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After Glory Road, Nichols appeared in an episode of CSI: Miami and starred in Lenexa, 1 mile, a film about the disturbing secrets of five childhood friends, set during their last summer together before college.
He plays the disturbed Roderick Usher, who has been described by Nichols as a "twisted, terminally ill, fucked-up guy". Nichols also portrayed Neal Cassady, with Will Estes as Jack Kerouac, in the short film Luz Del Mundo.Austin Nichols was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and moved to Austin, Texas before he was a year old.Nichols began competitive water skiing from the age of two.Nichols initially wished to attend the University of Texas, but moved to Los Angeles after his signing and enrolled instead at the University of Southern California, graduating in 2002 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English.Although Nichols had guest appearances in Sliders, Odd Man Out, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Family Law, Watching Ellie, and Wolf Lake before his graduation, his big break came in 2002 when he appeared as Brenda Chenowith's lover in two episodes of Six Feet Under.He starred as the title character in the HBO series John from Cincinnati.
Nichols is currently portraying Spencer Monroe in AMC's The Walking Dead.
He keeps a log of every film he sees: "I take it to the movies and write down who does the music, edits, directs, and how long the film is."Nichols dated artist Claire Oswalt for seven years before breaking off their engagement in 2004.
He mentioned in an interview he was living out of his car and sleeping on friends' couches for some time afterwards.
Glory Road, directed by James Gartner and starring Josh Lucas, is a film based on the true story of the 1966 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship, in which Coach Don Haskins led a team with an all-black starting lineup, a first in NCAA history.
Nichols played one of the few white players on the team; he trained heavily for the role and had to master basketball as it was played in the 1960s, saying "I'd never been so sore in my life".
In 2007, Nichols appeared as a teacher for a few episodes of Friday Night Lights, before being cast in a recurring role on The CW's One Tree Hill.