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Timothy Olyphant

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Timothy David Olyphant (born May 20, 1968) is an American actor. His notable roles include the television drama series Deadwood, Damages and Justified and such films as Scream 2, Gone in 60 Seconds, Dreamcatcher, Live Free or Die Hard, A Perfect Getaway, The Crazies and Hitman. He also plays Danny Cordray on The Office.

Early lifeEdit

Olyphant was born in Honolulu, Hawaii and moved to Modesto, California, a rural town east of San Francisco, at the age of 2, where he was raised.[1] His father worked for a winery.[2] Olyphant began competitive swimming at age 6, and started training seriously in the seventh grade. He was a finalist at the USA Swimming Short Course National Championships in 1986 in the 200 Individual Medley.[3] He graduated from Modesto's Fred C. Beyer High School that year.[4]

Olyphant continued swimming at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, where he studied fine art. He took a beginning acting class as an elective at UC Irvine, in order to fulfill the final credits he needed to graduate from USC. Olyphant then decided to move to New York City to study acting, rather than pursue a master's degree in fine arts. He took acting classes with William Esper at William Esper Studio for two years, and then started looking for acting work.[5]


Olyphant began acting off-Broadway, making his professional debut in 1995 in the Playwrights Horizons' production of The Monogamist as Tim Hapgood. He received the Theatre World Award for Outstanding Debut Performance for his performance.[6] He subsequently appeared in the one-man play The SantaLand Diaries in 1996, written by David Sedaris, adapted and directed by Joe Mantello,[7] and in Plunge.

Olyphant returned to Los Angeles and found work in television. He landed his first TV role in a pilot for a remake of the series 77 Sunset Strip in 1995, produced by Clint Eastwood. He was cast in the pilot of Mr. & Mrs. Smith (1996), a short-lived CBS spy series, as Scooby, Mr. Smith's (Scott Bakula's) assistant.[8] Olyphant appeared in 3 episodes of the acclaimed police drama High Incident and in the Hallmark Channel TV film Ellen Foster in 1997. A role in the HBO movie When Trumpets Fade was next in 1998, a dramatization of the 1944 Battle of Hürtgen Forest, followed by a guest starring role in the Sex and the City episode "Valley of the Twenty Something Guys", as one of Carrie Bradshaw's boyfriends.

Olyphant made his feature film debut with a small part in The First Wives Club (1996). He appeared briefly in A Life Less Ordinary (1997), starring Ewan McGregor, but gained notice starring in the horror film Scream 2 (1997), as a cynical film student, Mickey. He portrayed the drug dealer Todd Gaines in Go (1999), directed by Doug Liman, a comedy-drama with Katie Holmes, Scott Wolf and Sarah Polley in the cast, and a script by first time screenwriter John August.[2] He followed the role up with parts in Advice from a Caterpillar (1999), No Vacancy (1999), The Broken Hearts Club: A Romantic Comedy (2000) and Gone in 60 Seconds (2000).

Olyphant played the lead role of Sheriff Seth Bullock on HBO's Deadwood from March 2004 until the series' end. Olyphant considered it to be one of his first leading roles as a "complicated" and "complex" character.[9] Prior to that he had roles in Rock Star (2001) and Dreamcatcher (2003). He played a porn film producer in The Girl Next Door in 2004 alongside Emile Hirsch and Elisha Cuthbert.

In January 2007, Olyphant appeared in the comedy Catch and Release, playing the love interest of Jennifer Garner's character; Olyphant was cast in the role over several other known actors, including Matthew Fox.[10] Olyphant had studied acting alongside Jennifer Garner when he moved to New York.[1] He next appeared in Live Free or Die Hard, as the villain, a cyber-terrorist and in Hitman, as the title character. Olyphant shaved his head for his role in Hitman. His 2008 roles included Stop-Loss, about the Iraq War, playing a Lieutenant Colonel, Meet Bill, a comedy co-starring Aaron Eckhart and Jessica Alba, and a voice-acting role in Turok (2008) as Cowboy.

Olyphant served as the on-air, unpaid sports commentator for Joe Escalante's morning show on LA radio station Indie 103.1, every Monday through Friday, until the channel's demise in January 2009.

In June 2008 he joined the cast of FX's show Damages, starring Glenn Close. As a result, his part in Samantha Who? was recast and filled by Billy Zane.[11]

In 2009, he starred with Steve Zahn and Milla Jovovich in the thriller A Perfect Getaway as an Iraq war veteran and possible serial killer of honeymooners on the Hawaii islands. In late November 2008, it was announced that he had officially signed on for the lead role of the town sheriff in the 2010 film The Crazies.

In the spring of 2010, Olyphant began portraying the lead role of Raylan Givens in the FX series Justified. His character is a 21st century U.S. Marshal who, for his questionable tactics, is banished to the part of Kentucky in which he was born and raised. Givens wears a Stetson hat and behaves like an Old West sheriff. The show is based on a character created by Elmore Leonard in the novels Pronto and Riding the Rap, and the short story "Fire in the Hole". The pilot episode was an adaptation of the latter. Olyphant plays a paper salesman in fall 2010 season 7 of NBC Television's hit comedy, The Office.

Personal lifeEdit

Olyphant lives in Westwood, Los Angeles with his wife, Alexis Knief, and their three children. The couple married in 1991.[1]


Year Title Role Notes
1996 Mr. & Mrs. Smith Scooby Pilot guest star
1997–1998[12] High Incident Brett Farraday Recurring role, 3 Episodes
1998 Sex and the City Sam Guest star, 1 Episode
2002 Night Visions Eli Guest star, 1 Episode
2004–2006 Deadwood Sheriff Seth Bullock Ended
2006 My Name Is Earl Billy Reed Guest star, 1 Episode
2009–2010[13] Damages Wes Krulik Regular season 2 only
2009 Samantha Who? Winston Funk Recurring role, 2 Episodes
2010 The Bonnie Hunt Show[14] himself Talk show
2010–present[15] Justified Raylan Givens Series regular
2010 The Office Danny Cordray[16] Guest star


Year Title Role Notes
1996 The First Wives Club Brett Artounian
1997 A Life Less Ordinary Hiker
Scream 2 Mickey Altieri
1998 1999 (Girls and Boys) Hooks
When Trumpets Fade Lt. Terrence Lukas
1999 No Vacancy Luke
Go Todd Gaines
Advice from a Caterpillar Brat
2000 Gone in 60 Seconds Det. Drycoff
The Broken Hearts Club: A Romantic Comedy Dennis
2001 Head Over Heels Michael
Auggie Rose Roy Mason
Rock Star Rob Malcolm - Guitarist, Blood Pollution
Doppelganger Brian
2002 Coastlines Sonny Mann
2003 The Safety of Objects Randy
Dreamcatcher Pete Moore
A Man Apart Hollywood Jack
2004 The Girl Next Door Kelly
2007 Catch and Release Fritz
Live Free or Die Hard Thomas Gabriel (also known as Die Hard 4.0)
Hitman Agent 47
2008 Stop-Loss Lt. Col. Boot Miller
Meet Bill Chip
2009 A Perfect Getaway Nick Nominated — Toronto Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
High Life Dick
2010 The Crazies David Dutten
Elektra Luxx TBA post-production
Hitman 2 Agent 47 being scripted
2011 I Am Number Four Henri[17] In production
Rango The Spirit of the West voice only

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