Jason Momoa

Jason Momoa

It only took a few years for Jason Momoa to rise up the Hollywood ranks from a supporting player on short-lived dramas, to portraying one of the biggest action heroes of all time on the big screen. Momoa began his career as a model, winning local competitions in his native Hawaii before gracing the runways of high fashion designers. He launched his acting career on television as a lifeguard on "Baywatch" (NBC, 1989-90; syndicated, 1990-2001) and as a hunky bartender on the "Baywatch"-inspired show "North Shore" (Fox, 2004-05). Momoa won raves from critics and viewers for his portrayal of a skilled hunter on the action adventure series "Stargate: Atlantis" (Sci Fi, 2004-09) and a menacing warlord on the epic medieval drama series "Game of Thrones" (HBO, 2011-). Momoa graduated to feature blockbusters when he took on the title role in "Conan the Barbarian" (2011), a character that was previously played by action film icon Arnold Schwarzenegger. Displaying his athletic prowess, emotional depth, and audience appeal as Conan, Momoa delivered a performance worthy of filling Schwarzenegger's shoes, and established him as one of the most dynamic action actors of his generation. He was born Joseph Jason Namakaeha Momoa in Honolulu, HI. Momoa's father was a Native Hawaiian while his mother was of German, Irish and Native American descent. His mother raised the future star in Norwalk, IA, but he eventually returned to the Hawaiian Islands to attend college. An art lover and avid spiritualist, Momoa traveled extensively as a young man, from taking up pastel painting in Paris to studying Buddhist teachings during a trip to Tibet. Standing at 6'4" with an athletic build and piercing green eyes, Momoa caught the attention of internationally renowned designer Takeo, who launched the young man's modeling career in the late 1990s. Momoa won "Hawaii's Model of the Year" in 1999 and participated in several runway shows including for Louis Vuitton. He made his acting debut on the long-running action drama series "Baywatch," which was re-named "Baywatch Hawaii" during the 1999-2001 seasons. His character, Jason Ioane, was born in Hawaii but moved to Texas with his mother as a child after his father disappeared. Momoa's character was the youngest and most determined lifeguard on the show, opposite series star and producer David Hasselhoff. Following the end of the 12-year "Baywatch" run, Momoa landed a supporting role in the comedy feature "Johnson Family Vacation" (2004), which starred Cedric the Entertainer and Vanessa Williams as a bickering couple on a road trip with their three children. Momoa returned to series television that same year when he starred on "North Shore." The primetime drama centered around the staff and guests of the luxurious Grand Waimea Hotel and Resort in Hawaii. Momoa was cast as the resort's dreadlocked and handsome bartender who ends up romantically involved with a former con artist (Amanda Righetti). Suffering from low ratings, the network cancelled "North Shore" after one season. Momoa was quickly snatched up by the science fiction series "Stargate: Atlantis," where he played Ronon Dex, a military specialist skilled with hunting and hand-to-hand combat. The Sci Fi Channel reportedly objected to Momoa's five-pound dreadlocks when he was cast on the show, yet the hairstyle soon became a signature look for his character. With the producers' permission, the actor cut off his heavy dreadlocks during the show's fifth season because his head became too painful in action scenes. At the height of his "Stargate" fame, entertainment media targeted Momoa after he began dating actress Lisa Bonet. The couple welcomed their daughter Lola in 2007 and had their son Nakoa-Wolf the following year. (Momoa and Bonet married in October 2017, after having referred to each other casually as husband and wife for years beforehand.) Momoa suffered facial injuries on Nov. 15, 2008 after a 21-year-old man struck him in the face with a beer glass at a Hollywood café. The actor reportedly required 140 stitches and subsequent reconstructive surgery following the incident. In 2011, Momoa appeared on the HBO series "Game of Thrones," a medieval action drama based on George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire novels (1996-). He was cast as Khal Drogo, a rich and powerful warlord who meets his end during the show's first season finale. Momoa knew about his character's fate when he first read the novel, but said during various interviews that Martin's storytelling blew him away, and that he had play Khal Drogo. Acting on "Game of Thrones" helped Momoa land his breakout role that same year in the big screen reboot of "Conan the Barbarian." The original 1982 film starred Arnold Schwarzenegger as a former slave who becomes a warrior seeking revenge on the warlord who massacred his village. The epic 2011 adaptation starred Momoa in the title role along with Rose McGowan, Stephen Lang and Ron Perlman. Following in Schwarzenegger's footsteps - and beating out several young actors, including Kellan Lutz - for the role of Conan required Momoa to undergo an intense six-week training program in stunts and martial arts. After co-starring in Walter Hill's "Bullet to the Head" (2012), Momoa made his directing and co-writing debut in "Road to Paloma" (2014). Momoa returned to television in the cable drama "The Red Road" (Sundance 2014-15). After co-starring in Canadian horror drama "Wolves" (2014), Momoa made his debut as Aquaman in a cameo "Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice" (2016) before making his full appearance in the wetsuit in "Justice League" (2017) and starring in his own film with "Aquaman" (2018). In between, Momoa starred in the romantic thriller "The Bad Batch" (2016), thriller "Sugar Mountain" (2016) and action comedy "Once Upon a Time in Venice" (2017), as well as starring in historical drama "Frontier" (Netflix 2016-).