Thomas John Patrick "Tom" Welling (born April 26, 1977) is an American actor, director, producer, and former model, best known for his portrayal of Clark Kent in the CW series Smallville.
A high school athlete, Welling initially worked in construction and in 1998 he successfully modeled men's clothing for several popular brands. In 2000, he made a successful transition to television. He has been nominated and received several awards for his portrayal of Clark Kent. He also had a recurring role in Judging Amy. He has also been involved behind the camera as an executive producer and a director. His films include Cheaper by the Dozen, its sequel, and the 2005 remake of The Fog.
Welling was born in upstate New York on April 26, 1977. His family moved frequently, making stops in Wisconsin, Delaware, and Michigan. Welling attended Okemos High School in Okemos, Michigan, where he started acting in plays, but then switched into sports. Welling played baseball and soccer, but his favorite sport is basketball.
Welling is one of four children. His brother, Mark Welling, is also an actor. Originally a construction worker, Welling was discovered in 1998 at a party in Nantucket by a catalog camera scout who suggested he try modeling. Welling modeled for Louisa Modeling Agency until 2000, when he relocated to Los Angeles. There he modeled for Tommy Hilfiger, Abercrombie & Fitch, and Calvin Klein while pursuing an acting career. Welling has stated that he did not like modeling and that he was not good at it because it was all on the outside or from an external point of view. He pursued acting because he wanted to express a range of emotions. In his first major acting role, Welling portrayed karate teacher Rob Meltzer, a.k.a "Karate Rob", a younger love interest of Amy Brenneman's character on the CBS series Judging Amy, which aired in 2001. Welling was originally signed for three episodes; after receiving enthusiastic fan reviews, the producers kept him for three more. Welling also had a small role in UPN's Special Unit 2, and he appeared in the debut episode of the FOX sitcom Undeclared.
Welling was cast in the television series Smallville after a nationwide search for an actor to play Clark Kent. In an interview with a teen magazine, Welling spoke about the day he auditioned for the role: "I was on my way back from the Warner Bros. studio, and I stopped in a gas station to call my manager and tell him how it went. I called and got him on the phone and he said, 'Can you hold on a second?' Next thing I know, there are literally seven people on the other line and almost in unison they say, 'Tom, you got it!'" The pilot aired in October 2001, and became the highest-rated debut for The WB, with 8.4 million viewers. Welling told TV Guide that he turned down the lead role twice, but after reading the script, decided to take the job. Like Christopher Reeve, he was not a Superman fan prior to being cast as Clark Kent. In fact, he said, he continues to not read Superman comics: "I made a conscious decision to stay away from that material. We're doing something different at a time before all that, I don't want that to affect what I'm doing, even subconsciously." He did get the chance to meet a previous Superman, Christopher Reeve, when the actor was invited on Smallville in the Season 2 episode "Rosetta".
Welling was named one of People magazine’s "Breakthrough Stars of 2001", and also won the Teen Choice Award as "Choice Breakout Star (Male)" in 2002 for his role as Clark Kent. Following the third season, Welling was interviewed by Smallville Magazine and stated that if he could play one character on the show that was not Clark Kent, it would be the character of Lex Luthor; "Lex Luthor! I wouldn’t mind having my head shaved – as an actor, [it is the ultimate,] getting to play the complete opposite of your character." In 2004 Welling was approached about starring in the big screen adaptation of Superman when director Brett Ratner was attached to project. Comic book artist Alex Ross even did two sketches of Welling as the "Man of Steel" to see what the actor would look like in the famous costume. In August 2009, Welling won another Teen Choice Award as "Choice TV Actor (Action Adventure)" for Smallville. Welling made his directorial debut in 2006, with the season five episode of Smallville, "Fragile". He also directed the season six episode "Hydro", the show's 150th episode "Apocalypse", the season eight episode "Injustice", and the second part of season nine's Absolute Justice movie, which was titled Legends. Later, he directed two episodes of Smallville's last season: Patriot and Booster. Booster was written by Geoff Johns, who also wrote Absolute Justice.
In December 2003, Welling played Charlie Baker, the oldest son and second oldest in the Baker family which had 12 children in the film Cheaper by the Dozen, which is a remake of the 1950 movie starring Clifton Webb and Myrna Loy, based on the 1948 book by Frank and Lillian Gilbreth. Welling had always been a fan of Steve Martin's and stated that he "absolutely loved" working with him. In 2005, Welling appeared as Nick Castle in The Fog, a remake of John Carpenter's 1980 film of the same name and he reprised his role as Charlie Baker in Cheaper by the Dozen 2. For Smallville's ninth season, Welling served as a co-executive producer. He returned as Clark Kent for the show's tenth and final season in Fall 2010 and has become a full executive producer, as credited in a May 20, 2010 press release by the CW. Welling still models occasionally and appeared in the May 2008 issue of Vogue, the so-called Superhero Issue. Welling executive produces Hellcats, a new television series based on the book Cheer: Inside the Secret World of College Cheerleaders by journalist Kate Torgovnick. The series first aired on The CW beginning in Fall 2010. Hellcats was canceled by the CW May 17, 2011. Welling has been married to model Jamie White since 2002. They were married in Martha's Vineyard with Welling's friends and former Smallville co-stars Kristin Kreuk and Michael Rosenbaum in attendance. Welling and his wife reside in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Tom Welling handsome performance pose
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