Dean Cain is one of the most beloved TV stars of the 90s, best known for his role as Superman in Lois & Clark. Over the years he's become a regular on the Hallmark Channel and appeared in a slew of films, including many that are faith-based. The actor, also a writer and director, seems incredibly down to earth, so it's surprising when you remember he was actually raised in Hollywood.
Cain didn't really have a normal upbringing, but then again, he didn't necessarily realize it at the time. His mother, Sharon Thomas, was an aspiring actress who moved Dean and his brother Roger from Mount Clemens, Michigan to Los Angeles to pursue her career. She ended up marrying director Christopher Cain and the family settled down in Malibu. Cain went to school with a ton of notable young celebrities but never really thought about becoming working in Hollywood himself he explained to Bright Lights Film.
"You know, I grew up around a lot of actors - people like Chris Penn, Sean Penn, Rob Lowe, Charlie Sheen, Emilio Estevez, Holly Robinson - but I didn't think about becoming an actor myself. I went to college instead; I was a History major at Princeton. But I had actually done a number of films beforehand, because my father was a director and I learned a lot just by being on set. Every job that ever had to be done on set, I would do: being a gopher, getting coffee, working in the edit room, holding the boom - I did all sorts of jobs, and so I came to understand the process of filmmaking. I was raised around film."
Cain, who was a talented athlete playing football in high school, attended Princeton University, where he also excelled as a football player, recognized for his high number of interceptions. He even dated actress Brooke Shields for two years while he was a student. Cain had dreams of becoming a football star and signed as a free agent with the NFL's Buffalo Bills following graduation. Unfortunately, a knee injury cut his career short almost immediately so acting was really his backup plan.
After appearing on a few TV shows like Beverly Hills, 90210, Cain got his big break playing Superman in ABC's Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman opposite Teri Hatcher. Lois and Clark had amazing on-screen chemistry (despite never having an onscreen test together) and the show ended up being a huge success running from 1993-1997, only ending when Hatcher became pregnant and the series didn't know how to tweak the show to accommodate that. Cain told The Aspiring Kryptonian that landing the role of Superman/Clark Kent was an incredible experience.
"Getting the call saying, "you've got the job" blew my mind! I remember it so very well! I was at my friend's office, and as soon as they told me, I screamed out "Yeah!!!" All my friends were shocked. I remember feeling a bit numb, like after making a spectacular play on the football field. Things just slow down, and it's a moment you never forget."
Since Cain is still recognized for starring in the beloved TV series, he has appeared in numerous additional Superman-themed shows over the years like Smallville (as Dr. Curtis Knox) and Supergirl (as her father Jeremiah Danvers). Immediately following his time on the television series though, he started appearing in some diverse films. He played convicted murderer Scott Peterson in The Perfect Husband: The Laci Peterson Story and appeared in The Broken Hearts Club, Rat Race, Vendetta, Out of Time, Gosnell: The Trial of America's Biggest Serial Killer, God's Not Dead, and more. He was the host of Ripley's Believe It or Not! and has appeared on seemingly every TV show from Entourage and Clubhouse to playing Pete Davenport on VH1's Hit the Floor.
Despite having a crazy schedule, Cain prioritizes time with his son, named after his adoptive father Christopher Cain. The actor shares Christopher with his ex-girlfriend Samantha Torres and explained to BeliefNet that he strives to have a healthy work/life balance. He always made sure to do the work himself from taking his son to school to making his lunches and dinner -- no extra help required.
"It's just a balance between work and travel. And I have to balance it all times. He comes with me on some of the shoots. I grew up the son of a director and grew up on sets myself, so I was the kid getting dragged around from this set to that set and I loved it. There's something about it which is really interesting."
Like many famed TV stars of the 80s and 90s, Cain has also developed a strong connection with the Hallmark Channel. Over the years he's appeared in 10 films on the family-friendly network and quickly came to their defense in 2019 when critics were calling Hallmark films "fascist propaganda."
"It's insane because Hallmark movies are about love," Cain told Fox News. "They're about bringing people together. They're not about division or anything of that nature."