Kyle Chandler

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Kyle Chandler
Kyle Chandler at the Texas Film Hall of Fame Awards in March 2009
Chandler at the Texas Film Hall of Fame Awards, March 2009
Born Kyle Martin Chandler
(1965-09-17) September 17, 1965 (age 49)
Buffalo, New York, United States
Education George Walton Academy
Alma mater University of Georgia
Occupation Actor
Years active 1988–present
Known for Friday Night Lights
Spouse(s) Kathryn Chandler (m. 1995)
Children 2

Kyle Martin Chandler (born September 17, 1965)[1] is an American film and television actor best known for television roles[2] on Early Edition and notably[3] as Coach Eric Taylor in the television series Friday Night Lights, for which he won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series in 2011. He has also appeared in supporting roles in films like Super 8, Argo and Zero Dark Thirty.[4]

Early life[edit]

Chandler was born in Buffalo, New York, the fourth child of Edward Chandler, a farm owner and cigarette sales representative, and his wife, Sally Jeanette Chandler (née Meyer),[5] a dog breeder.[6][7][8][9] In addition to an older brother who lives in Houston and helped him with his Southern accent for Friday Night Lights,[10] Chandler has two other siblings.[5]

Chandler was raised in Chicago, Illinois, and at age 11 moved with his family to a farm in Loganville, Georgia.[11] Chandler said that when the family moved to Georgia they had 22 acres of land, about 7 acres of which was pastured land.[12] The family had moved from Lake Forest, Illinois, which was an urban environment. Chandler's parents raised and showed Great Danes, and the family traveled to the dog show competitions in motor homes during Chandler's childhood. The family also boarded the dogs, so Chandler and his siblings were responsible for helping out with that.[12]

Chandler graduated from George Walton Academy in nearby Monroe, in 1983.[13] As a freshman at George Walton, Chandler was a member of the 1979 state championship football team but left the team the following year, after his father died of a heart attack when Chandler was 14 years old.[12] Chandler participated in the theatre program at Walton after quitting football.[13][14] Chandler's widowed mother ran the business, Sheenwater Kennels, to support Kyle and his siblings,[14] and she "was highly active with the Great Dane Club of America (GDCA) as a breeder, judge and championship prize winner."[15][16][17]

After graduating from high school, Chandler attended the University of Georgia, where he was a drama major and member of the class of 1984 Sigma Nu fraternity.[18] In 1988, seven credits short of a bachelor's degree in drama, Chandler dropped out of Georgia to pursue a television deal.[14]


Early career[edit]

In 1988, Chandler was signed by ABC and brought to Hollywood as part of ABC's new talent program.[19] Chandler studied with acting teacher, Milton Katselas.[20] His first major acting experience was a supporting role on television as Army Private William Griner, a member of a special operations squad fighting in Vietnam in eight episodes of the last season of the series, Tour of Duty.

In addition to Chandler's film debut in a small role in the 1992 George Strait movie, Pure Country, from 1991 to 1993 Chandler landed his first role as a series regular as Cleveland Indians right fielder Jeff Metcalf in the ABC show Homefront, a drama set in the post-World War II era in the fictional town of River Run, Ohio.[21] Homefront ran for two seasons with Chandler appearing in all 42 episodes.

In 1994, Chandler made his Broadway debut, co-starring with Ashley Judd in the Roundabout Theatre Company production of William Inge's Picnic.

From 1996 to 2000, Chandler was cast as the lead in the CBS television series Early Edition, starring as a man who had the ability to change future disasters. He portrayed bar owner Gary Hobson, a stockbroker turned hero who received "tomorrow's newspaper today," delivered to his door by a mysterious cat. In 1996, he received the Saturn Award for Best Actor on Television for his portrayal of Gary. Chandler was in all 90 episodes of the show, which ran for four seasons.

In 2001, Chandler appeared opposite Joan Cusack as investment banker Jake Evans in one season of the ABC comedy series What About Joan, a show shot in Chicago that was produced by veteran producer James L. Brooks.[11]

In 2003, Chandler also played scheming lawyer Grant Rashton in six episodes of the short-lived NBC series The Lyon's Den opposite Rob Lowe.[22]

Working again in film, in 2005 Chandler played the 1930s film star Bruce Baxter (who was based on romantic film star Bruce Cabot, who played Jack Driscoll in the original King Kong) in the 2005 film King Kong. Coincidentally he would later go on to play John Driscoll in The Day the Earth Stood Still.

In February 2006, Chandler returned to episode television in a guest star role as the ill-fated bomb squad leader Dylan Young in "It's The End of The World" and "As We Know It", a two-part episode of the ABC series Grey's Anatomy that followed Super Bowl XL.[23] He received substantial notice and press for the appearance as a result and subsequently received a nomination in the Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series category at the 58th Primetime Emmy Awards in 2006.[24] He appeared again in the February 15, 2007 episode of Grey's Anatomy: "Drowning On Dry Land", and the February 22, 2007 episode: "Some Kind of Miracle".[23][25]

Friday Night Lights[edit]

While working on his Emmy-nominated guest role in Grey's Anatomy, Kyle Chandler met Peter Berg, who was developing a drama series Friday Night Lights, which followed the lives of a high-school football coach, his family and players in a small Texas town. The series was inspired by Buzz Bissinger's book and the movie of the same name. Chandler learned that he would be cast as high school football coach Eric Taylor when he was on Christmas vacation in 2005 with his family.[14]

The show's pilot aired on NBC in 2006.[26] While critically acclaimed, the series spent its time in jeopardy of cancellation each year. Starting with the third season in 2008, first-run episodes of the show were broadcast on DirecTV satellite channel The 101 Network before being repeated on NBC. The final season ended in 2011.[27]

Chandler said that neither Berg nor Chandler himself wanted him to play the role of Coach Taylor. And "while Chandler later changed his mind and decided he would be perfect for the role, Berg didn't see things his way: 'To this day he still says, I still didn't want you.'"[28]

Chandler won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for his role as Coach Eric Taylor in the final season of Friday Night Lights.[29]

While shooting Friday Night Lights, Chandler also worked on some films. In 2007, he appeared in the big screen movie The Kingdom, which was directed by FNL-creator Peter Berg. In December 2008, he appeared in the movie The Day the Earth Stood Still.

On a possible Friday Night Lights movie, Chandler is not interested: "The show ended perfectly," he says. "It was five seasons, it was really good, and I just didn't see a movie."[4]


Chandler and Mark Wahlberg filming Broken City in Montauk, New York, November 2011

After Friday Night Lights, Chandler's career became more focused on film work. In 2011, he appeared in a lead role in the science fiction movie Super 8.[30] In 2012, he appeared in Ben Affleck's drama, Argo, and in 2013, he had a supporting role in Broken City, starring Mark Wahlberg, Russell Crowe, and Catherine Zeta-Jones.

Chandler also co-starred in the 2012 Academy Award nominated film Zero Dark Thirty with Jessica Chastain and Jason Clarke playing the role of Joseph Bradley, Islamabad C.I.A. Station Chief.[31]

In the fall of 2013, Chandler appeared in another Academy Award nominated picture The Wolf of Wall Street based on the memoir of Wall Street tycoon Jordan Belfort. The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill, with Martin Scorsese directing. Chandler played FBI agent Patrick Denham.[32]

In 2013, Chandler starred in the Showtime Networks pilot directed by Ridley Scott called The Vatican.[33] The pilot was not picked up to series.[34] The Vatican was a high profile project created by FNL producer David Nevins and supported by Amy Pascal.[20]

In addition to his work on the indie film, Spectacular Now, where he plays a deadbeat alcoholic dad,[20] Chandler worked on an Todd Haynes project, Carol, where he plays "a jealous husband to his lesbian wife," played by Cate Blanchett.[4]

In 2015, Chandler returns to episodic television with the Netflix series, Bloodline.[4] The show was created by the same team that made Damages.[35] The show "centers on a family of adult siblings whose secrets and scars come to light with the return of their black-sheep brother."[35] Also starring in the show are Sam Shepard, Sissy Spacek, Linda Cardellini, Ben Mendelsohn, Norbert Leo Butz and Jamie McShane.[36]

Personal life[edit]

For nearly 20 years, after beginning his acting career in the late 1980s, Chandler lived in Los Angeles.[37][38] Since 2007, Chandler and his family have lived on a 33-acre spread[4] in Dripping Springs, Texas, southwest of Austin, with multiple dogs and donkeys.[31][39] Chandler's mother came to live with the family towards the end of her life, when she struggled with Alzheimer's disease until her death in 2014, a subject Chandler has referred to in the press and which is noted in her obituary.[5][9][38] Chandler serves as a volunteer firefighter and participates in an annual charity golf tournament at Wolfdancer to raise funds for football players who have spinal injuries.[38]

Chandler has been married to Kathryn Chandler (née Macquarrie) since 1995. Chandler met his wife at a dog park in the mid-1990s.[40] They have two daughters, Sydney and Sawyer.[40] Chandler and his daughter Sawyer have been active in bringing awareness to and trying to end the practice of shark finning.[41]

On high school and his experience with football as it relates to Friday Night Lights: "High school was interesting, because I went from a public school middle school to an academy where the first year we were doing Latin, chemistry, biology. I mean, I was woefully unprepared for the type of study. At any rate, it was halfway through that first year of school as well that my father passed away.[42][43] However, he did get to see, that year I played football for the very first time. I was the smallest fella on the team. And we won the state championship. So I've got to experience something that very few people get to experience. I didn't play. I was a rather small and very heavy, however I put my two cents in worth, and the joy of winning that state championship, I felt just as much of my sweat was on the field as anyone else's."[12]

On losing his father and trying to figure out how to act with people while dealing with grief: "You try to figure out how to act with people so many different times in so many different ways.... Not only do you lose a parent, and it's such a shock. I was in a new world for not very long before I lost him.... So I was always trying to figure out how to act, how to be. And I was always very conscious, it made me very self-conscious. And I was also far more introspective, and I was far more curious about observing others, and how they did it."[12] "As a kid, that [his father's death] was so brutal that I think that's what made me turn inside myself to try to figure out what I'm supposed to be. I started looking at other people trying to fit in, trying to do all that, and I think that's why I got into acting. I started looking up to role models, looking for father figures in films."[4] Chandler says he "was raised in the Catholic Church when I was young, but I left. I pretty much stopped going after my father died."[20]

On the germ of his career as an actor: "I was lost, I wasn't one of the cool people [in high school]. I always felt more comfortable being the quiet outsider, especially after my father died. And that seclusion and that quietness I think might be the reason I do what I do and I understand a little bit better what I do."[2]

Chandler says actor James Garner's career is his role model: "It was a career that just kept going along, a steady deal."[4]



Year Title Role Notes
1992 Pure Country Buddy Jackson
1994 Color of Evening, TheThe Color of Evening John
1996 Mulholland Falls Captain
1999 Angel's Dance Tony Greco
2005 King Kong Bruce Baxter
2007 Kingdom, TheThe Kingdom Francis Manner
2008 Day the Earth Stood Still, TheThe Day the Earth Stood Still John Driscol
2011 Super 8 Jackson Lamb Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Cast
2012 Argo Hamilton Jordan Hollywood Film Festival Award for Ensemble of the Year
Palm Springs International Film Festival Ensemble Cast Award
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Nominated: Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Cast
Nominated: San Diego Film Critics Society Award for Best Performance by an Ensemble
2012 Zero Dark Thirty Joseph Bradley Nominated—Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Award for Best Ensemble
2013 Broken City Paul Andrews
2013 The Spectacular Now Mr. Keely
2013 Wolf of Wall Street, TheThe Wolf of Wall Street Patrick Denham
2015 Carol Harge Aird Filming
2016 Manchester-by-the-Sea Filming


Year Title Role Notes
1988 Quiet Victory: The Charlie Wedemeyer Story Skinner Television film
1989 Unconquered 1st Boy Television film
1989 Hallmark Hall of Fame Billy Benefield Episode: "Home Fires Burning"
1989 China Beach Grunt Episode: "Independence Day"
1989 Freddy's Nightmares Chuck Episode: "Memory Overload"
1990 Tour of Duty William Griner 8 episodes
1990, 2003 One Life to Live Joey 2 episodes
1991–1993 Homefront Jeff Metcalf 42 episodes
1994 North and South Book III: Heaven and Hell Charles Main Miniseries
1995 Sleep, Baby, Sleep Peter Walker Television film
1995 Convict Cowboy Clay Treyton Television film
1996–2000 Early Edition Gary Hobson 90 episodes
Also Producer
Director (Episode: "Occasionally Amber")
Saturn Award for Best Actor on Television
2001 What About Joan? Jake Evans 21 Episodes
2003 And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself Raoul Walsh Television film
2003 Lyon's Den, TheThe Lyon's Den Grant Rashton 6 episodes
2004 Capital City Mac McGinty Television pilot
2005 Lies and the Wives We Tell Them To Cooper Television pilot
2006–2007 Grey's Anatomy Dylan Young 4 episodes
Nominated: Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series
2006–2011 Friday Night Lights Eric Taylor 76 episodes
Director (Episode: "Texas Whatever")
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series (2011)
Nominated: Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Drama Actor (2011)
Nominated: Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series (2010)
Nominated: Satellite Award for Best Actor – Television Series: Drama (2010–2011)
Nominated: Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series (2012)
Nominated: TCA Award for Individual Achievement in Drama (2007)
2008 King of the Hill Tucker Mardell Voice
Episode: "The Courtship of Joseph's Father"
2011 Robot Chicken Mongo/Man Episode: "No Country for Old Dogs"
2013 Monstrous Holiday Coach Television film
2013 The Naughty List Santa Voice
2014 American Dad! Coach Keegan Voice
Episode: "Introducing The Naughty Stewardesses"
2015 Bloodline John Rayburn


  1. ^ "Kathryn M Chandler United States Public Records". FamilySearch. Retrieved 26 February 2015. 
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