Pawel Tomasz Wasilewski, popularly known as Paul Wesley, is an award-winning actor, producer, and director, best known for his role in the popular television drama series ‘The Vampire Diaries’. For his role in the TV series, he has earned several awards and nominations, including the ‘Teen Choice Awards’ as well as the ‘Young Hollywood Awards’. Born in New Brunswick, New Jersey, in the United States, Wesley showed an interest in acting from his school years. Later, he enrolled at the Rutgers University. However, after realizing his potential as an actor, and knowing that he could make a career out of his incredible acting skills, he dropped out. His first appearance on TV was in the popular American TV soap opera ‘Another World’. Two years later, he appeared in a lead role in ‘Wolf Lake’, a TV series that aired on CBS network. His career reached a turning point after he started playing the role of Stefan Salvatore, in the popular American TV series ‘The Vampire Diaries’. He has directed a few episodes of the series as well. Since he made his film debut in the movie ‘The Last Run’, he has also appeared in several popular movies. He was recently seen in the movies ‘Mothers and Daughters’, and ‘The Late Bloomer’, in supporting roles.
Childhood & Early Life
Paul Wesley was born on 23 July 1982, in New Brunswick, New Jersey, the United States. His parents Tomasz Wasilewski, and Agnieszka Wasilewski are of Polish origin. He also has three sisters, Monika Emara, Leah Wasilewski and Julia Wasilewski.
Till he reached the age of sixteen, he used to spend four months every year in Poland. Therefore, along with English, he can also speak Polish.
He attended several schools, such as Christian Brothers Academy and Lakewood Prep School. During these years, he was also actively involved with theatre studies. As a high school student, he was cast in the television soap operas ‘Another World’ and ‘Guiding Light.’ He played the role of Max Nickerson in the latter.
After completing his graduation in the year 2000, he went to Rutgers University for higher studies. However, he was being offered many roles, which made him realize his acting potential. Thus he decided to quit his studies to pursue a full-time career in acting instead.
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Paul Wesley’s first significant role was in the TV series ‘Wolf Lake’. The show, which originally aired on CBS, was about a guy whose fiancée is supposedly murdered, and the guy, seeking answers, finds himself in a town filled with werewolves. Though the story looked promising, it was cancelled after a few episodes.
In 2002, he appeared in the TV series ‘American Dreams’ in a supporting role. The show aired on the NBC network for three years. Starring actors such as Britanny Snow, Tom Verica and Gail O’Grady, it also won a ‘TV Land Award’ in 2003.
Throughout the years, he appeared in significant as well as supporting roles in several television shows, including ‘CSI: Miami’ (2004), ‘Fallen’ (2007), ‘Shark’ (2007), ‘Cold Case’ (2008), and ‘Army Wives’ (2009).
His film career began in 2004 with the movie ‘The Last Run’. Since then, he has appeared in several other popular movies such as ‘Peaceful Warrior’ (2006), a drama film directed by Victor Salva, where he played a supporting role, and ‘Beneath the Blue’ (2010), directed by Michael D. Sellers, where he played the lead role. He was last seen in the 2016 comedy drama ‘The Late Bloomer’, directed by Kevin Pollak, where he played a supporting role.
The most significant work in his career is his role in ‘The Vampire Dairies’ an American supernatural drama TV series, where he appears in the lead role of a good-hearted vampire. The show, which premiered on the CW TV network, ran from September 2009 to March 2017, covering a total of eight seasons. It became one of the most watched shows of the Network, and won several awards such as the ‘People’s Choice Award’, and the ‘Teen Choice Awards’, several times.
As a director, Wesley first directed an episode ‘Resident Evil’ of the series ’The Vampire Diaries’ in 2014. Since then, he has directed several more episodes of the series. He was also a producer for few movies, such as ‘Before I Disappear’ (2014).
’The Vampire Diaries’ (2009-17) was the most significant work in Paul Wesley’s career. Developed by Kevin Williamson and Julie Plec, the show aired on the CW network for almost eight years, covering a total of eight seasons. Along with Wesley, it starred actors Nina Dobrey, Ian Somerhalder, Steven R. McQueen, and Sara Canning. The story was about a young girl, played by Dobrey, who falls in love with a good-hearted vampire, played by Wesley. The rest of the story followed the problems and complications that arose because of their relationship.
In 2009, Wesley played a supporting role in the American thriller TV series ‘24’, which aired on the Fox Network. Created by Joel Surnow and Robert Cochran, the show was about a counter-terrorist organization in America that works to protect the country from terrorists. Not only did the show manage to gain immense popularity, but it also received several significant awards such as the ‘Golden Globe Awards’ in 2003 and ‘Primetime Emmy Award’ in 2006.
He played a lead role in the 2010 American drama film ‘Beneath the Blue’, which was directed by Michael D Sellers. Other actors included Caitlin Wachs, David Keith, and Christine Adams. The story follows a group of dolphin researchers, who think that dolphins were dying because of the sonar programs of the US Navy.
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Wesley played a supporting role in the 2012 action comedy film ‘The Bayton Outlaws’. The film served as the directorial debut of Barry Battles. Also starring actors Andre Braugher, Clayne Crawford, Daniel Cudmore, and Travis Fimmel, the film followed a team of vigilantes who accept a job to rescue a young boy from his godfather, while at the same time being pursued by a group of assassins. It received mostly mixed reviews.
Awards & Achievements
Paul Wesley, for his brilliant role in ‘The Vampire Diaries,’ was nominated for numerous awards, out of which he won four, including Teen Choice Award for Breakout Star Male and Teen Choice Award for Actor Fantasy/Sci-Fi, both in 2010.
His role in the 2014 American drama ‘Before I Disappear’, earned him a nomination for the ‘Northeast Film Festival Award’ for Best Supporting Actor.
Personal Life & Legacy
In 2007, Paul Wesley began dating Torrey DeVitto, an American actress. They got married in 2011. However, it ended in a divorce which was finalized in December 2013.
In September 2013, he began dating Phoebe Tonkin, an American actress and model. Their relationship lasted till March 2017.
Wesley is also known for his philanthropic activities. He has hosted two fundraising campaigns to raise funds for ‘The Humane Society of the United States’.
The actor started using the name ‘Paul Wesley’ as he felt his birth name was too hard to pronounce, especially for people living in America.
He loves playing ice hockey as well as snowboarding.
As stated by Wesley himself, if not an actor, he would have probably become an investigative journalist.