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Michael Ironside Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trade Mark (5) | Trivia (24) | Personal Quotes (17)

Overview (3)

Date of Birth 12 February 1950Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Birth NameFrederick Reginald Ironside
Height 5' 9½" (1.77 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Michael Ironside has made a strong and indelible impression with his often incredibly intense and explosive portrayals of fearsome villains throughout the years. He was born as Frederick Reginald Ironside on February 12, 1950 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Ironside was a successful arm wrestler in his teenage years. His initial ambition was to be a writer. At age fifteen, Michael wrote a play called "The Shelter" that won first prize in a Canada-wide university contest; He used the prize money to mount a production of this play. Ironside attended the Ontario College of Art, took acting lessons from Janine Manatis, and studied for three years at the Canadian National Film Board. Ironside worked in construction as a roofer prior to embarking on an acting career.

Ironside first began acting in movies in the late 1970s. He received plenty of recognition with his frightening turn as deadly and powerful psychic Darryl Revok in David Cronenberg's Scanners (1981). He was likewise very chilling as vicious misogynistic psychopath Colt Hawker in the underrated Visiting Hours (1982). Other memorable film roles include weary Detective Roersch in the sadly forgotten thriller Cross Country (1983), the crazed Overdog in the immensely enjoyable Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone (1983), the hard-nosed Jester in the blockbuster smash Top Gun (1986), ramrod Major Paul Hackett in Extreme Prejudice (1987), loner Vietnam veteran "Ben" in Nowhere to Hide (1987), the ferocious Lem Johnson in Watchers (1988), and lethal immortal General Katana in Highlander II: The Quickening (1991).

Moreover, Ironside has appeared in two highly entertaining science fiction features for Paul Verhoeven: At his savage best as the evil Richter in Total Recall (1990) and typically excellent as the rugged Lieutenant Jean Rasczak in Starship Troopers (1997). Ironside showed a more tender and thoughtful side with his lovely and touching performance as a hardened convict who befriends a disabled man in the poignant indie drama gem Chaindance (1991); he also co-wrote the script and served as an executive producer for this beautiful sleeper. Michael was terrific as tough mercenary Ham Tyler on the epic miniseries V (1984), its follow up V: The Final Battle (1984), and subsequent short-lived spin-off series.

Ironside also had a recurring role on the television series SeaQuest 2032 (1993). Among the television series he has done guest spots on are The A-Team (1983), Hill Street Blues (1981), The New Mike Hammer (1984), Deadly Nightmares (1983), Tales from the Crypt (1989), Superman (1996), Walker, Texas Ranger (1993), The Outer Limits (1995), ER (1994), Smallville (2001), ER (1994), Desperate Housewives (2004), Justice League (2001) and Masters of Horror (2005). More recently, Ironside garnered a slew of plaudits and a Gemini Award nomination for his outstanding portrayal of shrewd biker gang leader Bob Durelle in the acclaimed Canadian miniseries The Last Chapter II: The War Continues (2003).

In addition to his substantial film and television work, Ironside has also lent his distinctive deep voice to TV commercials and video games.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: woodyanders

Spouse (2)

Karen Marls Dinwiddie (30 September 1986 - present) (1 child)
? (? - ?) (divorced) (1 child)

Trade Mark (5)

Deep yet gravelly commanding voice
Being an actor with a great sense of physicality, he frequently plays characters who lose limbs, such as in Total Recall (1990), Starship Troopers (1997), The Machinist (2004) and Guy X (2005).
Often plays military commanders and authority figures
Often plays fearsome, menacing villains
Scar on the left side of his face

Trivia (24)

Came to notice in the Canadian sci-fi horror classic Scanners (1981) in which he played the mind-controlling, head-blowing megalomaniac Darryl Revok, which led to a dynamic, infamous career of out-and-out villains or edgy anti-heroes.
Has a daughter, Findlay Ironside (born 1998), by second wife Karen.
His brother is a high school shop teacher in his hometown of Toronto, Ontario.
Father of Adrienne Ironside from a previous marriage.
Said in an interview he is mostly recognized by the public from his voice-over work in the Splinter Cell (2002) series.
Moved to Los Angeles, California, USA in 1982.
Was for some time attached to play the title role in RoboCop (1987), but the crew had to give up on the idea when they realized that he would have to have a much smaller frame to fit into the costume envisaged.
At age 15, he wrote a play called "The Shelter" which won first prize in a Canada-wide university contest. He used the prize money to mount his own production of said play.
Like Terence Stamp, he has played both a Superman adversary and friend. The adversary he played was Darkseid, one of Superman's greatest enemies, on the animated series Justice League (2001). The friend he played was General Sam Lane, father of Lois Lane (Clark Kent's future bride) on the television series Smallville (2001).
A talented arm wrestler in his youth, he ironically often loses an arm and/or other limb in his films: Total Recall (1990), Starship Troopers (1997), The Machinist (2004) and Guy X (2005). If he had not been too bulky, he also would have played Alex Murphy in RoboCop (1987).
Good friends with WWE Hall of Famer Jerry Lawler (aka Jerry "The King" Lawler).
Is a huge fan of Professional Wrestling and Frank Herbert's "Dune" series.
Attended and graduated from OCAD University in Toronto, Ontario.
Is the oldest of five children of Robert Walter and Patricia June Ironside.
Has had a love of reading since childhood, with which he credits his father instilling in him: "My dad gave me and my brother this rule - as long as we were reading and doing nothing else, we could stay up until dawn or until we passed out... whichever came first. That's why, to this day, I'm a sucker for a good book.".
Lives in Los Angeles, California.
Has started acting in Canadian television and films in 1977 and attracted American attention with his role in David Cronenberg's Scanners (1981) which earned him a Best Supporting Actor nomination in the Canadian Genie Awards.
A former chain smoker, he has been diagnosed twice with cancer (thyroid and prostate cancer). Both times he has beaten it.
His father was a street lighting technician and his mother was a housewife.
Admitted in an interview with George Stroumboulopoulos that he has had both his knees replaced (they are both titanium). He ruined them playing football and roofing before he made it into films.
Good friends with actor Mickey Jones.
Has English, Irish and Scottish ancestry.
He played Peyton List's father in two CW television series based on DC Comics: Lucy Lane's father General Sam Lane in Smallville: Ambush (2010) and Lisa Snart / Golden Glider's father Lewis Snart in The Flash: Family of Rogues (2015).
He has played four DC Comics characters: Darkseid in Superman (1996) and Justice League (2001), Batman in The New Batman Adventures: Legends of the Dark Knight (1998), General Sam Lane in Smallville: Gone (2004), Smallville: Façade (2004) and Smallville: Ambush (2010) and Lewis Snart in The Flash: Family of Rogues (2015).

Personal Quotes (17)

I like to play bad guys, since good guys are always beaten up several times during the movie. Bad guys are beaten only once, in the end.
I get to bring these misshapen, emotionally unbalanced people to life.
If I didn't like the attention, I suppose I wouldn't be doing this job. What do you do? Destroy someone's fantasy about you or play it to the limit? I still haven't quite worked it all out and I don't know how to resolve it. It's said actors act because they fear death and it's the one and only certainty for some kind of immortality. My attitude is: screw the future, let's get on with here and now. You don't know how long it'll last.
The weirder the role, the more toys around to help suspend reality, the easier it is - and the better I think my work gets. All of these things make it easier to take risks. Children - and actors - take risks all the time.
Acting itself is a very childlike thing. You're asked to suspend reality and to play - and what better place than when you're sitting there looking like the most weird villain imaginable? You have all these toys around you. It brings out the child in you much easier than when you're standing around in a suit playing a cop.
[in a 1984 magazine interview] The characters I've played until now have been very sick people. These people are emotionally or physically damaged. Since I played killers so well, they wanted me to play a killer the next time. I used to call my roles "dog-eating" parts; you know, the director says, "We need somebody to bite a dog in this scene. Let's call Ironside.".
[on being typecast as a villain] I use the analogy that if you hit an old lady on screen with a shovel and kill her and somebody makes money from that moment, then they really don't want you to step out from that parameter. They don't want you to do anything but hit more old ladies with shovels and if that's the trunk that I have to build my tree from, that's fine.
The word "career" scares me! It's the sort of thing you say about dead actors, old guys. I think this festival wanted to do a retrospective on me a few years ago and I told them to fuck off. Jesus, that's for guys that are on crutches and in wheelchairs and that you need to spoon-feed... Aargh! I plan to be around for at least another 20 years!
[on shooting numerous fight scenes for such movies as Total Recall (1990) and The Next Karate Kid (1994)] I trained for some time in taekwondo, until I blew out both my legs and had to quit. Since then, I've been blessed to work with some of the more talented martial arts-trainers and choreographers in the business. I've also got field experience, from being in my share of real-life barroom brawls.
(2011) I always knew I wasn't going to be this major star. My job is just to work.
(2000, on his acting career) My dad referred to it that I ran away at a very early age and joined the circus and I think it is quite apt. It's a great way to live. You get to move from family unit to family unit, from set to set, from project to project where you're thrust into a very intimate, very honest relationship with people and you have to either tell the truth and step up or it can be a really horrific situation if you try and manipulate it every time and over 40 years I've met a lot of great people.
(2000) I've been around a long time. I'm never going to be the lead actor guy. I'm real quiet and real happy and real fortunate to keep working. It's what I do. It's like the circus. I ran away and joined it a long time ago.
Scanners is a fucking brilliant film. And it still holds up. My 16-year-old daughter saw it about a month ago with her friends, and she said, "I didn't know about this. This is good. I like what it's talking about, with the mucking with people's genetics and stuff." So that's kind of cool. When something holds up almost 35 years later to a completely new generation, I don't give a shit what anybody else says about it: It stands up.
[on whether he has had experiences where he did a film that he expected to turn out one way but it turned out another] Most of the time, actually. I never look at the work when I'm doing it. I know a lot of people rush off camera to look at playbacks and shit like that, but I hate looking at what I'm doing when I'm doing it. Because emotionally, if I'm correct, the director will tell me, and if they like what I'm doing, I'll stay in that line. If I look at what I'm doing, I can't help it, I'm only a human being: I'll go, "Wow, that's the way it looks?" I'll become conscious of it, and I'll be like, "Why don't I look the way I feel?" So I'm really custom-built to support storytellers. If they like what I'm doing, then that's what I'll do. But because of that, I'm always surprised when I do finally see it, as I was with Turbo Kid.
[on Total Recall] That was absolutely wonderful. God, I have so many friends from that. You know, on most films I make friends. I make friends with people behind the camera as well as in front of the camera, and I think I made more friends on that one than any other. Friends I'm still close with. It holds a really warm spot in my heart. It was six months in Mexico City shooting that.
[on McBain] Oh, God. That's a joke to everybody. Even to The Simpsons. It's their favorite movie! You know, in all truth, that was a filmmaker who was being backed by his father, who had a ton of money, and just pissed it up against the wall. I remember it was a fairly good story to start off with, which was about ex-vets having to get rid of their shame of being survivors, I think. You know, when their friends are lost? And by the time we got it, they had rewritten the script from an A-minus to a C-minus script. God, I just have nothing good to say about that film. Absolutely nothing. Other than that the filmmaker, thank God, will never make films again. He ended up going back to restoring vintage racing cars on his father's chit. And you can put all that in there. I don't say anything in interviews that I wouldn't say to somebody's face.
The first role I ever had - well, the first union thing - was on a CBC thing called The Ottawa Valley, which I think was part of an anthology series. I played a soldier on a train, and I had two or three lines in it, and it was a World War II thing. It was an Alice Munro short story that was turned into a half-hour drama. But when they were filming, they wanted to hide some technology, so they had me sit on the arm of a chair rather than in a seat. I thought, "This is cool! Somebody's gonna see me!" And I had to smoke this cigarette, because I think [the director] wanted some kind of character. The problem was that, 14 takes later, I'm still sitting on the arm of the chair. And the cheeks of my ass, you could probably park a Buick up there! It was two days of sitting on the arm of the chair on a period train, smoking non-filtered cigarettes. I felt like I was about 80 years old and had been fairly abused. So that was my introduction to film work.

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