September 17, 1965
Buffalo, New York, USA
Kathryn Kyl Chandler
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After being discovered by an ABC scout during a talent search, Emmy-winning actor Kyle Chandler went on to capture the attention of audiences as Jeff Metcalf, the wannabe baseball player pining after his brother's fiancée on the 1940s-era drama series, "Homefront" (ABC, 1991-93). Following his Broadway debut in "Picnic" (1994) and a small role in "Mulholland Falls" (1996), Chandler followed up with yet another endearing performance on the offbeat fantasy drama series, "Early Edition" (CBS, 1996-2001). The versatile utility player would go on to portray a wide variety of roles in films and on television, ranging from a co-starring role opposite Joan Cusack on the short-lived sitcom "What About Joan?" (ABC, 2001-02), to Peter Jackson's epic big screen remake of "King Kong" (2005). But it was his supporting turn as a morally conflicted high school football coach constantly forced to choose between winning games and doing what is right on the gritty drama series "Friday Night Lights" (NBC/DirecTV, 2006-2011) that put him on the map. Despite critical praise and a loyal audience, the series struggled in the ratings and courted cancellation on several occasions. Regardless of the series' ups and downs, Chandler enjoyed success and recognition that endeared him to a new generation of fans and set him up for a promising film career.
Born Kyle Martin Chandler on Sept. 17, 1965, the future star was one of five children born to Edward and Sally Chandler, who resided in Buffalo, NY. The clan moved twice during Chandler's childhood - once to Lake Forest, IL and later to Loganville, GA. While residing in the Peach State, the Chandlers lived on a remote farm with few neighbors, leaving the youngster to keep himself busy watching the sole television station that reached their home: a new UHF station owned by Ted Turner. Chandler quickly fell in love with the steady diet of classic Hollywood films, and entertained friends and family with skits based on the characters he saw and enjoyed.
His interest in performing developed even further while attending the University of Georgia. At the urging of some theater major friends, he auditioned for a role in a production of Shakespeare's "The Comedy of Errors" and landed the part. The experience inspired Chandler to declare theater his major. While still living in Georgia, he was contacted by an ABC talent scout who brought him to Los Angeles. Minor roles on TV series like "China Beach" (ABC, 1988-1991) in 1989 led to the supporting part of Pvt. William Griner on the Emmy-winning Vietnam-era drama, "Tour of Duty" (1987-1990). This, in turn, led to another series regular role in another historical drama - this time as a baseball player in post-World War II America in the multi-award-winning, "Homefront." It was with the role of Jeff Metcalf, that Chandler first stood out from the competitive pack.
Chandler returned to his Southern roots when he made his feature film debut as Buddy Jackson, the ambitious boyfriend of Lesley Ann Warren, in the harmless country/western drama, "Pure Country" (1992), which also marked the acting debut of singer George Strait. Roles in films of varying quality followed, including parts in "The Color of Evening" (1994), starring Martin Landau and Ellen Burstyn, and in the neo-noir, "Mulholland Falls" (1996). Though he would go on to enjoy more success on the small screen, his big screen roles helped raise Chandler's working-actor profile.
Switching mediums, he made his NYC stage debut as the bare-chested drifter romancing Ashley Judd in the 1994 Broadway revival of "Picnic," a role previously played by the likes of Paul Newman and William Holden. The athletic Chandler knocked another one out of the park when he anchored the charming fantasy series, "Early Edition," in which he played a man whose receipt of the following day's paper exactly one day early, spurs him to prevent dramatic events before they happen. The show developed a considerable cult audience following, and earned Chandler a Saturn Award for his efforts. Following the demise of "Early Edition," Chandler tried his hand at other series, though none survived more than a season. He played Joan Cusack's love interest in the sitcom "What About Joan" (ABC, 2001) and worked against type as a heel lawyer in the Rob Lowe courtroom drama "The Lyon's Den" (NBC, 2003-04). In 2005, Chandler got to flex his comedy muscles again as the buffoonish matinee idol Bruce Baxter in Peter Jackson's CGI-laden extravaganza "King Kong."
In 2006, Chandler earned rave reviews as a doomed bomb squad leader on a two-part episode of the popular medical drama, "Grey's Anatomy" (ABC, 2005- ). The episodes, which aired after the Super Bowl, won the ratings for ABC. For Chandler, his brief but tragic performance earned him an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actor and raised his profile considerably - impressive all the more since he exploded by the episodes' end. Perhaps in part due to his memorable guest turn on "Grey's," that same year, Chandler was chosen to top-bill the small screen adaptation of Eric Berg's 2004 film, "Friday Night Lights" (NBC/DirecTV, 2006-2011). The series, which chronicled the trials and tribulations of a rural Texas high school football team, struggled to find its footing in the Nielsen ratings from the start. Luckily, the network showed its support by picking up the show for a full season. Undoubtedly, its glowing reviews from much of the print media - as well as a citation from the American Film Institute, which named it one of the best shows of the season - did much to aid that decision. Word-of-mouth also played a part in its growing prestige, even though the show struggled mightily to gain a significant audience. For his part, Chandler was widely praised for his performance, which earned him an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series in 2011.
After a small but notable part in the mostly maligned sci-fi remake "The Day the Earth Stood Still" (2008), Chandler primarily stayed focused on "Friday Night Lights," leading to a 2011 Emmy win. When that beloved series came to an end during that year, it allowed him to pursue a wide range of movie projects. Following his paternal turn in J.J Abrams' much-hyped alien film "Super 8" (2011), Chandler appeared in supporting roles in the dramas "Argo" and "Zero Dark Thirty," both real-life-inspired, Middle Eastern-set films that were among the most acclaimed of 2012. The next year, he turned up in the overlooked crime movie "Broken City," was featured in the well-received teen drama "The Spectacular Now" and filmed his part in Martin Scorsese's "The Wolf of Wall Street," pointing to his considerable demand as a cinematic supporting actor.
The Wolf of Wall StreetPatrick Denham
The Spectacular NowTommy
Broken CityPaul Andrews
Zero Dark ThirtyJoseph Bradley
Super 8Jackson Lamb
The Day the Earth Stood StillJohn Driscoll
The KingdomFrancis Manner
Angel's DanceTony Greco
Pure CountryBuddy Jackson