First gaining attention with his recurring role of Detective Harry Garibaldi on the NBC series “Hill Street Blues” (1984-1985), Golden Globe nominated American actor, director and producer Ken Olin rose to TV stardom portraying Michael Steadman on the acclaimed ABC drama “thirtysomething” (1987-1991). His character on the series was named one of TV Guide's “50 Greatest TV Dads Of All Time” in 2004. He has also acted in such TV series as NBC's “Bay City Blues” (1983), CBS' “Falcon Crest” (1985-1986), CBS' “EZ Streets” (1996-1997) and CBS' “L.A. Doctors” (1998-1999) and in numerous TV films.
Although first becoming famous as an actor, dark haired Olin is now a prolific TV producer and director. He received a 2004 PGA nomination for the Television Producer of the Year Award in Episodic Drama for his work on the ABC series “Alias,” in which he also directed episodes and acted in. He also directed such TV films as “The Broken Cord” (1992), “In Pursuit of Honor” (1995), “Phenomenon II” (2003) and “Introducing Lennie Rose” (2006) and episodes of “The West Wing” (2000) and “Brothers & Sisters” (2006-2010). Olin made his feature film directorial debut with “White Fang 2: The Myth of the White Wolf” (1994).
Olin has been married to three time Emmy winner Patricia Wettig since 1982. They have two children together, Clifford and Roxanne. Olin and his wife have worked together in several projects, including the series “thirtysomething” and “Brothers & Sisters” and the TV films “Nothing But the Truth” (1995) and “Kansas” (1995), which Olin produced.
Childhood and Family:
Kenneth Edward Olin, professionally known as Ken Olin, was born on July 30, 1954, in Chicago, Illinois, to Lawrence Olin, a former deputy director of the Peace Corps. His parents divorced when he was a child. Ken was educated at The Putney School in Putney, Vermont, and after graduating in 1972, attended the University of Pennsylvania.
Ken married actress Patricia Wettig on May 8, 1982. The two were costars in the TV series “thirtysomething.” His wife gave birth to their first child, Clifford Olin, in 1983. The couple's daughter, Roxanne Olin, was born on November 5, 1985. Ken is Jewish.
Brothers & Sisters
A native of Chicago, Ken Olin relocated to Hollywood in the late 1970s to give acting a shot. In 1976, he landed a part in the TV drama “Bernice Bobs Her Hair” and followed it two years later with appearances in two episodes of the series “The Paper Chase.” It was also in 1978 that Olin made his stage debut in the off-Broadway production “Taxi Tale.” He closed the decade playing a bit part in the CBS film “Women at West Point” (1979).
After moving to Los Angeles, Olin landed his first film role in the John Irvin directed “Ghost Story” (1981). A year later, he portrayed Stanley Kowalski in a stage production of “A Streetcar Named Desire.” Olin was next featured as a ballplayer named Rocky Padillo on the short lived Steven Bochco NBC series “Bay City Blues” (1983) before receiving some notice for his portrayal of Detective Harry Garibaldi on the NBC series “Hill Street Blues.” He played the recurring part from 1984 to 1985. After leaving the series, he portrayed Father Christopher, a clergyman who had an affair with one of his church members, on the soap opera “Falcon Crest” (CBS, 1981-1990), which starred Lorenzo Lamas. He appeared on the show in seventeen episodes from 1985 to 1986.
Olin next portrayed Elizabeth Taylor's agent in “There Must Be a Pony” (1986), an ABC TV film based on a novel by James Kirkwood Jr., and starred in the CBS miniseries “I'll Take Manhattan” (1987). He then appeared in such TV films as “Tonight's the Night” (1987), “Police Story: Cop Killer” (1988), “A Stoning in Fulham County” (1988) and “Goodnight Sweet Wife: A Murder in Boston” (1990), which was adapted from the true story of a Boston man who murdered his wife and blamed an African-American. He also acted in episodes of the TV series “Murder, She Wrote” (1986), “Hotel” and “The Hitchhiker” (both 1987).
However, Olin did not achieve star status until he won the role of yuppie Michael Steadman on the Golden Globe Award winning ABC series “thirtysomething” (1987-1991). Playing an advertising executive in the drama, Olin was nominated for a Golden Globe in 1990 for Best Performance by an Actor in a TV-Series - Drama. It was also through the show that Olin got the opportunity to direct occasionally, an experience that paved the way for his future directorial career. During the height of the series’ success, Olin landed his first wide screen lead in the ensemble reunion film “Queen's Logic” (1991), opposite Kevin Bacon, John Malkovich and Joe Mantegna.
Making his directorial debut in a 1989 episode of “thirtysomething” called “No Promise,” Olin directed Jimmy Smits and Kim Delaney in his first TV film, “The Broken Cord” (ABC, 1992). The same year, he also helmed “Doing Time on Maple Drive.” Olin made his motion picture directorial debut with the 1994 family adventure “White Fang 2: The Myth of the White Wolf,” which starred Scott Bairstow and Charmaine Craig. The following year, he directed Don Johnson, Craig Sheffer and Gabrielle Anwar in the HBO TV film “In Pursuit of Honor.” Also in 1995, he emerged as one of the executive producers of the ABC TV film “Kansas,” which starred his wife Patricia Wettig.
Meanwhile, Olin remained busy in front of the camera when he starred with Cybill Shepherd in the based-on-true-story TV film “Telling Secrets” (1993), acted with his wife in the CBS movie “Nothing But the Truth” (1995) and offered a fine starring turn as Brad Cunningham in the Emmy nominated TV film “Dead by Sunset” (1995). He revisited series TV as a star of the short-lived, but highly praised, CBS drama “EZ Streets” (1996-1997) playing police detective Cameron Quinn. After appearing in the romantic film 'Till There Was You” and starring as a lawyer in the TV film “The Advocate's Devil” (both 1997), he again returned to series TV on the CBS medical drama “L.A. Doctors” (1998-1999). In addition to acting, he served as an executive consultant and directed several episodes of the show.
More recently, Olin has concentrated more on his behind-the-camera career. In 2000, he directed episodes of NBC's “The West Wing,” “Felicity” and “Freaks and Geeks.” He was an executive producer for the TNT series “Breaking News” (2002), where he also directed the pilot. However, Olin is also recognized for his work on the now-defunct ABC series “Alias” (2001-2006). He directed 23 episodes (2001-2005) and also served as a co-executive producer and producer for the show, in which he jointly nabbed a PGA nomination for Television Producer of the Year Award in Episodic Drama. He also had an unaccredited part in the episodes “Spirit” (2001), “The Coup” and “Page 47” (2002).
In 2003, Olin directed the TV film “Phenomenon II” and later the 2006 TV movie “Introducing Lennie Rose,” which starred Abigail Spencer. More recently, he has helped direct, executive produce and appears in the ABC family drama “Brothers & Sisters” (2006-2010).