A prolific American television actor, Brett Cullen is most recognizable for his many recurring roles on primetime dramas. The native Texan studied acting in college and began winning TV parts in his 20s. Among Cullen's notable early work were parts on the miniseries "The Thorn Birds" (ABC, 1983) and the soap opera "Falcon Crest" (CBS, 1981-1990). Juggling various one-off television spots with the occasional feature-film role, Cullen finally landed the lead in a series with the Western "Legacy" (UPN, 1998-99), but the show proved to be short-lived. Around 2005, he became even busier than usual, with guest stints on numerous high-profile dramas, including "The West Wing" (NBC, 1999-2006) and "Lost" (ABC, 2004-2010), all within a brief span of time. Cullen subsequently began to snag bit parts in major Hollywood films such as "The Dark Knight Rises" (2012) and the "Red Dawn" remake (2012). Always conveying a stoic sense of steeliness, Cullen aged into an actor frequently called upon for characters who clearly meant business.
Sticking to his metropolitan hometown for college, Cullen pursued acting at the University of Houston and befriended fellow young actor Dennis Quaid, forming a long-lasting bond. While Quaid rocketed to stardom, Cullen paid his dues on television, landing a mix of small and substantial roles on major network productions. In 1983 he appeared in the heralded miniseries "The Thorn Birds" and later took on the part of Dan Fixx for more than 50 episodes of the popular soap "Falcon Crest." Cullen's Texan ruggedness made him a good fit for Westerns, with a role as Marshal Sam Cain on "The Young Riders" (ABC, 1989-1992) and eventually a starring turn on "Legacy," which only lasted one season despite solid reviews. Prior to this series, he also had a lead part in the sitcom "The Simple Life" (CBS, 1998) with Judith Light, which met an even quicker fate.
Already a steady working actor, Cullen became more in-demand in the new millennium, playing a supporting role in the feature football comedy "The Replacements" (2000) and portraying recurring characters on a number of major shows, including "The West Wing," "Lost" and "Friday Night Lights" (NBC, 2006-2011). Often cast as fathers, Cullen played the dad of Nicolas Cage's title antihero in "Ghost Rider" (2007) and also had a paternal turn in 2012's resistance-fighter movie remake "Red Dawn." After briefly appearing in the superhero blockbuster "The Dark Knight Rises" (2012), he joined the cast of the tense drama "Person of Interest" (CBS, 2011-16) as a key character tied to the show's super-surveillance conceit and also became a regular on the soapy dramedy "Devious Maids" (Lifetime, 2013-16).
Cast (Feature Film)
Producer (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Made TV series debut in "The Chisholms" (CBS) replacing Brian Kerwin in the role of Gideon
Appeared as one of the Cleary brothers in the popular ABC miniseries, "The Thorn Birds"
Made feature film debut in "Stewardess School"
Had a supporting role, opposite Julia Roberts and Dennis Quaid, in "Something to Talk About"
Played real-life astronaut, David Scott in the award-winning HBO mini-series, "From the Earth to the Moon"
Had a small role in "The Replacements," starring Keanu Reeves and Gene Hackman
Had a recurring role on ABC's "Lost"
Played the fictional governor of W. Virginia and the Republican nominee for Vice President in NBC's "The West Wing"
Played Walt Riggins on NBC's "Friday Night Lights"
Cast as Barton Blaze, opposite Nicolas Cage, in the movie "Ghost Rider"
Had a recurring role in the FX drama, "Damages," as Wayne Sutry
Began recurring role of "Person of Interest"
Joined the cast of the TV series "Devious Maids"