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Balthazar Getty Biography


Home > Actors > G > Getty, Balthazar > Biography


Birth Name: Balthazar Getty
Born: 01/22/1975
Birth Place: Los Angeles, California, USA


Born Paul Balthazar Getty to parents Jean Paul Getty III and Gisela Zacher Getty in Tarzana, CA on Jan. 22, 1975, Balthazar (as he preferred to be called) was the great-grandson of oil tycoon J. Paul Getty. In 1988, while attending the exclusive Bel-Air Preparatory School near Beverly Hills, the 13-year-old Getty was discovered by casting agents looking for fresh faces to populate the latest big screen adaptation of William Golding's seminal novel about mankind's tenuous grip on civility, Lord of the Flies. After production on that debut film completed, Getty quickly began accepting more roles, among them the part of young Master Miles in Shelley Duvall's production of the Henry James classic, "The Turn of the Screw" (Showtime, 1989). The following year, Getty had his theatrical debut with the release of "Lord of the Flies" (1990), starring as Ralph, the well-intentioned leader of a group of schoolboys stranded on a deserted island. Director Harry Hook's updating of the material received mixed reviews, as did Getty's admittedly amateur performance as a boy desperately trying to keep his classmates from devolving into savagery, but it was enough to gain attention for the novice actor. Immediately following "Lord of the Flies" Getty appeared in a supporting role surrounded by heartthrobs Emilio Estevez, Kiefer Sutherland, and Christian Slater in the Brat Pack-laden Western sequel "Young Guns II" (1990), as a young orphan who idolizes Estevez's outlaw character, Billy the Kid.

Getty followed with another lead in the Pearl Harbor coming of age drama "December" (1991), as well as in the neo-Western family drama "My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys" (1991), alongside Scott Glenn, Kate Capshaw and Ben Johnson. The young actor pushed himself with his gritty portrayal of Little J., a drug addicted street hustler in the ensemble urban drama "Where the Day Takes You" (1992). The following year, he headlined director Paul Haggis' "Red Hot" (1993) as Alexis, a talented young musician in 1950s-era Russia who attempts to start his own rock-n-roll band, something banned in the Soviet Union at the time. Getty then had a brief, violent cameo in director Oliver Stone's polarizing critique on America's cult of celebrity, "Natural Born Killers" (1994), as a gas station attendant who meets his bloody demise at the hands of pixyish sociopath Juliette Lewis. The next year saw Getty in another small role alongside some serious muscle - Sylvester Stallone in the colossal big-budget failure "Judge Dredd" (1995), based on the popular futuristic action comic from the U.K. Getty also found time to pursue his interest in music when he produced several tracks on the debut album from hip-hop group Mannish in 1995. He next took to the high seas in director Ridley Scott's fact-based adventure drama "White Squall" (1996), starring Jeff Bridges and a cast of up-and-comers, including Scott Wolf and Jeremy Sisto, as a group of young men on a doomed academic nautical voyage.

Continuing to work with Ridley Scott, Getty returned to television for the first time since "The Turn of the Screw" in "The Swords," a vignette in the premiere of "The Hunger" (Showtime, 1997), a horror anthology series produced by Ridley and Tony Scott. Back in theaters, Getty landed a co-starring role in the surrealistic neo-noir thriller "Lost Highway" (1997), directed by enigmatic auteur David Lynch. In the film, also starring Bill Pullman and Patricia Arquette, Getty's character literally takes the place of Pullman's character mid-film - without explanation - before the narrative veers into a completely new, but possibly connected, parallel storyline. Around this time, Getty went into rehab for years of heroin and alcohol abuse, addictions he developed while a teenager and shared by grandfather, J. Paul Getty, Jr. and father J. Paul Getty III. When he emerged from treatment, Getty was clean and sober, ready to throw himself back into his work. Not surprisingly, one of his next projects drew heavily from his recent painful experiences. In "Shadow Hours" (2000), co-starring Peter Weller, Getty played a recovering addict who finds himself drawn into L.A.'s seedy underworld by a manipulative new acquaintance. Continuing his transition to stability, Getty married fashion designer Rosetta Millington in 2000, with whom he fathered a son, Cassius, and later, three daughters - Grace, Violet, and June. He picked up more work with a cameo in director Wayne Wang's exploration of eroticism "The Center of the World" (2001), in addition to joining the cast of the short-lived primetime soap "Pasadena" (Fox, 2001-02), not surprisingly, as the black sheep of a wealthy family who is recently out of rehab.

A supporting role in the over-the-top "Deuces Wild" (2002), a movie about street gangs in late-1950s Brooklyn, starring Stephen Dorff, preceded a recurring role as male witch Richard Montana in the Alyssa Milano supernatural series "Charmed" (The WB, 1998-2006). Getty also starred in the three-part miniseries "Traffic" (USA, 2004), based on the feature film and British miniseries of the same name. There was also a supporting role alongside stars John Travolta and Joaquin Phoenix in the melodramatic tribute to firefighters, "Ladder 49" (2004). The next year, Getty took more television roles in the miniseries "Into the West" (2005), as well as a recurring role for the final season of J.J. Abrams' popular spy series "Alias" (ABC, 2001-06), as Agent Thomas Grace. Getty was also cast in "Feast" (2006), the gloriously bloody result of the third season of Matt Damon and Ben Affleck's Project Greenlight (HBO, 2001-03; Bravo, 2004-05) competition. It was a productive year for Getty, when he finally achieved that which had eluded him for several years - joining the cast of a successful television drama series. "Brothers & Sisters" (ABC, 2006- ) followed the lives of the dysfunctional Walker clan as they attempted to keep their successful food business afloat after the death of the family patriarch. In the generally well-received series, Getty portrayed Tommy Walker, the womanizing son of Nora Walker (Sally Field). The show faired well in the ratings, however, due to what was described as "budgetary considerations." Soon, Getty's role was reduced to only a few sporadic appearances in its fourth season. In the slasher horror movie "The Tripper" (2007), directed by his friend David Arquette, Getty played a died-in-the-wool Republican who gets the ax from a maniac wearing a Ronald Reagan mask.

Getty caused a commotion in the summer of 2008, when photographs of the husband and father of four kissing a topless Sienna Miller - actress and former paramour of actor Jude Law - suddenly appeared in international tabloids. Getty's PR people quickly released a statement saying that he and wife Millington had been separated since the affair began - something refuted by Millington's reps - but it earned Getty little sympathy or respect from the media and public at large. At the time, several pundits speculated that it was the negative reaction from the cast and crew of "Brothers & Sisters," rather than "budgetary considerations," that led to his role on the series being severely scaled back for the 2009-2010 season. By the spring of 2009, Getty's high-profile affair had come to an end. In a 2010 interview with Harper's Bazaar, the actor announced that he and the mother of his children had reunited, stating, "It was a very challenging time for everyone." Also that year, Getty had brief turns on the series "Rizzoli and Isles" (TNT, 2010- ) as well as the revival of the exotic police action drama "Hawaii Five-0" (CBS, 2010- ).