Rider Strong is an American actor best known for his role as Shawn Hunter in the super hit television series ‘Boy Meets World’. A prodigious child, Strong’s acting career took off much early in life. Even before turning nine, Strong had his hands full with work in television. Though he appeared in several television shows and sitcoms, it was the film ‘Benefit of Doubt’ that brought him attention. However, the biggest breakthrough came in when he starred as Shawn Hunter in ABC’s ‘Boy Meets World’. The sitcom gave him widespread recognition and appreciation. Following the success of ‘Boy Meets World’, Strong had a steady flow of guest roles in a number of television series. Film offers also came rolling in for him. Just when his acting career looked steady, Rider Strong tried his hand behind the camera. He wore the cap of a writer cum director for the short film, ‘Irish Twin’, together with his brother. The film was largely appreciated thus opening a new career avenue for Strong. For the spinoff of ‘Boy Meets World’ titled ‘Girl Meets World’, Rider Strong not just reprised his character of Shawn Hunter but also served as its director. He is definitely turning out to be an all-rounder of the current generation of entertainers.
Childhood & Early Life
Rider King Strong was born on December 11, 1979 in San Francisco, California. His mother, Lin, is a nutritionist and teacher, while his father King Arthur Strong was a firefighter. He was second of the two boys born to the couple, the elder being Shiloh Strong.
In 1998, he graduated from a high school in Sebastopol. He then attended Occidental College. Later, he enrolled at Columbia University and graduated as magna cum laude in English major, in 2004. In 2009, he attained his Master of Fine Arts degree from Bennington College.
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Rider Strong’s acting career began even before he hit the double digits. He was first seen portraying the role of Gavroche in San Francisco production ‘Les Miserables’ in 1988. He was only nine then. Following this, he starred in small roles for television.
His first recurring appearance for television came with the role of Julie Andrews’ son in the series ‘Julie’. However, ironically, the show was cancelled. Not the one to be bowed down, he instead took the big leap and landed himself a role as Amy Irving’s son in the 1993 film ‘Benefit of Doubt’.
The big breakthrough for Strong came in when he essayed the role of Shawn Hunter in the ABC television series ‘Boy Meets World’ in 1993. The series gave him immense popularity and widespread recognition. Running for seven seasons until 2000, the sitcom was hugely appreciated. It earned Strong several award nominations as well.
Following the phenomenal success of ‘Boy Meets World’, television roles kept coming in for Strong. He guest appeared in a number of shows including ‘Maybe This Time’, ‘Party of Five’, ‘Oddville’, ‘Hercules’, ‘Invasion America’, ‘The Practice’, ‘Batman Beyond’, ‘Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicle Pvt.’, ‘Kim Possible’ and so on. Meanwhile, he did films as well, including the indie horror film ‘Cabin Fever’, family drama ‘Paradise, Texas’, horror ‘Borderland’ and dramedy ‘Spy School’.
In 2006, Rider Strong returned to television for a recurring role in WB’s ‘Pepper Dennis’. In it, he played Chick Dirka. His role lasted for thirteen episodes. After a couple of guest appearances in ‘Veronica Mars’, ‘Bones’, ‘Castle’, ‘100 Questions’, ‘Chosen’ and so on. For the big screen, he gave a cameo appearance in the sequel ‘Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever’.
Acting apart, Strong ventured into the field of writing and direction. Together with his brother, he wrote and directed the short film ‘Irish Twins’. The film released at the Tribeca film Festival in 2008. Despite being a maiden venture, it received overwhelming response from the jury, critics and the audience. At the Woods Hole Film festival, it bagged two awards including Jury Award and Audience Award. It also received the Special Jury Prize in the Action/Cut Short Film Competition and Best First-Time Director at DC Shorts.
Post the magnanimous success of ‘Irish Twins’ Rider Strong intended to expand his writing and direction career. The brother duo assisted by Strong’s then-girlfriend Alexandra Barreto created a 30-sec television ad supporting Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. Of the 1100 ads submitted, theirs’ was amongst the 15 finalists chosen. The ad aired on MTV and Comedy Central.
In 2010, he returned to acting with the science fiction-thriller ‘The Darkening Sky’. Same time, he also appeared in films like ‘The Penthouse’ and short films ‘Your Lucky Day’ and ‘Ruff Love’.
In 2014, Rider Strong reprised his famed role of Shawn Hunter for the spinoff ‘Girl Meets World’. Interesting other than playing the recurring character, Strong even put on the Director’s cap for the sequel.
Currently, he is giving voiceover for the character of Tom in Disney’s animated television series ‘Star vs. the Forces of Evil’.
The magnum opus of Rider Strong’s acting career came with the ABC sitcom ‘Boy Meets World’ in 1993. In it, he played a recurring character of Shawn Hunter. Strong’s brilliant portrayal of his character earned him immense popularity and widespread recognition. The show was a great hit and lasted for seven seasons with a total of 158 episodes.
Awards & Achievements
Rider Strong received two nominations at the Young Artist Award for his character of Shawn Hunter in 1994. In 2000, together with Ben Savage, he received Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards for Favourite Television Friends for ‘Boy Meets Girl’.
Personal Life & Legacy
Rider Strong first met Alexandra Barreto while the two were filming the television series ‘Pepper Dennis’ in 2006. They hit it off really well and started dating each other. In December 2012, the couple got engaged and got married almost a year later on October 20, 2013 in Oregon. They were blessed with a son, Indigo ‘Indy’ Barreto Strong, in December 2014.