Born Patrick Joseph Wilson in Norfolk, VA Wilson's mother was a voice teacher and singer, while his father was a television news anchor. The family moved throughout the South during Wilson's childhood before settling in St. Petersburg, Florida. There, he attended the prestigious Shorecrest Preparatory School, which offered a strong performing arts education to its students. Wilson later attended Carnegie Mellon University, from which he earned the Charles Willard Award for Undergraduate Excellence in Music Theatre, before graduating with a drama degree in 1995. He gained his Equity Card by working at Pittsburgh's Civic Light Opera before joining the national touring company of "Carousel" in 1996. Wilson's powerful tenor and training quickly made him a go-to actor on the national theater front. He took the lead role in "Harmony" (1997), Barry Manilow's musical about the vocal group The Comedian Harmonists in Nazi Germany, and landed his first dramatic role in the six-hour stage version of "The Cider House Rules" (1998) in Los Angeles. He also managed to survive two substantial theater disasters - the musical version of Bret Easton Elis' "Bright Lights Big City" (1999) and "The Gershwins' Fascinating Rhythm" (1999) - with not only his career intact, but excellent reviews for his work.A year later, Wilson was tapped for the American version of the musical version of "The Full Monty" (2000), which opened in San Diego to rave reviews and eventually transferred to Broadway a year later. For his efforts, he received a Tony nomination and would earn another nom a year later for a revival of "Oklahoma!" In 2003, movies and television came calling, with Wilson landing the substantial role of Joseph Pitt, a gay man who hides his sexuality behind his Republican and Mormon beliefs in the acclaimed HBO miniseries, "Angels in America." Wilson more than held his own in scenes with such powerhouse actors as Al Pacino (as Pitt's employer, lawyer Roy Cohn of the McCarthy Red Scare infamy) and Mary Louise Parker (as Pitt's frustrated wife), and netted a slew of nominations, including Emmy and Golden Globe nods in early 2004. Wilson leapt into feature film work with the troubled 2004 production of "The Alamo" for Imagine Entertainment, in which he replaced Ethan Hawke as lawyer and soldier William B. Travis. He followed this with a Satellite Award-nominated turn in another big-budget failure, Joel Schumacher's disappointing movie version of Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Phantom of the Opera," which at the very least, allowed mass audiences to experience his acclaimed singing voice in the role of Raoul, childhood sweetheart to the film's heroine, Christine (Emmy Rossum). Despite the critical drubbing the film took and its lackluster box office, the film became a bit of a cult favorite, particularly with women who discovered it on home video and DVD.Wilson shifted his focus to independent film for his next two features, both of which were met with critical and box office success. He was convincingly creepy as a pedophilic photographer who meets his match in his latest target (Ellen Page) in "Hard Candy" (2006), the first feature film from video director David Slade. Wilson followed this with "Little Children" (2006), director Todd Field's adaptation of the novel by Tom Perotta, for which he played a former football star whose post-college life is overshadowed by his wife's (Jennifer Connelly) career as a documentary film maker, and who rushes into an ill-advised affair with an equally discontented housewife (Kate Winslet). In both features, Wilson gave note-perfect portrayals of deeply flawed and unsympathetic men whose neuroses put them in considerable jeopardy - physical in the case of "Candy;" emotional in "Children" - and critics were effusive in their praise of his talents.Wilson appeared in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it role in the unsatisfying film adaptation of Augusten Burroughs' "Running with Scissors" (2006), before playing the medical doctor with whom the young Ann Grant (Claire Danes) has a brief and torrid fling in Lajos Koltai's "Evening" (2007). Wilson and Danes also appeared together that same year in a charming commercial for The Gap in which they danced to "Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better" from the musical "Annie Get Your Gun." Wilson's feature-film card was booked solid for the next few years, including top billing in Edward Burns' little-seen romantic drama "Purple Violets" (2007); the husband in an interracial marriage that finds itself the target of LAPD officer Samuel L. Jackson's rage in Neil LaBute's "Lakeview Terrace" (2008); and a retired superhero in the long-awaited film version of the graphic novel "Watchmen" (2009) from director Zack Snyder.After starring in the comedic dud "Barry Munday" (2010) in the uncharacteristically schlubby title role, Wilson turned up in two major Hollywood movies, with supporting parts in the action-oriented TV adaptation "The A-Team" (2010) and the Jennifer Aniston/Jason Bateman comedy "The Switch" (2010). Keeping remarkably busy, he was featured with Rose Byrne in the surprise horror hit "Insidious" (2010), playing a man who must face supernatural evil in order to save his spirit-plagued son. In 2011, he portrayed the married object of affection for Charlize Theron's damaged writer in "Young Adult," and he took on the lead in the short-lived CBS TV drama "A Gifted Man" (2011-12). Two years later, he return to creepy tales with a pair of successful films by "Insidious" director James Wan-"The Conjuring," where he played paranormal investigator Ed Warren, and "Insidious: Chapter 2," which followed the further exploits of his character's haunted family.
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