About Zachary Knighton
Born Zachary Andrew Knighton on Oct. 25, 1978 in Alexandria, VA, Knighton discovered his passion for acting during his freshman year of high school. He graduated from Frank W. Cox High in Virginia Beach in 1996, and went on to the Governor's School for the Arts. He also attended Virginia Commonwealth University from which he received an Excellence in Theatre award for his acclaimed performances. To hone his craft further, he also studied at Oxford University in England. Knighton made his television film debut in a minor role as William Alexander in the biographical movie "Sally Hemings: An American Scandal" (2000), about the extraordinary and controversial long-term relationship between Thomas Jefferson and his slave mistress, Sally Hemings.
From there, Knighton made his feature film debut as Mr. Rolly in the tongue-in-cheek horror film "Cherry Falls" (2000), starring Brittany Murphy and Jay Mohr in a twisted story about small-town high school virgins being killed. The following year, he popped up in bit parts in episodes of two popular NBC hit series, "Ed" (2000-04) and "Law & Order" (1990-2010). Heading into 2002, Knighton finally scored a leading role as the main character, Seymour, in the French film "La vie nouvelle" ("A New Life") alongside Anna Mouglalis. Philippe Grandrieux's 'experimental art' film was deemed erotic but disturbing and complex at the time of its release. The following year saw Knighton appear in the drama, "The Mudge Boy" (2003), about a teenager coping with his mother's death.
Determined to be well-rounded, Knighton began adding stage credits to his growing portfolio, including that of "Birdy" (2003), a story by Naomi Wallace adapted from the novel by William Wharton, in which he portrayed a young version of Al at New York City's Women's Project Theater. In 2004, he went on to play John Morgan in director Martha Coolidge's feature "The Prince and Me" opposite Julia Stiles, Miranda Richardson and Luke Mably. The romantic comedy chronicled the exploits of a farmer's daughter who meets an odd Danish exchange student at university, not realizing he is heir to the royal throne. Also that year, Knighton played Ian Croft in an episode of the hit series, "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (NBC, 1999- ). Shortly afterwards, Knighton snagged another starring role, as Laz Lackerson, on the short-lived television series, "Life on a Stick," about two teenagers who try to make a living at a fast-food joint. In 2007, he scored a leading part in the horror film remake of "The Hitcher," alongside Sean Bean and Sophia Bush, in which he played Jim Halsey, originally essayed by C. Thomas Howell in the 1986 original about a young man who escapes a murderous hitchhiker. That year he also had a part in the made-for-TV movie drama, "Supreme Courtships" (2007).
Other feature film credits for the burgeoning star include the comedy "Surfer Dude" (2008) with A-listers Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson. That year he also had a small guest role on the highly-rated series, "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" (FX, 2005- ) and in 2009, played Chet Newcomb on Fox's hit series, "Bones" (2005- ). Continuing to land one-off roles, he appeared on the mystery drama series, "FlashForward" (ABC, 2009-2010) in a guest actor capacity, but landed a leading role opposite Yeardley Smith as Judd in the movie "Tug" (2010), about a small town guy who must choose his current girlfriend or go back to his psychotic ex.
Although his luck landing long-term sitcom work was spotty at best, that luck was about to change. In 2011, Knighton scored his first major television coup as Dave Rose on the quirky sitcom "Happy Endings," starring alongside Elisha Cuthbert, Casey Wilson, Adam Pally, Damon Wayans, Jr. and Eliza Coupe. Being hailed as a modernist version of the seminal sitcom "Friends" (NBC, 1994-2004), "Happy Endings," chronicled the after-effects of Dave being left at the altar on his wedding day. With the support of his buddies, he picks up the pieces of his life and plunges back into the dating world, along the way earning his keep as an operator of a steak sandwich food truck.
By Ela Lindsay
|Virginia Commonwealth University|
|Co-starred as food truck owner Dave on the ABC comedy series "Happy Endings"|
|Joined ensemble cast of ABC mystery drama "FlashForward"|
|First regular TV role, the short-lived Fox sitcom "Life on a Stick"|
|Starred in the French drama "La vie nouvelle/A New Life"|
|Feature debut, "Cherry Falls" opposite Brittany Murphy, Jay Mohr and Michael Biehn|
|Made TV debut in the CBS movie "Sally Hemings: An American Scandal"|