Kiefer Sutherland Biography:
A blond, long-faced player of stage and screen, Kiefer Sutherland bears a strong resemblance to his father, actor Donald Sutherland; both possess striking, if unconventional, good looks which have allowed them to be leading men but work best in moody, sometimes aggressive character roles. Named after writer-director Warren Kiefer, who helped his father on a breakthrough role in "Castle of the Living Dead" (1964), Sutherland began acting at age nine, appearing in a Los Angeles production of "Throne of Straw". He later moved with his mother to Toronto, where as a child actor he honed his craft in local stage productions. Sutherland's first big break came with the title role of a conflicted teen who witnesses a murder committed by his girlfriend's father in the Canadian-made feature "The Bay Boy" (1984). US audiences first got to see him in action as the radio operator of a WWII bomber in "The Mission", an extended 1985 episode of NBC's anthology series "Amazing Stories" that was directed by Steven Spielberg. The actor also did fine work as an elective mute in the CBS movie "Trapped in Silence" (1986).
Beginning with his memorable turn as a small-town bully in "Stand By Me" (1986), Sutherland became established in Hollywood features. He more than held his own as a one of the gang led by a volatile Sean Penn in "At Close Range" (also 1986) and cut a swatch as a charismatic teen vampire in the Joel Schumacher-directed "The Lost Boys" (1987). Over the next decade or so, Sutherland alternated between showy leads and nuanced character parts. He was perfectly cast as the seductive Tad Allagash who encourages a hedonistic lifestyle for Michael J. Fox's aspiring novelist in "Bright Lights, Big City" (1988). Sutherland was the poetic one of the photogenic cowboys of "Young Guns" (also 1988) and a buttoned-up FBI agent sent to escort a 60s radical (Dennis Hopper) to prison in "Flashback" (1990). A reunion with director Joel Schumacher on the tepid "Flatliners" (1990) introduced the actor to Julia Roberts and their resultant relationship spilled much tabloid ink, particularly when Sutherland was spotted with another woman on the eve of their impending marriage and Roberts' subsequent decision to cancel the wedding at the eleventh hour.
Two years later, Sutherland was back in high-profile roles, as a quirky FBI agent in the film prequel "Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me" and an overly religious Marine who may or may not be involved in a murder in "A Few Good Men". The actor went on to team with Charlie Sheen and Oliver Platt as "The Three Musketeers" (1993) and partnered with Woody Harrelson as rodeo riders who head to NYC to find a missing pal in "The Cowboy Way" (1994). For some actors villains are more fun to play, and Sutherland proved that adage with a chilling turn as a Ku Klux Klansman in his third film for Joel Schumacher, "A Time to Kill" (1996, which also featured his father as an alcoholic lawyer) as a low-key psycho in "Freeway" (1996), a modern-day spin on the "Little Red Riding Hood" story. The actor went on to impress as a deceptive doctor in "Dark City" (1998) and as poet William S. Burroughs in the Sundance-screened "Beat" (2000).
In 1993, Sutherland began a promising secondary career as a filmmaker with the hard-hitting made-for-cable prison drama "Last Light" (Showtime) about the unlikely relationship between an inmate (Sutherland) and a guard (Forest Whitaker). He again did double duty as director and star of "Love and Blood", a 1995 entry in Showtime's film noir series "Fallen Angels", about a down on his luck boxer who is framed for murder by his ex-lover. Moving to the big screen, Sutherland helmed "Truth or Consequences, N.M." (1997), an uneven but stylishly enjoyable hostage drama that was more than enlivened by Sutherland's turn as a devilish psychopath. His follow-up, "Woman Wanted" (1999), though intriguing played as half-formed. Indeed, Sutherland removed his name from the credits over an editing dispute for its theatrical release (substituting Alan Smithee) although the press notes made his contribution known.
In what some may have seen as a surprising move, Sutherland began to seek work in series TV. He stepped into Kevin Spacey's shoes as Jack Vincennes, the Southern Californian cop who served as an advisor to a TV show, in the pilot for a show based on "L.A. Confidential", but no network was willing to commit to it. In the long run that may have worked to the actor's advantage. Instead, he accepted the role of government agent Jack Bauer who uncovers a plot to assassinate a presidential candidate and has all of one day to stop it. As if that isn't enough, Bauer also discovers his teenage daughter has disappeared. The novel premise of "24" was that each of the series' episodes played out in real-time and covered one hour in Bauer's attempts to locate both the assassin and his missing child. Critics praised the series (with some including it on their top picks for the year) and its star, whose stalwart performance anchored the drama. In addition to 24 hours, Sutherland is also featured in Joel Schumacher's "Phone Booth" (2003), a thriller set entirely around the confines of a New York City phone booth.
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