A glance at Ken Olin's filmography as an actor alone shows a driven and tireless performer, but take an even closer look and you'll see that not only did Olin appear on-camera in some of the most memorable series of the 1980s and '90s, but he somehow managed to find the time to step into the director/producer chair as well. A Chicago native who attended the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Olin got his start in the industry in the late '70s. A few years after making his small-screen debut in the made-for-television feature Women at West Point (1979), Olin graduated to feature work with a minor role in the 1981 chiller Ghost Story. Throughout the '80s, the burgeoning actor could be spotted in such television fare as Hill Street Blues and Falcon Crest, and, in 1987, Olin steeped up his responsibilities by not only appearing on thirtysomething, but serving as director as well (for which he won two Humanitas Prizes). Olin would continue to pull double duty on such series as EZ Streets and L.A. Doctors, and in the late '90s he found work behind the camera for such popular shows as Felicity, Judging Amy, The West Wing, Alias, and Freaks and Geeks. Olin's 1992 television drama Doing Time on Maple Drive was nominated for three Emmys. Continuing to acquire at least two credits a year on average as an actor, audiences could rest assured that not only would they be seeing more of Olin onscreen, but they would also bear witness as he refined his skills as a director.
Biography by Jason Buchanan
- Met his wife while both were acting in a New Hampshire production of A Streetcar Named Desire.
- Spent part of his childhood in Chile, where his father served as the deputy director of the Peace Corps.
- Befriended thirtysomething producer Marshall Herskovitz when his son and Herskovitz's daughter became playmates at their preschool.
- His numerous directorial credits include Fox's inaugural made-for-TV movie Doing Time on Maple Drive (1992), featuring the dramatic debut of Jim Carrey.
- In 2011, starred in F2M, a play written by his wife, Patricia Wettig, that was presented as part of the Powerhouse Theater season at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
- ABC drama Brothers & Sisters (2006-2011) was a family affair for Olin (executive producer and occasional actor), Wettig (star) and their children, Cliff (staff writer) and Roxy (recurring role).