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Michael Vartan as Agent Vaughn in ABC's Alias

In the Public View: April 2004
by Hrag Vartanian

Michael Vartan, aka Agent Vaughn of ABC’s hit show Alias, is slowly creeping onto the radar screens of Hollywood bigwigs, eager to make the cross over to superstardom.

If you haven’t heard about the popular star, then you may be the only one. A quick search on popular internet auction site, Ebay, tells you that there are people eager to own Michael Vartan wall clocks, pillowcases and even a t-shirt plastered with the words “Marry Me! Michael Vartan.” Sure, the six-foot 190 lbs. actor with the “boy next door” look is appealing, but internet message board posts have a “OH MY GOD!” quality that tells you what everyone knows—he’s an international heartthrob. His biggest unofficial website “The Safe House” ( has over 3000 registered members and there is an official site in the works to celebrate the talents of the enigmatic Mr. Vartan.

People Magazine is onboard the Vartan fan club and chose him as one of the Sexiest Men Alive for 2003. The green-eyed hunk joked at the honor, “It’s amazing how much better looking I’ve gotten since I’ve been on Alias. I didn’t have that many female fans when I was 19 years old and working as a waiter.”

Born in France, Vartan was raised in both France and America. His American mother and French-Armenian father—brother of famed French singer, Sylvie Vartan—split when he was only five. A high school dropout, he permanently settled in L.A. at the age of 18—to avoid French military service—and took acting classes to hone a talent family and friends already spotted.

Now 35 years old, Vartan’s career spans two continents and he’s got a knack for working with some of the most celebrated names in the biz. His first lucky break was in the Italian film, Fiorile (1993) which garnered him a French Caesar award nomination as best up-and-coming actor.

Stateside he played a minor role in To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar (1995), but his breakthrough came with The Pallbearer (1996) starring David Schwimmer and Gwyneth Paltrow. That initial exposure paved the path to roles in Never Been Kissed (1999) opposite Drew Barrymore, The Next Best Thing (2000) as Madonna’s prickly first husband, and even One Hour Photo (2002) with Robin Williams, where his nude scene had The Straits Times of Singapore declare, “Vive le Vartan!”

Vartan is climbing into the upper strata of Hollywood celebrity doing all the right projects and even dating the right people—in his case Alias co-star, Jennifer Garner. The Michael Vartan frenzy is certainly only beginning, but the real test will be if he can pull off the challenge of a complex role considering he is being typecast in endless pretty boy roles. Until that day, Vartan will just have to be satisfied with the admiration of his fans the world over.

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