Fair-haired Australian actor Simon Baker (occasionally billed as [[Performer~P225598~Simon Baker-Denny~simonbakerdenny]], and not to be confused with the Native American performer of the same name) specialized in playing suave, cultured, and sophisticated types, with many assignments as a romantic lead. He debuted as a performer in his native country, with roles on such popular Oceanian series as [[Feature~V268547~E Street~estreet[tvseries]]] (1989), [[Feature~V269020~Heartbreak High~heartbreakhigh[tvseries]]] (1994), and Naked (1995), but made the Hollywood leap opposite fellow Aussie import [[Performer~P15959~Russell Crowe~russellcrowe]] with a small supporting role in the [[Performer~P93378~Curtis Hanson~curtishanson]]-directed post-noir blockbuster [[Feature~V154997~L.A. Confidential~laconfidential]] (1997). Taking the success of this as a cue, Baker then accepted a lead in the similar, albeit less-favorably received, outing [[Feature~V173755~Judas Kiss~judaskiss]] (1998). He starred opposite [[Performer~P38142~Val Kilmer~valkilmer]] and [[Performer~P230666~Carrie-Anne Moss~carrieannemoss]] in [[Feature~V214074~Red Planet~redplanet]] (2000), and opposite [[Performer~P167442~Hilary Swank~hilaryswank]] in [[Feature~V257290~The Affair of the Necklace~theaffairofthenecklace]] (2001), but achieved far greater recognition and acclaim in the lead role on the CBS drama series [[Feature~V255234~The Guardian~theguardian[tvseries]]] (2001-2004). He played Nick Fallin, a coke-addled attorney who finds redemption via child advocacy, until the series was canceled after three seasons.
Successive projects included a turn in the big-budget horror sequel [[Feature~V290590~The Ring Two~theringtwo]] (2005); a role as [[Performer~P292630~Anne Hathaway~annehathaway]]'s prospective suitor (whom she rejects in favor of her career) in [[Performer~P90378~David Frankel~davidfrankel]]'s [[Feature~V336015~The Devil Wears Prada~thedevilwearsprada]] (2006); and a part as one half of an interracial couple in [[Feature~V326997~Something New~somethingnew]], opposite [[Performer~P237516~Sanaa Lathan~sanaalathan]]. Meanwhile, at about the same time, Baker played Jeff Breen, a professional thief, on the short-lived CBS crime series [[Feature~V361845~Smith~smith[tvseries]]], starring [[Performer~P42611~Ray Liotta~rayliotta]]. In fall 2008, Baker headlined the new detective series The Mentalist, playing an investigator with razor-sharp obervational skills. He also took on the lead role -- as a parent who opens up a nasty Pandora's box when he searches for his missing daughter -- in director [[Performer~P112150~Dror Soref~drorsoref]]'s supernatural horror outing [[Feature~V426089~Not Forgotten~notforgotten]] (2008). He earned an Emmy nomination in 2009 for his work on The Mentalist, and he appeared in the 2011financial drama Margin Call. ~ Nathan Southern, Rovi