Dylan McDermott (born October 26, 1961) is an American actor. He portrayed the main character Ben Harmon in the first season of American Horror Story, and portrayed Johnny Morgan in the second season, Asylum. He is best known for his roles as "Bobby Donnell" on The Practice and "Lieutenant Carter Shaw" on Dark Blue.

Personal Life

Mark Anthony McDermott, but better known by his professional name: Dylan, was born in Waterbury, Connecticut, to Diane and Richard McDermott. His Italian-American mother and Irish-American father were 15 and 17, respectively, when he was born. In 1967, his parents divorced, and Dylan lived with his mother and sister at his grandmother's.

When he was five, his mother was accidentally shot and killed with her boyfriend's gun. Dylan and his sister were then raised by their maternal grandmother, Avis Marino.

As a teenager, McDermott began taking trips to visit his father, who owned the West Fourth Street Saloon in New York City. The two would see movies together, McDermott would work in his father's bar serving drinks and breaking up fights. As a teenager, McDermott was uncomfortable with himself, and began imitating his acting heroes (Marlon Brando and Humphrey Bogart) to adopt their demeanors. McDermott attended and graduated from Holy Cross High School in Waterbury. While in his teens, McDermott met Jessica Lange who worked as a waitress in a nearby bar.

McDermott's father's third wife was Eve Ensler (author of The Vagina Monologues). His father, Richard, met Eve through his job as a bartender; Eve was an alcoholic at the time. Richard, however, managed to get her sober. She adopted McDermott when he was 15 and she was 23; she and his father have since divorced.[1] McDermott has remained close to Ensler, and encouraged him to pursue his acting career, even writing roles for him in her plays. After Ensler suffered a miscarriage, he took the name "Dylan", the name she had planned for her unborn child. Eve has said that Dylan taught her "how to love".[2]

He attended acting school at the Jesuit-run Fordham University, as well as studying under Sanford Meisner at The Neighborhood Playhouse.

McDermott is noted for his rugged good looks and fashionable style, which he has been featured for in magazines, such as Men's Health. In 1999, he was one of a six-way tie for sixth place in GQ's "Man of the Year" issue.

McDermott married actress Shiva Afshar Rose, who is of half Irish and half Persian decent, on November 19, 1995. They have two daughters; Colette (born 1996, 15 years old) and Charlotte Rose (born 2005, 6 years old). On September 27, 2007, People magazine confirmed that McDermott and Rose had separated. On May 16, 2008, reported that McDermott had filed for divorce from Rose, and their divorce was finalized on January 2, 2009.

McDermott is a recovering alcoholic and has been sober for well over 20 years.

For further reference on his work, check out his IMDB page .


Dylan on his role as Ben

  • Dylan has said about the role of Ben Harmon: "I campaigned for this role. I knew this was THE role for me." [3]
  • McDermott commented on whether the end goal for the Harmon family was to get rid of the ghosts or learn to live with them. "Maybe a little bit of both. When I met with Ryan, Brad, and Connie, originally we had talked about that this really is a show about a fractured family and what infidelity can do to people. It's a metaphor for all the horror of being in a relationship and being in a family and being in a marriage. Connie and I try to keep it as real as possible because we're probably the most grounding part of the show, but I think that's really important so it doesn't become just a freak fest…We try to keep it grounded in reality so people can be rooted in something, rooted in the family…I think you just have to go with it. There's no parachute in this show. There's no net. We just are all in this together, and that's what makes it so much fun is that everybody's making the same show here. And we're all going for it. And so I think that's why it's working."[4]



  1. In Search Of Dylan McDermott". Esquire (1 March 2000).
  2. Horsburgh, Susan (16 February 2004). "All about Eve". People Magazine, vol. 61, no. 6.
  3. Dylan McDermott on Regis and Kelly show, 11 Oct 2011, see Video
  4. Guard, Sean (6 November 2011). "Dylan McDermott and Connie Britton talk'American Horror Story'". Napier's News.

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