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Dean McDermott embodied the archetypical Hollywood romantic lead - tall, blue eyed, and an all-around congenial personality. In the mid-1990s, he was considered somewhat of a screen heartthrob who appeared in more than 30 films and 15 television productions, most notably as Constable Turnbull on the Canadian TV series, "Due South" (CTV, 1995-96), and for his intriguing performance in "Lives of Girls and Women" (CBC Television, 1994). But McDermott's claim to fame was his whirlwind affair with actress Tori Spelling; the affair became instant tabloid fodder since both were still married at the time. After separating from their respective spouses a month after they met, the two tied the knot in 2006 and quickly parlayed their newfound fame into the reality series "Tori & Dean: Inn Love" (Oxygen, 2007-08) and "Tori & Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood" (Oxygen, 2008-12). With the success of his reality shows, McDermott finally became a household name and gained a new legion of fans.
Dean McDermott was born on Nov. 16, 1966 in Toronto, Canada. His acting dreams started early on as a young boy who played dress-up with his three older sisters, usually in a cowboy or pirate costume. He moved to Los Angeles in his late teens, presumably to pursue acting, but returned to Canada where he had better luck scoring roles. Canadian audiences paid little attention until they saw him play the romantic lead in the TV movie "Lives of Girls and Women," based on the Alice Munro novel. He portrayed farmhand Garet French, with whom a young woman falls in love despite her parents' objections. The performance earned McDermott a Gemini nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
More commercials and guest appearances on TV and film followed. In 1995, McDermott finally received the break he had been waiting for - a recurring role in "Due South," Canada's most popular satirical TV series. In the show's first season episode "The Man Who Knew Too Little," McDermott played Laurier, a Canadian mobster. The show's director, Paul Haggis, was so impressed with his performance that when he created the character of Constable Renfield Turnbull, McDermott was a shoe-in for the role. Fans of the show loved his portrayal of Turnbull, a bumbling straight arrow who tried too hard with everyone. The show's creators apparently agreed with McDermott's fans and cast him for three consecutive seasons.
Fans were also struck by his portrayal of Mark Simpson, captain of the Steelheads hockey team, in the Canadian TV series "Power Play" (CTV, 1998-2000). The gig was reportedly one of the actor's favorites. After appearing in mostly unremarkable guest roles on television and in film, Hollywood finally took notice when McDermott was cast as Doc Barlow in the Kevin Costner Western, "Open Range" (2003), co-starring Robert Duvall and Annette Benning. A few years later, McDermott revealed a grittier side when he co-starred opposite Ving Rhames in the feature film "Saving God" (2008). He portrayed Blaze, an illegal drug captain who is conflicted between the money earned and the family he lost due to his criminal affairs. The normally clean-cut actor shaved his head and sported a Mohawk haircut and graffiti tattoo to lend more credence to the villainous role.
Even with a long list of TV and film credits under his belt, it was McDermott's romantic relationships that garnered the most publicity. Pre-Tori Spelling, he was married to Mary Jo Eustace, a Canadian actress and a TV host. The couple had two children - Jack Montgomery and Lola, whom the couple adopted in 2005. That same year, McDermott and Spelling met while filming the TV movie "Mind Over Murder" (Lifetime, 2005). For her part, Spelling had been married a year to actor Charlie Shanian. While filming in Toronto that summer, McDermott and Spelling fell in love and became inseparable. Filming lasted just three weeks, but by the time it was over, the pair was reportedly referring to each other as "soul mates." When McDermott returned to California, he broke the news of his extramarital affair to Eustace during a family vacation in Palm Springs. A shocked Eustace wrote a tell-all book in retaliation, chronicling her struggles after McDermott unceremoniously dumped her. The book also revealed that she had confronted Spelling and begged her not to ruin their 12-year marriage. But the love-struck couple was intent on leaving their respective spouses, in spite of the controversy. Some critics went as far as to say that McDermott left his family to secure his "next meal ticket."
In September 2005, McDermott filed for divorce while Spelling separated from her husband, much to the shock of her famous family, including father and mega-TV producer Aaron Spelling and his socialite wife, Candy. Three months later, at a Christmas tree farm in Toronto, McDermott and Spelling became engaged. Both their divorces were finalized in early 2006. On May 2006, the notorious couple wed and quickly became known as Tori & Dean. They reportedly flew to the South Pacific in a last-minute decision to marry without any friends or family in attendance - most of whom did not approve in the first place. To some, the couple was a bit over-the-top, especially in light of the fact that both had deserted their spouses and children. McDermott began sporting several tattoos professing his love for Spelling, lest anyone harbored any doubts.
The newly minted couple's next plan of attack was to build a reality TV empire based solely on their real-life relationship. McDermott and Spelling soon co-starred on the popular reality TV series, "Tori & Dean: Inn Love," which ran for two seasons and chronicled the couple's adventures running a bed-and-breakfast in Fallbrook, CA. Drama followed them as they hunted for an affordable inn location, decorated it, and attempted to ingratiate themselves with the locals. McDermott appeared completely benign, unshaven, and yet supportive of Spelling's antics on screen. The series was picked up for a third season and renamed "Tori & Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood." Not surprisingly, they had given up the inn and moved to Tinseltown to raise a growing family. The revamped show followed the couple's day-to-day activities - buying and selling a house, searching for a preschool for their son Liam Aaron, who was born in 2007, and preparing for the birth of their second child, Stella Dorreen, born in 2008. The show also addressed the rift between Spelling and her recently widowed mother, Candy, who was said not have approved of her daughter's relationship with McDermott nor her willingness to air the Spelling family laundry in various reality TV programs.
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