Character actor Gregory Itzin made his name with a series of confident turns as men of power - many with substantial character flaws - but none quite as powerful or flawed as his signature role of President Charles Logan on "24" (Fox, 2001-10). Wholly unprepared for the responsibility of the position, Itzin's Logan went on to defame the office by participating in a variety of cover-ups that nearly toppled the United States' international standing. His performance fleshed out the character beyond a simple straw man and into a fully realized tragic figure, earning both two Emmy nominations and the ire and pity of the show's millions of fans. A theater veteran and television staple for over two decades, the role led to more prominent parts in features and other series, and helped establish Itzin as one of the most capable supporting players in the business.
Born in Washington, D.C. on April 20, 1948, he was raised in Burlington, WI, where his father, a career Marine officer, worked as a banker before serving as the town's mayor. His initial career path was teaching, but he discovered the joys of acting while a student at the University of Wisconsin. There, an English professor informed his class than anyone who wished to avoid writing a final paper on Shakespeare's "Richard II" could do so by staging a production of the play. Itzin, who had appeared in a few grade and high school plays but regarded acting as something less than a profession, leapt at the opportunity to avoid the drudgery of writing a paper. In doing so, he fell in love with the craft, and after working in dinner theater in Illinois, he lit out for San Francisco, CA to study at the American Conservatory Theater.
There, Itzin further developed his love for the classics, and soon began teaching Shakespeare as part of the Conservatory's evening extension courses. A move to Los Angeles in 1977 to pursue acting fulltime was supplemented by courses at South Coast Repertory and the Actors' Playpen. Itzin's screen debut came in 1979 as a tour guide in "Backstairs at the White House" (NBC), with his feature debut coming a year later as "Religious Zealot #1" in "Airplane!" (1980), co-directed by his former Wisconsin classmates, David and Jerry Zucker. He worked steadily throughout the 1980s, frequently in bit parts as a doctor, lawyer or other authority figure, though the short-lived, Mel Brooks-produced sitcom "The Nutt House" (NBC, 1989) gave him a brief opportunity to show off his comedic chops. The stage provided him with more substantial roles, beginning with "Philadelphia, Here I Come!" which brought him a L.A. Drama Desk Critics Circle nomination. He later won three awards from the critical group, including two for productions of "Waiting for Godot" and "The Homecoming," and earned Tony and Drama Desk nominations for his work in the Pulitzer Prize-winning "Kentucky Cycle" in 1993.
Itzin eventually moved up to series regular roles on several short-lived programs; he was Gene Wilder's pal on the disastrous "Something Wilder" (NBC, 1994), then portrayed a craven district attorney running for Governor of California on the cult favorite "Murder One" (ABC, 1995-97). There were also recurring roles on programs; most notably a deranged FBI agent who stalks Jamie Luner on "Profiler" (NBC, 1996-2000) and "Strip Mall" (Comedy Central, 2002-04), which cast him in one of his favorite television roles, a Russian adult film producer with ties to the mob. Fans of the various "Star Trek" franchises knew him from five appearances in three of the spin-off series, including "Star Trek: Enterprise" (UPN, 2001-05) and "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" (syndicated, 1993-99).
In 2004, Itzin received the greatest exposure of his career by landing the role of Charles Logan on "24." Initially viewed as an ill-prepared replacement for President John Keeler (Geoff Pierson) in season four - who died when terrorists shot down Air Force One - his confidence and hubris grew over time, as evidenced by his handling of nerve gas canisters stolen by Russian separatists. Logan believed that he could assume control of the situation, but was quickly overpowered by both the separatists and corrupt forces within his own administration. Adding to his stress was his First Lady (Jean Smart), who suffered from mental problems and, at one point, stabbed him after being institutionalized. After losing the presidency and quite nearly his own life, Logan resurfaced in season eight, freshly pardoned and a born-again Christian eager to clear his name in the history books. He became embroiled in talks between the separatists and the Russian government, but as Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) soon discovered, he was again part of a conspiracy; this time to cover up the murder of the separatist leader. Now fully exposed as a complete heel, Logan attempted suicide but was expected to survive with permanent brain damage. For his work on "24," Logan received a major career boost and two Emmy nominations - in 2006 and 2010 - as well as a Screen Actors Guild nomination for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble.
Between assignments on "24," Itzin enjoyed several substantial roles in films and on television and stage. He took the lead in Pulitzer Prize winner Donald Marguiles "Shipwrecked! An Entertainment," a broad fantasy about a 19th century adventurer who spins questionable tales of high adventure in the South Seas, at the South Coast Repertory in 2007, then played authority figures in the campy thriller "I Know Who Killed Me" (2007) and the drama "Law Abiding Citizen" (2009). There was also a recurring role as a flinty FBI agent on "The Mentalist" (CBS, 2008-15). In 2010, he signed on to another recurring character; this time for the spy series "Covert Affairs" (USA, 2010-14).
Cast (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Made TV debut on an episode of "Mork and Mindy" (ABC)
Feature debut as a 'religious zealot' in "Airplane!"
Guest starred as different characters on the ABC series "Matlock"
Had a bit part in "The Fabulous Baker Boys," which starred Jeff Bridges and Michelle Pfeiffer
Cast as The Mayor on the short-lived NBC series "Eerie, Indiana"
Made his first "Star Trek" appearance in the "Dax" episode of "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" (syndicated)
Earned a Tony nomination as Best Actor for his performance in the Pulitzer Prize winning play "The Kentucky Cycle"
Had a recurring role on "Murder One" (ABC) as Roger Garfield
Cast in "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," starring Johnny Depp
Once again guest starred on "Star Trek: Voyager" (UPN)
Had a recurring role on the "Profiler" (NBC) as FBI Agent Joel Marks
Appeared in a recurring role on "Friends" (NBC) as Phoebe's (Lisa Kudrow) boyfriend's father
Landed a bit part in Spike Jonze's "Adaptation," which starred Nicolas Cage
Joined the cast of "24" (Fox) in a recurring role as Vice President Charles Logan; became a regular cast member when he assumed the role of the President in season 5; earned an Emmy nomination in 2006 as a Supporting Actor
Portrayed Admiral Black on an episode of "Star Trek: Enterprise" (UPN)
Co-starred in the thriller "I Know Who Killed Me"
Cast as Virgil Minelli on the CBS drama "The Mentalist"
Appeared opposite Jamie Foxx and Gerard Butler in "Law Abiding Citizen"
Reprised the role of former president Charles Logan for several episodes for Fox's final season of "24"; earned an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actor In A Drama Series
Joined the cast of the HBO drama series "Big Love" during its final season
Guest starred on ABC's "Desperate Housewives"
Featured in the body-switching comedy feature "The Change-Up"
Cast in "The Ides of March" with George Clooney, who also directed, co-wrote and produced