Dylan McDermott pursued an acting career partly as a means to cope with a difficult childhood. Recovering from his mother's murder and living with his father, he imitated his favorite actors to gain confidence; he was later encouraged to pursue the art by his stepmother. He later graduated from Fordham University.
McDermott began acting in the late 1980s, later appearing in films such as Twister, Neon Empire, and his breakthrough film, In The Line of Fire. However, he rose to popularity when he joined the cast of the ABC legal drama The Practice in 1997. Despite glowing reviews in the portrayal, he was cut from the show in 2004 (alongside five other starring cast members) due to budget cuts.
McDermott later featured in the television miniseries The Grid (alongside Julianna Marguiles) and the short-lived series Big Shots. In 2009, he joined the TNT crime drama Dark Blue, which lasted only two seasons. He currently stars in the FX series American Horror Story.
McDermott was formerly married to actress Shiva Afshar Rose, with whom he has two children. He also dated, at one point, his Steel Magnolias co-star Julia Roberts.
- McDermott adopted his screen first name after his stepmother, playwright Eve Ensler, suffered a miscarriage; Dylan was the name of her unborn child.
- Golden Globe Award, Best Performance by an Actor in a TV Series (Drama), 1999 (for The Practice)
- Hamburger Hill (1987)
- The Blue Iguana (1988)
- Twister (1989)
- Steel Magnolias (1989)
- Hardware (1990)
- Where Sleeping Dogs Lie (1991)
- Jersey Girl (1992)
- In The Line of Fire (1993)
- The Cowboy Way (1994)
- Miracle on 34th Street (1994)
- Destiny Turns on the Radio (1995)
- Home for the Holidays (1995)
- 'Til There Was You (1997)
- Three to Tango (1999)
- Texas Rangers (2001)
- Party Monster (2003)
- Wonderland (2003)
- The Tenants (2005)
- The Mistress of Spices (2005)
- Edison (2005)
- Unbeatable Harold (2006)
- The Messengers (2007)
- West Texas Lullaby (2007)
- Mercy (2009)
- Burning Palms (2010)
- The Practice (regular, 1997-2004)
- Big Shots (regular, 2007-2008)
- Dark Blue (regular, 2009-2010)
- American Horror Story (regular, 2011-present)