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Debby Ryan Biography


Home > Actresses > R > Ryan, Debby > Biography


Birth Name: Debby Ryan


She was born Deborah Ann Ryan on May 13, 1993 in Huntsville, AL. With a father who was in the military, she and her family moved around several times, including living in Wiesbaden, Germany. While there, Ryan participated in school plays and musicals, and decided that she wanted to be an actor at age nine. After three years in overseas, the family moved to Fort Worth, TX, where Ryan attended Fossil Hill Middle and Fossil Ridge High School. In her teens, they moved to Los Angeles, hoping to launch Ryan's acting career. She began landing work in various television commercials and landed roles on the popular children's program "Barney & Friends" (PBS, 1992-97; The WB, 1997- ). Ryan made her feature film debut in the family comedy "The Longshots" (2008), as a popular but mean-spirited girl.

It was not long before Disney Channel gave the aspiring actress guest spots on some of its hit shows like "Hannah Montana" (2006-2011), starring Miley Cyrus as a teen by day leading a double life as a pop singer by night, and on "Wizards of Waverly Place" (2007-2011), starring Selena Gomez as a modern-day teen wizard living with her magical family in New York City. Ryan's career took off when she became a regular on the top-rated Disney Channel series "The Suite Life on Deck," a spin-off the popular show "The Suite Life of Zack & Cody" (2005-08), about the hilarious adventures of twin boys Zack and Cody Martin (Dylan and Cole Sprouse) who live in the hotel where their mother works as a lounge singer. "The Suite Life on Deck" centered on the twins attending a semester-at-sea program aboard a ship called the SS Tipton, owned by the billionaire father of London Tipton (Brenda Song), the twins' superficial and dim-witted friend. Ryan played Bailey Pickett, a smart country girl who becomes London's unwilling roommate and Cody's teen crush. Due to her small-town wardrobe and kind personality, Ryan's character was often the brunt of London's jokes, but the two ended up as friends.

Ryan also starred in the Disney Channel TV movie "16 Wishes" (2010), about a teenaged girl whose childhood wishes all come true on the day of her 16th birthday. While Ryan's fanbase was accustomed to seeing her in lighter fare, she surprised them by playing a rebellious teen in the independent film "What If " (2010), starring Kevin Sorbo and Kristy Swanson. In 2011, Ryan was back on the Disney Channel with the title role on "Jessie," about an 18-year-old girl from Texas who becomes an au pair in New York City. Unlike most Disney shows where its lead characters often found themselves embroiled in made-up high school drama, "Jessie" was about a normal teenager who is entering a new phase in her life in a new city. Scoring the lead role on "Jessie" marked a turning point in Ryan's career, introducing her as the network's next big star and eliciting comparisons to former Disney starlets like Hilary Duff, Cyrus and Gomez.

By Candy Cuenco