Biography

With an appearance and aura that seemed tailor-made for heartthrob roles, actor Barry Watson indeed made his name as an onscreen post-adolescent hunk -- playing nice guy preacher's son Matt Camden (one of the seven children of Rev. Eric Camden) on the blockbuster series 7th Heaven -- a character that made millions of young women swoon and did much to account for the program's runaway success. As Watson crested the peak of his popularity, it seemed that only wonderful things lay ahead for him. Then, an unexpected piece of devastating news hit the international press in 2002. Watson announced his own diagnosis with Hodgkin's disease, a form of lymphatic cancer. Utterly imperturbable, the courageous young actor determined to beat the condition, and in fact did so by enduring a six-month course of chemotherapy that brought him back to 100 percent. Concurrently, Camden not only continued to appear on Heaven but even forked off into supporting roles in theatrical features. Projects included Kevin Williamson's jet-black comedy thriller Teaching Mrs. Tingle (1999), the George Clooney heist outing Ocean's Eleven (2001), and the horror vehicle Boogeyman (2005). In 2006, not long before Heaven wrapped, Watson (perhaps sensing the drama's closure) signed to appear on a new program. Producers tapped him for first-billing in the hour-long weekly drama What About Brian -- an ensemble series that told of a young, single thirtysomething in Los Angeles surviving a series of desperate attempts by his married friends to help him find his soul mate. Unfortunately, that program folded, but within a year, the actor landed another plum small-screen role, as the steady boyfriend of an amnesia patient (Christina Applegate) on the sitcom Samantha Who? ~ Nathan Southern, Rovi