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who played jesus in the walking dead

In the Walking Dead, Jesus was played by Tom Payne. He was a character on the show until season nine, when he died in the episode “Stradivarius.”

Payne has also appeared in shows like Holby City, where he played Sam Strachan from 2002 until 2004. His other TV credits include roles in Doctors, The Bill, and Casualty.

Tom Payne (actor)

For other people with the same name, see Tom Payne (disambiguation).

Tom Payne
Tom Payne at Walker Stalker Con in 2016
Born21 December 1982 (age 39)
ChelmsfordEssex, England
EducationRoyal Central School of Speech & Drama
Years active2005–present
Spouse(s)Jennifer Åkerman ​(m. 2020)​
Parent(s)Jeremy Payne (father)
RelativesWill Payne (brother)

Thomas Payne (born 21 December 1982) is an English actor. He is known for appearing on AMC‘s The Walking Dead as Paul “Jesus” Rovia, and BBC’s Waterloo Road as Brett Aspinall. He portrayed Malcolm Bright on the American television series Prodigal Son from 2019 to 2021.


Early life[edit]

Payne was born in ChelmsfordEssex, and grew up in BathSomerset, where he attended King Edward’s School and was a prolific contributor to the school’s drama department. He attended the Royal Central School of Speech & Drama, graduating in June 2005. He then appeared in Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day.


In January 2007, he first appeared in Waterloo Road for the BBC, playing sixth former Brett Aspinall. Despite being 24 at the time, Payne portrayed a 17-year-old character. He remained in the series until the end of the following season in March 2008. It was revealed afterwards that he would not be returning for the new season, beginning in January 2009.

In 2009, Payne played George Best in Best: His Mother’s Son, a BBC2 film about the legendary footballer.[2] In the same year he appeared in MarpleThey Do It With Mirrors and Wuthering Heights for ITV.

Payne was named one of Screen International‘s Stars of Tomorrow in 2007.[3]

On 8 March 2010, it was announced that Tom had joined the cast of Luck a new pilot for HBO directed by Michael Mann, written by David Milch, starring Dustin Hoffman and Nick Nolte.[4] He plays the role of a Cajun jockey.

In 2012, he was cast in the title role of The Physician (based on the book of the same name) alongside Stellan Skarsgard and Ben Kingsley.

Payne was cast with a recurring role in Season 6 of The Walking Dead, as Paul “Jesus” Rovia,[5][6] and promoted to series regular for season 7.[7] Tom remained for two further seasons until his character was killed off in season nine.

In 2019, Payne was cast in the lead role as a serial killer‘s son in the Fox police procedural series Prodigal Son.[8][9][10]

Personal life[edit]

Payne began dating singer Jennifer Åkerman in late 2013. He announced on an episode of Talking Dead that they had become engaged. Åkerman later revealed on her Instagram that they married in December 2020 after postponing their wedding due to COVID-19.

His younger brother Will Payne is also an actor.



2008Miss Pettigrew Lives for a DayPhil Goldman
2009Into the Rose-GardenSamShort film
2011The TaskStanton
Generation PerdueToby PerdueShort film
2012The InheritanceMatthew
My Funny ValentineZander
Still YoungEdwardShort film
2013The PhysicianRob Cole
2017It’s No GameEastShort film
2019IOElonVoice role


2005CasualtyToby TylerEpisode: “Love and Duty”
2007SkinsSpencerEpisode: “Effy
Miss Marie LloydBernardTelevision film
2007–2008Waterloo RoadBrett AspinallRecurring role, 32 episodes
2008He Kills CoppersJonny TaylorTelevision film
2009Wuthering HeightsLinton2 episodes
Miss MarpleEdgar LawsonEpisode: “They Do It with Mirrors
Best: His Mother’s SonGeorge BestTelevision film
Beautiful PeopleMr. CarrEpisode: “How I Got My Plumes”
2010The People vs. George LucasHimselfDocumentary
2011–2012LuckLeon Micheaux9 episodes
2014New WorldsMonmouth4 episodes
2016–2019The Walking DeadPaul “Jesus” RoviaRecurring (season 6)
Also starring (seasons 7–8)
Main cast (season 9)
25 episodes
2016–2018Talking DeadHimself7 episodes
2017The Nightly ShowEpisode: “With David Walliams – Night Four”
2018Fear the Walking DeadPaul “Jesus” RoviaGuest Star, episode: “What’s Your Story?” (season 4)
2019–2021Prodigal SonMalcolm Bright (formerly Whitly)Main role

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