Michael Ironside, born Frederick Reginald Ironside, actor, director, writer (born at Toronto 12 Feb 1950). Michael Ironside is a hardworking, steely-eyed character actor specializing in villainous roles. He got an early start in his career when he wrote a play at the age of 15 and had it produced by Toronto's Factory Theatre Lab. He attended Riverdale Collegiate and the Ontario College of Art and received training in film production at the NATIONAL FILM BOARD OF CANADA. Choosing a career in acting, he made a name for himself playing Jimmy Porter in John Osborne's Look Back on CBC-TV in 1977. He began appearing in Canadian films, landing small roles in Robin SPRY's Suzanne (1980) and Claude JUTRA's Surfacing (1981). As the lead in Jean-Claude Lord's Visiting Hours (1982) he played a crazed killer; the film proved popular at the box office and received wide distribution in the US.
Following his GENIE AWARD-nominated murderous turn in David CRONENBERG's box office hit Scanners (1981), Michael Ironside headed for Los Angeles and has since worked non-stop in Canadian and US films and television. His big break in the US came with the three-part miniseries V: The Final Battle (1984), a sequel to the original 1983 V miniseries. Ironside recreated his character, Ham Tyler, in 20 episodes of the 1984-85 series V. Some of his more notable roles are "Jester" in the blockbuster Top Gun (1986), Dr. "Wild Willy" Swift in the medical series ER (1995-2002) and the fascistic Jean Rasczak in Starship Troopers (1997). Perhaps the most memorable is the part of Richter, the fanatical intelligence agent who relentlessly pursues Arnold Schwarzenegger to Mars in Total Recall (1990).
Other notable television and film appearances include The Falcon and the Snowman (1985), Race for the Bomb (1987; as the Nobel Prize-winning theoretical physicist Werner Heisenberg), One Boy, One Wolf, One Summer (1988; GEMINI AWARD nomination for best supporting actor), Free Willy (1993), The Next Karate Kid (1994), Major Payne (1995), SeaQuest DSV (1995-96, series), The Arrow (1997), The Perfect Storm (2000), Hemingway vs. Callaghan (2003), The Machinist (2004), Young Blades (2005, series) and Desperate Housewives (2005-06). He played the Russian revolutionary leader Vladimir Lenin in the CBC series Witness to Yesterday in 1998, and his portrayal of a vicious biker boss in the CBC miniseries The Last Chapter (2002) and The Last Chapter: The War Continues (2003) earned him back-to-back Gemini Award nominations for best actor.
In 1990, Ironside co-wrote and executive-produced the low-budget Canadian film Chaindance, with Brad Dourif, Rae Dawn Chong and himself in the lead, and he directed, wrote and starred in Deadly Arrangement in 1998. He has done extensive voice work, in the Canadian animated film Heavy Metal 2000 (2000) and the animated series Superman (1997-2000), Justice League (2003-06) and Wolverine and the X-Men (2005-06). He is seen in the television series Smallville (2004-10), Cold Case (2009), Burn Notice (2010) and Castle (2010).