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Having made over seventy films in a distinguished 20-plus years career, Kiefer Sutherland continues to cast a spell over audiences with his acting abilities. A man of many characters, his most famous to date is that of Federal Agent Jack Bauer on FOX's hit "real time" series 24.
From Toronto to Hollywood
Grandson of former Saskatchewan premier Tommy Douglas
Kiefer William Frederick Dempsey George Rufus Sutherland and his twin sister Rachel were born on December 21st 1966 to actors Donald Sutherland and Shirley Douglas while the pair were working in London, England. As a result Kiefer holds both Canadian and British passports. Shortly after the family settled in Los Angeles, California. When Kiefer was four his parents divorced.
Kiefer's first taste of the dramatic life was at 9 when he made his debut in Throne of Straw at the Los Angeles Odyssey Theater, shortly before his mother moved the family to Toronto, Ontario, Canada in 1975. Kiefer grew up and attended schools in Toronto, learning to speak fluently in both English and French.
It was not until he was eighteen that Kiefer realized his father was a famous actor. While his father's dramatic prowess inspired his son, later when asked why he got into acting, Kiefer replied "I got into it for the girls."
After doing some television work in New York, Kiefer landed his first film role in 1983's Max Dugan Returns and from that point he's never looked back.
Joining the Brat Pack
Birth of a Cult Classic
After Max Dugan Returns, Kiefer starred in his first dramatic turn as Donald Campbell in 1984's The Bay Boy. Set in 1930s Nova Scotia, the coming-of-age film garnered Kiefer his first Genie award, the Canadian equivalent of an Oscar.
More dramatic roles followed; turns in At Close Range with Sean Penn and as a mentally and emotionally disturbed boy in a made-for-television movie Trapped in Silence gave the world a taste of Sutherland's acting chops. But two of his most-known characters would soon turn him into a cult-classic hero.
In 1986 Kiefer played the small-town hood Ace Merrill in Stand By Me. Co-star Wil Wheaton said in an interview that Kiefer stayed in character while on-set and actually scared him. In 1987 Kiefer played David, leader of a pack of vampires in 1987's The Lost Boys, a role that secured him as one of film's most famous vampire villains.
Notable roles continued to pour in. Kiefer starred in Young Guns and Young Guns II, Flatliners, Bright Lights, Big City, 1969, Renegades, and Flashback. He became identified as one of the 'Brat Pack', a group of several actors and actresses known for classic 1980s films.
As the decade turned, Kiefer found himself filling supporting roles. Notably in A Few Good Men and The Three Musketeers. He also tried his hand behind the camera, directing Truth or Consequences, N.M. and Last Light.
Behind the scenes, his personal life took more dramatic turns then in front of the camera and it became time for a change. Kiefer left the bright lights of Hollywood and turned to a different life, one filled with rodeos and horses.
Greatest Roles - #1: David of The Lost Boys
Who?: In 1987 Kiefer played David, leader of the vampires in the cult classic The Lost Boys.
Why we love him?: Hip, sexy, and with trademark smirk, David brought vampires to a new generation and paved the way for series like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. No girl could resist David and every guy wanted to be him.
Actor turned Cowboy
After learning horsemanship while on set of The Three Musketeers, Kiefer's interest in horses and the rodeo circuit grew. Buying a 900-acre ranch in Montana, he acquired the horses he rode in both Young Guns films and took up learning the ways of a ranch hand.
Eventually he found himself trying his hand at the rodeo circuit. During his first competition he broke three fingers and found that the professionals weren't too sure of the actor-cum-cowboy. Slowly but surely Kiefer proved he wasn't in it for kicks and eventually championships in Phoenix and Albuquerque.
But acting was still in his blood as well, and he filmed a few movies during his time as a cowboy. Satisfied, Kiefer sold the Montana ranch and returned to Hollywood.
The Right Temptation
From Silver Screen to Small Screen
"There are a lot of movies I'd like to throw away. That's not to say that I went in with that attitude. Any film I ever started, I went in with all the hope and best intentions in the world, but some films don't just work." -Kiefer Sutherland
By now it was the late 1990s and Kiefer was turning out several films a year. Many were straight-to-video affairs or box office bombs.
The decade wasn't without its own positives. Kiefer took on an extremely challenging role as a member of the Klu-Klux-Klan in A Time To Kill as well as a role in the sci-fi cult film Dark City. In 1998 he also returned to the rodeo circuit and with his roping partner John English won several competitions as well as 1998 U.S. Team Roping Championships.
Still, Kiefer needed a change, a chance to show he still had the fire within. That chance would come in 2000, as a script for a new type of television show fell into Kiefer's hands...
The rise of Jack Bauer
In 2001, 24 premiered on FOX. The concept of 'real-time' episodes was a dicey one, with each hour long episode corresponding to one hour of a day. And another risk was the subject matter; the show about fighting terror was debut shortly after the 9/11 terror attacks in the US. Would audiences be ready for such heavy subject matter?
They were. Kiefer's portrayal of Jack Bauer, a no-holds-barred federal agent who plays by his own rules to win the fight connected with audiences and sparked a phenomenal series that is about to enter its 7th season.
The show has come out on top, drawing millions of viewers riveted to their screens during the intensely dramatic 4th and 5th seasons. As season 7 is set to start in January 2009, fans wait to see what Jack Bauer will do next. A two-hour prequel movie is set to air in November 2008 to fill the gap between seasons 6 and 7, due to the writer's strike.
For Kiefer it has allowed him to open up and learn new skills and grow as an actor, since television is vastly different from film. For his first continuous television series, 24 has garnered him new respect and legions of fans, old and new. Devoting 10 months of the year to filming a season of 24, he also manages to fit in a few films if his schedule allows.
After FOX canceled the series after the 8th season, the cast and crew of 24 will eventually move Jack Bauer to the silver screen in a feature-length 24 film.
Greatest Roles - #2: Jack Bauer of 24
Who?: In 2001 the world was introduced to Federal Agent Jack Bauer, who was having the worst day of his life.
Why?: Fighting terrorism with any means necessary, Jack has had 8 of the worst days of his life, having to fake his own death and return to save family, friends and the world from nuclear bombs, bio-terrorism, and cougars! Jack Bauer is a true American hero!
Behind the Scenes
Kiefer's personal life
Kiefer's personal life hasn't been without its ups and downs. Alcohol, drugs, and a free spirit nature have all played parts.
In his late teens, Kiefer began a life-long love affair with partying. While he's always tried hard to keep professional, sometimes it can leak over. In 1987 at 21 he married actress Camelia Kath, becoming an instant step-father to Camelia's daughter Michelle and a father to his own daughter Sarah Jude in 1988.
It is rumored that his hard-partying ways lead to the ending of his first marriage in 1990. But his love life soon included an engagement to actress Julia Roberts. The two were set to marry in June 1991 but three days before the nuptials Roberts flew to Europe with Jason Patric and ended the engagement. Once again the rumors of Kiefer's late night partying reared up but the fact remains no one will ever know exactly why they parted.
In 1996, Kiefer settled down again with Kelly Winn, becoming step-father to her sons. Things seemed happy for the couple and Kiefer seemed to calm down. Unfortunately in 2004 the couple divorced.
A bright side to the turmoil was becoming a grandfather in 2006 to step-daughter Michelle's first baby.
As of now Kiefer is single and has mentioned he doesn't feel he will ever remarry.
In addition to his sister Rachel, he has three step-brothers Roeg, Rossif, and Angus from his father's third marriage.
Kiefer is soft-spoke, polite, and ever a gentleman, most unlike many of his characters.
"And the Emmy goes to..."
Awards & Recognition
During his career, Kiefer has been nominated over thirty times for various awards. His first real recognition came with winning a Genie for his role in The Bay Boy.
His role as Jack Bauer on 24 has garnered the most attention and recognition, having won two SAG awards, a Golden Globe, and two Emmy awards (one for Best Lead Actor and one for 24) in recent years.
Kiefer has also been honored by Canada's Walk of Fame, joining both his parents as an inductee in 2005.
One of his most proudest moments was being able to share his Emmy win in 2006 with his father, who was at the Awards show.
Kiefer the music lover
In addition to his passions for acting and rodeo, Kiefer has a huge love of music. He collects guitars and has even been honored with his own Signature guitar, the KS-336 by Gibson.
Along with musician and partner Jude Cole, Kiefer runs Ironworks, a recording studio and music label based in Los Anglese, California. Their most famous artist to date is Rocco de la Luca and the Burden.
"That would explain everything." - Kiefer versus the Christmas Tree
While acting as tour manager for Rocco de la Luca & the Burden, Kiefer infamously 'attacked' a Christmas tree in a London hotel. Captured on film in the documentary I Trust You To Kill Me, the clip has become famous in its own right.
The collected works of Kiefer Sutherland
Max Dugan Returns (1983)
The Bay Boy (1984)
Steven Spielberg's Amazing Stories 1985
Brotherhood of Justice (TV, 1986)
At Close Range
Trapped In Silence (TV, 1986)
Stand By Me (1986)
Promised Land (1987)
The Lost Boys (1987)
Crazy Moon (1987)
The Killing Time (1987)
Bright Lights, Big City (1988)
Young Guns (1988)
Chicago Joe and the Showgirl (1990)
Young Guns II (1990)
The Nutcracker Prince (Voice, 1990)
Article 99 (1992)
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992)
A Few Good Men (1992)
The Vanishing (1993
Last Light (TV,1993)
The Three Musketeers (1993)
Teresa's Tattoo (1994)
The Cowboy Way (1994)
Eye For An Eye (1996)
Duke of Groove (TV, 1996)
A Time To Kill (1996)
The Last Days of Frankie the Fly (1997)
Truth or Consequences, N.M. (1997)
Armitage III: Poly Matrix (Voice, 1997)
Dark City (1998)
A Solider's Sweetheart (1998)
Break Up (1998)
Ground Control (1998)
After Alice (1998)
Desert Saints (2000)
Woman Wanted (2000)
Picking Up the Pieces (2000)
The Right Temptation (2000)
Cowboy Up (2001)
To End All Wars (2001)
Dead Heat (2002)
Phone Booth (2002)
Behind the Red Door (2003)
Paradise Found (2003)
The Land Before Time X: The Great Longneck Migration (Voice, 2003)
Taking Lives (2004)
The Flight That Fought Back (TV, Voice, 2005)
River Queen (2005)
The Wild (Voice, 2006)
The Sentinel (2006)
Dragonlance: Dragons of Autumn Twilight (Voice, 2007)
Monsters vs. Aliens (Voice, 2009)
B.O.B.'s Big Break (Voice, 2009)
Monsters vs Aliens: Mutant Pumpkins from Outer Space (Voice, 2009)
Twelve (Voice, 2010)
Marmaduke (Voice, 2010)
Last Light (TV, 1993)
Fallen Angels (episode 'Love and Blood', 1995)
Truth Or Consequences, N.M. (1997)
Woman Wanted (2000)
Saturday Night Live (host, 1991)
Fallen Angels (episode 'Love and Blood', 1995)
Watership Down (? episodes, 1999)
24 (8 seasons, 2001-2010)
The Simpsons ('GI (Annoyed Grunt)' & '24 Minutes', 2006/2007)
Your Favorite? - Cast a vote for your favorite Kiefer Sutherland movie!
Are you afraid to die? Keifer Sutherland isnt. Hes an ambitious charismatic medical student who persuades classmate Julia Roberts and Kevin Bacon to take part in a reckless experiment. To see if there is life after death they will kill themselves: temporarily shut down ("flatline") their heart and brain functions to briefly experience clinical death.System Requirements: Starring: Kiefer Sutherland Julia Roberts and Kevin Bacon Director: Joel Shumacher Copyright: 1990 Columbia Produced by Michael Douglas and Rick Biebe; written by Peter Filardi; DVD released on 01/20/1998; running time of 114 minutes; Closed Captioned. Interactive Menus English 2-Channel Additional Languages: Spanish French Subtitles: Spanish Korean Scene SelectionsFormat: DVD MOVIE Genre:Â MYSTERY/SUSPENSE Rating:Â R UPC:Â 043396503892 Manufacturer No:Â 50389
You Can Lie But You Cannot Hide.
Story of a woman (Hunter) who comes to work as a housekeeper for a widower (Moriarty) and his grown son (Sutherland) and of their attachment to her to the point that she is asked by the father to marry... to the dismay of the son who also loves her. But the animosity of the two men toward each other is finally resolved when she becomes intentionally pregnant, possibly by one or the other as she goes to bed with both men within a matter of days, causing neither to win her for himself, but both to become bound together because of the child.
Sally Field stars in this well-crafted revenge thriller. Eye for an Eye follows Karen McCann (Field) after her teenage daughter is raped and murdered. At first, she sinks into depression and paranoia; but, when the killer (Kiefer Sutherland) is caught, then released on a technicality, she becomes obsessed and begins to track him in his neighborhood. Her single-mindedness begins to distance her from her husband (Ed Harris). Finally, when the killer threatens her younger daughter, she decides to take matters into her own hands. Eye for an Eye is not exactly a balanced examination of justice and revenge--Sutherland's killer is a relentless monster--but it does approach the conflict from many points of view, articulated by a superb supporting cast, including Joe Mantegna, Beverly D'Angelo, Charlayne Woodard, Philip Baker Hall, Keith David, and Donal Logue. It's directed with professional skill by John Schlesinger (Midnight Cowboy, Marathon Man). --Bret Fetzer
Inspired casting puts sparks in this comedy of counterculture clash between an aging 1960s radical and a buttoned-down FBI agent. Dennis Hopper plays an Abbie Hoffman-esque sixties activist and prankster who lands in the custody of a conservative young agent (a suitably uptight Kiefer Sutherland) and proceeds to literally unravel the agent's carefully constructed front through a series of slippery mind games. Hopper has a blast as the unreformed sixties relic, and Carol Kane is delightful as a hippie holdout who puts both men back in touch with their identities. There are few surprises, plenty of heart, and even a little sentiment in this story of rebellion and the legacy of the counterculture. The soundtrack is gilded with well-chosen 1960s anthems. --Sean Axmaker
Nab the star-studded comedy-adventure that dazzled moviegoers everywhere! It's the action-packed tale of three loyal swordsmen (Charlie Sheen, Kiefer Sutherland, Oliver Platt) who are joined by an eager recruit (Chris O'Donnell) to protect the King of France. Together, the foursome battle enormous odds in their attempt to defeat an evil royal advisor (Tim Curry) and a seductive envoy (Rebecca De Mornay) plotting to overthrow France's crown -- fighting against both time and scores of enemies! You'll cheer out loud when these exciting muskeeteers face danger, fun, and adventure at every turn -- proving they are the greatest swashbucklers who ever lived!
There's lots of desert in this made-for-cable caper, but not many saints. Banks (Keifer Sutherland) is a hit man for hire and Bennie (Magnolia's Melora Walters) is the abused wife he takes on as an accomplice. She just wants a ride out of town. If it means driving the getaway car while Banks makes his next hit--so be it. As the duo drives from Arizona to Mexico for his next assignment, Banks turns out to be more sensitive than he at first appears, while the seemingly ditsy Bennie turns out to be smarter. Jamey Sheridan (Law & Order: Criminal Intent) plays the FBI agent who's hot on their trail. Desert Saints, which was coproduced by Meg Ryan and premiered on Cinemax, is a taut thriller with a twist at the end. What it lacks in humor and excitement, it makes up for with solid performances and an abundance of lost highway atmosphere. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
Sutherland plays a death row prisoner abused by the system. Ironically the prison guard assigned to death row sees something similar between the two of them and as their relationship begins to open him up it changes his life.System Requirements:Running Time: 104 Mins.Format: DVD MOVIE Genre:Â DRAMA Rating:Â R UPC:Â 031398207443 Manufacturer No:Â 20744
Kiefer Sutherland ("24") and Nastassja Kinski star in this stirring gorgeous epic film about the renowned painter Paul Gauguin. Dissatisfied with his work as a highly successful stockbroker in Paris Gauguin gives up his lucrative job to further his self-taught painting skills. But as his dreams to revolutionize the art world lead him and his family into a downward spiral of financial ruin Gauguin discovers that he must travel to a new strange world in the South Seas to rekindle the passion to create his masterpieces.System Requirements:Run Time: 94 minsFormat: DVD MOVIE Genre:Â DRAMA Rating:Â NR UPC:Â 012236207214 Manufacturer No:Â 20721
No Description Available.Genre: Feature Film-DramaRating: RRelease Date: 5-APR-2005Media Type: DVD
Kiefer Sutherland and Robert Carlyle star in this explosive war film based on an amazing true story. Captured by the Japanese, a group of courageous soldiers are forced to build the infamous "Railway of Death" between Thailand and Burma during the height
In this riveting, tension-filled psychological thriller, a young woman (Sandra Bullock) mysteriously disappears, sending her boyfriend Jeff (Kiefer Sutherland) on a years-long quest to find her. Not even a new love (Nancy Travis) can keep him from his obsessive search. All the while, the calculating psychopath (Jeff Bridges) who kidnapped his girlfriend stalks Jeff, ultimately taking him through the exact same steps that led to the crime. In order to find out what happened, Jeff must put his own life in the hands of this devious stranger.
There's never been a traitor in the United States Secret Service...until now. And the evidence points to Pete Garrison (Douglas), one of the most trusted agents on the force. Now on the run, with two relentless federal investigators (Sutherland and Longoria) hot on his heels, Garrison must fight to clear his name and thwart an attempt on the President's life before it's too late!
Behind the Red Door is a story of one woman’s journey through the forgotten past of her family’s violent history and her mother’s tragic murder. Natalie (Sedgwick) embarks on a path of self discovery as she is faced with a last chance for redemption from her troubling youth and the truth that she has hidden all her life. The opportunity presents itself when she is reunited with her long estranged brother, Roy (Sutherland) who finds himself infected with the AIDS virus. Though Natalie has come home to save her brother’s life, she soon realizes that he has saved hers.
A sleeper hit when released in 1986, Stand by Me is based on Stephen King's novella "The Body" (from the book Different Seasons); but it's more about the joys and pains of boyhood friendship than a morbid fascination with corpses. It's about four boys ages 12 and 13 (Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, Jerry O'Connell) who take an overnight hike through the woods near their Oregon town to find the body of a boy who's been missing for days. Their journey includes a variety of scary adventures (including a ferocious junkyard dog, a swamp full of leeches, and a treacherous leap from a train trestle), but it's also a time for personal revelations, quiet interludes, and the raucous comradeship of best friends. Set in the 1950s, the movie indulges an overabundance of anachronistic profanity and a kind of idealistic, golden-toned nostalgia (it's told in flashback as a story written by Wheaton's character as an adult, played by Richard Dreyfuss). But it's delightfully entertaining from start to finish, thanks to the rapport among its young cast members and the timeless, universal themes of friendship, family, and the building of character and self-esteem. Kiefer Sutherland makes a memorable teenage villain, and look closely for John Cusack in a flashback scene as Wheaton's now-deceased and dearly missed brother. A genuine crowd-pleaser, this heartfelt movie led director Rob Reiner to even greater success with his next film, The Princess Bride. --Jeff Shannon
Part of what was touted as a late-1980s revival of Westerns (and you can see how long that lasted), this good-looking, empty-brained film was like a spurs-and-chaps version of a Joel Schumacher movie, filled with pretty faces, prettier imagery, and absolutely no new ideas. The idiotically grinning Emilio Estevez is cast as Billy the Kid, who slowly accumulates a gang of Brat Pack buddies (Lou Diamond Phillips, Kiefer Sutherland, Dermot Mulroney) and fashions them into a group of male models with six-guns. The action is confused and the script is trite, though Terence Stamp is intriguing as the old reprobate who helps the gang get its act together. Followed by an even worse sequel. --Marshall Fine
Kiefer Sutherland of 24 stars as a disturbed young killer who steals the identity of his latest victim to become deputy of a sleepy coastal town. But when the soon-tobe- promoted sheriff (Beau Bridges of HEART LIKE A WHEEL) and his mistress (Camelia Kath) plot to kill her wealthy husband (Wayne Rogers of M*A*S*H) and frame the new deputy their perfect crime takes some very unexpected turns. In a place where everybody has something to hide are two lovers with a taste for homicide any match for a lone psychopath with a passion for vengeance? Joe Don Baker (WALKING TALL) and Michael Madsen (RESERVOIR DOGS KILL BILL) co-star in this gripping noir thriller that pulses with sexsuspense and a murderous new twist. Format: DVD MOVIE Genre:Â ACTION/ADVENTURE Rating:Â NR UPC:Â 013131332391 Manufacturer No:Â DV13323
The critically-acclaimed triumph from visionary director Alex Proyas (I Robot The Crow) is back with a brand new directors cut featuring enhanced picture and sound never-before-seen footage and three commentary tracks that take you deeper than ever before into the world of one of sci-fis most exciting and revered tales. When John Murdoch (Rufus Sewell) wakes with no memory at the scene of a grisly murder he soon finds himself hunted by the police a woman claiming to be his wife and a mysterious group of pale men who seem to control everything and everyone in the city.Starring Rufus Sewell (The Illusionist) Jennifer Connelly (A Beautiful Mind) William Hurt (A History of Violence) and Kiefer Sutherland (TVs 24).System Requirements:Running Time: 111 minutesFormat: DVD MOVIE Genre:
Strange events threaten an entire family when two brothers move with their divorced mother to a California town where the local teenage gang turns out to be a pack of vampires. Director: Joel Schumacher Actors: Jason Patric, Keifer Sutherland, Corey Haim, Corey Feldman, Diane Wiest, Jami Gertz
What Kiefer Said
A collection of quotes
"If the acting thing hadn't worked out for me, I'd be laying phone cable in northern Ontario."
"When you're a young actor you like to go for characters with a bit of flair, so in many films I ended up playing the weirdos. But I can assure you I'm not a psycho or a criminal or a bully."
"You can't ask the press to service you with everything that they have and not expect some of the other stuff in return if you're going to live your life like I have,' he says. 'I've done enough stupid things that I might as well walk up to them and say, 'Here, if I were you, I'd write it like this...' In all fairness, the press has been pretty nice to me; even in having a go at me, it's done with a kind of humor. Only once or twice have I seen something that made me think, wow, that person really doesn't like me - where it's been malicious as opposed to 'what an idiot'."
"I think the most attractive thing [in a woman] is a sense of humor. If someone can make you laugh, you've gotten a lot out of the way."
"I got really lucky in that my dad stopped working just as I started. He took a few years off, not on purpose, but he has three sons with his wife of 30 years and he wanted to be involved with them. As much as I missed him being around when I was growing up, I think he missed us too and he wasn't going to let that happen again. So it wasn't until much later that people started making comparisons. When I started, with films like The Bay Boy and Stand by Me, I look back on those interviews and I'm amazed; there's no mention of my father, it's not even 'son of Donald Sutherland'. I caught a bit of a break in that it never felt like a weight to me. It's amazing that I was stupid enough to try it - we're talking about one of the most prolific actors in film history - but my parents were very gracious about making me feel like I at least had a shot at making my own path."
"The only purpose I've ever really known is acting. I don't know. Maybe I'm going to have to get therapy."
Kiefer Online - When you want to know more
- Wikipedia: Kiefer Sutherland
Information about Kiefer on Wikipedia
- IMDB: Kiefer Sutherland
The Internet Movie Data Base profile on Kiefer
- Kiefer Rocks
A large fan-run website devoted to Kiefer
The official FOX site for the hit television-series 24
- Wikipedia: 24
Information and episode recaps about 24.
- AskMen.com - Kiefer Sutherland
Kiefer Sutherland pictures and biography.
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