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Overview for Timothy Olyphant
Timothy Olyphant

Timothy Olyphant


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Also Known As: Timothy David Olyphant Died:
Born: May 20, 1968 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Honolulu, Hawaii, USA Profession: Cast ... actor


With several acclaimed off-Broadway performances under his belt, actor Timothy Olyphant made his presence known on film with a breakthrough role in the blockbuster horror sequel "Scream 2" (1997). While he made a serious effort to establish himself as a feature film performer of some note, Olyphant struggled to find his footing on the big screen, often delivering strong performances in box office duds like "Gone in 60 Seconds" (2000) and "Rock Star" (2001), or little-seen independents like "Go" (1999) and "The Safety of Objects" (2001). He inevitably turned to television, where he staked his claim as an actor of considerable heft, particularly when portraying dark, complex characters such as Sheriff Seth Bullock on the critically acclaimed "Deadwood" (HBO, 2004-06). Though the series lasted only three seasons, Olyphant made an indelible mark on audiences who fervently watched the show. After several more attempts to find box office success, Olyphant made another triumphant return to the small screen with "Damages" (FX, 2007-2010), which once again allowed him to display his considerable chops. He returned to leading status once again with the acclaimed crime drama, "Justified" (FX, 2010-15), which allowed the multifaceted Olyphant to display yet another side of his considerable skill set.

Born on May 20, 1968 in Honolulu, HI, Olyphant was raised in Modesto, CA, where he attended Fred C. Beyer High School. After graduating, he studied fine art and theater at the University of Southern California, where he also was a member of the swim team, becoming a U.S. national finalist in the 200 individual medley. Following his stint at USC, Olyphant moved across the country to further his drama studies at the William Esper Studio in New York, where he became friends with future star Jessica Garner. Olyphant began landing stage roles, performing off-Broadway in productions of "The Monogamist" (1995), for which he won a Theatre World Award for Outstanding Debut, and David Sedaris' "The SantaLand Diaries" (1996). He made his feature film debut with a small role in "The First Wives' Club" (1996), followed by "A Life Less Ordinary" (1997). But his breakthrough on film came playing a cynical film student - 10 years younger than his actual age - in the hit sequel, "Scream 2" (1997), giving a high-energy performance in a pivotal role that allowed him to stand out from the ensemble cast.

While he became a known commodity from his feature work, Olyphant earned his reputation as a strong performer able to tackle complex roles through his efforts on the small screen. In one of his earliest appearances on television, Olyphant laid claim to being the first male suitor to make out with Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) on "Sex and the City" (HBO, 1998-2004). He also had a small supporting role in the character drama, "Ellen Foster" (CBS, 1997), which he followed with a turn in "When Trumpets Fade" (HBO, 1998). Back in features, he played drug dealer Todd Gaines alongside a host of young actors, including Katie Holmes, Sarah Polley and Taye Diggs, in Doug Liman's ensemble "Go" (1999). Although "Go" had a significantly smaller audience than "Scream 2," Olyphant made his mark with a more visible character, while his image even managed to appear on the movie's theatrical poster. The actor's strong performance in this memorable film only helped propel his career further. He went on to star as a bisexual actor in the independent feature "Advice from a Caterpillar" (1999), featuring Cynthia Nixon, Jon Tenney and Andy Dick.

Olyphant went on to appear in a string of films that, while not necessarily commercial successes, allowed him to continue performing in challenging projects, including the gay-themed ensemble film "The Broken Hearts Club: A Romantic Comedy" (2000). He next played a cop tracking down a master car thief (Nicolas Cage) in the remake "Gone in 60 Seconds" (2000), which he followed with a supporting role in the psychological thriller "Auggie Rose" (2001), starring Jeff Goldblum and Anne Heche. After playing a guitarist who fires the lead singer (Mark Wahlberg) from their cover band in the mediocre "Rock Star" (2001), he was a neighborhood landscaper dealing with the loss of his brother in the independent ensemble drama, "The Safety of Objects" (2001). Though he continued to make supporting appearances in high-profile features like the Vin Diesel vehicle "A Man Apart" (2003) and the adaptation of the Stephen King thriller "Dreamcatcher" (2003), Olyphant had difficulty making a name for himself on the big screen. But television soon turned out to be a different story.

In 2004, Olyphant had the opportunity to sink his teeth into one of the meatier roles of his career to date, playing the reluctant, honest, but internally raging Sheriff Seth Bullock on David Milch's acclaimed and foul-mouthed revisionist Western series, "Deadwood." For three seasons, Bullock battled his inner demons - namely his uncontrollable anger and need to solve conflict with violence - while forging uneasy alliances with some of the town's shadier characters, including Al Swearengen (Ian McShane), a self-serving saloon and brothel owner determined to conduct business as he sees fit without outside interference. Bullock also forges ahead on a romance with Alma Garrett (Molly Parker), a widowed laudanum addict who inherits a lucrative gold mine, while contending with the arrival in town of his wife, Martha (Anna Gunn), and stepson, William (Josh Eriksson). Like the rest of the cast and crew, Olyphant was taken by surprise when a seemingly assured fourth season never became reality. Both Milch and HBO were haggling over the cost of the series, which topped $5 million per episode, with the network cutting down the season to only six installments. Instead of bowing to the pressure, Milch walked away, leaving many storylines - including Bullock's relationships with both Martha and Alma - largely unresolved.

During his run on "Deadwood," Olyphant enjoyed more success on the big screen, including a scene-stealing supporting role as a porn producer looking to lure his top actress (Elisha Cuthbert) back into the business in "The Girl Next Door" (2004). After "Deadwood," Olyphant was able to appear in more features, including the romantic comedy "Catch and Release" (2007) and "Hitman" (2007), in which he starred as the anonymous Agent 47, a genetically engineered assassin who works for a secretive organization known simply as The Agency. Taking a turn toward the dark side, Olyphant played a criminal mastermind who battles New York cop John McClaine (Bruce Willis) in "Live Free or Die Hard" (2007). But it was his return to regular series television that once again raised Olyphant to prominence. Joining an excellent cast that already included Glenn Close and Rose Byrne for the second season of "Damages" (FX, 2007-2010), Olyphant played Wes Krulik, a grief counseling member who befriends Ellen (Byrne), though he harbors ulterior motives.

Though not a part of the show's third season, Olyphant continued working steadily in features, starring in the low-budget psychological thriller, "A Perfect Getaway" (2009), starring Steve Zahn and Milla Jovovich. In the remake of the 1973 horror flick, "The Crazies" (2010), he played the sheriff of a sleepy small town whose citizens are suddenly turned into blood-thirsty killers. He returned to the small screen to star in "Justified" (FX, 2010-15), a high-octane crime drama set in Kentucky and based on the Elmore Leonard short story, "Fire in the Hole." Olyphant played a U.S. Marshal whose particular brand of enforcing justice disturbs his superiors, leading to reassignment from Florida back to his hometown area of Harlan County. Upon his return, he tries to balance his job with his ex-wife while also facing off against his oldest friend (Walton Goggins), now turned criminal. While the show became a cable hit, Olyphant earned widespread critical acclaim for his performance, as well as a 2011 Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series.

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