Kenneth Welsh

Kenneth Welsh
Born (1942-03-30) March 30, 1942
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Nationality Canadian American
Occupation Actor
Years active 1964–present

Kenneth Welsh, CM (born March 30, 1942) is a Canadian-American film and television actor (sometimes credited as Ken Welsh). He is known to Twin Peaks fans as the multi-faceted villain Windom Earle, and played the father of Katharine Hepburn as portrayed by Cate Blanchett in Martin Scorsese's The Aviator. He lives outside of Toronto.

Life and career

Welsh was born in Edmonton, Alberta, to a father who worked for the Canadian National Railway.[1] He grew up in Alberta and studied drama at school. He later moved to Montreal and attended the National Theatre School. Following graduation, he auditioned for the Stratford Festival in Ontario and then spent the first seven years of his career on stage.

Welsh has portrayed historical figures including Thomas E. Dewey, Colin Thatcher, Harry S. Truman (twice), Thomas Edison, James "Scotty" Reston, General Harry Crerar and James Baker. He has made guest appearances on the acclaimed TV series Due South and Slings and Arrows.

In 1984, he was nominated for a Genie Award as Best Actor for his portrayal of Reno Colt in the film Reno and the Doc, written and directed by Charles Dennis. In 1997, Welsh directed Dennis in the latter's play SoHo Duo at the West Bank Theatre in New York City. In 2003, he was made a Member of the Order of Canada.

His role as the vice-president of the United States in the 2004 environmental disaster film The Day After Tomorrow sparked some controversy due to his physical resemblance to Dick Cheney, who at the time was the real vice-president. Director Roland Emmerich later confirmed that he deliberately chose Welsh for that very reason. Emmerich stated that the character of the vice-president in the film was intended to be a not-so-subtle criticism of the environmental policies of the George W. Bush Administration.[2]

Welsh's son Devon was the lead singer of the musical group Majical Cloudz.[3]


Year Film Role Notes
1965 The Overfamiliar Subordinate
1980 F.D.R.: The Last Year (TV) Thomas E. Dewey
Phobia Sgt Wheeler
1983 Hot Money Parker
Empire, Inc. (mini TV series) Sir James Munroe
Tell Me That You Love Me David
Of Unknown Origin James Hall
1984 Reno and the Doc (TV) Reno
Covergirl Harrison
Falling in Love Doctor
1985 The War Boy Stephan Berecky
The Cuckoo Bird (TV) Harry
The Ray Bradbury Theater (Season 1, episode 1 Marionettes, Inc.) Crane
Love & Larceny (TV)
1986 Lost! Jim
Murder Sees the Light (TV) The Evangelist
1987 And Then You Die
Loyalties David Sutton
Radio Days Radio Voice voice only
1988 The Murder of Mary Phagan (TV) Luther Rosser
The House on Carroll Street Hackett
Crocodile Dundee II Brannigan
Liberace: Behind the Music
The Twilight Zone (Episode: - Acts of Terror) Jack Simonson
Another Woman Donald
1989 The January Man Roger Culver Credited as Ken Welsh
Love and Hate: The Story of Colin and Joanne Thatcher (TV) Colin Thatcher
Physical Evidence Harry Norton
Dick Francis: Blood Sport Harry Teller
1990 The Freshman Dwight Armstrong
The Ray Bradbury Theater (Season 4, Episode 7, And the Moon Be Still as Bright) (TV) Captain Wilder
The Widowmaker (TV) Atkinson
Twin Peaks (TV) Windom Earle
Murder Times Seven (TV) Nick Ruggieri
1992 Eli's Lesson Uncle Yakub
Dead Ahead: The Exxon Valdez Disaster (TV) Sam Skinner
The Good Fight (TV) Dick Chandler
1993 Woman on the Run: The Lawrencia Bembenek Story (TV) Don Eisenberg
Shattered Trust: The Shari Karney Story (TV) Judge Norton
1994 Boozecan Tim
Death Wish V: The Face of Death Lt. Mickey King
Kung Fu: The Legend Continues: episode Temple (TV) Vance Cavanaugh
And Then There was One David Burns
Timecop Senator Utley
Legends of the Fall Sheriff Tynert
1995 Hiroshima (TV) President Harry S. Truman
Kissinger and Nixon (TV) James 'Scotty' Reston
The X Files - episode Revelations (TV) Simon Gates
1996 Portraits of a Killer Jim Miller
1997 Habitat Coach Marlowe
The Wrong Guy Mr. Nagel
Edison: The Wizard of Light (TV) Thomas Edison
Absolute Power Sandy Lord
1998 Law & Order - episode Disappeared (TV) Ben O'Dell
Thunder Point (TV) Armstrong
Thanks of a Grateful Nation (TV) Sen. Shelby
1999 External Affairs Michael Riordan
2000 Who Killed Atlanta's Children? (TV) William Kunstler
Love Come Down Ira Rosen
The Hound of the Baskervilles (TV) Dr. Watson
Witchblade (TV) Joe Siri
2001 The Royal Scandal (TV) Dr. Watson
The Sign of Four (TV) Dr. Watson
Haven (TV) Harry Truman
Focus Father Crighton
The Day Reagan Was Shot (TV) James Baker
2002 The Case of the Whitechapel Vampire (TV) Dr. Watson
2003 Ice Bound: A Woman's Survival at the South Pole (TV) Dr. Ben Murdoch
Eloise at the Plaza (TV) Sir Wilkes
The Pentagon Papers (TV) John McNaughon
Eloise at Christmastime Sir Wilkes
2004 Miracle George Nagobads
The Wild Guys Andy
The Day After Tomorrow Vice President/President Raymond Becker
H₂O (TV) Randall Spear
The Aviator Dr. Hepburn
2009 Survival of the Dead Patrick O'Flynn


  1. Kenneth Welsh Biography ((?)-)
  2. 'The Day After Tomorrow' heats up a political debate by Scott Bowles, USA Today, May 26, 2004. (retrieved on January 12, 2009).
  3. "We Talked To Majical Cloudz". Vice, January 4, 2013.

External links

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