Kiefer Sutherland joined the family acting business at the ripe old age of 15. Born to Canadian parents Donald Sutherland and Shirley Douglas, Kiefer spent much of his childhood at the theatre with his mother, and visiting his father on sets in L.A. It may have been inevitable that the acting bug chased and caught him.
His first role was in Max Dugan Returns at 15, but he was destined for bigger parts. Cast by Canadian director Daniel Petrie in The Bay Boy, he was nominated for a Genie Award for Best Actor. Driving to L.A. in a car he bought with money he made doing a jeans commercial, Sutherland won television roles in Steven Spielberg's Amazing Stories and in the tele-film, Trapped in Silence with Marsha Mason.
He was a perfect fit for rough-edged roles like the leader of the gang in Stand By Me, the head vampire in The Lost Boys and "Doc" in Young Guns. Admired by others for an ability to 'tap into his darker side', in one of his edgier roles, Eye for an Eye with Sally Field and Ed Harris, Sutherland portrayed an unremorseful, brutal murderer.He has said, "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. I can assure you I'm not a psycho or a criminal or a bully."
In 1992, he starred opposite Ray Liotta in Article 99 and A Few Good Men with Jack Nicholson and Tom Cruise. He followed that with the part of "Athos" in The Three Musketeers with Charlie Sheen, Oliver Platt and Chris O'Donnell. In 1994, he made The Vanishing with Jeff Bridges.
Kiefer learned to ride and rope, taking a break from acting to compete in rodeos; he won his first competition in Phoenix. Sutherland and partner, John English won several more competitions, including first place in the '98 U.S. Team Roping Championships. "I was as shocked as anyone else when we won our first rodeo, but I'm a competitive person. I wanted that buckle."
He made his directorial debut in the Showtime film, Last Light garnering glowing reviews, especially for Sutherland's directing. Fellow actors credit Sutherland's directing style to his foundation as an actor, understanding a performer's process and needs and trusting his actor's expressive skills.
In a career that spans more than twenty years, Sutherland has distinguished himself by the versatility of the parts he plays. He has established his individuality as an actor with an edgy presence, a boyish and devious smile, and a distinctive voice.
In 1997, Sutherland added his second directorial credit and starred in Truth or Consequences, N.M. along with Kevin Pollak, Rod Steiger and Martin Sheen. That year he also co-starred with William Hurt and Rufus Sewell in Dark City which was a special presentation at the Cannes Film Festival.
He also found the time to star with his mother in a stage production of The Glass Menagerie at The Royal Alexandra Theatre. "During rehearsals, we'd be two professional people working together. Then, the second we'd break for lunch, she'd be my mother again, talking in a motherly, listen-to-me-son tone."
In 1998, Sutherland starred in Showtime's critically acclaimed original picture, A Soldier's Sweetheart with Skeet Ulrich that premiered that year at the Toronto Film Festival's Gala Screening.
Kiefer Sutherland is currently starring in the fourth season of the critically acclaimed drama, 24 for which he won a Golden Globe Award and a SAG Award as well as receiving two Emmy nominations and a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor in a Drama Series.
Of his portrayal as federal counter-terrorism expert, "Jack Bauer", Executive Producer Robert Cochran said, "On screen, he certainly has an edge, and he has a dark side to him. He's played a lot of villains. You get a guy like that and you put him in a role that's essentially heroic and he naturally takes on the heroism of the role. But Kiefer brings that sort of dark side with him and it's a tremendous sense of three-dimensionality and layers and complexity. He's a good guy, you root for him, but you know he has demons"
He recently starred in Taking Lives with Angelina Jolie and Ethan Hawke and Phone Booth, directed by Joel Schumacher. He completed The River Queen starring Samantha Morton scheduled for release later this year.
Kiefer Sutherland is the third member of his distinguished family to receive a star on Canada's Walk of Fame, joining his mother, Shirley Douglas (2004) and his father, Donald Sutherland (2000). Sutherland has a daughter, Sarah, and now resides in Los Angeles.