Every Tuesday, we remember the dudes that decorated our photo binders. This week, we pause and appreciate James Van Der Beek.
Name: James Van Der Beek
We Called Him: We knew him as Dawson, his character on Dawson's Creek, or by his full name: James Van Der Beek. If you said, "I have so many posters of James on my wall," we would ask you, "who the eff is James?"
How Old Is He Now? 36 (Born March 8, 1977)
Claims to Fame: James's main claim to fame is as the titular Dawson Leery on the late '90s–early '00s teen drama Dawson's Creek — but he was in a few moderately successful films at the time too, including 1999's Varsity Blues.
Why We Loved Him: He's a sweetheart. He's safe. Even when he's a little more of a bad boy (as in Rules of Attraction), he's a real deer in the headlights about it. He's adorable.
There's also something really special about a dude that's able to maintain affection for someone really special in his life, no matter what happens. Although Dawson had a lot of love-triangle drama with the two other main characters on the show, girl-next-door Joey (Katie Holmes) and his bestie Pacey (Joshua Jackson), and sometimes things would boil over, Dawson never forgot that Joey was his oldest and dearest friend. It shows a lot of heart — and makes our hearts go pitter-pat.
While James's attractiveness was sometimes hindered by Dawson's full-bodied butt-part, it certainly lived up to its full, blue-eyed potential in 1999's Varsity Blues, featuring James as Mox, a high school quarterback with Ivy League aspirations. The flick also starred the late Paul Walker as Mox's teammate and best friend, Lance.
James always played characters who were a little quirky, but full of ambition, intelligence, and talent. He was certainly the thinking girl's pin-up boy.
What He's Up to Now: You may have caught James playing a fictionalized version of himself on Don't Trust the B in Apartment 23, casting a funny light on his teen heartthrob status and showing that he's still brilliant.
He's also an all-around nice guy, even coming to the defense of Justin Bieber amidst everyone rolling their eyes at the Baby singer. “Those kids — No. 1, they’re so young. No. 2, they’re under such an intense microscope," James told Vulture in November. And there’s a lot more money to be made off of them than there was when I was famous.”
James's personal life is going even better! In August, his wife Kimberly announced on her blog that the Van Der Beeks are expecting their third child. They already have two little ones: toddler Olivia, and Joshua, who's just about 2 years old.
Some naysayers would say that James doesn't have the coolest career these days, like Entourage star Adrian Grenier, who may have thrown some shade at James today. Apparently, Adrian was a finalist for the role of Dawson, but says that he came out on top in the end. "I imagine that [James] would've swapped with me to play [Entourage's] Vince," he dished to E!. Trade Dawson for Vince? NEVER.
Were you so in love with Dawson, or were you more of a Pacey kind of girl? Let us know in the comments!