Brandon Routh

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Brandon Routh
Birth name Brandon James Routh
Born October 9, 1979 (age 27)
Des Moines, Iowa
Height 6' 2.5" (189 cm)
Notable roles Superman in Superman Returns

Brandon James Routh (born October 9, 1979) is an American actor and former fashion model. He grew up in Iowa before moving to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career, and subsequently appeared on several television series throughout the early 2000s. In 2004, he was cast in the lead role in the 2006 film Superman Returns. Brandon Routh is currently dating Shannon Smith.


Early life

Routh, the third of four children, was born in Des Moines, Iowa to Katie, a teacher, and Ron Routh, a carpenter; both of his parents play music in their spare time and his sister, Sara Routh, is a singer. Routh's family, which is Methodist, has German, French, English and Native American ancestry. Routh grew up in Norwalk, Iowa, which was located approximately 100 miles south of Woolstock, the hometown of George Reeves, the second actor to play Superman. During his childhood, Routh thought that a full-time acting career was unrealistic, citing his small-town background. In his spare time, he played the trumpet and the piano. Routh attended Norwalk High School, where he played sports and participated in music and theatre. He describes himself as a "momma's boy" and not "the most popular kid" during his school years. Routh has also noted that during his younger years, he was fond of the Superman films and comic books.

Routh attended the University of Iowa for a year, aspiring to be a writer. During this time, he starred in several productions at the Norwalk Theatre of Performing Arts, and modelled and acted in order to earn his tuition fee. Routh has said that he was always told that he bore a physical resemblance to Christopher Reeve, who had previously portrayed Superman. His former manager signed him on because of the resemblance, telling him that he thought Routh would be cast as Superman if there was another film in the series.

Early career

In 1999, Routh left the University and moved to New York City and then Los Angeles, where he pursued a full-time acting career, first appearing as an extra in Christina Aguilera's music video for " What a Girl Wants". He was cast in his first major role in 1999, in an episode of the short-lived ABC television series, Odd Man Out. In 2000, he had a four-episode role on the third season of MTV's nighttime soap opera, Undressed. Routh subsequently appeared on the WB's Gilmore Girls (in a February 2001 episode, "Concert Interupptus", playing an attendee of a Bangles concert), and earned steady work on the soap opera One Life to Live, playing Seth Anderson from May 23, 2001 until April 17, 2002.

Routh's later primetime credits include guest roles on CBS's Cold Case, NBC's Will & Grace and Fox's short-lived series, Oliver Beene. During this time, he worked as a bartender at a popular bowling alley in Hollywood, Lucky Strike Lanes, and shared an apartment with his sister.

Superman role

Prior to Routh's casting as Superman, Warner Bros. had spent over a decade developing a plan to relaunch the franchise, with possible stars including name actors Nicolas Cage (who had at one point signed on to the role), Josh Hartnett, Brendan Fraser, Paul Walker, James Marsden, Ashton Kutcher and planned directors including Tim Burton, Kevin Smith, Wolfgang Petersen, McG, Brett Ratner and Shekhar Kapur. When director Bryan Singer came aboard the project, however, he insisted that an unknown actor be cast in the part, in the tradition of the casting of the best-known film Superman, Christopher Reeve.

Routh, then 25, had previously already auditioned for director McG and was spotted by Singer after he viewed Routh's videotaped audition. Singer, who since noted Routh as being the embodiment of "our collective memory of Superman", was impressed by his resemblance to the comic book icon and found the actor's humble Mid-western roots perfect for the role, as well as his "combination of vulnerability and confidence" that Singer said reminded him of Christopher Reeve. Singer decided to cast Routh after the two met on August 13, 2004, but did not tell Routh until two months later, when Routh's casting was announced in October 2004, making him an "instant celebrity". Before filming began, Routh bulked-up for the role, gaining 22 pounds to reach approximately 215 pounds. Filming for Superman Returns began in Sydney in February 2005. The film was released in the U.S. on June 28, 2006. Routh has already signed on to appear in two potential sequels to the film.

Routh has commented that he feared his performance would too closely resemble that of Christopher Reeve. Routh has said that he hopes to "remind people of Christopher while at the same time making them feel like they're seeing a totally new Superman". Reviews of Routh's performance are generally positive, with Newsweek noting that he "effortlessly lays claim to the iconic role". On the other hand, film critic Roger Ebert noted that he thinks "Routh lacks charisma as Superman, and I suppose as Clark Kent, he isn't supposed to have any".

A video interview with Routh talking about the Superman role with Scottish TV can be found here.

Personal life

Routh has been dating Los Angeles-born actress Courtney Ford since 2004. The two met at Lucky Strike Lanes bowling alley during Routh's period of employment there. Routh and Ford, who live in Los Angeles together as of 2006, both appeared in Denial, a short film that played at a Las Vegas film festival. In August of 2006, Routh's spokeswoman, Kacey Spies, confirmed that Routh and Ford were engaged. They plan to marry next autumn.

Routh has known actor Kal Penn, a co-star in Superman Returns, for several years during the time he lived in Los Angeles. Routh and Penn were both also featured in the The Lonely Island's Awesometown MTV pilot music video.

Routh's sister, Sara, has a musical track entitled "You're Never Gone" on Sound of Superman, the companion soundtrack of the film.

Routh is a fan and player of the video game World of Warcraft.


  • Superman Returns ( 2006) - $1,000,000


  • Superman Returns: The Video Game (2006)... Clark Kent/Superman
  • Superman Returns (2006)... Clark Kent/Superman
  • Denial (2006) [Updated Nov. 2006 - Purchase at iTunes]
  • Karla (2006)...Tim Peters


  • The Batman ( 2006)...The Everywhere Man
  • Oliver Beene ( 2004)...Brian
  • Will & Grace (2004)...Sebastian
  • Cold Case ( 2003)...Young Henry Phillips
  • One Life To Live ( 2001- 2002)...Seth Anderson
  • Gilmore Girls ( 2001)..."Hot" College Student
  • Undressed ( 1999)...Wade
  • Odd Man Out (1999)...Connor Williams
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