Dean was born on July 31, 1966 in Mt. Clemens, Michigan. His parents, actress Sharon Thomas and Roger Tanaka divorced before Dean was born. When Dean was still a baby, his mother moved with him and his older brother Roger to California. She met and married film director Chris Cain, and later added a daughter, Krisinda, to the family.
Dean grew up playing on the beautiful Malibu beaches and would later describe himself as a "fat little baby that grew into this skinny kid that was always good in sports". Almost any sport. Football, basketball, volleyball and wrestling, just to name a few. While it seemed there was no athletic activity he couldn't conquer, it was on the football field that Dean had hoped to make a name for himself. After graduating from Santa Monica High School in 1984, he was offered 17 athletic scholarships, all of which he turned down in favor of Princeton University.
At the ivy league school Dean majored in history, captained the volleyball team, and of course, excelled as a free safety on the football team. His NCAA record for most interceptions in a single season (12) stands today. After graduating from Princeton in 1988, Dean joined the NFL's Buffalo Bills as a free agent. Unfortunately, for the sport of professional football anyway, a severe knee-injury in training camp forced the end of his pro career literally before it began.
With hopes of a career in the NFL dashed, Dean returned home to California and began work on another passion, writing. Ironically, Dean only turned to acting as a means to supplement his income while riding out a less than lucrative period in his young screen writing career. But by 1992, the 35 commercials he had done led to guest appearances on shows like Grapevine, A Different World, and most notably Beverly Hills 90210. Dean played a handsome college student named Rick who fell hard for Brenda during her and Donna's summer in Paris.
The following year would bring an even bigger break when Dean was cast as ClarkKent/Superman in a pilot for a show called "Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman" (1993- 1997). The show, a witty, 90's update to the classic comic book story, also gave Dean a chance to showcase his writing talents with two episodes, "Seasons Greedings" and "Virtually Destroyed".
As if acting and writing weren't enough, Dean has even taken a page from his father's book by going behind the camera. Dean directed three well received country music videos, "Papa Bear" by Keith Harling, and "You'll Never Know" and "The Other Side Of This Kiss" by Mindy McCready.
The years since "Lois & Clark" was cancelled have been kind to Dean. In 1999, he and his wife became the proud parents of a baby boy. Shortly thereafter, Dean returned to television as the host and producer of the hit series "Ripley's Beleive It or Not". An updated version of the 80's show that was hosted by Jack Palance. The future certainly looks bright for this very talented star.