A likable supporting player on television with a distinctly outlaw, countrified look, actor-singer Christian Kane found success on two series with cult followings - "Angel" (The WB, 1999-2004) and "Leverage" (TNT, 2008-12) - while enjoying a second career as a country musician with several albums under his belt. Powerfully built and blessed with "bad boy" good looks, Kane frequently played determined young men; his Lindsey McDonald on "Angel" was a lawyer for an evil firm whose passion for a human-turned-vampire made him turn his back on his career to find love, while Eliot Spencer on "Leverage" frequently settled all scores by means of his physical strength. Kane's vocal talents, which he honed on Los Angeles stages as frontman for the band Kane, were also tapped on occasion to provide soundtrack material and even live performances on various shows. While Kane worked steadily in features, including "Secondhand Lions" (2003) and "Friday Night Lights" (2004), television was his most consistent showcase, and his work there developed a considerable following. His major label debut album, "The House Rules" (2010), also made a splash on the country charts, and confirmed Kane's status as a bona fide double threat in the entertainment business.
Born June 27, 1974 in Dallas, TX, Christian Kane was born to Native American parents who met while working on the rodeo circuit. Kane's father was later employed in the oil business, which required the family to move throughout the South and Midwest before settling in Norma, OK. He was an athlete throughout his school years, first with wrestling, and later in football, where he played as a strong safety. Music was also a major element of his formative years, with country and rock-n-roll owning equal parts of his heart. Kane attended the University of Oklahoma as an art history major, but left before graduation to pursue a career in music and acting. He soon found work at a talent agency, where he offered to deliver scripts in exchange for submitting him for acting roles. Kane quickly landed a lead role on the series "Fame L.A." (syndicated, 1997-98). The role was originally slated as a comedian from Texas, but after hearing Kane's vocal abilities, it was quickly changed to a singer. The series, however, lasted only a season. During this period, he became acquainted with Steve Carlson, who had taken over his old job at the agency. The pair's mutual interest in music led to them forming the band Kane, with Christian as singer and Carlson as rhythm guitarist.
Meanwhile, the actor-turned-singer had landed another television series, "Rescue 77" (The WB, 1999), about paramedics in Los Angeles. Produced by Gregory Widen, the series attempted to portray the profession in a more realistic light, but failed to attract an audience. Meanwhile, Kane's acting career received the boost it needed from a recurring role on "Angel" (The WB, 1999-2004), on which he played Lindsey McDonald, a lawyer whose career path echoed that of Kane's real life journey - raised in the Southwest, he worked his way up the corporate ladder at the demonic law firm of Wolfram and Hart to become one of its most capable defense lawyers while honing a side career as a musician at the monster-friendly karaoke bar, Caritas. The latter location provided Kane with an opportunity to sing one of his band's songs on national television He bounced between aiding and thwarting David Boreanaz's Angel until the latter cut off his hand during a fight, destroying his music dreams. Lindsey's life was further complicated by a romance with Darla (Julie Benz), whose allegiance to the dark side caused him to give up his job and travel the world at the end of season two. Kane was absent from "Angel" until the fifth season, when he returned to Los Angeles to once again resume the fight against the vampire detective. After tapping Lindsey to stop the law firm's attempt to bring the world to an end, Angel finally killed the wayward Lindsey mid-season.
The success of "Angel" allowed Kane to graduate to more substantial supporting and even lead roles in major studio projects. He was Angelina Jolie's baseball player boyfriend in "Life and Something Like It" (2003), then segued to a starring role in "Crooked E: The Shredded Truth About Enron" (CBS, 2003), which depicted the rise and fall of the Enron Corporation through the experiences of real-life energy trader Brian Cruven (Kane), who later penned Anatomy of Greed, on which the film was based. That same year, he played Robert Duvall's character in flashbacks that took place during service in the French Foreign Legion in "Secondhand Lions" (2003), as well as Ashton Kutcher's rival for the affections of Brittany Murphy in "Just Married" (2003).
Meanwhile, Kane's band was gaining attention from the national media thanks to its self-released, eponymous debut album and constant live performances in their native Southern California. Kane also managed to place the group's songs on the soundtracks for "Life and Something Like It," "Crooked E" and "Just Married." A second album, 2004's Live in London, underscored a growing international fan base. That same year, Kane pursued director Peter Berg to play a supporting role as a good ole' boy football player in the critically acclaimed "Friday Night Lights" (2004) while appearing as a crooked FBI agent in the universally panned comedy "Taxi" (2004) opposite Jimmy Fallon and Queen Latifah. Kane graduated to romantic lead the following year in the little-seen "Her Minor Thing" (2005), a comedy starring Estelle Warren as a twenty-something woman whose virginity, accidentally publicized on television by her reporter boyfriend, made her the citywide target of oversexed men. Kane played a photographer with a long string of failed relationships who became her true love. Kane wrapped the year by signing a lucrative publishing deal with EMI Nashville.
In 2005, Kane had a major supporting role in the Steven Spielberg-produced historical miniseries "Into the West" (TNT), as Abe Wheeler, who aided in the building of the First Transcontinental Railroad. That same year, he returned briefly to network series work with "Close to Home" (CBS, 2005-07) as the husband of Jennifer Finnigan's lawyer hero, but was killed off by a drunk driver at the end of the first season. Undaunted, he made a second attempt at regular series work, and scored with TNT's "Leverage." A wry mix of comedy, action and drama, "Leverage" followed Timothy Hutton's former insurance investigator in his new job as leader of a team of con artists who staged elaborate scenarios for clients whose careers and lives had been damaged by unscrupulous business figures. Kane was Eliot Spencer, the team's "hitter," which translated into providing physical protection by means of his extensive martial arts training. What set Spencer apart from the usual muscle was his understated intelligence and curmudgeonly attitude, which helped to make him a popular character among fans. The fact that Kane also performed all of his own stunts, which on occasion would land him in the hospital, also added to his appeal. "Leverage" enjoyed sizable ratings for its cable network parent, and pushed Kane even further up the celebrity ladder.
While Kane continued to venture into features during this period, most notably the little-seen romantic comedy "Not Since You" (2010) with Katherine Heigl, his most successful project outside of "Leverage" remained his band, which released its second studio album, The House Rules in 2010. Its first single, also titled "The House Rules," debuted at No. 54 on the Billboard Country songs chart in December of that year, and the album itself peaked at No. 28 on the U.S. Country charts. Kane's "Leverage" co-star Hutton directed the music video for "The House Rules," and the winning streak continued that year when top-selling country singer Trace Adkins recorded one of Kane's songs, "Happy Man," on his 2010 album Cowboy's Back in Town.