Timothy Olyphant – MovieActors.com
About Timothy Olyphant (1968 – ____)
Timothy David Olyphant was born in Honolulu, Hawaii but moved to Modesto, California at the age of two. His parents are J.V. Bevan Olyphant, who worked as vice president of production at Gallo Winery, and Katherine (née Gideon). He has an older brother, Andrew, and a younger brother, Matthew. His parents divorced when Olyphant was a teenager; both remarried.
Olyphant is a descendant of the Vanderbilt family of New York. His paternal fourth great-grandfather was family patriarch Cornelius Vanderbilt and his third great-grandfather was William Henry Vanderbilt, who doubled the family's railroad fortune. Olyphant's great-great-grandmother was socialite Emily Thorn Vanderbilt, his great-grandmother was socialite Emily Vanderbilt Sloane and his granduncle was music producer John Hammond.
Olyphant attended Modesto's Fred C. Beyer High School. Growing up, he was "embarrassed" by the idea of acting but enjoyed art and drawing.
After graduating in 1990, Olyphant half-heartedly considered a career in commercial art. While applying for a master's degree in fine arts, and working as a swimming coach at Irvine Novaquatics, Olyphant decided to move to New York to explore other options. He initially performed stand-up comedy: "I'd dabbled and then there was a six-month period where I did it with a certain commitment. Then I'd occasionally go back." Ultimately, he decided to become an actor. In his final year of university, he had taken an acting class as an elective at UC Irvine and found it "really enjoyable". He completed a two-year acting program at New York's William Esper Studio and began auditioning for roles.
Olyphant's first paid acting job was in a 1995 WB television pilot based on 77 Sunset Strip. Later that year, he made his professional Off Broadway debut in the Playwrights Horizons' production of The Monogamist and received the Theatre World Award for Outstanding Debut Performance. He starred in the world premiere of The SantaLand Diaries (1996) at the Atlantic Theater Company, a one-man play based on David Sedaris's essay about working as a Macy’s department store Christmas elf.
Olyphant made his feature film debut in The First Wives Club (1996), as a director who attempts to cast Elise Elliot (Goldie Hawn) as an elderly mother. Later, he appeared in the pilot of the CBS spy series Mr. & Mrs. Smith. In 1997, Olyphant made a guest appearance as Officer Brett Farraday in three episodes of the ABC police drama High Incident and returned to New York's Playwrights Horizons to play a supporting role in Plunge. He also had minor roles in the romantic comedy A Life Less Ordinary and the CBS television film Ellen Foster. Olyphant's most high-profile role of 1997 was as a film student in the successful horror film Scream 2, bringing "a degree of wild-eyed flair to the role," according to HitFix's Chris Eggertsen. He later described the role as "a gift. I had virtually nothing on my resume at that point. I’m sure some of it was made up."
Olyphant returned to television in 1998 for a guest starring role in an episode of Sex and the City, playing a love interest for Carrie Bradshaw. Sarah Jessica Parker later said the episode, "Valley of the Twenty Something Guys", was her favorite of the series. Also that year, he had supporting roles in the HBO war movie When Trumpets Fade and the independent ensemble drama 1999. Two little-seen films were released in 1999: the drama Advice from a Caterpillar, in which Olyphant played the bisexual love interest of Cynthia Nixon's character, and the offbeat ensemble comedy No Vacancy, in which he appeared opposite Christina Ricci. Olyphant received positive notices for portraying a drug dealer in the cult comedy Go (1999).
After Olyphant's performance in Go, the film's producer Mickey Liddell offered him his choice of parts in his next project The Broken Hearts Club (2000), a romantic comedy about a group of gay friends living in West Hollywood. The Village Voice 's Dennis Lim commented that his leading performance was better than the film deserved: "Olyphant is charismatic enough for his worst lines not to stick." However, Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle felt he played the part "like a straight actor gaying it up." Olyphant appeared as a detective in the successful action film Gone in 60 Seconds (2000) and joked in an interview about the challenges of playing "second fiddle to a car"; his performance reminded the Washington Post's Stephen Hunter of a young Bill Paxton. He also had supporting roles in the musical comedy Rock Star, the crime drama Auggie Rose, and the romantic comedy Head Over Heels (all 2001).
Olyphant's most high-profile role of 2003 was in the Vin Diesel-starring action film A Man Apart. Desson Howe of the Washington Post remarked that Olyphant "gets a kudo or two for the good sense to realize he's playing one of the movie's many one-dimensional characters, so he might as well have insane fun." Similarly, Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle noted that "the most lively character in "A Man Apart" turns out a middling drug dealer played to the hilt by Timothy Olyphant." He appeared in the film adaptation of Stephen King's horror novel Dreamcatcher as one of four friends attacked by parasitic aliens. The film was poorly reviewed, with David Rooney of Variety remarking: "Only Lee and Olyphant come close to hitting the right note of tongue-in-cheek humor that might have made all this palatable. Unfortunately, they’re the first to go."
Olyphant received widespread praise for his 2004 performance as a porn film producer in the comedy The Girl Next Door. He was initially reluctant to audition for the part, feeling it was too similar to some of his previous roles but, "as my manager dutifully reminded me, not many people saw those movies." Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle described the character of Kelly as "a leering, magnetic, frightening, glad-handing, easily-amused, hyper-sensitive, utterly deceitful, maddeningly likable wild man. When Olyphant is on screen, there's the feeling that things might go anywhere."
Olyphant came to the attention of a wider audience when he was cast as Sheriff Seth Bullock in HBO's acclaimed western Deadwood, which ran for three seasons from 2004 to 2006. While he had previously been typecast "as a talkative, Jack Nicholson–styled, funny bad boy," in the words of Vulture's Matt Zoller Seitz, Deadwood gave him the opportunity to play a righteous, brooding lawman. The show's creator, David Milch, said of the casting choice: "Bullock's uprightness is an alternative to going medieval on people. You can see that same fire and that possibility in Tim, even at his most genial ... Tim is a guy that doesn’t let himself be known easily."
Years later, Olyphant remarked that Deadwood "almost has done more for me since we wrapped than while it was on. I continue to draw from it, to steal from it. I'm much better at my job now because of the things I learned while doing it. David Milch is one of the greatest writers, storytellers, directors, creative forces I've ever been around." He has been somewhat critical of his own performance: "Frankly, the show is much better than my performance ..."
2006 saw the limited theatrical release of the independent drama Coastlines, in which Olyphant starred opposite Josh Brolin as an ex-con who returns to his Florida hometown. Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly remarked that "Olyphant, in the sort of role that Paul Newman used to swagger through, has a star’s easy command." Also that year, he made a guest appearance in an episode of the NBC comedy My Name Is Earl. In 2007, Olyphant starred in the romantic comedy Catch and Release. He knew co-star Jennifer Garner from their days as struggling actors in New York, and was excited for the opportunity to play a romantic lead. Scott Tobias of The A.V. Club remarked: "Olyphant's trademark volatility makes him a livelier romantic lead than the usual stuffed shirt."
Olyphant's first post-Deadwood roles were the action movies Live Free or Die Hard and Hitman (both 2007). He had bought a house in the weeks before Deadwood's cancellation and he later admitted his job choices during this period were for "purely financial reasons." In Live Free or Die Hard, he played a villainous cybersecurity expert. Both he and Bruce Willis have said his role was underwritten in the script, and he enjoyed working with Willis to develop the character. Peter Travers of Rolling Stone declared him "a master at smiling menace" while Mick LaSalle of The San Francisco Chronicle found him "perfectly ice cold." The film was commercially successful, grossing over $100 million, but received negative reviews. In 2008, he had a supporting role as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Iraq War drama Stop-Loss, played a pompous newscaster in the little-seen comedy Meet Bill, voiced the character Cowboy in the video game Turok and made a guest appearance in an episode of the ABC sitcom Samantha Who?
Olyphant had a new outlook when choosing his 2009 projects, influenced by his experience with Hitman: "It motivated me to take a little more responsibility with what I was doing ... I was very fond of the director and a lot of the people that worked on the film but there was definitely a part of me that was like, “What am I doing here?'" He starred as a morphine addict in the little-seen independent heist comedy High Life, with Derek Elley of Variety praising his "terrific" performance. He had a starring role in the thriller A Perfect Getaway as a possible serial killer of fellow holiday makers in Hawaii. He was nominated for the Toronto Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor. He returned to the stage for one night to appear in Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays, benefiting the Human Rights Campaign. Also in 2009, he appeared in 15 episodes of the FX legal thriller Damages, as a morally ambiguous love interest for Rose Byrne's character. Byrne later said he was her favorite Damages guest star while FX president John Landgraf sent him the pilot script for another FX project, Lawman (later to become Justified). In 2010, he starred as the town sheriff in the horror film The Crazies. The Hollywood Reporter's Michael Rechtshaffen found him "convincing" while Claudia Puig of USA Today enjoyed the "smart, stoic and sympathetic" performance. He also appeared in the independent comedy Elektra Luxx (2010).
From 2010 to 2015, Olyphant starred in FX's modern-day western Justified, as Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens, who is reassigned to his native Eastern Kentucky following a "justified", but questionable, quick-draw shooting of a criminal in Miami. There, he encounters many outlaw figures from his childhood, including his father and Boyd Crowder, with whom he dug coal as a teenager. Olyphant was initially drawn to "the ease and the charm and the sort of old-fashionedness" of the character but has said he does not consider him a "good guy." The character of Raylan Givens was first created by novelist Elmore Leonard, appearing in his short story “Fire in the Hole,” (2001) and the novels “Pronto” (1993) and “Riding the Rap” (1995). Leonard was an executive producer of Justified and befriended Olyphant; his final novel, "Raylan" (2012), was inspired by the television show.
Raylan Givens has been described by many television critics as the "defining role" of Olyphant's career. Brian Lowry of Variety said it was "an unabashed star turn": "There are surely worse ways to be pigeonholed than playing tough, laconic lawmen, and Timothy Olyphant is carving himself a formidable niche in those confines ... It's an enormously appealing performance." Matthew Gilbert of The Boston Globe said: "It’s hard to imagine any other actor in the part, as Olyphant milks Raylan’s smooth, laconic cowboy style for as much wry humor as he can. He is riveting without a lot of noise — both his body language and his conversation are pared down, and yet his presence is always resonant." Although Olyphant was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series in 2011, he and the show were often perceived to have been "snubbed" by Emmy voters.
Olyphant also served as a co-executive producer on Justified, working with Graham Yost and the writing team on some of the show's storylines and coming to the set on his days off to work with guest stars. He has described producing as "the greatest thing about this job." Yost has said of his producer credit: "Often on shows that really doesn’t mean much. On this show it actually doesn’t reflect the depth of his involvement, which would be an even bigger credit. Tim is the biggest reminder for everyone that we’re in the Elmore Leonard world. And that it needs to be funny and dark and twisted, and it needs to speak with all of those voices at the same time.” Justified was awarded a Peabody Award in 2011.
Olyphant made occasional guest appearances on comedy television shows during Justified's six-season run. He played a paper salesman in two episodes of the NBC comedy The Office (2010), after Mindy Kaling, a writer, producer and actress on the show, pushed for him to make a guest appearance. In 2012, he played a character billed as White Sushi Chef in an episode of the FX sitcom The League (2012) and voiced a character in an episode of the FX animated series Archer. In 2013, he appeared as a love interest on the Fox comedy The Mindy Project.
Olyphant also worked on numerous films in between seasons of Justified. He voiced the Spirit of the West in the animated western Rango (2011). The character was a parody of Clint Eastwood's Man with No Name and Olyphant was cast after director Gore Verbinski overheard him speaking on television: "I just sort of doubled back and looked through the door and was like, “That’s our guy" ... Timothy has such a great quality to his voice." Olyphant appeared as a mentor to Alex Pettyfer's character in the science-fiction thriller I Am Number Four (2011). In 2013, he appeared as Jeff Garlin's father in the independent comedy Dealin' with Idiots and took part in a one-off LACMA Live Read of the black comedy Raising Arizona (1987); he played Nicholas Cage's character while Amy Poehler played Holly Hunter's character. In 2014, Olyphant appeared opposite Tina Fey in the ensemble comedy-drama This Is Where I Leave You. Their characters were teenage sweethearts until an accident left him with a mild brain injury. The film received mixed reviews.
Olyphant had a recurring guest role, as a fictionalized version of himself, in the Fox comedy The Grinder (2015–2016). His performance received positive critical notices, with USA Today's Robert Bianco declaring it an "Emmy-deserving performance." He won the Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Guest Performer in a Comedy Series. In early 2016, Olyphant starred in the world premiere of Kenneth Lonergan's comedy Hold on to Me Darling at the off-Broadway Atlantic Theater Company. His character, Strings McCrane, is a self-absorbed country singer and actor who returns to his Tennessee hometown following the death of his mother. Frank Rizzo of Variety felt his performance was "a stunner, striking just the right notes of guilelessness, obliviousness and narcissism to make Strings one of the most appealing messes in a long time." David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter wrote that " ... Olyphant's natural charm ensures that Strings' unapologetic self-absorption remains more human than monstrous." He also played Henry, the ex-husband of Sandy (Jennifer Aniston), in the universally panned ensemble romantic comedy Mother's Day (2016) and appeared in Oliver Stone's Snowden, as a CIA agent who befriended Snowden prior to the latter's departure to Russia after his leak of classified documents.
In 2017, Olyphant and Drew Barrymore will star as married realtors in the Netflix sitcom Santa Clarita Diet. Both actors have executive producing roles. Behold My Heart, an independent drama in which he starred with Marisa Tomei, was filmed in 2015 and is awaiting a release date. In early 2016, HBO announced that David Milch is developing a two-hour film version of Deadwood. In response to the announcement, Olyphant said he would love to work with Milch again but cautioned that it is unclear whether Milch has yet "put pen to paper."
Olyphant married his college sweetheart Alexis Knief in 1991, at the age of 22. They live in Westwood, Los Angeles and have three children; Grace Katherine (born 1999), Henry (born 2001) and Vivian (born 2003).
From 2006 to late 2008, Olyphant was the sports reporter for Joe Escalante's morning radio show on Los Angeles' Indie 103.1; film director David Lynch served as the show's weatherman. Olyphant phoned the station every weekday, delivering his reports in an unconventional style. Following the station's demise, he joked: "If you know of anyone looking for sports reports from an actor who is often just going off of what he recalls happened yesterday, or reading it directly from the newspaper, then I’m your guy." He is also a keen tennis player, and has participated in many pro-celebrity tournaments. He is a fan of the Los Angeles Clippers and Dodgers, and threw out the ceremonial first pitch at a Dodgers game in 2013.
Timothy Olyphant's movie credits include...
|1996||The First Wives Club||Brett Artounian|
|1997||A Life Less Ordinary||Hiker|
|1997||Scream 2||Mickey Altieri|
|1998||When Trumpets Fade||Lieutenant Terrence Lukas|
|1999||Advice from a Caterpillar||Brat|
|2000||The Broken Hearts Club: A Romantic Comedy||Dennis|
|2000||Gone in 60 Seconds||Detective Drycoff|
|2001||Head Over Heels||Michael|
|2001||Auggie Rose||Roy Mason|
|2001||Rock Star||Rob Malcolm|
|2003||The Safety of Objects||Randy|
|2003||A Man Apart||Hollywood Jack|
|2004||The Girl Next Door||Kelly|
|2007||Catch and Release||Fritz Messing|
|2007||Live Free or Die Hard||Thomas Gabriel|
|2008||Stop-Loss||Lt. Col. Boot Miller|
|2009||A Perfect Getaway||Nick|
|2010||The Crazies||Pierce County Sheriff David Dutten|
|2011||I Am Number Four||Henri|
|2011||Rango||The Spirit of the West|
|2013||Dealin' with Idiots||Max's Dad|
|2014||This Is Where I Leave You||Horry Callen|
|2016||Snowden||CIA Agent Geneva|
|2017||Behold My Heart||Steven Lang|
Timothy Olyphant's television credits include...
|1996||Mr. & Mrs. Smith||Scooby|
|1997–1998||High Incident||Brett Farraday|
|1998||Sex and the City||Sam|
|2004–2006||Deadwood||Sheriff Seth Bullock|
|2006||My Name Is Earl||Billy Reed|
|2008||Samantha Who?||Winston Funk|
|2010||The Office||Danny Cordray|
|2013||Archer||Lucas Troy (voice)|
|2013||The Mindy Project||Graham Logan|
|2015–2016||The Grinder||Himself/Rake Grinder|
|2017||Santa Clarita Diet||Joel Hammond|
Memorable Quotes by Timothy Olyphant
[on making Deadwood] “ The fact is, this job is always fun, always a good time, but it's not that often that you can be as proud of it as I am of this experience. We just had a great time making it too. ”
[Joking on why he was passed over as Best Actor in a Dramatic Series for Justified ] “ As I understand it, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association is fifty people from around the world that make that vote, and I slept with three of them. I don't know if that helps me or hurts me, but it just shows you it could turn pretty quick.”
“ I trust that I know a good part when I see one and usually, when I see one, I have to wait for seven people to pass, in order for me to get it. ”
[On the the strong dialogue on Justified, inspired by Elmore Leonard] “ It's a joy, you know, it's a pleasure to be able to speak these lines and have such good dialogue. It's hard to get your hands on that and I feel like I get to do it week in and week out. And it's not lost on me and what an opportunity it is and I'm enjoying every second of it. But, my contribution to that... you know, very little. I'm not sure it's my greatest strength. The word "dude" comes out of my mouth a lot and so my contributions need to be translated and rearticulated in Elmore speak. ”
[on playing a fictionalized version of himself on The Grinder and being portrayed as a philanderer] “ I said (to the people behind the show), "This is a little bit of an issue because I'm playing Timothy Olyphant and Timothy Olyphant has been married for 25 years... and you've got him showing up and he's going to have this affair with this girl, and that's not really 'me,'" and they said, "Well, that's not the way we see the character." I actually said to my wife at one point, "Are we OK with this?" and she said, "Tim, nobody takes this shit seriously." ”
[on late writer Elmore Leonard, who created the Raylan Givens character in Justified] “ The guy was genuinely cool. It was never a pose with him. You can go into any party or public gathering, and you'll see lots of people trying to act cool, and then there's always one person off in the corner, not doing much, who's the real deal. That was Elmore. ”
Things You May Not Know About Timothy Olyphant
While at the University of Southern California, he studied fine art and theater.
His last name is pronounced "Ol-uh-fint" and rhymes with "flint" (not "plant").
Timothy was classmates with actor Jeremy Renner during their high school years, in Modesto, Ca. Both attended Beyer High School, during the 1980s, although they were not in the same graduating class.
He is very good friends with Conan O'Brien and is a frequent guest on his talk show.
His older brother, Andy Olyphant, is an A & R executive for Warner Bros. Records. His younger brother, Matt Olyphant, was the lead singer for the group Fetish.
He swam competitively while attending the University of Southern California (US National Finalist in the 200m individual medley).