Attractive dark-haired young actor James DeBello got his start after moving to Los Angeles at age sixteen and being discovered by an agent shortly thereafter. Possessing a handsomeness that could take on a brooding and mysterious or charming boy-next-door bend, the actor was able to match his handsomeness with his skill, emerging as a more-than-capable and charismatic onscreen presence. A 1997 guest shot on "ER" was followed by a cameo in the hit 1999 teen comedy "American Pie", playing a character called simply 'Enthusiastic Guy'. While moviegoers would likely not remember that turn, his starring role in the comedy "Detroit Rock City" (1999) would open many more eyes to his talents. As the most drug-addled in a group of four teens on their way to the famed KISS concert, DeBello was cast as the aptly named Trip, a charmingly spaced-out character. That same year, he could be seen in the NBC miniseries "The '60s".
In 2000, DeBello played an affable football player who gets embroiled in his girlfriend's plot to kill her abusive stepfather in "Crime + Punishment in Suburbia". Leaving the task of playing the dark and mysterious young man to co-star Vincent Kartheiser, DeBello made the most of his unexpectedly complex role, fleshing out his character through a nuanced and naturalistic performance. 2000 also saw the actor playing a misogynist in training in the festival-screened independent "100 Girls", a role he managed to make his own in an unlikely endearing way. Cast as the drummer in a band in the 2002 midseason replacement series "My Guide to Beceoming a Rock Star" (The WB), DeBello would be exposed to his widest audience to date.