Timothy Olyphant is riding high these days with the success of his show, Justified, in its second season on the FX network. As Deputy U.S. Marshall Raylan Givens, a no-nonsense, Stetson-wearing, gun-at-his-hip lawman sent back as punishment to do hometown duty in Kentucky, he has become a household staple for television viewing audiences.
Hawaiian born of Scottish descent and California raised, he was a competitive swimmer in his early years before moving to New York. Since then, he married Alexis Knief and progressed into his acting career. He won the Theatre World Award for his stage performance in The Monogamist and debuted in film as Brett Artounian in The First Wives Club (1996). He appeared in films Gone in Sixty Seconds (Nicolas Cage), Live Free or Die Hard (Bruce Willis), Stop-Loss (Ryan Phillipe), and Catch and Release (Jennifer Garner). His television credits include appearances in The Office, Damages, Samantha Who, and Sex in the City (episode 4 of season one as Sam with whom Carrie hooks up and ditches because he has no toilet paper in his grungy apartment).
As Agent 47 in the 2007 film, Hitman, Olyphant drew you in with his dead stare, unwavering glance and clean athleticism. He played a strong, silent, robotic character with dangerous moves alongside Bond girl, Olga Kurylenko. You wondered what made him tick, and by the end of the film, you realized he’s more than just a killing machine with his empathy and protectiveness.
In A Perfect Getaway (Milla Jovovich, Steve Zahn), a film that EyeWeekly.com stated as the ‘most underrated American film of 2009,’ Olyphant played a more relaxed role, albeit a somewhat creepy half of a vacationing couple who liked to kill dinner and scare others with his knife. The creepiness was an example of his great acting skills, though, as the story took on a surprising twist and ultimate resolution. His rugged good looks amidst the beautiful Hawaiian scenery made for perfect contrasting eye candy.
With a swagger and southern drawl, Olyphant landed sheriff roles in recent years. From 2004 through the show’s end in 2006, he played the lead role as Sheriff Seth Bullock in HBO’s Deadwood, the story of an American frontier town in 1876 struggling for stability amidst violence and lawlessness. In the film The Crazies, released in 2010, Olyphant starred as Sheriff David Dutton in this remake of George Romero’s 1973 horror flick about a small town transformed when a biological weapon enters its water supply.
Olyphant’s seeming cockiness landed him roles as rugged lawmen or ambivalent creepy guys but his talent is diverse. He played a bisexual romancing both Andy Dick’s and Cynthia Nixon’s characters in the 1999 film, Advice From a Caterpillar. His role as a sexy drug dealer in Go (Katie Holmes, Taye Diggs) won him the Best Bad Boy of 1999 in the Young Hollywood Awards.
Olyphant continues to dazzle onscreen this year with his forthright sexiness and distinct smile. In I Am Number Four, Olyphant plays a father figure assigned to protect alien teenager Alex Pettyfer’s character. He is the voice of Spirit of the West in Rango (Johnny Depp), an animated western about a chameleon. His most entertaining role this year, however, is as Dellwood Butterworth in Elektra Luxx, a comedy about a former adult film star (Carla Gugino) struggling with the consequences of her pregnancy. Yet, honestly, any role that has a shirtless scene of him is automatically entertaining.
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