Dax Shepard

On this date in 1975, Dax Randall Shepard was born in suburban Detroit, the son of Laura LaBo, who worked at General Motors, and David Shepard, a car salesman. He was named Dax for Diogenes Alejandro Xenos, the wealthy playboy in Harold Robbins’ novel The Adventurers. His parents divorced when he was 3.

After high school graduation he enrolled in a school operated by the Groundlings, an improvisational and sketch comedy troupe based on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles. He’d always known he could be funny but had stage fright about doing stand-up in Detroit so he moved to California, thinking “that commitment would force him to do it.” (2014 interview with Marc Maron.) He attended Groundlings classes while enrolled at UCLA, where he graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in anthropology in 2000. 

In 2003 he joined the cast of “Punk’d,” a hidden camera, practical joke reality show created by Ashton Kutcher and Jason Goldberg that aired on MTV. In 2004 he starred in “Without a Paddle” with Seth Green and Matthew Lillard, followed by roles in “Employee of the Month” with Dane Cook and Jessica Simpson (2006), “Idiocracy” (2006), “Let’s Go to Prison” (2006) and “Baby Mama” (2008) with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.

In 2010 he wrote, directed and starred in the low-budget mockumentary “Brother’s Justice” and had a supporting role in the rom-com “When in Rome, which starred his future wife Kristen Bell. From 2010-15 he played Crosby Braverman in the NBC drama “Parenthood.” His other movies since then as of this writing include “Hit and Run” with Bell and Bradley Cooper (2012), “The Judge” (2014), “CHiPs” and “El Camino Christmas” (2017). 

His ad with Bell for the Samsung Galaxy Tab S tablet in 2014 garnered over 20 million YouTube views. In 2018 he launched the podcast “Armchair Expert” with co-host Monica Padman. It features the lives of celebrity guests and was the most popular new podcast on iTunes in 2018.

Shepard and Bell started dating in 2007 and got engaged in 2010 but refused to marry until California legalized same-sex unions, which happened in 2013. They have two daughters, Lincoln and Delta. He’s an atheist and Bell is also nonreligious. In 2013 she told Australian Women’s Health that they start their days with a 20-minute transcendental meditation session, sometimes holding hands. On his Twitter account, he describes himself as “Humanist. Comedic actor who is light on both comedy and acting. Alt Centrist.” 

Shepard at PaleyFest 2013 in Los Angeles; photo by Genevieve (cropped), CC 2.0 Generic.

Freedom From Religion Foundation