Sutherland, Kiefer


Sutherland, Kiefer
▪ 2004

      He might have been acting for more than 20 years, but it took only one very long day for Kiefer Sutherland to earn some of the best reviews of his career. The British-born Canadian actor starred as American counterterrorist agent Jack Bauer in 24, the innovative television series that covered a single day in Bauer's life. Each hour-long episode aired in real time and featured nonstop action—in the series' second season, broadcast in 2002–03, Bauer saved Los Angeles from a terrorist attack, survived a nuclear blast, was tortured to death and later revived, and helped avert a war. Bordering on the outlandish at times, 24 was grounded by Sutherland's captivating performance, which combined toughness and vulnerability. Critics and audiences were riveted to their television sets, and in 2003 Sutherland earned his second consecutive Emmy nomination for his portrayal of Bauer.

      Kiefer William Frederick Dempsey George Rufus Sutherland was born on Dec. 21, 1966, in London, the son of Canadian actors Donald Sutherland and Shirley Douglas. After his parents' divorce (1971), he moved with his mother and twin sister to Canada, but he left school at age 15 to pursue an acting career. He made his big-screen debut, with his father, in Max Dugan Returns (1983). The following year he landed a leading role in The Bay Boy, for which the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television nominated him for a Genie Award as best actor. He appeared as a bully in the hit movie Stand by Me (1986). Sutherland's menacing performance attracted much attention, and villains became his specialty, although he typically sought out diverse roles. He starred in a series of popular films, including The Lost Boys (1987) and Young Guns (1988), and established himself as one of Hollywood's leading young actors. In 1990 he costarred with Julia Roberts in the thriller Flatliners; the couple's subsequent engagement and breakup became fodder for the tabloids. Sutherland directed the TV movie Last Light (1993) and the feature film Truth or Consequences, N.M. (1997). Acting remained his primary work, however, and he made notable appearances in A Few Good Men (1992), Freeway (1996), and A Time to Kill (1996). He also performed with his mother onstage in The Glass Menagerie in 1996.

      After a brief sabbatical from acting to perform in rodeos, Sutherland returned to Hollywood, and in 2001 he landed the role of Bauer on 24. Concerns that in the wake of the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, people would not want to see a show that dealt with terrorists proved unfounded. The series, which debuted in November 2001, was an instant hit. Many critics named it the best new show of the season, and in 2002 Sutherland won a Golden Globe Award for outstanding lead actor in a television drama. He also was praised for his role as the sinister Caller in the film Phone Booth, which was released in theatres in early 2003.

Amy Tikkanen

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▪ Canadian actor
in full  Kiefer William Frederick Dempsey George Rufus Sutherland  
born Dec. 21, 1966, London, Eng.

      British-born Canadian actor, who earned acclaim for his film work, especially his portrayal of sinister characters, but achieved perhaps his greatest success with the television show 24 (2001– ).

      Sutherland was the son of Canadian actors Donald Sutherland and Shirley Douglas. After his parents' divorce in 1971, he moved with his mother and twin sister to Canada, but he left school at age 15 to pursue an acting career. He made his big-screen debut, with his father, in Max Dugan Returns (1983). The following year he landed a leading role in The Bay Boy, for which the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television nominated him for a Genie Award as best actor. He appeared as a bully in the popular movie Stand By Me (1986). Sutherland's menacing performance attracted much attention, and villains became his specialty, although he typically sought out diverse roles. He starred in a series of popular films, including The Lost Boys (1987) and Young Guns (1988), and established himself as one of Hollywood's leading young actors. In 1990 he costarred with Julia Roberts (Roberts, Julia) in the thriller Flatliners; the couple's subsequent engagement and breakup became fodder for the tabloids. Sutherland directed the TV movie Last Night (1993) and the feature film Truth of Consequences, N.M. (1997). Acting remained his primary work, however, and he made notable appearances in A Few Good Men (1992), Freeway (1996), and A Time to Kill (1996). He also performed with his mother onstage in The Glass Menagerie in 1996.

      After a brief sabbatical from acting to perform in rodeos, Sutherland returned to Hollywood. In 2001 he landed the role of American counterterrorist agent Jack Bauer in 24, the innovative television series that covered a single day in Bauer's life. Each hour-long episode aired in real time and featured nonstop action. The series debuted in November 2001 and was a critical and commercial success. In 2002 and 2006 Sutherland won a Golden Globe Award for outstanding lead actor in a television drama. He continued to act in films, and his later movies include Taking Lives (2004) and The Sentinel (2006).

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Universalium. 2010.

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