Tall and dark actor Ty Burrell has the kind of deep-set eyes and sharp features that make him ideal for roles such as the self-absorbed yuppie who cast a cold gaze in Zack Snyder's Dawn of the Dead and the authoritative yet undeniably vain plastic surgeon on the CBS sitcom Out of Practice. And while Burrell's background may indeed be in repertory theater, it is in the worlds of film and television that he has truly come into his own.
Equally comfortable on screens both large and small, Burrell found his footing before the camera thanks to walk-on roles on Ellen and The West Wing before supporting performances in Ivan Reitman's Evolution and Ridley Scott's Black Hawk Down singled him out as a talent to watch for on the big screen. Never one to stay away from the stage for too long a stretch, the Ashland, Oregon, native subsequently returned to the boards to star in the Signature Theatre off-Broadway production of Burn This opposite Edward Norton and Catherine Keener.
While subsequent television roles in Law & Order and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit served well to prepare Burrell for his regular role in the comedy series Out of Practice -- a lighthearted affair about a dysfunctional family of physicians -- big-screen roles in Dawn of the Dead, In Good Company, Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus, and National Treasure: Book of Secrets virtually ensured a lasting career in film as well. In 2007, he was cast as a regular on the Kelsey Grammer/Patricia Heaton local-news sitcom Back to You as field reporter Gary Crezyzewski, but the show only lasted one season. Burrell bounced back in a big way with a prominent supporting role as Dr. Samson in the summer 2008 release The Incredible Hulk.
In 2009 Burrell enjoyed his most high-profile success so far as a member of the ensemble in Modern Family, the hit ABC sitcom that would earn him a number of award nominations. On the big screen in 2010 he had a small but memorable part as a creepy morning-show host in Morning Glory, and the next year played a part in the political satire Butter as a champion butter carver.