Brian Dietzen is an American actor, who became famous when he was cast as the medical examiner’s assistant, Dr. Jimmy Palmer in the CBS’ mega hit series, ”NCIS (Naval Criminal Investigative Service)”.
Early life and family
Brian Dietzen was born on 14 November 1977, in Barrington, Illinois USA, but his family moved to Colorado. Little else is known about his family except that he would hang out with his father and cousin watching or playing golf. His mother, Trudy, passed away, and there was a bench made in memory of her at the Niwot Children’s Park in Niwot, Colorado.
Not much is known about his primary education, except that he performed as early as second grade in a Christmas play as a bad elf; he also participated in school plays throughout his high school years. He matriculated from Niwot High School in Colorado, and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts, majoring in acting, from the University of Colorado, Boulder (CU Boulder). He was mentored by Sean Kelly, and through him was able to earn the lead roles in the stage productions of Peter Shaffer’s Tony Award-winning play, “Equus,” Arthur Miller’s “All My Sons,” and Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot.” For two years, he participated in the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, which is a professional theatre company in association with CU Boulder.
Dietzen was rewarded with the UROP (Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program) grant for Outstanding Achievement in the Creative Arts.
He moved to Los Angeles, and started penning letters to producers and casting directors about wanting to be part of a series or movie. He didn’t know that the protocol in the business involved having a manager and talent agency.
His television career began with the WB’s “My Guide to Becoming a Rock Star” that aired on 14 March 200; he was cast as the drummer of the group.
It was cancelled after only a few weeks of debuting, with eight out of 13 episodes left unaired.
Also in 2002, he appeared as David Caplan in the “Chapter Forty-Six” episode of the critically acclaimed school drama series from Fox entitled “Boston Public.”
In 2003, he made his debut on the big screen, with the romantic musical “From Justin to Kelly” with Kelly Clarkson and Justin Guarini of “American Idol” fame; this movie was a box-office flop with $4.9 million gross earnings against a $12 million production budget, and was considered by critics as one of the worst films ever made.
He appeared as Ghost in the independent film, “Purgatory House” in 2004, which had been written by Celeste Davis at age 14. The story was about a teen’s take on drug addiction and suicide, and it received a dozen awards at film festivals.
Brian was cast as Dr. Jimmy Palmer, the assistant medical examiner on the police procedural drama, “NCIS.” He said that he auditioned for the role thinking it was just something cool he could add to his resume, so he donned glasses and hunched his shoulders a bit, acting nervous, and was able to get the part. It was supposed to be a one-time thing but the production people kept asking him back, and he eventually had a recurring role for nine seasons. Dietzen first appeared on the 21st episode entitled “Split Decision” in season one that aired on 11 May 2004; it wasn’t until 2012 in its 10th season that he became a series regular.
“NCIS” starred Mark Harmon, Michael Weatherly, Sean Murray and Sasha Alexander, and premiered on 23 September 2003, and has seen main character changes through the years. It’s 17th season is now shown, with close to 400 episodes – Jimmy Palmer’s character was in 298 of them. He also became the chief medical examiner when Dr. Donald “Ducky” Mallard played by David McCallum retired. “NCIS” is the second longest-running non-animated scripted series on US primetime TV currently airing, behind only “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.”
Concurrently with his “NCIS” work, Brian has appeared on several other movies and series, including the horror mystery “Nowhere to Hide” (2009), the romantic comedy “Karaoke Man” (2012) and the “Asylum” episode in 2013 of the crime drama series “Perception.”
As a writer and producer
In 2012, Brian produced, co-wrote and starred in the independent film entitled “Congratulations,” the story about a relationship that can be torn apart by a marriage proposal. It was chosen by more than a dozen film festivals, and even won the best feature awards from New Filmmakers and United Film Festivals. He’s also produced a documentary about the Wounded Warriors Amputee Softball team.
He starred in and produced the short romantic comedy, “One-Minute Time Machine,” in 2014, in which he used the said time machine to win the heart of Regina, played by Erinn Hayes.
He lives with his wife, Kelly Scoby Dietzen, whom he married in 2004, and their daughter and son in L.A. Not much information is disclosed about his family, other than what he posts on his Instagram account. When he’s off work, he goes on vacations with his family and watches stage plays with them.
Interesting facts and rumors
- He is a fitness fanatic. and has defined abs to show for it. The cast and crew were at a party at Michael Weatherly’s place when Pauley excused him from his wife and took him to the producers and got them to feel his abs and asked them to give him more work. True enough, he got a bigger part the following week, in which he was required to take his shirt off.
- He was often referred to as “that guy” on the street, as no one really recognizes him without the glasses he wore on “NCIS.”
- His dad’s advice to him when he was younger was that he should figure out what he loves to do, and then figure out how to get paid for it.
- Dietzen and the rest of the “NCIS” cast support various charity groups, including Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer, and Inclusion Matters by Shane’s Inspiration. They also had an annual tradition of bringing Christmas gifts to the kids at the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.
- He along with Jill Farley and Kevin Rankin formed the comedy sketch group, The Norm.
He is 6ft (1.82m) tall and weighs 163lbs (74kgs). He has dark brown hair and hazel eyes.
Brian has been with “NCIS” for 16 years, and according to sources, his estimated net worth as of June 2020 is $2 million, a sizeable part from the aforementioned series.