January 24, 1984
Los Angeles, California, United States
Emily Baldoni, Emily Foxler
Actor Justin Baldoni enjoyed steady work as a featured or regular player on television series like "Everwood" (CW, 2002-2006) and "Jane the Virgin" (CW, 2014- ) while also establishing himself as a producer and director through a series of inspirational short documentaries. Born Justin Louis Baldoni on January 24, 1984 in Los Angeles, California, he was raised in Medford, Oregon by his parents Sam and Sharon Baldoni, who were members of the Bahá'í faith. He excelled at sports and initially wanted to pursue a career in that field, but a hamstring injury suffered in his senior year of high school put an end to that dream. Baldoni attempted to compete on the California State University Long Beach track team, but the injury proved too difficult to overcome, and he relocated to Los Angeles, where a talent manager suggested that he try his hand at acting. He soon began booking roles in television series like "The Young and the Restless" (CBS, 1973- ) and made-for-TV features like "Spring Break Shark Attack" (CBS, 2005) before landing a recurring role on the fourth season of "Everwood" as Reid Bardem, a medical student and romantic rival for Gregory Smith's Ephram Brown. The exposure led to more work on television and the occasional feature, as well as a second career in producing and writing his own projects. In 2009, he produced and starred in the low-budget horror film "The Forgotten Ones" (2009), which was hobbled by production problems. Baldoni quickly recovered from this misfire and netted recurring appearances on "The Bold and the Beautiful" (CBS, 1987- ) and "Heroes" (NBC, 2006-2010). He also partnered with actor and fellow Bahá'í member Rainn Wilson to create a documentary series titled "My Last Days" (2010- ), which focused on individuals contending with terminal illnesses. Baldoni launched his own production company, Wayfarer Entertainment, which issued "Rebel With a Cause: The Sam Simon Story" (Fusion, 2015), a documentary about the "Simpsons" (Fox, 1989- ) co-creator's efforts to fund animal rights causes while dealing with his own terminal illness. During this period, Baldoni landed one of his highest-profile roles to date: as Rafael Solano, the biological father of the baby carried - entirely by mistake - by Jane Villanueva (Gina Rodriguez) on the hit series "Jane the Virgin." Based on a Venezuelan telenovela of the same name, "Jane" flitted between high-camp drama and knowing self-parody, as evidenced by Rafael's relationship with his scheming, Mob-connected wife, Petra (Yael Grobglas) and Jane, to whom he becomes romantically attached as the baby comes to full term. While working on the series, Baldoni continued to produce and direct his own projects, including the documentary "Laughing at My Nightmare" (2015), about a young man living with spinal muscular atrophy.