Biography: John Corbett

 

 

 

 

 

Emmy and Global Globe nominee John Corbett portrayed Chris Stevens, Cicely's resident disc jockey. Known to quote Walt Whitman, Jung, and Dostoevsky over the air on KBHR's Chris in the Morning Show, Chris also spins an off-the-wall musical mix, ranging from jazz to show tunes to rock-n-roll, and provides a running commentary on the offbeat goings-on in Cicely, Alaska.

Born May 9, 1961, and raised in West Virginia (like his character, Chris), John Joseph Corbett, Jr. moved to California where he found work in a steel factory. He worked there for six years until an injury forced him to quit. Concurrently, he was attending the local city college and decided to sit in on a friend's drama class on a whim. While there, he was invited on stage for an exercise and was immediately captivated with the craft. Corbett went on to perform in several college theater productions under the encouragement and direction of his drama teacher, who motivated him to pursue Hollywood.

Not long thereafter, Corbett landed a series of high-profile commercials, appearing in over fifty national spots and also guest-starring in the highly acclaimed series The Wonder Years. When he wasn't acting, Corbett performed in a band in the Seattle area, where he also owned a nightclub (Fenix Underground). The Fenix was severely damaged in an earthquake February 2001 but reopened in a new location in 2002 under different ownership. In addition to his musical pursuits, he enjoys playing softball, basketball, and shooting pool.

Since both Corbett and his character, Chris, are from Wheeling, West Virginia, the writers/producers of Northern Exposure let Corbett use references from his own past. "Uncle Roy Bauer", "Chuck Vincent" and "Earl P. Duffy" are character names Chris Stevens refers to on Northern Exposure. They also happen to be real people Corbett grew up with. Roy Bauer was a high school friend, Earl P. Duffy was the Dean of Discipline at Wheeling Central Catholic High School (the school Corbett attended). (Thanks to Agent Pat of the former John Corbett Home Page for this bit of trivia.)

After Northern Exposure ended, he was the official spokesperson for Ford TV ads, which echoed his Chris-in-the-Morning character. He has appeared in several television movies including Innocent Victims (1996), The Sky's on Fire (1996) and On Hostile Ground (1998), a successful TBS disaster movie. His TV work also includes the miniseries To Serve and Protect (1999), a short lived dramatic series called The Visitor (1997) and FX's Lucky (2003). He had minor roles in the feature films Wedding Bell Blues (1996) and Volcano (1997). He also appeared in a music video for the Scorpians' "Woman."

Deemed the "Alaskan Adonis" by TV Guide during his NX stint, it is no surprise that Corbett guest starred in 2000 as Sarah Jessica Parker's (Carrie) love interest on HBO's Sex and the City. Corbett, who stands 6'4" to Parker's 5'4" plays Aiden, a furniture maker who meets Parker when she buys a chair from him. This role cemented Corbett's sex-symbol status: Parker told TV Guide that her co-stars "Kristin (Davis) and Cynthia (Nixon) said to me, 'If you don't want him, we'll take him.' I'm like, 'Ladies, he's not a piece of meat!'" Corbett, who claims to be a long-term bachelor says he really respects the show for daring to realistically portray the relationship between the sexes. In 2001, Corbett returned to Sex and the City. The show's executive producer Michael Patrick King said that fans besieged the show's producers with pieces of wood and small chairs carved with the words, "Don't Leave Aiden Unfinished!" But in the end, it wasn't Aiden who ended up with Carrie.

In 2000, Corbett hosted the A&E documentary series "Love Chronicles", a series which takes a sociological, scientific, and historical look at the rituals and traditions surrounding love, courtship and marriage. He also appeared in the films Dinner Rush, Serendipity, Private Lies, Prancer Returns, and My Dinner with Jimi released in 2000 and 2001.

In 2002, he appeared in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, a romantic comedy produced by Tom Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson. As of November 2002, MBFGW has made more than $200 Million. "Not only has "Greek Wedding" become the biggest independent film in history (surpassing the $140.5 million grossed by "The Blair Witch Project" in 1999), but it has become the most financially successful romantic comedy (beating the $178.4 million grossed by "Pretty Woman" in 1990, although ticket prices were much lower then)." (NY Times, 11/27/02).

Corbett played "a sexy man of god," Pastor Dan, in Raising Helen (2004). He also appeared in the Hilary Duff movie Raise Your Voice (2004). Corbett filmed two more movies in 2004, Elvis Has Left the Building and Bigger Than the Sky (working title was "Caught in the Act"). At the end of 2004, Corbett was filming Dreamland in New Mexico. An ABC television series project also has been rumoured in the works for some time, although nothing seems to have come of it... yet (was first reported in Nov. 2003).

However, in the Fall of 2004, Corbett declared his retirement from acting (perhaps just a hiatus) and debut into country music. “I’m definitely branching into music and I’m getting out of acting,” confesses Corbett, best known for Northern Exposure, My Big Fat Greek Wedding and his turn opposite Sarah Jessica Parker in Sex and the City. “I’ve got one more movie to promote after this one and then it’s, ‘Thank you, Jesus, I don’t have to do this anymore.” After a brief, unproductive stint with Broken Bow Records, Corbett has created his own record label, Fun Bone Records. The "John Corbett" album recorded in Nashville, includes songs penned by such top country writers as Tim Nichols, Rivers Rutherford, Darrell Scott, Jon Randall, Mark Selby and Hal Ketchum. You can buy it through his My Space site or on his official band web site, where you also can see a list of upcoming appearances.

You can hear Corbett's voice in the Imax movie Magnificent Desolation:Walking On The Moon 3D. The movie hit the big screen September 23, 2006.

On November 26, 2006, Corbett was inducted into the Hall of Fame in his home town of Wheeling West, Virginia.

While focusing on a his music career, he appeared in a couple of films. "Dreamland" made its premiere at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival and has been showcased at numerous festivals throughout the world since. It's now available on DVD. He appeared in the Pang Brothers' The Messengers, (available on DVD) with Kristen Stewart, Dylan McDermott, and Penelope Ann Miller in 2007. The creepy movie centered on a city family that has just moved to the prairies of North Dakota in order to farm sunflowers. The setting is serene and idyllic, but what lies just beneath the surface is an incredible evil. In 2007, Corbett also appeared in Lifetime's original movie "Montana Sky," based on Nora Roberts' best-selling novel.

In 2008, he appeared in Street Kings. According to PR Inside, Corbett loved playing a Los Angeles cop in the film - because he once spent a year training to become an L.A. County Deputy Sheriff. Corbett spent much of 1982 with top police recruits working out for the force - but he failed to make it as an officer. He recalls, "I was working in a steel factory as a boiler maker but my dad tried to become a Deputy Sheriff and he didn't make it, so I tried. Every three months you go in for agility tests and if you pass that you move onto interviews and oral exams. Ultimately I didn't make it, I wasn't Deputy Sheriff material." He also appeared in a Trisha Yearwood video to "This Is Me You're Talking To,"shot in Nashville, and in the film Baby on Board, shot in Chicago.

He spends his free time with girlfriend, actress Bo Derek, whom he met on a blind date. He has houses in California, Maui, and West Virginia.

Fun fact: Corbett was in a music video in the 1980s - The Scorpians' Woman. Fellow NoEx cast member Darren Burrows also appeared ina 1980s music video.

In 2007, Corbett wrapped up touring with the band, only occasionally doing a show, and returned to acting. A source close to the band has confirmed this. Unfortunately the band's web site is no longer updated so to catch him in a rare performance, check Pollstar.

Current and Upcoming Projects:

Corbett can currently be seen on Showtime's United States of Tara, a "multiple personality" comedy starring Toni Collette (who suffers from multiple personality disorder), written by Oscar-winning Juno scribe Diablo Cody. He plays Tara's husband, trying to cope with the disorder. Fellow NoEx alum Valerie Mahaffey also appears in the series as Tara's therapist.

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You'll hear his unmistakable voice on the current Applebee's TV and radio "neighborhood" ads. Corbett started the voice campaign in March 2008.

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Corbett is filming the big-screen adaptation of Beverly Cleary's book, Ramona and Beezus due to be released in July 2010. He plays Ramona's father.

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Articles:
John Corbett: Putting the Sizzle in Cicely, Alaska - TV Guide, 12/21/91
A Entertainment Weekly magazine cover for My Big Fat Greek wedding, 10/04/02
INTERVIEW: John Corbett on "Raising Helen" - Cinema Confidential, 5/18/04
Corbett enjoys more 'Exposure' - NY Daily News, 6/2/04
Perennial Boyfriend John Corbett To Cross Over Into Music - MTV.com, 10/12/04
John Corbett Finds Peace of Mind in Ohio Valley - The Intelligencer Wheeling News-Register, 1/15/06
Acting or singing, John Corbett is having a ball - Express-Times of Easton, Pa., 8/21/07

See John Corbett Band Official Site. • See when John Corbett is on TVJohn Corbett Fan Site
John Corbett on My SpaceJohn Corbett on You Tube


© Copyright, 2010 • Northern Exposure is Copyright Universal City Studios. All Rights Reserved. • Created 12/22/01 • Updated 2/18/10