Friday Night Lights
First drawing attention as Jeff Metcalf on the award winning series “Homefront” (ABC, 1991-1993), American actor Kyle Chandler provided an adorable performance as Gary Hobson in the science fiction series “Early Edition” (CBS, 1996-2001), from which he took home the 1997 Saturn Award. He was brought back into the television spotlight in 2006 with his Emmy nominated portrayal of a doomed bomb squad leader in the two part episode of the popular ABC series “Grey’s Anatomy.” He also stars as Coach Eric Taylor in the NBC critically acclaimed drama “Friday Night Lights” (2006-current), a role that earned him a 2007 Television Critics Association nomination. On the wide screen, Chandler is perhaps best known for playing Bruce Baxter in the 2005 Oscar winning remake “King Kong,” directed by Peter Jackson. Additional film credits include “Pure Country” (1992), “The Color of Evening” (1994), “Mulholland Falls” (1996), “Angel's Dance” (1999), “The Kingdom” (2007) and “The Day the Earth Stood Still” (2008). Moviegoers will see him in the upcoming drama “Morning” (2009).
Chandler is married and has two children. In 2006, the handsome leading man was named one of People Magazine's “Sexiest Men Alive.”
The Comedy of Errors
Childhood and Family:
Kyle Martin Fitzgerald Chandler was born on September 17, 1965, in Buffalo, New York, to Edward Chandler, a farm owner and pharmaceutical sales representative, and Sally, a dog breeder. His family moved to Lake Forest, IL, where Kyle stayed until age 11. They then moved to the small town of Loganville, GA, where the Chandlers lived on a remote farm with few neighbors. During his time in the Peach State, Kyle spent much of his time watching TBS, the only television station that could reach his family's farm, and soon became hooked on old movies. Inspired by the characters he liked, the creative kid entertained his friends and family in the backyard. Lured by his interest in performing, Kyle later majored in drama at the University of Georgia. While in college, after a suggestion from some friends, he tried out for a role in a production of Shakespeare’s “The Comedy of Errors” and ended up winning the part.
Kyle married his wife, Kathryn, in 1995. They have two daughters, Sydney and Sawyer. The family currently resides in Los Angeles, CA. Kyle has two dogs, Buckley and Otis (named after Otis Redding). He is a passionate fly fisherman and his favorite sport is baseball.
A theater major at the University of Georgia, Kyle Chandler was discovered by an ABC talent scout in 1988 and soon made his way to Hollywood to pursue his dreams. He made his television acting debut later that same year with a small part in the CBS drama “Quiet Victory: The Charlie Widermeyer Story,” starring Pam Dawber and Michael Nouri. He was next featured in the Emmy nominated, based-on-true story film “Unconquered” (1989), which starred Peter Coyote, Dermot Mulroney and Tess Harper, and as Billy Benefield in the “Hallmark Hall of Fame” production “Home Fires Burning” (also 1989). The same year, he began taking guest roles in such TV series as ABC's “China Beach” and the late night anthology series “Freddy's Nightmares.”
Chandler, who worked odd jobs during his first 18 months in L.A., landed the recurring role of PVT William Griner in the Emmy winning Vietnam period drama “Tour of Duty” (CBS, 1987-1990). He was on the show during its final nine episodes from January to April 1990. Chandler, however, did not earn a real victory until he landed a regular role on the ABC drama series “Homefront.” Playing Jeff Metcalf, a solemn young basketball player who falls for his brother's fiancée, the role brought the newcomer deserved attention from audiences. Co-created by Lynn Marie Latham and Bernard Lechowick, “Homefront” received praise but was canceled in 1993.
In 1992, Chandler was cast as Buddy Jackson, Lesley Ann Warren's ambitious boyfriend, in Warner Bros. Pictures' romantic movie “Pure Country,” directed by Christopher Cain of “Young Guns” fame. The film also marked the acting debut of singer George Strait. After the demise of “Homefront,” Chandler resurfaced as John in the independent drama “The Color of Evening” (1994), which was adapted from a novel by Robert Nathan. He costarred in the film with Martin Landau, Ione Skye, Gretchen Becker, Hildy Brooks and Ellen Burstyn. It was followed by a starring role in the three-part TV series “Heaven & Hell: North & South, Book III” (ABC, 1994), based on the 1980s trilogy of novels “North and South” by John Jakes. Still in 1994, Chandler made his Broadway debut with a revival of “Picnic,” in which he played the bare-chested vagrant romantically connected to Ashley Judd, a role previously made famous by Paul Newman and William Holden.
Chandler was next seen as Peter Walker, the husband of Tracey Gold, in the ABC original movie “Sleep, Baby, Sleep” (1995), Clay Treyton in the western made-for-TV film “Convict Cowboy” (1995), where he costarred with veteran Jon Voight, and as a captain in “Mulholland Falls” (1996), a feature film helmed by Lee Tamahori and starring Nick Nolte, Melanie Griffith, Chris Penn, Jennifer Connelly and John Malkovich. He would not appear in another film until 1999 with David L. Corley's mob hit man action flick, “Angel's Dance,” where he stood out as Tony Greco. Also starring in the movie were James Belushi and Sheryl Lee.
In 1996, Chandler made his return to series television when he was hired to star as Gary Hobson in the CBS new drama “Early Edition.” The show gained a respectable cult fan following and Chadler won a 1997 Saturn for Best Genre TV Actor. After four seasons, “Early Edition” ended its run in May 2000 when the CBS network decided not to renew the show for a following season.
Following the departure of “Early Edition,” the athletic actor was cast in the ABC comedy series “What About Joan,” and played an attorney named Grant Rashton in the NBC legal drama “The Lyon’s Den” in 2003. Although 13 episodes had been produced, the Rob Lowe starring vehicle was axed after six episodes due to low ratings. In between the series, Chandler played Raoul Walsh in the HBO original film “And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself” (2003), based on the life of Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa (played by Antonio Banderas). In 2004, he shot a pilot with Leslie Bibb called “Capital City,” but the show was unsold.
The New York native rebounded on the big screen in 2005 when he won the role of Bruce Baxter, the zany matinee idol, in Peter Jackson's “King Kong,” a remake of the 1933 film of the same name. Starring Naomi Watts, Jack Black and Adrien Brody, the movie received positive reviews from critics and won three Oscars, including Best Achievement in Visual Effects. Also a huge success with audiences, “King Kong” grossed more than $500 million and was hailed the fourth highest grossing movie in the history of Universal Studios.
In 2006, Chandler enjoyed further success with his guest appearance as Dylan Young, an ill-fated bomb squad leader, on “It's The End of The World” and “As We Know It,” a two part episode on the hit ABC medical series “Grey’s Anatomy.” The role brought the actor a 2006 Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series. He would reappear in two more episodes in 2007 called “Drowning on Dry Land” and “Some Kind of Miracle.”
Thanks in part to his impressive performance in “Grey’s Anatomy,” Chandler was hired to star as Coach Eric Taylor in the television series version of the Peter Berg 2004 film, “Friday Night Lights.” Debuting on October 3, 2006, the show was renewed for a second season of 22 episodes, which began airing on October 5, 2007. However, after only 15 episodes were completed, the production was forced to stop due to the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike, leading to speculation that the show could be canceled. The NBC network renewed the show for a 13-episode third season, which aired from October 2008 to January 2009. NBC announced in March 2009 that “Friday Night Lights” will be renewed for two additional seasons of 13 episodes each. For his acting job, Chandler was nominated for a 2007 Television Critics Association Award in the category of Individual Achievement in Drama.
Chandler was reunited with “Friday Night Lights” creator Peter Berg for the action film “The Kingdom” (2007), with Berg sitting in the director's chair. Among his costars in the movie were Jamie Foxx, Chris Cooper, Jennifer Garner, Jason Bateman, Ashraf Barhom, Jeremy Piven and Ali Suliman. He resumed his film career after providing the voice for Tucker Mardell in an episode of “King of the Hill” with a noted supporting turn as John Driscoll in Scott Derrickson's “The Day the Earth Stood Still” (2008), opposite Keanu Reeves, Jennifer Connelly, Kathy Bates, Jaden Smith and John Cleesel.
The 44 year old actor will costar with Laura Linney, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Jason Ritter and Elliott Gould in the upcoming drama “Morning” (2009), directed by Leland Orser.
Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films: Saturn, Best Genre TV Actor, “Early Edition,” 1997