Jason Gann "Wilfred"
Australian actor, writer and producer Jason Gann rose to international fame on the strength of "Wilfred" (2001), a curious short comedy film in which he played a anthropomorphized dog; the film was expanded into a pair of successful and critically acclaimed television shows in Australia (SBS 1, 2007, 2010) and America (FX, 2010-2014). Born and raised in Brisbane, the capital city of Queensland, Australia, Gann fell in love with performing while in high school, and earned his bachelor's degree in acting from the University of Southern Queensland. After college, he worked in children's theater before moving into mainstream comedy and drama with the Queensland Theatre Company. In 2001, he teamed with a college friend, Adam Zwar, and director Tony Rogers to create a seven-minute comedy film called "Wilfred," about a young man and his over-protective dog, played by Gann. The short was well received on the festival circuit in both Australia and the United States, and inspired Gann and Zwar to expand the premise for a weekly series. While working on the show, which was initially rejected by several Australian television networks, Gann enjoyed minor roles in several Australian comedies before he and Zwar rose to fame as cast members on the popular sketch comedy series "The Wedge" (Network Ten, 2006-07), which also launched the career of actress Rebel Wilson. In 2007, Gann reprised his role as the foul-mouthed, drug-addled mutt in both seasons of the Australian version of the show, which won three Australia Academy of Cinema and Television Awards, including Best Television Comedy Series in its debut season. After the completion of the first season, Gann reprised his most famous character from "The Wedge," an addled professional athlete named Mark Wary, for the series "Mark Loves Sharon" (Network Ten, 2008), which spoofed reality television and hapless celebrities. Gann then traveled to the United States to oversee an American version of "Wilfred" for the FX cable network with producer David Zuckerman. With Gann reprising his role as Wilfred and Elijah Wood as his owner, the Stateside "Wilfred" became the highest-ranking debut sitcom for FX, and enjoyed three follow-up seasons before coming to an end in 2014.