Watkins, born Charles Curtis Watkins III in Kansas City, Kansas, made his acting debut on stage as Rip Van Winkle in the fifth grade ("No one else wanted to memorize the lines," he says) and in high school divided his time between sports and theatre. At Indiana University, he majored in communications with a triple minor in theatre, psychology and French. During his college years, he performed in regional theatre and decided to pursue acting as his career. Following graduation, he returned to Kansas City to appear in the Missouri Repertory Theatre's production of Heaven's Hard. In 1989, he moved to Los Angeles and quickly became a member of SAG when he booked his first commercial.
Before landing the role of David Vickers on OLTL, Watkins appeared on such television shows as Growing Pains, Get a Life, Baywatch, Santa Barbara, Sisters, Melrose Place, and the feature film Little Sister. He co-founded the All-U-Can-Eat Players, a Los Angeles theatre company that performs European political satire. Among his theatrical credits, he received the 1992 Dramalogue Award for his role as Tom in the Los Angeles premiere production of Boys Play and made his off-Broadway debut to critical acclaim in Fortune's Fools.
After his original two-year stint on OLTL, Watkins returned to Los Angeles where he played Dr. Pierce Dorman on General Hospital. His additional television credits include guest starring roles on Silk Stalkings, High Tide and a recurring role on C-16: FBI. In 1997, he appeared in the independent film I Think I Do, and went on to film Can't Stop Dancing, The Thin Pink Line, and the feature film The Mummy in which he played Mr. Burns.
Watkins was then cast as a series regular on Showtime's Beggars & Choosers as television executive Malcolm Laffley. He has also guest-starred on CSI, Six Feet Under and Desperate Housewives.