Michael Rosenbaum steals scenes as the kind and suave Lex Luthor in The WB’s Smallville, the hit TV series about the early life of comic book hero Superman. Now in its fourth season, fans of Smallville are anxiously awaiting to ﬁnd out how Luthor turns evil and becomes Superman’s arch-nemesis. While no tidy answers are being revealed just yet, Rosenbaum is content to bask in the super-sized attention of a being a WB teen icon.
When Smallville hit the air, it didn’t take too long for the 32-year-old Rosenbaum to become a media “It” boy. His face ended up in a plethora of magazines — not to mention numerous Internet fan sites dedicated to all things Rosenbaum.
Usually he’s able to duck under the fan radar, but he admits that sometimes “there’s a little mob” when he goes places. Last winter, during a family vacation to Disney World, he eschewed a VIP tour and decided to go incognito, sporting a sock hat and sunglasses to avoid drawing extra attention.
“Sometimes I don’t wanna shave and I just want to go out for a big burger,” he laments.
Born in Oceanside, New York but raised in Newburgh, Indiana, Rosenbaum discovered his passion for acting in high school. He continued performing after graduation and landed lead roles in several stage productions while earning a degree in theater and communications from Western Kentucky University.
In Smallville, Rosenbaum shaves his blond locks to play the bald Lex Luthor, which makes him a bit unrecognizable in roles that demand a full head of hair.
“I just like to stay challenged,” he says. “I just keep challenging myself. It’s boring to have the same character every week sometimes. You’ll just go crazy. I want to take chances. I want to continue to work with great people who challenge me. I want to keep getting better and keep growing.”
In addition to his broad range of roles in front of the camera, he is also a voice-over artist. He voiced Flash in the animated television series Justice League and lent his voice to several episodes of Batman Beyond.
“It was completely a coincidence,” he says of the several superhero-genre roles he’s played. “I’m always doing impressions, and they asked me to audition for Flash. I wasn’t a huge comic book fan growing up. But now I’m a fan,” he says.
With his newfound knowledge of various superhero characters, when asked who he thinks is the strongest superhero and who is the weakest, Rosenbaum replied: “The strongest superhero has to be Superman. Who else is there? And the weakest? I don’t know — Wonder Woman? No, I can’t say that. But she is. All she has is that whip. But I can’t say that she’s the weakest superhero because women are going to think I’m some chauvinist pig. But I can’t think of anyone else who’d be the weakest.”
For now, the Smallville star continues his role as Lex Luthor, the bald future villain-to-be.
But I had to ask, what would Rosenbaum do if he were Superman? “I’d probably fly to every state and visit friends. I’d pick up women, check out the Nile, Africa, everything, and then the Eiffel Tower. I’d see what I can do to enemies I had in high school. I’d just do super bad things, like rip someone’s wheels off a car.”