Timothy Hutton

Active - 1978 - 2020  |   Born - Aug 16, 1960 in Malibu, California, United States  |   Genres - Drama, Thriller

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Biography by Sandra Brennan

After 19-year-old Timothy Hutton won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role in the powerful family drama Ordinary People (1980), he spent the rest of the decade and most of the '90s playing sensitive characters in offbeat, intellectually oriented films, though he also occasionally got to play villains. Born August 18th, 1960, Hutton was primarily raised in Berkeley, CA, by his mother as she and his father, actor Jim Hutton, best known for playing Ellery Queen in the 1960s, divorced. Young Hutton gained early acting experience in high school and during a summer vacation, toured the country with his father in a road show production of Harvey. Hutton moved to Southern California to live with his dad and break into movies. During his early years, Hutton appeared in television movies such as And Baby Makes Six (1979) and the hard-hitting Friendly Fire (1979). Robert Redford's directorial debut, Ordinary People, was Hutton's feature-film debut. In part, the realism of Hutton's wrenching portrayal of the anguished teen who blames himself for his brother's death was fueled by his grief over his father's recent death from cancer. Hutton was the youngest actor to win in the Best Supporting Actor category. Despite his early promise, Hutton remains a well-respected but not terribly high-ranking star. In part it could be a backlash from Ordinary People, for Hutton was so good at playing the tormented young man that he was relegated to playing similarly troubled youths, though he also occasionally appeared in comedies, sci fi, and other genres. Roles in Taps (1981) and Turk 182 showed that, given the chance, Hutton could indeed expand the boundries of troubled youth niche to compelling results, and though his roles in the following decade weren't always in A-list features, Hutton did impress in such high profile releases as Q & A (1990), The Dark Half (1993), French Kiss (1995) and The General's Daughter (1999). As a general rule, Hutton would frequently avoid mainstream films in favor of smaller roles as deeper characters in such offbeat fare as City of Industry (1997) and Deterrence (1999), though the new millennuim did find him stepping back into the spotlight somewhat with the release of John Sayles' Sunshine State and the Steven King adaptation Secret Window - which found him cast opposite Hollywood heavyweight Johnny Depp. Of course having appeared in the acclaimed thriller The Dark Half this wasn't Hutton's first foray into the King's twisted universe, and in 2004 Hutton would continue to keep audiences' pulses pounding with a role as a college professor who discovers a record of his murder five days before it occurs in 5 Days to Midnight (2004).

In 2006, Hutton took on supporting roles for The Good Shepherd and Stephanie Daley, as well as for Off the Black, a comedy drama in which he played a terminally ill young man with a complex relationship with his father. Though the actor would have only moderate success on the silver screen in 2008, he found a much greener pasture in television. Hutton stars as a modern day Robin Hood on TNT's drama Leverage. The show follows a former insurance investigator (Hutton) and his team as they rob from the rich through elaborate cons. Though he played a supporting role alongside Ewan McGregor and Pierce Brosnan in The Ghost Writer, his most notable work was on Leverage, which would remain popular in the following years.

Movie Highlights

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  • Father was actor Jim Hutton, who played the title character on the short-lived detective series Ellery Queen.
  • Made his big-screen debut at 5, appearing alongside his father in the 1965 comedy Never Too Late.
  • Played Carol Burnett's son in the acclaimed TV-movie Friendly Fire (1979).
  • Had his breakthrough role as troubled teen Conrad in Robert Redford's 1980 drama Ordinary People.
  • Turned down the part in Risky Business (1983) that made Tom Cruise a star.
  • Directed the 1984 video for The Cars' hit single "Drive."
  • Feature directing debut was the 1998 drama Digging to China, starring Kevin Bacon and Mary Stuart Masterson.
  • First series-regular role was on A&E's A Nero Wolfe Mystery (2001-02); subsequently starred on the short-lived NBC series Kidnapped (2006-07) and the TNT hit Leverage.