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Actor Timothy Hutton was only 19 years old when he earned an Academy Award for his very first feature film, Robert Redford's flinchingly resonant family drama "Ordinary People" (1980). His acclaimed performance set the stage for a string of follow-up dramas, where he lent a furrowed brow to intelligent and driven young adults whose idealism often led them to dark territory. However, after captivating performances in films like "Taps" (1981) and "The Falcon and the Snowman" (1984), Hutton failed to turn his brooding sensitivity into a steady career, and he compiled an eclectic film and television resume that validated him as a visceral performer but frequently failed to live up to the newcomer's initial box-office expectations. The actor began to regain a respected place in Hollywood in the new millennium, anchoring a number of decent cable drama series (as actor and director) and filling his schedule with interesting, character driven independent films and the occasional supporting role in select, smarter big budget dramas. Hutton was born Aug. 16, 1960, to librarian and book publisher Maryline and Jim Hutton, an actor known for his starring roles in 1960s teen comedy films like "Where the Boys Are"...
Actor Timothy Hutton was only 19 years old when he earned an Academy Award for his very first feature film, Robert Redford's flinchingly resonant family drama "Ordinary People" (1980). His acclaimed performance set the stage for a string of follow-up dramas, where he lent a furrowed brow to intelligent and driven young adults whose idealism often led them to dark territory. However, after captivating performances in films like "Taps" (1981) and "The Falcon and the Snowman" (1984), Hutton failed to turn his brooding sensitivity into a steady career, and he compiled an eclectic film and television resume that validated him as a visceral performer but frequently failed to live up to the newcomer's initial box-office expectations. The actor began to regain a respected place in Hollywood in the new millennium, anchoring a number of decent cable drama series (as actor and director) and filling his schedule with interesting, character driven independent films and the occasional supporting role in select, smarter big budget dramas.
Hutton was born Aug. 16, 1960, to librarian and book publisher Maryline and Jim Hutton, an actor known for his starring roles in 1960s teen comedy films like "Where the Boys Are" (1960) and as the star of the mystery series "Ellery Queen" (NBC, 1975-76). Following his parent's divorce when he was three years old, Hutton and his older sister were raised mainly by their mother in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Berkeley, CA, where he made his school play debut and was bit by the acting bug. A summer vacation with his dad in Hollywood when he was 15 led Hutton to move in with him, and after appearing in summer stock productions, Hutton began pursuing an acting career full-time, with his father as coach. He gained some attention for his work in TV-movies, notably the award-winning "Friendly Fire" (ABC, 1979), where he played the son of Ned Beatty and Carol Burnett. The following year, he landed a star-making role as a youth recovering from the death of a brother and his own failed suicide attempt in Robert Redford's, "Ordinary People" (1980). Hutton's sensitive, nuanced and hauntingly realistic performance netted him several awards, including a Best Supporting Actor Golden Globe and an Oscar. The youngest actor at the time to earn such an award, Hutton's accomplishment was bittersweet, as his father had died from cancer just as the film began shooting.
Hutton's acclaimed performance led to several follow-up roles as intelligent, sensitive young men with a conscience. In 1981, he gave a Golden Globe-nominated leading performance as the student leader of a military academy uprising in "Taps" (1981), which turned him and his co-stars Sean Penn and Tom Cruise into overnight teen heartthrobs. On the small screen, he earned another Golden Globe nod for his starring role as a troubled youth searching for his estranged family in "A Long Way Home" (ABC, 1981). But while his star status meant a busy dating life with Diane Lane, Rosanna Arquette, and "Ordinary People" co-star Elizabeth McGovern, Hutton opted against fueling the teeny bopper fire with patently commercial young adult offerings, notoriously turning down the Tom Cruise role in "Risky Business" (1983) to work with director Sidney Lumet in "Daniel" (1983), where he played the justice-seeking son of a couple patterned after convicted spies Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. A series of starring roles as justice-seekers followed, with Hutton playing the sole scientist who regards a thawed Neanderthal man as a human being rather than a specimen in "Iceman" (1984), and as a disillusioned young government employee who seeks revenge by selling secrets to the Soviets in the fact-based "The Falcon and the Snowman" (1985), which paired him again with Penn as his strung-out courier.
Attempting to break out of the serious young man stereotype, Hutton took a lighter starring role but seemed unable to transcend the brooding persona which undermined the Capraesque aspirations of "Turk 182" (1985), where he played a young artist fighting city hall to try to get his injured firefighter brother workman's compensation. The following year, he married 1980s "it girl" Debra Winger and fared better with Alan Rudolph's romantic comedy-fantasy "Made in Heaven" (1987) and the football film "Everybody's All-American" (1988), where he served as one point of a romantic triangle between Jessica Lange and Dennis Quaid. He returned to youthful idealistic territory to play an eager, wet-behind-the-ears assistant district attorney waist-deep in police department corruption in Sidney Lumet's "Q & A" (1990), however, his earnestness paled next to the antics of highly volatile co-star Nick Nolte. He was also miscast as a regal Russian romancing Nastassja Kinski in "Torrents of Spring" (1989), Jerzy Skolimowski's stilted adaptation of an Ivan Turgenev story. In 1990, Hutton made his Broadway debut in the Tony nominee for Best Play, "Prelude to a Kiss." Unfortunately, his four-year marriage to Winger came to an end, whereupon, he was promptly linked with actress Mary-Louise Parker.
A decade after his "Ordinary People" breakout, while early co-stars like Cruise and Penn had gone on to large scale success in their respective genres, Hutton found himself still struggling to translate his strengths into solid box office or at least steady critical favor. He portrayed author F. Scott Fitzgerald in the TNT biopic "Zelda" (1993) starring Natasha Richardson, before a dual role (including one half as a greasy Southern killer which he undertook with supernatural gusto) in George Romero's blood-soaked adaptation of Stephen King's "The Dark Half" (1993) opened eyes to another side of the actor. Hutton was miscast in Lawrence Kasdan's romantic comedy "French Kiss" (1995), which floundered commercially, but nicely displayed an ease and charm in one of his best-received roles in years, "Beautiful Girls" (1996), opposite precocious teenager Natalie Portman. His performance in the Ted Demme charmer mixed equal parts lechery, responsibility and yearning, and the resultant vulnerability and wisdom he displayed enabled him to escape with his dignity - something he managed to do throughout his career. Off-screen, Hutton was seen dating real life "Beautiful Girl" co-star, Uma Thurman, and followed up his recent film success with a turn as the son of a Holocaust survivor in "The Substance of Fire" (1996), but the power of the Jon Robin Baitz play did not survive its translation to the screen.
Expanding his range to include executive producing duties, Hutton also starred in the Showtime movie "Mr. and Mrs. Loving" (1996), about an interracial couple fighting Virginia's miscegenation laws in the 1960s. Next, he clearly relished the opportunity to delve into an evil guise, portraying the blond-haired wheeler-dealer Raymond Blossom, who offers a decertified physician (David Duchovny) a Faustian bargain in the noirish drama, "Playing God" (1997). While many felt the attempt was unsubtle and obvious, others found it on the mark. Showtime offered Hutton another opportunity to showcase quality work with his title role as a CIA agent trading secrets with Russian spies in "Aldrich Ames: Traitor Within" (1998). For his feature film directing debut, Hutton returned to the arena of alienated youth, which he mined so brilliantly early in his career. "Digging to China" (1998) told the story of a precocious, fatherless 10-year-old girl who dreams of escaping her dull life in rural Pennsylvania by befriending an equally lost mentally handicapped man. Unfortunately, despite the presence of such talents as Kevin Bacon and Mary Stuart Masterson, the material was judged too thin for the big screen. Resuming his acting career, Hutton snared a supporting role in the John Travolta thriller, "The General's Daughter" (1999), where he gave a memorably creepy turn, and snared a new off-screen girlfriend in action heroine Angelina Jolie.
Hutton turned to primetime and found a solid niche in the A&E series "A Nero Wolfe Mystery" (A&E, 2001-02), where after initially co-starring as the title detective's assistant in the period noir series, he segued into writing and directing episodes. Following the cancellation of the series in 2002, Hutton returned to theaters in John Sayles' well-received (but little-seen) "Sunshine State," which was particularly acclaimed for the outstanding performances of its ensemble cast. The actor's film career enjoyed further momentum with the successful Stephen King psychological thriller "Secret Door" (2004) starring Johnny Depp, and a supporting role as one of a renowned team of sexual researchers in the Golden Globe Best Picture nominee, "Kinsey" (2004). In addition to supporting roles in mainstream successes like the CIA drama "The Good Shepherd" (2006) starring Matt Damon and the heartwarming Queen Latifah vehicle "Last Holiday" (2006), he appeared in a number of independent titles in 2006. Hutton's career was inarguably in comeback mode, and he landed a starring role as the wealthy parent of an abducted teen in the primetime drama "Kidnapped" (NBC, 2006-07).
After a steady string of independent films including the family-oriented fantasy "The Last Mimzy" (2007) and the domestic drama "Lymelife" (2008), Hutton was cast in the TNT series "Leverage" (2008- ), where he starred in the modern day Robin Hood story of a former insurance investigator who steals from wealthy corporations. The following year, Hutton starred in the first independent film effort from comedienne Cheryl Hines - "Serious Moonlight" (2009).
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CAST: (feature film)
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Hutton is the youngest performer to win an Oscar in the in the Best Supporting Actor category. He was 20 when he pciked up the statuette for "Ordinary People"
In an April 24, 1993 radio interview on WBAI-FM in NYC, George A. Romero (writer-director of "The Dark Half") stated that while any number of actors could play George Stark, the murderous alter-ego, Hutton was one of very few actors who could convincingly play a writer.
About following his own gut in career choices: "I was 18, I did a couple of things on TV, then I did 'Ordinary People', and when you are fortunate enough to be in a movie like that, working with Robert Redford as the director, and the movie is as well-received as it was, it would be ludicrous to have a master plan for a career . . . So next, I was in Wayne, PA, doing 'Taps'. And then I was back in New York working with Sidney Lumet, doing an ensemble movie called 'Daniel'. And I turned down a starring role in 'Risky Business', even though all my agents and manager said I was crazy. But I looked at it and asked myself, what was the experience going to be like? What will I learn? And looking back at myself at 23, being able to work with Sidney Lumet and E L Doctorow, I have absolutely no regrets. I learned stuff that will stay with me forever." --Timothy Hutton in Daily News, September 13, 1998
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