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Actor and rapper Brian Austin Green is truly a renaissance man for our times. The son of country session drummer George Green, he was born July 15, 1973, telling Playgirl, "I'm part Scottish, but I've got a whole lot of sh*t mixed in. I'm like A-1 Sauce." Green made his TV debut at the age of 13, guest starring on syndicated series including Small Wonder (about a wisecracking child robot, much like Green himself) and Still the Beaver (about a retarded 40-year-old named Theodore Cleaver). That same year, he also appeared on Growing Pains with that girl who was always vomiting. From 1986-1989, Green co-starred on the long-running CBS prime-time sudser Knots Landing, playing the role of Brian Cunningham. Then, in 1990, his big break: He was cast as nerdlinger David Silver on the new Fox teen drama Beverly Hills 90210. Introduced as a young outsider to the circle of cool kids that included Jason Priestley's Brandon, Shannen Doherty's Brenda, and Luke Perry's mad, bad, and dangerous-to-know Dylan, Silver eventually winnowed his way into the inner sanctum by DJing on the high school radio station, skipping a grade, dating Tori Spelling's Donna Martin, helping Donna Martin graduate, and looking on stupidly while his onetime best friend, Scott Scanlon, blew his brains out while playing with a handgun. David also battled drug, alcohol, and gambling problems, and got an accidental eyeful of stepsister Kelly Taylor's naked goodness.

Influenced by A Tribe Called Quest, KRS-One, and no doubt Vanilla Ice, Green began rapping -- and as art must imitate life, so did David Silver. The character started kicking some hardcore gangsta sh*t that brought him to the attention of Icon Records, but evil music mogul Serge Menkin soon forced David to forsake his vision for a mawkish ballad called "Precious"; the fledgling superstar balked, and the deal went sour. Silver pursued various showbiz careers throughout 90210's ten-season run, among them club owner, music-video director (helming a clip for Powerman 5000), manager for racist hatemonger grunge-wannabes Cain Was Able, music critic for the Beverly Beat, and -- most notably -- one-hit wonder as a member of the group Jasper's Law, which scored a payola-funded chart smash with the Silver-penned "Keep It Together." Meanwhile, in real life, Green began work on his Yab Yum label solo debut, produced by the Pharcyde's Tré Hardson. "People will trip, but I tell you, Brian's dope," Tré told URB magazine. Indeed, Tré, indeed. When Green dropped his debut, One Stop Carnival, in 1996, he also dropped his middle name -- sadly, some early promos mistakenly credited the disc to "Brain Green." No matter. "[The album] is kinda like dem little carnivals that come to town with the dog-faced boy -- it's just a jumble of sh*t," Green reportedly told INsider upon the album's release. "It's not like going to Disneyland where there's a theme. There's no real direction to the album." No doubt this radical lack of focus contributed mightily to The Onion naming One Stop Carnival one of the least-essential albums of the 1990s. Luckily, Green didn't quit his day job: In the 1996 TV movie Stolen Youth, he starred a young man seduced by his best friend's mother, and in 1997's Unwed Father, he played an unwed father. Beverly Hills 90210 ended production in 2000, and Green has no doubt been totally busy and stuff since. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi