Simon Baker (raised Simon Denny, also known as Simon Baker-Denny; born 30 July 1969) is an Australian film and television actor. He is currently the star of the CBS television series The Mentalist. Baker was a champion sportsman who competed at state level in surfing and water polo. He began acting on Australian television during the late 1980s using the name "Simon Baker Denny". He first appeared in music video clips for Melissa Tkautz ("Read My Lips") and Aussie dance outfit Euphoria ("Love You Right") in 1991 before appearing in the successful series E Street and Heartbreak High. Baker relocated to the United States where he was occasionally known by his stepfather's surname (as Simon Baker-Denny or Simon Denny). He was cast in a small but important part as a young would-be actor in L.A. Confidential, which led to further opportunities in supporting roles in films. In 1998 he starred in a small, independent film by filmmaker Stephen Grynberg titled "Love from Ground Zero". In 2000 he played an astronaut in Red Planet with Val Kilmer, Carrie Anne Moss and Benjamin Bratt. He played the male lead in the television series The Guardian for three seasons beginning in 2001, and also appeared in The Affair of the Necklace. He played a distressed husband in 2004's Book of Love. In 2005, he starred as an altruistic hero in George A. Romero's Land of the Dead. In 2006, he played Brian Kelly in the film Something New, writer Christian Thompson in The Devil Wears Prada, and had a leading role as Jeff in the short-lived television series Smith. That following year, he was cast as Roderick Blank in Sex and Death 101. In 2008, Baker received the lead role in the CBS television series The Mentalist, in which he plays a consultant to the California Bureau of Investigation (CBI) skilled in picking up the details of body language and visual clues of suspects' appearances. His character is further darkened by a history of mental trauma following the murder of his wife and child, which drives him in his work. In 2009, Baker was nominated for an Emmy for his work in The Mentalist.