Floridian, John Fortson, was raised to value the world and people around him. Thus he has a profound love for life, people, animals and adventure. Probably due to his diverse background growing up on kind of farm by the river, carved out of the swamps of Palatka, FL by his grandfather and grandmother.
His mother was an artist who loved to paint, garden, and rescue; taking care of anything she found. So it wasn’t unusual to find John growing seedlings or caring for everything from birds to rabbits to turtles to horses, you name it. But it was her gift for storytelling that had John captivated for hours, unknowingly planting the seed for his desire to become an actor.
John’s father and grandfather had both been engineers in the Navy and could fix and or build almost anything. That’s why you’ll sometimes find John working on a project or building something around the house in his spare time. In a Navy family, John spent his early years traveling the world, even living in Japan for 3 years where he climbed all 12,388 ft of Mt. Fuji at the ripe age of 7. He loved immersing himself in other cultures, simply watching, listening, and learning, “the lessons of living life as others do.”
He spent a good number of years playing catcher for various baseball teams, but it was swimming, skateboarding, and later surfing that completely captured his attention. He so much loved the water and the ocean, that when John’s family settled near the beach in Jacksonville, Fl, John quickly became an avid surfer with a desire to go pro. He surfed, traveled on surf trips, won contests, and was ranked in Fl. But then found acting his senior year in high school. A teacher encouraged him to audition for Christian in Cyrano de Bergerac. John won the role and even better, an Award for Best Performance of the Year. He walked off the stage saying, “I could do this the rest of my life.”
While attending the University of North Florida, John won a plum role opposite LOST's Emmy Winner Michael Emerson in Othello and also acted in many other local productions. Graduating with his BA in advertising, John interned at an advertising agency and might have stayed in the field had he not taken a seminar and caught the eye of a New York American Academy Teacher and Casting Director. She took him under her wing advising him, "You have to study, get your SAG card, and move to L.A." John did just that.
John’s versatility continues to win diverse roles in Film and Television some of which include; his starring role in the 2011 Indie film, Spacechild, hitting festivals now, for which John grew a beard & lost weight portraying an astronaut regretting his solo 20 year mission to the end of our solar system, his Cary Grant-esque role in the Indie Film, Definite Maybe, as a Meth Addict on death's door saved by Maura Tierney in ER, with Jessica Biel in 7th Heaven, a scientist saving the world in the 24ish Indie Pilot, Beyond, the good brother in Lather, Rinse, Repeat opposite film steady Marshall Bell and Golden Globe Nominee Troy Garity, and co-starring in the intense relationship drama Magnetic Poles which was a Sundance Festival Selection.
John began writing as a way to explore new challenging roles. Intrigued by relationships in his life, his work is extremely personal, funny and poignant and has led to invitations to write and perform for Six Feet Under Head Writer Jill Soloway's show, SitNSpin, for LA's MOCA Museum, and for the LA Comedy Festival. Over the last few years, John wrote and performed his most exciting project to date, LOVESWELL, a one person show about relationships for which he’s received critical and audience acclaim throughout Los Angeles. Loveswell is now in development as a feature film.
John continues to surf, travel, and adventure; scuba diving, camping, hiking as many places as possible like Costa Rica, Oahu's The North Shore, Kauai, Australia, Mexico, Tahiti and more. He's also passionate about supporting a variety of charitable causes including: The Surfrider Foundation, Heal the Bay, Surf Aid International, PSOS and Cancer Research. In 2008 he and his wife, Actress Christie Lynn Smith, welcomed their daughter, Abby Ryder, into the world. John hopes to pass along the same values he was lucky enough to grow up with to her.
Check out John in his critically-acclaimed, one-man show, LOVESWELL, by clicking HERE.