Childhood & Early Life
Kristoffer Jon Polaha was born on February 18, 1977, in Reno, Nevada, United States, to Washoe District Court Judge Jerome Polaha and his wife Esther. The youngest of four sons, he has elder brothers Erik, Michael and John.
In the early 1990s, he was sent to Robert Louis Stevenson boarding school in Pebble Beach, California; however, he went through a hard transition time living away from home. During this period, encouraged by the Dean of Students, he took up acting as an after-school activity and was immediately hooked.
He learned advanced acting techniques from school drama teacher and his mentor Hamish Tyler, and starred in four fully produced plays every year in front of an audience of 500. He later learned "the same stuff" with "different labels" at NYU's Tisch School Of Arts, from where he graduated with a bachelor's degree in arts in 1999.
Because freshmen were not allowed to act at NYU, he got involved with the Playwrights’ Theater in NYC, headed by Stephen Kennedy Murphy, who cast him as the young Eugene O’Neill. He went on to act in 'Ragtime Revue' at Lincoln Center, 'The Long Days Journey Into Night' at the Roundabout Theater, 'Bread & Butter' at Provincetown Playhouse, and 'Uncle Vanya' at the Stella Adler Conservatory.
The group produced O’Neill’s first full-length play, 'Bread and Butter', for the first time ever, at the same theater where O’Neill had debuted 'Bound East’ For Cardiff' in 1916. The premiere was attended by reviewers from reputable magazines like 'The New York Times' and 'The Wall Street Journal', which helped him get noticed, as well as get an agent and a manager.
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On September 11, 2001, the day of the 9/11 attacks, Kristoffer Polaha auditioned for two shows, 'That's Life' and 'Angel', spin-off of 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer', and booked both of them. He first appeared on-screen in the 'Plus One' episode of CBS's comedy-drama series 'That's Life', and also appeared on series like 'Roswell' and 'Birds of Prey', and the short film 'Home Base'.
In 2003, he portrayed John F. Kennedy Jr. in the made-for-television movie 'America's Prince: The John F. Kennedy Jr. Story', based on Christopher Andersen's bestseller, 'The Day John Died'. Following three appearances on the Fox supernatural drama 'Tru Calling', he bagged the main role of Jason Matthews on the prime-time soap opera 'North Shore' in 2004.
In the following years, he continued to make guest appearances on a number of shows including 'House', 'Hot Properties', 'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia', 'CSI: Miami', 'Bones' and 'Close to Home'. He subsequently got recurring roles in the series 'Mad Men', 'Miss Guided' and 'Valentine', and played Young Charles Templeton in the 2008 biographical film 'Billy: The Early Years'.
Following another series of guest appearances in 'The Ex List', 'Dollhouse', 'Without a Trace' and 'Better Off Ted', he played the main role of Nathaniel 'Baze' Bazile in CBS' teen drama 'Life Unexpected' (2010). The well-received series earned him a talent holding deal with CBS, leading to a recurring role in the legal drama 'Made in Jersey', and guest roles in 'CSI: Crime Scene Investigation', 'Stalker' and 'Hawaii Five-0'.
He played the recurring role of Henry Butler on the CW series 'Ringer' in 2011-12, until the show was cancelled due to mixed reviews. He also appeared in several films, including a starring role in 'Atlas Shrugged Part III: Who Is John Galt?' and supporting roles in 'Devil's Knot', 'Back in the Day' and 'Where Hope Grows'.
In 2015, he began appearing in the crime-comedy series 'Castle' (2015-16) and also began shooting for his first Hallmark movie, 'Dater's Handbook' (2016), starring alongside future duchess Meghan Markle. It started a streak of five Hallmark movies within three years that included 'Pearl in Paradise' (2018) and the Christmas movies 'Hearts of Christmas' (2016), 'Rocky Mountain Christmas' (2017) and 'A Small Town Christmas' (2018).
In 2016, he executive produced the short film 'Frontman' and starred in the lead role of Jodie King, for which he received the 'Jury Award for Best Actor' at Seattle Shorts Film Festival. He had guest roles on series like 'Rizzoli & Isles', 'Lethal Weapon' and 'Designated Survivor', and played Jeffrey in five episodes of the comedy-drama series 'Get Shorty' in 2017.
Apart from the Hallmark movies, his television credits in 2018 included a recurring role on the thriller show 'Condor', a guest role on the comedy-drama 'Ballers', and the film 'Bachelor Lions'. In 2019, he played detective Travis Burke in four movies in the new Hallmark Movies & Mysteries franchise 'Mystery 101', and also acted in the Christmas-themed Hallmark telefilm 'Double Holiday'.
He played a central role in the sports drama 'Run the Race', which premiered at the Christian Worldview Film Festival in March 2018 before full release in February 2019. It earned $2.3 million in its opening weekend and finished 10th at the box office.
In 2019, he produced, directed and acted in the short film 'A Work of Art', and also had a supporting role in another short titled 'Day 37'. He is currently scheduled to appear alongside Gal Gadot in the upcoming superhero film 'Wonder Woman 1984', the sequel to DC's 2017 blockbuster 'Wonder Woman', and the fifth installment of the 'Mystery 101' series.
Family & Personal Life
Kristoffer Polaha married actress Julianne Morris on June 7, 2003 at the Windermere Chapel in Windermere, Florida. The couple has three sons: Kristoffer Caleb, born in July 2004; Micah, born in April 2006; and Jude, born in January 2011.
He had taken a sabbatical from praying to God while in high school and later explored other religions while traveling around the world on a cruise ship for the 'Semester at Sea' program. However, he eventually returned to his faith after he had a death-defying experience during which he sustained severe injuries in his face, hand and arms that required 180 stitches.