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Brandon Routh Biography

Brandon James Routh 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 2005, he was cast as the titular hero of the 2006 film Superman Returns.

Early life
Routh, third of four children, was born in Norwalk, Iowa, on October 9, 1979, the son of Katie, a teacher, and Ron Routh, a carpenter; both of his parents play music in their spare time. His brother Rhett is a Des Moines Police officer; his older sister Sara is a singer traveling through Europe, and his younger sister Carolyn lives in Wisconsin. Routh's family, which is Methodist, has German, French, English, and Native American ancestry. Routh grew up in Norwalk, Iowa, which is located approximately 100 miles (160 km) south of Woolstock, the hometown of George Reeves, the first actor to play Superman on television. 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 modelled and acted in order to earn his tuition fee. Routh has said that he was often 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. He was also cast due to his height of 6'3", closely resembling 6'4" Christopher Reeve.

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 Interruptus", 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 as a gay boyfriend, and Fox's short-lived series, Oliver Beene.

Superman
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, Josh Hartnett, Brendan Fraser, Paul Walker, James Marsden, Ashton Kutcher, and Jim Caviezel and planned directors including Tim Burton, Wolfgang Petersen, Joseph McGinty Nichol, 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 24, 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 and was a box-office success, grossing $200 million in the US.  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 were 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".

At the 2006 Spike TV Awards, Brandon Routh won the award of "Best Superhero" as Superman in Superman Returns, beating out among others, Hugh Jackman as Wolverine.He also auditioned for Clark Kent in Smallville

Personal life
On August 23, 2006, Brandon became engaged to his girlfriend of 2½ years, actress Courtney Ford; the couple married on November 24, 2007 at the El Capitan Ranch in Santa Barbara.  He knew 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, The Avon Lady.

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. During the 2008 Presidential Election, Routh toured college campuses campaigning for Democratic Candidate Barack Obama.
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