Shane West is an actor cum punk musician who rose to prominence after portraying Landon Carter in the weepy romantic teen drama, ‘A Walk to Remember’. Born as Shannon Bruce Snaith, he has also played other much loved characters like Eli Sammler in the television drama ‘Once and Again’, and Darby Crash in ‘What We Do Is Secret’. The son of musician parents who had their own punk bands, he had an inherent interest in music and the performing arts. He grew up listening to the music of Elvis Costello, The Clash, The Jam and Blondie and believed he would one day become a musician. His interest in acting began to surface when he was in his teens. He relocated to Los Angeles with the dream of becoming an actor. Life was not kind to him initially and he struggled hard to find work and earn his livelihood. However he never gave up and dabbled in theatre before finding work in television. His stage debut in ‘The Cider House Rules’ led to an offer to star in the television series, ‘Once and Again’. His role in the drama series not only catapulted him to the status of a teen heart-throb, but also got him noticed for his acting skills. Movie roles followed and soon he was an established star.
Childhood & Early Life
Shane West is the son of Leah Catherine and Don Snaith. His father owned a drug store while his mother is a lawyer. Both his parents were deeply interested in music and had their own punk band. He has two younger sisters.
His parents divorced in 1982 and he went to live with his mother in California. He loved music and acting from an early age and his favourite musicians were Elvis Costello, The Jam, Blondie, and The Kinks.
As a teenager he relocated to Los Angeles to pursue a career in acting.
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Initially he struggled to find work as do many aspiring actors. He appeared in an episode of the CBS drama ‘Picket Fences’ titled ‘Heart of Saturday Night’ in 1995. The same year he also voiced the character Doug in the television series, ‘California Dreams’.
He made his stage debut in 1998 in the six-hour production pf John Irving’s ‘The Cider House Rules’ as Mark Tapper. He guest-starred in the television series ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’.
He got his career breakthrough in 1999 when he was chosen to play Eli Sammler in the ABC family drama ‘Once and Again’. This role earned him the tag of a teen heart throb and also won him accolades for portraying a wide range of emotions through his character.
He made his feature film debut in the comedy drama, ‘Liberty Heights’ in 1999. The plot revolves around a Jewish family and is a semi-autobiographical account of the life of the director, Barry Levinson.
He played Ryan Woodman in the teen comedy ‘Whatever It Takes’ in 2000 which also starred James Franco. The plot revolves around two high school boys who try to help each other in winning the hearts of the girls they love.
In 2002 he starred opposite Mandy Moore in the coming-of-age teen romance ‘A Walk to Remember’ which was based on the novel of the same name by Nicholas Sparks.
He played Tom Sawyer in the superhero film ‘The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen’ in 2003. It had several well-known names like Sean Connery, Naseeruddin Shah, Peta Wilson, etc. It was a huge commercial hit.
In the 2007 biographical film ‘What We Do Is Secret’ he portrayed Darby Crash the singer of the Los Angeles punk rock band, the Germs. The film tells the story of how the band members met and formed the band.
Along with Edward Burns and Ving Rhames he appeared in the science fiction action thriller, ‘Echelon Conspiracy’ (2009) in which he plays a computer engineer who gets a mobile phones and starts receiving strange text messages.
He played a ghost in the horror thriller, ‘The Presence’ in which an apparition stalks a woman who travels to an isolated cabin. It a romantic horror where the ghost grows more obsessive over the woman when her human lover arrives.
From 2010 till 2013 he played a role in the television series ‘Nikita’ which was based on the life of a woman who escaped from a secret government funded organization. He was much appreciated for his performance.
A musician at heart, he was the lead singer of the punk rock band 'Jonny Was' for several years. He also plays with the band, The Germs often, touring with them from time to time.
He is best known for portraying Landon Carter in the teen romance, ‘A Walk to Remember’. He plays a high school student who falls in love with a terminally ill girl and helps her in finding happiness during her last days.
Awards & Achievements
He is the recipient of two Teen Choice Awards: Film-Choice Chemistry for ‘A Walk to Remember’ in 2002 and TV-Choice Actor, Action, for ‘Nikita’ in 2011.
Personal life & Legacy
He is not married. He has been linked to several beautiful women like Rachel Lee Cook, Jenna Dewan-Tatum, and Maggie Q.