Patrick Fugit (Bickford Shmeckler)
Appealing young upstart Patrick Fugit got his big break playing a character based on a teenage Cameron Crowe in the filmmaker's acclaimed rock feature Almost Famous (2000). Making his acting debut in a school production while in the seventh grade, the sandy-haired, blue-eyed young performer pursued an acting career and landed guest roles on episodes of "Promised Land" and "Touched By an Angel" (both CBS) in 1998. That same year he was a meal for hungry insects in the Fox TV-movie "Legion of Fire: Killer Ants." Work in the more mild-mannered "Beyond the Prairie: the True Story of Laura Ingalls Wilder" (CBS) followed in 2000.

Later that year, audiences were introduced to this virtual unknown who capably carried the starring role in Almost Famous. As William Miller, the neophyte Fugit used inexperience to his advantage, with the young rock fan turned reporter's awe at being on tour with a band no doubt mirroring the actor's own wonderment at his debut feature experience. Although his knowledge of 1970s rock music was nil ("I actually thought Led Zeppelin was one person"), he embodied the innocent and passionate spirit of the character, and certainly proved a natural talent in his performance, holding his own alongside co-stars Billy Crudup, Kate Hudson and Frances McDormand. Although the perils of puberty threatened to wreak havoc on the film's continuity (Fugit got significantly taller and his voice much lower while the feature was in production), Crowe's casting choice was vindicated in this affectionate and fully-realized portrait of the rock and roll experience, enriched considerably by Fugit's own captivating guileless performance.

With such a high-profile feature debut to his credit, the breakout young star found his next role in White Oleander (2002), playing a sweetly geeky aspiring comic book artist in another attractive performance, and as a naive young drug addict in the trippy indie dark comedy Spun (2003). His next film, Saved! (2004), a satirical look at the religious right in high school, cast him as the cool young pastor's son and love interest to a pregnant, once-popular teen (Jena Malone) who must re-evaluate her moral positions.

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