March 31, 2014 at 1:19 PM ET
Actor Ian Ziering celebrated his 50th — yes, fiftieth — birthday on Sunday. And forgive us for wishing him a good one a day late, but we're still trying to wrap our heads around the fact that the actor behind spoiled rich kid Steve Sanders on '90s teen drama "Beverly Hills, 90210" is ... well, only nine years younger than James Eckhouse, the man who played BFF Brandon Walsh's dad.
Mind blown yet? Not that Ziering was a fresh-faced actor when he took on the role that made him famous. He was already 26 when the show debuted. He also wasn't the only adult well into their 20s to play a high-school kid on the Fox hit. Gabrielle Carteris, who played Andrea Zuckerman, was 29 (putting her in her mid-30s when she left in season five); and Luke Perry, bad boy Dylan McKay, was 24.
But since cruising around in his Corvette and partying, Steve ... err, we mean Ziering, hadn't really matched the success he found on "90210." He voiced some TV characters, made a few guest appearances and competed on "Dancing With the Stars."
Then last June, he revealed a six-pack any young man would be jealous of when he strutted his stuff with the Chippendales in Las Vegas. From there, his star was back on the rise. "Sharknado," which starred the actor as a chainsaw-wielding shark killer, blew up on social media when it aired on July 11 on Syfy.
But the actor almost didn't do the TV movie, worried that it could be one of those projects that could break a career. "I got to the scene where I got to chainsaw my way out of a belly of a shark?! And I thought, 'Oh my God! I have to do this!'" he said during an interview with Oprah Winfrey's "Where Are They Now?" series.
"I was pretty shocked by the response (to 'Sharknado')," he admitted on O's show. "My phone was beeping, buzzing and blinging its way into oblivion, and it's been like that since. ... I'm shocked and amazed and appreciative of all this."
Coming up for Ziering? Showing off his ripped 50-year-old body in "Sharknado 2," premiering July 30. Steve Sanders would be proud.
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