||Episode: "Not All Dogs Go to Heaven"|
|2010-2015||Parks and Recreation||Chris Traeger||76 episodes|
|2011||Young Justice||Captain Marvel (voice)||2 episodes|
|2011-2014||Californication||Eddie Nero||6 episodes|
|2013||Franklin & Bash||Himself||Episode: "Shoot to Kill"|
|2015||Moonbeam City||Dazzle Novak (voice)||10 episodes|
|2015-2016||The Grinder||Dean Sanderson||22 episodes|
|2015||You, Me and the Apocalypse||Father Jude Sutton||8 episodes|
|2016-present||The Lion Guard||Simba (voice)||19 episodes|
|2016||Comedy Central Roast of Rob Lowe||Himself/Roastee||Television special|
|2016-2018||Code Black||Dr. Ethan Willis||29 episodes|
|2017||The Lowe Files||Himself||9 episodes|
|2017||The Orville||Darulio||Episode: "Cupid's Dagger"|
|1996||Fox Hunt||Edison Pettibone||Live action|
|1983||Golden Globe Awards||Best Supporting Actor - Series, Miniseries or Television Film||Thursday's Child||Nominated|
|1988||Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture||Square Dance||Nominated|
|2000||Best Actor - Television Series Drama||The West Wing||Nominated|
|Satellite Awards||Best Cast - Television Series||Won|
|2001||Golden Globe Awards||Best Actor - Television Series Drama||Nominated|
|Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series||Nominated|
|Screen Actors Guild Awards||Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series||Won|
|2014||Golden Globe Awards||Best Supporting Actor - Series, Miniseries or Television Film||Behind the Candelabra||Nominated|
|Screen Actors Guild Awards||Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie||Killing Kennedy||Nominated|
|2016||Golden Globe Awards||Best Actor - Television Series Musical or Comedy||The Grinder||Nominated|
|People's Choice Awards||Favorite Actor in a New TV Series||Nominated|
In December 2017, Lowe was chosen to receive the Horatio Alger Award for 2018. The Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans recognizes people who have overcome personal challenges to achieve personal and professional success.
Rob Lowe supports the following charitable causes: Breast Cancer, Environment, Women's Rights, Cancer.